Anthony Bologna, the NYPD officer who maced a protester at the Occupy Wall Street rally, was named in several civil rights lawsuits related to arrests made at the 2004 Republican National Convention.Posr A. Posr filed suit against Bologna and another officer, Tulio Camejo, in 2007, for false arrest and civil rights violations. The arrest took place on August 31, 2004, during the Republican National Convention in New York City, when around 1800 people were arrested for protesting the Iraq War.
Posr’s attorney, Alan Levine, told The Guardian that when he heard about the pepper spray incident “a bunch of us were wondering if any of the same guys were involved.”
According to the complaint, Posr was arrested after he approached a car covered in anti-abortion slogans. According to Levine, “police contend that Posr hit the [driver] with a rolled-up newspaper. He said he was just talking to the guy. Bologna ordered another officer, Camejo, to arrest Posr.”
From The Guardian:
Posr was charged with two counts of disorderly conduct and one count of second degree harassment, and held until September 2. On November 8, all charges against him were dropped.
Levine said that, in a departure from normal police procedure, his client was held in a special detention facility, at Pier 57, where he and others arrested were held until the protests were over.
The case is scheduled to be heard next year.
Several other complaints against the city, related to arrests made at the 2004 protests, name Bologna as one of the defendants, along with Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Police Chief Ray Kelly and a number of other NYPD officials.
Bologna was identified as the police officer who pepper sprayed female protesters who were taking part in the Occupy Wall Street rally on Saturday. USLaw.com first posted the video over the weekend:
One of the women told the New York Times that though there had been some pushing going on among the protesters and police, she and the other women who were sprayed were not involved. “Out of all the people they chose to spray, it was just me and three other girls,” she said. “I’m not pushing against anybody, or trying to escape.”
The Times reports that Paul J. Browne, spokesman for the NYPD, said the pepper spray had been used “appropriately.”
“Pepper spray was used once,” he added, “after individuals confronted officers and tried to prevent them from deploying a mesh barrier — something that was edited out or otherwise not captured in the video.”
The hacker collective Anonymous, which helped organize the protests, identified the police officer as Deputy Inspector Anthony Bologna and posted a his information and a statement on a site called Pastebin. “You know who the innocent women were; now they will have the chance to know who you are. Before you commit atrocities against innocent people, think twice. WE ARE WATCHING!!! Expect Us!”
The protests have been going on since September 17 in downtown Manhattan in opposition to the political influence of financial interests. Last Saturday around 80 people were arrested, and several spent the night in jail.