Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Sources: Pepper-Spraying Officer Violated NYPD Guidelines

As dozens of "Occupy Wall Street" protesters marched to the Manhattan District Attorney's office to demand investigation of alleged police brutality in the handling of protest crowds over the past month, sources said a police officer who was seen on video using pepper spray on a protester last month violated city guidelines.

Hundreds of demonstrators have been arrested over the past month and protesters are demanding a change in the New York City Police Department's policies.

Deputy Inspector Anthony Bologna was seen using pepper spray during a demonstration on September 24.

According to sources, an NYPD investigation has found that Bologna violated the department's rules on pepper spray use, and he will have to lose 10 paid vacation days.

Bologna can challenge the ruling, according to sources, and can have an administrative trial.

Another video shows that during a Friday demonstration, a ranking police officer punched a protester in the face.

"We would like the NYPD to be investigated for the attacks that have been happening during this occupation," said one marcher.

"I think to end police brutality and recognize other people who are suffering a lot and not to punish them for that," said another.

The district attorney offered no comment on the alleged incidents but said his office will examine each arrest case separately.

"We take every case that comes to our office individually and look at it as an individual matter," said Vane. "We've received about 500 arrests from the NYPD to date, roughly speaking. And each of those cases will receive that review process."

Protesters Storm Governor's Award Ceremony

Meanwhile, other protesters have swarmed to a West Village event where former Governor Mario Cuomo was scheduled to a present a "Changer of the Year Award" from the online news site The Huffington Post to his son, Governor Andrew Cuomo.

The protesters called Andrew Cuomo "Governor 1 Percent" and objected to how the governor has not extended the so-called "millionaires' tax," allowing for the state's wealthiest residents to pay fewer taxes starting next year.

Demonstrators wanted the governor to speak directly to them, but it is still unknown if he will talk to the protesters.

Protesters are also rallying against Sotheby's auction house over a union dispute, and the group plans on holding a vigil at Lincoln Center tonight.

The Granny Peace Brigade is also protesting the the Koch brothers' involvement in the center and their funding of several Republican issues.

Jesse Jackson joined the demonstrators in Zuccotti Park, where they have camped for a month, and called the protest an extension of Martin Luther King Jr.'s last act in which he "occupied" the National Mall in Washington, DC.

"Too few have too much subsidized by the government. Too many have little neglected by the government, so priorities have to change," said Jackson.

Organizers say the NYPD tried to disassemble their medical tent overnight but stopped when Jackson showed up.

"I think we're in a bad place in the world right now and the distribution of resources is such that's it unsustainable and if we don't take action soon, there really won't be an America left for much longer," said one protester.

The ongoing protests remain on the minds of officials, even though Zuccotti Park is not owned by the city.

City Council Speaker Christine Quinn voiced support for the "Occupy Wall Street" protesters during a business breakfast in Midtown Tuesday while simultaneously unveiling a new jobs plan that aims to stimulate the local economy.

"I'm here to tell you we are not going to let that dream die and we are not going to let the middle class disappear from our city," said Quinn.

Despite defending the protesters, Quinn has yet to visit their encampment at Zuccotti Park, though she said it could be on her schedule in the future.

City Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe said parks are places for public expression, as long as protesters follow the rules.

"It's a challenge I think to the property owners, but you know, as Mayor [Michael] Bloomberg has said, democracy is a delicate act," said Benepe. "You want to try to balance the needs of people who want to express their opinions with the needs of people who live in the neighborhood."

Over the weekend, Occupy Wall Street protestors staged a demonstration at Washington Square Park, which is run by the city. Some protestors were arrested when they violated its midnight curfew.

By ny1

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