NYPD Will Investigate Pepper Spray Incident

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said the department will conduct its own investigation into use of pepper spray during a protest against Wall Street last week.

Kelly described the protesters' behavior on Saturday as "tumultuous," explaining that those marching from Union Square Park "were intent on blocking traffic."

The commissioner also said the Civilian Complaint Review Board is investigating the incident and will issue recommendations. The CCRB said they have received about 150 complaints daily about the pepper-spray incident.

"We've received close to 400 communications from people," CCRB spokesperson Linda Sachs said. "The vast majority only saw the incident on YouTube or television. So we're going through those complaints, and devising and implementing a system to catalog them."

She added that the board, an independent agency that has limited enforcement capabilities, accepts complaints from anybody, but will need cooperation from people who had been sprayed in order to investigate, and so far it is hard to say whether any of those people have stepped forward.

"What took them so long?" asked protester Justin Wedes upon news that the NYPD was conducting an internal review. "We've been reviewing the police's behavior and our own behavior ever since we came here. They need to keep a close eye on themselves.”

Kelly said he wished the Occupy Wall Street protesters — now in their 12th day of demonstrations — would obtain a permit from the city.

NYPD spokesman Paul Browne defended the use of pepper spray and said protesters had confronted officers.

Deputy Inspector Anthony Bologna was identified as the officer who used the pepper spray. Roy Richter, president of the NYPD Captains Endowment Association, said Bologna' actions "were motivated by his concern for the safety of offices under his command and the safety of the public. The limited use of pepper spray effectively restored order without any escalation of force or serious injury to either demonstrator or police officer."

About 80 people were arrested this past weekend when the protesters marched uptown to Union Square.

With reporting from Arun Venugopal


More in:

Comments [8]

So, New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said the NYPD will conduct its own investigation into use of pepper spray during an Occupy Wall Street protest.

How convenient. Hopefully, WNYC will follow up because you can't expect folks to hold their breath waiting for the results of NYPD's internal investigation.

Oct. 08 2011 02:53 PM
Paul from NYC

The officers closer to the protesters did not seem to feel threatened and did not take action. If he had seen something they had not (a weapon etc.) would he not have pursued it after spraying? The officers on the line who witnessed this use of pepper spray, even though by another officer, had an obligation to investigate and to stop him if they deem him beyond his capacity. They did not, and when he left the scene there are serious doubts about whether they could have identified him. I respect the difficulty of the officer's position and can even understand how one might loose his head; but the NYPD needs show they are able to restrain each other to within the confines of the law, or at least to check.

Sep. 29 2011 08:53 PM
tracy from upper east side

these protesters were anything but "peaceful". that is clear to see. they are disobeying police order, reaching over the barricade. they're young, idealistic and extraordinarily emotional and provoking trouble. the pepper spray may been the perfect solution. a little reality check for those hoping to cause big trouble. i have to BIG problems with this "movement"

A) this thing is orchestrated by ACORN and SEIU: namely Wade Rathke and Stephen Lerner respectively. and yet, they claim they are "leaderless" ...these kids are shills for big union. period.

B) they apparently don't give a flip that the NYPD is a little busy right now trying to keep our city safe from ohhh, i don't know.... terrorists? this perhaps infuriates me the most. as someone who loves this city, to watch these punks take away from the resources needed, with the ongoing threats we face each day, especially with the Jewish high holy days upon us. there's no telling what islamic jihadists are cookin up for Gotham. and these directionless, jobless trouble makers wanna waste police personnel's time with their kumbaya foolishness?
...i've read their live chats: they're down there smoking weed, taking extacy and just generally "hangin out". it's nothing more than a platform for bored millennials.

and btw, they've also been chatting about how they don't want anymore trouble with police.
pepper spray = success

Sep. 29 2011 07:35 PM
Samurai Cop from Chicago

We have the benefit of looking at this incident from our warm, cozy homes. The Officers were on the street, being yelled at, cursed at, and ignored by many. That scene was very chaotic. It's obvious that the Officers were trying to keep the crowd on the sidewalk and out of the street. The protesters were probably trying to shut down vehicular/pedestrian traffic on Wall street and cause great congestion. I'm sure that having thousands of people trapped in a log jam is not what a city that has experienced terrorists attacks, wants to happen again. The people being dragged away were laying in the street attempting to resist passively, they had to be removed. If they refuse to get up, you have to give painful stimuli, pick them up, or drag them to a safe area. The NYPD will determine how much discipline, if any, that inspector will receive. Like most Police Officers, I've been pepper sprayed during training. I never lied on the ground screaming, yelling, and crying bloody murder when I got pepper sprayed. As with most protests, over reaction is important to the protestors to appear as though they are receiving excessive force. The pepper spraying by the inspector does seem a bit much to me, but I wasn't there and did not see what he was seeing. Remember, we are seeing video from the protestors perspective, not from an objective source or the NYPD.

Sep. 29 2011 03:48 AM
manny j from westchester

not so sure why this has taken so long.. Have been getting pepper sprayed w/o arrest since 2003

Sep. 28 2011 08:55 PM
SKV from NYC

Deputy Inspector Anthony Bologna has been caught on videotape assaulting innocent and law-abiding demonstrators on multiple occasions.

He needs to be removed from duty pending a full and independent investigation, and if (as seems obvious) it turns out he abused his position, he should be fired, prosecuted, and imprisoned.

Bloomberg and Kelly must remove these thugs from the NYPD!

Sep. 28 2011 08:26 PM

Whoa! Those protestors did NOT confront those police. They were rounded up like animals and then sprayed with painful chemicals. Get the story straight!

Sep. 28 2011 05:13 PM
Brandt Hardin

The movement is gaining momentum after a week and a half and Occupy movements are popping up all over the country! Stand up together and use your voice to give to those without. Tax the rich and feed the poor- you are the 99%! See my Occupy Wall Street painting and Anonymous homage on my artist’s blog at where you can also see videos of the protests and police brutality as well as get other sources for real coverage of the movement.

Sep. 28 2011 04:12 PM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.

Get the WNYC Morning Brief in your inbox.
We'll send you our top 5 stories every day, plus breaking news and weather.


Latest Newscast




WNYC is supported by the Charles H. Revson Foundation: Because a great city needs an informed and engaged public


Supported by