Markets in everthing

Mr. Weston says he is always on call; his Bluetooth earpiece comes off in public only when he goes to the barber for his weekly $16 trim. His cellphone, he says, holds the numbers of some 100 potential lineup fillers, mostly friends and acquaintances from the Mill Brook Houses, the public housing project in the South Bronx where he has lived most of his life.

He often complains about how people hound him for the chance to make a few dollars through lineup work.

“I can’t even play basketball on the courts or sit here and drink a beer,” Mr. Weston said on a recent afternoon. “People are always asking me if there is a lineup.”

And this:

Detectives often find fillers on their own, combing homeless shelters and street corners for willing participants. In a pinch, police officers can shed their uniforms and fill in. But in the Bronx, detectives often pay Mr. Weston $10 to find fillers for them.

…But Mr. Weston points out that he has never failed to produce lineups when asked, no matter what time of night.

“I never say no to money,” he said.

The article has several other interesting features, and for the pointer I thank Daniel Lippman.


One of the interesting features is the offhand comment that there is a "homeless shelter for white guys" (unofficially, one presumes of course) in the Bronx.

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John, I think you're misreading that.

Mr. Weston’s lineup fillers fall into four categories: black men, black women, Hispanic men and Hispanic women. He said he had no candidates to match a white suspect of either sex. “They call me for that, and I don’t have that,” Mr. Weston said. “They go to the homeless shelter for white guys.”

He doesn't have any white candidates, so if they need one, they have to go to a shelter to find one.

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