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In a move that, to some extent, acknowledges that NYPD Deputy Inspector Anthony Bologna did wrong by pepper-spraying a group of Occupy Wall Street protesters, all women, who were being contained by orange net, he has been given a command discipline and may lose 10 vacation days. According to the New York Times, “Officials said investigators found that the inspector ran afoul of Police Department rules for the use of the spray.” (According to protocol, pepper spray should only be used to control a suspect who’s resisting arrest or for protection, and in cases of “disorder control” — but only by a specially trained officer.)
Bologna was found to have used the spray “outside of departmental guidelines.” He can plead guilty (and accept the charge) or he can choose to have a departmental trial. Via the Times:
“Deputy Inspector Bologna is disappointed at the results of the department investigation,” Inspector Richter said. “His actions prevented further injury and escalation of tumultuous conduct. To date, this conduct has not been portrayed in its true context.”
Ron Kuby, lawyer for Kaylee Dedrick, one of the pepper-sprayed women, continues to urge the D.A. to arrest Bologna and charge him with third-degree assault, and Aymen Aboushi, lawyer for Chelsea Elliott, another of the pepper-spray victims, who is pursuing a civil case against the NYPD, said this:
“While holding Mr. Bologna responsible is one facet of our aim, a far greater aim is systematic change. The NYPD is holding Mr. Bologna responsible, but no one is holding the NYPD responsible. Indeed, there has been no systematic change, procedural overhauls, or new training. Thus, the threat of encroachment on civil liberties by the same people sworn to defend and uphold them remains ever-present. That Mr. Bologna loses a few vacation days does nothing to prevent and deter the very conduct the NYPD implicitly recognizes as illegal.
“NYPD’s refusal to instill the systematic changes needed to stem these problems renders them complicit in their perpetration, and indeed is seen by officers in the ranks as giving its imprimatur. NYPD’s silence on this glaring problem is deafening.”