2011-09-29 "Cop Caught Macing "Occupy Wall Street" Protesters a Second Time, NYPD Launches Investigation" by Lauren Kelley
The comically named New York policeman Anthony "Tony" Bologna has now been caught macing #OccupyWallSt protesters without apparent provocation not once, but twice. The Guardian reports that new footage of Officer Bologna macing protesters emerged yesterday [http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/blog/2011/sep/28/occupy-wall-street-anthony-bologna], and that the NYPD is launching two separate investigations into the matter.
Oh, and Score one for Team Bloggers and Activists for getting the NYPD to take Bologna's actions seriously:
The investigations were announced after bloggers and activists drew attention to video posted online which showed that Bologna fired pepper spray on two occasions last Saturday as officers broke up a protest march through Greenwich Village.
The first footage shows him targeting a group of female protesters who were being penned in by officers on East 12th Street. The latest video shows another incident on the same street, shortly after the first, when he fired more pepper spray towards at least one of the same women, after they were recovering from the first incident.
On both occasions, the officer appears to have violated New York Police Department guidance on how the gas should be used.
In response to the Guardian's appeal to readers to help us reconstruct Saturday's events on East 12th Street, one protester wrote to say that she was sprayed with gas by the officer both times.
The protester, Ashley Drzymala, also sent us a link to this raw footage, which shows - at about the 3:56 mark - the officer spraying protesters as they retreated from the area of West 12th Street where he had used the gas on another group about a minute earlier.
According to Gothamist [http://gothamist.com/2011/09/29/pepper_spraying_cop_gets_death_thre.php], the Civilian Complaint Review Board has received at least 400 complaints about the macings -- enough that "staffers had to come up with a special system for categorizing and processing them."
Unfortunately, the #OccupyWallSt protesters aren't the only people who have received this treatment. It seems that the NYPD has a habit of macing citizens for the wrong reasons (or no reason at all) -- and getting away with it:
According to recent statistics [http://www.nyc.gov/html/ccrb/html/reports.html], 1722 people complained of being wrongfully pepper-sprayed by New York police officers between 2006 and 2010. Of that number, the civilian review board substantiated just 22 complaints.
Meanwhile, Officer Bologna has reportedly received death threats [http://gothamist.com/2011/09/29/pepper_spraying_cop_gets_death_thre.php] after his personal information was published by hacktivist group Anonymous. In response, the force has assigned Bologna a security detail.