Note: This is the first in a series of studies of the events of September 24th seeking to ensure both justice for the victims of the violence as well as accountability for those actors responsible for it.
Saturday, September 24 at about 2:45 p.m., New York City, 12th Street near University Place:
An African-American citizen wearing a striped shirt is dragged from the sidewalk near the intersection by a White-Shirted senior police officer assisted by a Blue-Shirted Patrol officer. Forced into the street the man is taken to the ground and descended upon by several officers in order to arrest him.
Meanwhile, several yards west on 12th a group of women are being herded into a small area in front of a restaurant trying to do business. Under the supervision of the White Shirts, Blue-Shirted officers begin to create a pen for their detainees with an orange plastic net. The young women, not being told what is going on, are visibly upset by this treatment and facing up the street confront a female officer about their rights and their unlawful detention. One young woman, wearing a black t-shirt with the word "trip" on the front, is particularly offended and raises the objection of being treated as if they were in a 1940's fascist state. She then separates from the group and joins others to the east who are chanting "shame" over the treatment of this man. This young woman, in her chanting, is holding on to the orange barricade - although it is important to note she is neither trying to escape from the pen into the street nor to tear down the restraining wall.
As they try to reason with the female officer rather than respond to their question she places her hand, palm up, with her arm outstretched about one inch in front ofthe face of a women now known as Chelsea Elliot. It has been reported that one of the women being detained in this pen was hearing impaired. The women continue to focus their attention on their condition rather than the arrest taking place in the street.
Across the street by the rear of a taxi detained in the police action several bystanders begin to film and photograph the pile-on taking place with the male arrestee. Suddenly, for no clearly apparent reason, a billy-club wielding officer accosts a man videotaping the incident and throws him toward a parked vehicle. When he is pushed backward by one officer, from the other side of the street, darts an as yet unidentified White-Shirt.
This ranking officer then drags the man with his professional grade video camera to the other side of the street, near the corralled women, and taking hold of a red bandana the man wore around his neck, proceeds to slam him head first into the front of a parked Volvo station-wagon.
Noticing the events the women are visibly shocked and turn their attention now to the street calling for the man to be treated with some sort of human decency. They begin calling out for more reasonable and humane treatment of the man. Spreading the chants of "shame" onto this second arrest situation taking place at their end of the street.
It is into this second arrest that the now notorious Deputy Inspector Anthony "Tony Baloney" Bologna gets involved. His focus is on the video operator on the ground and his back is turned to the women. It is important to note, given the public statement made of Bologna's version of the story, that there are no men penned into the small area with this group of women as is evidenced by the multiple video cameras. There are a few males watching from behind this group of women but by the time the corral has been drawn tighter they have been excluded.
It is during this phase of the events that another White-Shirt enters the picture. He is identifiable on the video as being an officer of high rank [what rank?] with the last name of Cardona. Suddenly, and without warning, Cardona reaches over the barricade toward the back, where the woman in the black t-shirt has moved, and violently grabs her head with black-gloved hands. There is no apparent reason for this action for by this time she was standing several feet from the barricade and was merely a spectator of the two arrests in the street.
With extreme violence Cardona forces the woman to the ground and drags her underneath the orange fencing into the street - directly into a puddle of water by the curb - where she is set upon by several officers as well as an unidentifiable man, with no visible police identification, in a blue suit and tie. This man has taken part in supervising the operations along the street during this period and has participated in several of the physical acts involved in the arrests.
Several persons in the area are filming the events and we have available five of the videos taken during the scene. One of those taking the videos was initially at the edge of the barricaded area, wearing a grey tank top, and carrying what appears to be a cymbol in one hand while filming with her iPhone in the other. She finds herself standing, at the moment of the attack, shoulder to shoulder with the woman in black.
As Cardona hands off the girl in black to the other officers he can be seen smiling while what appears to be kicking toward the girl on the ground. During all of this Bologna still has his back turned to this action and is singly focused on the second arrest of the cameraman in the street. He has not looked back to the penned in area where the group of women were trapped.
As the girl in black is dragged into the street and then pinned to the ground under several officers with the assistance again of the unidentified man in the blue suit two of the camera operators have begun to make their way out of the area.
The unidentified camera operator has begun to retreat east toward the Japonika restaurant toward the corner while filming back to document the young woman's treatment. In doing so he also catches the movements of the young woman in grey who is filming with her phone. Initially she stands, in an area outside of the barricade where she is directed, and films the women in black as they pin her to the ground, mouth bleeding.
Then, as they lift her by her backpack, which strangles her in the process, she begins to move eastward toward the corner and away from the area with a group. It is just prior to this that Bologna has beelined toward the other group of women, to the west, and targeted one in particular and pepper-sprayed her in the face. Because of the focus of these two camera operators on the third arrest they only catch the body movements of Bologna as he heads in that direction but the third camera, taken from behind the scene and in the doorway of the nearby restaurant, shows the chaos of patrons of the restaurant getting hit by the spray.
A fourth video, below, also shows the action from outside the west end of the barricade and shows the effect on the women who were penned in like animals, with nowhere to run, and then attacked by Bologna. They are seen falling to the ground in agony and screaming while instead of providing medical attention, Balogna slips away to the east, down the block, and soon the officers are told to abandon the barricade and leave the area. The women are left to tend to themselves.
It isn't a few seconds, however, before Balogna heads back to the sidewalk, and he can be seen at the end of the above video coming shoulder to shoulder with the girl in the grey tank top with the iPhone filming.
Bologna does not simply leave the first scene instead in what has also now become well-known he pursues the other camera person, who has fled down toward Japonika, and when he reaches them targets the camera operator and then indiscriminately catches several others - many of whom were just caught up and fleeing from having been exposed to the spray at the other end of the block.
It is indisputable, with all the video evidence, that none of the persons either arrested or assaulted that day had committed a crime or even in any way interfered with the strange decision to pen in certain persons. What seems to have motivated, at least Bologna in the choice of his targets, was to go after those who were bearing witness to the numerous abuses, mostly initiated by White-Shirts - the Blue-Shirts often stunned and even finding themselves victims of the random spraying of their commanding officer.
The questions these videos raise are numerous. As are the concerns. What happened to the young woman in the black shirt? Who is she? What was she charged with and was she ever given proper medical care? What is her condition, physical and mental, today after this heinous attack?
And what about Cardona? Who is he? And should this evidence be submitted to initiate investigations similar to those now taking place with his fellow ranking officer Anthony Bologna?
What is certain is that acts of this nature cannot be tolerated in a free society and by decent human beings. We, as a nation and a community, have a responsibility for calling for, and guaranteeing, that those responsible for these acts are held to account. And that such an event never occurs again in America.
These ranking officers discgraced their City and Department. And in addition to targetting innocent civilians, including by-standers, with wanton violence, they placed their subordinate officers into both awkward positions and into harm's way. What kind of "leadership" is this?
What is going to be done must be the question put to all of those who are responsible for these actors as well as those charged with protecting and defending the safety, as well as liberties, of a free citizenry.
The fourth camera's view
The fifth camera's view
This fifth camera is from one of the women penned into the small area and subjected to the first pepper spray. It also is very good to see the irrationality of the police action with the orange nets and the arbitrary way these women were selected and corralled. At the end you can see the victims of the second and third arrest being taken away by the police.
The three camera view with slow-motion
See below for suggested actions and things we can do collectively to help the victims of this as well as to hold those officials and the Dept. to account for these actions.
If we all cooperate and coordinate to do small parts - we collectively can get a lot accomplished that can have profound effects and substantive impact. If you can "volunteer" to try and look into an item, or write a letter, or research a topic, etc. it would be possible to coordinate ourselves quite effectively.
POSSIBLE ACTION ITEMS
1. In the photo above (with the officer holding her hand in the face of a citizen) - there are five identifiable women, all of whom were negatively affected by the pepper spray attack (#1), and all of whom are key witnesses in this matter.
One (second from the left with the hand in her face) has been identified as Chelsea Elliot. Can we identify the other four and facilitate communication with them.
I also believe one of these women is hearing impaired which if it can be confirmed raises a Federal Civil Rights issue specifically under the ADA (American's with Disability's Act) which can be a powerful weapon of the law wielded properly.
2. We need to determine the identity of the woman in the black t-shirt (victim) and ensure that she has proper legal representation and was given appropriate medical care. We need to find out what she has been charged with and whether she has been released from jail, has been able to post bond (if required), and if she is in need of any other assistance.
3. We need to further identify and obtain the background and status with the NYPD of officer Cardona.
4. We need to obtain all official records filed pertaining to this arrest.
5. We need to collectively and in a coordinated fashion file complaints with the appropriate agencies regarding this assault/battery and false arrest.
6. We need to demand that officer Cardona and this incident be added to the ongoing investigations related to the misuse of pepper spray.
7. We need to identify the male in the blue suit and tie.
10:22 AM PT: Thanks to the work of everyone we can now identify three of the five victims of the penning and pepper spray: in addition to Chelsea Elliot are two 18-year olds Elizabeth Mahony and Kelly Schomburg - the former on the right in the striped shirt with red bandana, the latter the red-head with the blue bandana in green and with a camera.
Her photographs would be a great addition to the evidence (historical and legal) of these events. I hope she shares them.
In identifying them we should be seeking to offer them assistance - both morally and psychologically as well as if they have any medical or legal needs resulting from their being victimized in this fashion.
Photo by jamie nyc (flikr): http://www.flickr.com/...
10:32 AM PT: Photo of the two women after the attack: http://www.flickr.com/...
Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 5:04 AM PT: I have gotten some information on one of the other women in the photo. Her first name is Jesse or Jessie (not sure the spelling). I have confirmed that she is the victim who is hearing-impaired (deaf in one ear).
I have also uncovered proof that several of these young women were subsequently arrested for "blocking traffic" and spent the rest of that day in jail - released the next morning.
I don't know how to get this thread back to people's attention - it fell off the list during the frenzy yesterday with the arrests at the Bridge. But if anyone knows how to get it back on the list on the front page I'd appreciate the help.