This is what he did:
The NYPD's offical policy says that pepper spray should only be used when a subject is resisting arrest.
I talked to an NYPD White-Shirt, whom I will not identify by name or rank, who explained that the NYPD routinely fails to follow such policies. He was ambivalent about the situation himself, and explained that the NYPD, by and large, acts as if it's above the law.
The officer said that what Bologna could have done was arrest those people he pepper sprayed and charge them with resisting arrest. Even if they beat the charge- "his ass is covered." So NYPD policy is that it's appropriate to assault someone only if you arrest them afterward.
That's part of the culture of the NYPD. It's one that many have been fighting to change from within and without. Their actions in response to this protest are suspect. Their behavior in poor and minority communities is suspect as well.
Despite this, the NYPD really is one of the best police departments on earth. I've had so many positive experiences with police officers. But the reality is that there are a few men who wear white (and I do mean men) who probably shouldn't be working for the NYPD anymore. I imagine that one of the reasons I've had so many positive experiences with the NYPD is because of the fact that I'm a well educated, well spoken, white man, who occasionally wears a suit, and lives in a safe neighborhood.
Even though they've been working hard to grow as a department, and even though they're seeing positive demographic changes, It seems that the culture which believes that the NYPD are above the law is continuing. Bologna was not, as reported earlier, docked ten days pay.
He lost vacation days for assaulting peaceful protesters. He lost vacation days when he should be fired, and charged with assault.
Surprise, Surprise: He's appealing the decision.
WeAreTheOther99 is a new media start that's been on the ground at Zuccotti park since day one. Later this week we'll be bringing you an interview with Chelsea Elliot, one of the young women who was pepper sprayed by Bologna. We'll talk to her about the incident, Bologna's punishment, and she'll tell us her thoughts about the importance of nonviolence.
We're entering a new phase, so expect some exciting updates from us soon.
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9:12 AM PT: To answer some questions:
All of the women assaulted by Bologna are suing him, and the NYPD. There are four lawsuits against him that I know of. Because of how difficult it is to go through this process, there is a lawsuit from the 2004 Republican Convention protests in NYC against Bologna which will go to trial next year.
I'm still researching why it took so long for the case to go to trial. It maybe years more before our people have their cases heard.
We're investigating the situation and will bring you more information when we have it. Expect it when we show Chelsea's interview.
10:03 AM PT: One of the Kossacks below had the brilliant idea to demand action from the city council.
If you live in NYC, find your city councilor here: http://council.nyc.gov/...
I called Councilman Charles Barron's office. I have to say that his staff was very interested and encouraged me to email them. Here was the email address I was given for his chief of staff, Joy Simmons. email@example.com. I was told to CC firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com
I'd encourage everyone to email them.
10:32 AM PT: I'd like to ask New Yorkers to e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, Councilor Peter Vallone Jr, because he's the chair of the public safety committee. Ask him to investigate the NYPD's Civilian Complaint Review Board, the group which investigated Bologna. Ask him to hold hearings about the way that complaints against the police are handled.
I talked to several people who work for city councilors today, and they said that this would be one of the best ways to solve what is a significant problem with the way things are done in New York City.