WNYC's Bob Hennelly is an award-winning investigative journalist. While at WNYC he has reported on a wide gamut of major public policy questions ranging from immigration and homeland security to power outages and utility mergers.
The high-ranking NYPD supervisor who used pepper spray on anti-Wall Street protesters near Union Square last month violated department guidelines when he used pepper spray on Occupy Wall Street protesters last month, police sources confirmed to WNYC.
Deputy Inspector Anthony Bologna faces discipline of a loss of 10 vacation days after the September 24 incident, sources said.
A subsequent internal NYPD review of the Deputy Inspector's actions concluded they were a "violation of departmental guidelines."
Bologna has a few days to appeal the Internal Affairs Bureau finding, police said. That in turn would trigger a departmental trial. Ultimately, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly has final say on all internal NYPD discipline.
His union said Bologna's actions were motivated by his concern for the safety of officers under his command and the safety of the public.
"Deputy Inspector Bologna is disappointed at the results of the department investigation," said Roy Richter, president of the NYPD captain's endowment association. "His actions prevented further injury and escalation of tumultuous conduct. To date, this conduct has not been portrayed in its true context."
Meanwhile, sources in Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance's office confirm investigators from that office have met with Kaylee Dedrick, 24, who had been hit by Bologna's pepper spray.
Dedrick was not charged with any crime and the widely circulated video of the encounter did not depict the protesters who were hit by the spray menacing police. A lawyer for Dedrick said Bologna had assaulted her and he should be arrested.
"The crux of Deputy Inspector Bologna's offense is not that he mishandled pepper spray or shot off mist in a careless fashion; the crux of Bologna's conduct is he engaged in a deliberate assault against five innocent people," attorney Ron Kuby said.
Lawyer Aymen Aboushi represents two women who say they were pepper-sprayed. He says the disciplinary action is a good first step, but that it falls "woefully short."
“The greater issue here isn't how individual officers are reacting, but rather the inability or the refusal to train officers to deal with mass demonstrations and mass exercise of people's civil rights,” Aboushi said.
With reporting by Annmarie Fertoli and the Associated Press