There are millions of different jobs in New York but here's one we hadn't really thought about before: police lineup casting director. Meet Robert Weston, a 45-year-old Bronx man who makes his living filling out the other four suspects needed when police want to have a lineup. Notoriously unreliable, police lineups may be frowned upon by many, but to Weston they are his bread and butter. He gets paid $10 or so for getting his friends and acquaintances in for a lineup—and an additional $10 if he lines up himself. He's been doing it for about 15 years.
The job started when Weston was asked by a cop to come stand in for a lineup and bring his friends too. He did, and detectives were apparently pleased by his facility at getting good people. After that his "reputation as someone who could fill a lineup grew, and detectives began to pass around first his beeper number, and later his cellphone number, which is now posted in some squad rooms." Cops especially appreciate the fact that he always answers his phone and can provide "black men, black women, Hispanic men and Hispanic women" in a heartbeat (though some disagree with his opinions on what, for instance, a 'light-skin Hispanic' looks like). Don't ask him for white folk though! "They call me for that, and I don’t have that," Weston told the Times. "They go to the homeless shelter for white guys."
As far as crazy jobs we didn't realize were a possibility, police lineup casting director might take the cake. Shame it isn't one we can apply for. And that the reliability of classic police lineups are increasingly being called into question. For what it is worth, however, the NYPD in the Bronx, at least, seems to take some good-sounding precautions with its lineups:
the six participants do not stand, but sit on adjustable stools, so everyone appears roughly the same height.
And lineup participants in the Bronx typically wear a knit cap or a Yankees cap so that hairstyles are hidden. But here, the detectives say, they have to be careful: the suspect may pull the cap down over the brow, a gesture that could suggest that this person has something to hide.
“If we didn’t help them, the perp is the guy with the skully over his eyes, every time,” the detective said.
So detectives often instruct the suspect to pull his knit cap to the same place on his forehead as the fillers, the detective added.
So yeah, police lineups are not like this.