Here’s what we know:
JPMorgan gave a massive gift of $4.6 million to the New York City Police Foundation in the form of money, patrol car laptops, “security monitoring software,” and other tech resources. But the donation was given starting late last year and was completed by spring 2011, so it was obviously not made in response to the Occupy Wall Street protests. At the time, Commissioner Ray Kelly sent JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon a note expressing his “profound gratitude” for the donation, and a company-written news item about the gift described it as “unprecedented” in size.
The police foundation is the private fundraising arm of the NYPD. It allows donors to make tax-exempt gifts to the department and in turn the foundation funds a wide-range of specialized NYPD units, international counterterrorism work, and high-tech gadgetry.
“This gift is especially disturbing to us because it creates the appearance that there is an entrenched dynamic of the police protecting corporate interests rather than protecting the First Amendment rights of the people,” says Heidi Boghosian of the National Lawyers Guild, which has had legal observers posted at the major Occupy Wall Street marches. “They’ve essentially turned the financial district into a militarized zone.”