Many websites are reconstructing the Occupy Wall Street “Pepper Spray Incident. ” The particulars are that on Saturday, September 24, participants in the 11-day-old un-permitted and disorganized protest were hauled out of their contained area and accosted by police. The images from this confrontation reveal more than police brutality and over-reaction — they specifically capture the active participation of high-ranking police officers in the fray.
1. Immediately before the pepper spray attack, a young man is pulled out of the crowd and thrown to the ground.
2. Another protester is pulled down to the ground.
3. One officer reaches into the barricaded area and appears to pull the hair of a protester.
4. Deputy Inspector Anthony Bologna, a veteran commander in Manhattan, arrives at the scene and pepper sprays the young women protesters by spraying directly in one woman’s face before making a spraying sweep of her companions. His arm is seen at the extreme right of the video capture.
5. Look at the hand gesture of the bald uniform street cop charged with holding the orange barricade up.
A video of the incident records that street cop saying to Inspector Bologna: “That’s not procedure. You fucking maced us!” His is not the only objection, the ambivalence of the street cops to the actions of the higher ups is in nearly all of the photos and screen grabs printed here. In gestures and looks, the body language suggests the street cops were taken aback. (You might take another look at the Daily News photo leading off this post.)
Of course, street cops participated in the violence. And given these photos and video clips, one might suppose that kind of violence has procedural approval of the command structure. But is it procedure to publicly call out your senior officer on his or her behavior? What does it say about the mindset, not to mention the preparation of the Department, that a week-and-a-half into this protest officials at the command level lost control?
(Photo Credits: lead image: Jefferson Siegel for NY Daily News. 1.: video capture, Guardian UK, Occupy Wall Street, September 24; 2.: video capture, Guardian UK, Occupy Wall Street, September 24; 3.: video capture,Guardian UK, NYPD Pepper Sprays Peaceful Protesters; 4.: video capture, USLaw.com, Occupy Wall Street Protesters Maced/Pepper Sprayed; 5.:video capture, USLaw.com, Occupy Wall Street Protesters Maced/Pepper Sprayed.)