Anthony Bologna, the NYPD deputy inspector who was caught on video pepper-spraying three Occupy Wall Street protesters with no apparent provocation, will face a slap-on-the-wrist punishment.
NYPD and New York City officials concluded that Bologna used pepper spray outside department guidelines, which authorize the use of pepper spray only if officers reasonably believe it is necessary to effect an arrest of a resisting suspect, but never in situations that do not require the use of physical force.
He sprayed the women during a rally near Union Square on Sept. 24.
The suggested punishment for that violation is 10 days' lost vacation time. The department considered fining Bologna two weeks' lost pay, or a little under $6,000 given his $146,000 salary, but decided against it. Bologna plans to challenge the vacation time penalty, according to a Captains Endowment Association official.
Deputy Inspector Bologna is disappointed at the results of the department investigation, the Association told The New York Times. His actions prevented further injury and escalation of tumultuous conduct. To date, this conduct has not been portrayed in its true context.
Bologna Stands By His Response
In a statement to NYPD officials, Bologna said he had no qualms about his use of force. He said he acted with the best intentions and would do things the same way again.
Ron Kuby, a lawyer for one of the victims, said Bologna went berserk while on duty in a crowded public place and attacked a group of women who were not breaking the law. That's not simply mishandling pepper spray, which makes it sound like he over-seasoned his salad.
Bologna claimed that he did not intend to spray the female protesters, but was aiming for a group of male protesters who were trying to pull the legs out from under several cops who were holding NYPD orange crowd-control rubber mesh nets in front of them, the Daily Mail reported. Those protesters cannot be seen in the videos that went viral after the incident.
He also cast himself as the victim in the incident, saying that he was tortured by protesters who posted his family members' names and addresses online.
This is not the first time Bologna has been accused of using excessive force. The People's Law Collective alleged that he shoved two protesters before arresting them in 2001, and he was also cited for civil rights violations for his treatment of protesters at the 2004 Republican National Convention.