The New York Times has finally tracked down the so-called hipster cop, an NYPD officer who has attracted the half adoring, half mocking attention of local blogs for his skinny ties and nerdy glasses, which make him look more like a young protester than a police officer. (Gothamist even put together a "montage" video of his appearances at protests, above.)
It turns out the local celebrity is Detective Rick Lee, a 45-year-old Staten Island resident who is only four months away from being eligible for retirement, despite looking like he's in his 20s. He is aware of his "hipster cop" nickname and semi-fame.
"That's what they call me," he told the Times with a sigh.
Lee has been working seven days a week since the protests began and advises the people gathering in Zuccotti Park to take part in the demonstration on how to avoid arrest. Some protesters have cautioned that despite his micro-celebrity status, Lee is still a part of the police force and shouldn't be trusted.
Protesters and police have clashed since the occupy protests began a month ago, with videos showing the use of pepper spray.
Still, Lee showed some fellow feeling with the movement in his Times interview. "Maybe I'll grow my hair long again and join these guys," Lee said of his possible post-retirement plans. You can read the whole story here.
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