Deputy Inspector Anthony Bologna has cost taxpayers $120,000 as the city has finally decided to settle the lawsuit over his blase, apparently unprovoked dousing of Occupy Wall Street protesters with pepper-spray back in 2011. The $60,000 each for Chelsea Elliott and Jeanne Mansfield is the highest payout yet from lawsuits over the NYPD's handling of the protests, according to the Daily News, which first reported the settlement.
Their lawyer, Aymen Aboushi, told the News that viral video of the Sept. 24, 2011 hose-down made all the difference in compelling the city to pony up.
"If [the spraying] wasn't captured on video, the police would have said they were being disorderly, it would have been their word against my clients," Aboushi said. "The video helped us get to the heart of the matter and helped settle the case."
The city's Law Department at one point refused to represent Bologna in lawsuits related to his stroll-by Macing of the penned-in crowd, leading then police commissioner Ray Kelly to fret that it would "have an adverse effect on officers' willingness to engage." The Law Department's stance apparently changed.
Last year, the city settled a wrongful-arrest lawsuit brought by 14 Occupy protesters for $583,000. The settlements are a few of many prompted by the NYPD's clampdown on the protest movement.