NY policeman docked vacation for protest pepper spray

Reuters News
Posted: Oct 19, 2011 3:08 PM
NY policeman docked vacation for protest pepper spray

By Michelle Nichols

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A New York City policeman has been docked more than a third of his vacation time after he used pepper spray on anti-Wall Street protesters corralled by police on a sidewalk during a rally against economic inequality.

In a viral online video, Deputy Inspector Anthony Bologna was shown pepper-spraying several protesters involved in a march about a week after the Occupy Wall Street movement set up camp in a park in the city's financial district on September 17.

He received a command discipline for "using pepper spray outside of department guidelines" and was docked 10 vacation days, police said. Bologna normally gets 27 days vacation a year, the NYPD Captain's Endowment Association said.

"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."

More than 800 people have been arrested at rallies held by the Occupy Wall Street movement in New York City, which has been driven by social media and culminated in global protests on Saturday that were mostly peaceful apart from those in Rome, where riots broke out.

Author Naomi Wolf was arrested in New York City on Tuesday when she joined protesters outside an event due to be attended by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. Wolf wrote in The Guardian newspaper that she had also attended the Huffington Post event and was arrested wearing her evening gown.

Occupy Arrests, a Twitter feed compiling arrests related to Occupy Wall Street, said 1,800 people had been arrested around the world so far.

Protesters can now download a new phone application called "I'm Getting Arrested," which sends a mass alert to family, friends and even one's lawyer by pushing one button. Since it was launched 10 days ago it has been downloaded more than 5,400 times, said the application's developer Jason Van Anden.

Van Anden said he came up with the application, available on Android phones and being tested by Apple for the iPhone, after his girlfriend was nearly arrested during an Occupy Wall Street protest earlier this month.

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The Occupy movement has sprung up in cities across North America and prompted hundreds of arrests from Boston and Washington to Denver, Chicago, San Francisco, San Diego and Austin, Texas.

The protesters say billions of dollars in bank bailouts doled out during the recession allowed banks to resume earning huge profits while average Americans have had no relief from high unemployment and job insecurity.

They also believe the richest 1 percent of Americans do not pay their fair share in taxes.

Critics have accused the protests of lacking a clear message or goal, and in many cities the number of demonstrators has been relatively small.

(Additional reporting by Zach Howard in Conway, Mass.; Editing by Jerry Norton)