Police Commissioner Ray Kelly told reporters at a press conference earlier today that the Internal Affairs Bureau will review Deputy Inspector Anthony Bologna's decision to use pepper spray on demonstrators during Saturday's Occupy Wall Street protests. "I don't know what precipitated that specific incident," Kelly said, referring to the first of two videos released showing Bologna discharging the spray. According to the Times, Kelly added that the protestors were engaged in "tumultuous conduct" and seemed "intent on blocking traffic."
The IAB has a more tenuous-than-usual relationship within the NYPD since its constant leaks to the press regarding the ticket-fixing scandal. It's unclear whether NYPD officials are aware of the video of the second incident, but the Commissioner stated that Bologna's actions have also been referred to the Civillian Complaint Review Board, which investigates accusations of police misconduct. Roy Richter, the head of the Captains Endowment Association, which is the union for the NYPD's ranking officers, said it was normal for incidents like this to be reviewed by the department "given the notoriety the Wall Street protests have attracted in the media."
Richter said that Bologna "will cooperate with whatever investigative body the police commissioner designates to perform this review," and that Bologna's decision to use pepper spray was "motivated by his concern for the safe of officers under his command and the safety of the public."
"It's good to see that the police are moving in this direction," Occupy Wall Street spokesman Patrick Bruner told us, "But there's a good amount of theatrics in how they're responding. Kelly only saw it on TV from one angle? After police officials had already commented on it? If that's true that's so disappointing." Bruner added, "I don't think it's an issue with the rank and file officers, it's mainly the higher-ups."
Friday at 4 p.m. in Zuccotti Park there will be a "Protest Against Police Harassment, Brutality & Attacks," sponsored by the Bail Out the People Movement. "The NYPD is out of control," a spokesman for Bail Out the People says in a release. "The criminals on Wall Street go free and enjoy big bonuses, while the NYPD focuses all its resources on spying on and infiltrating mosques and all levels of the Muslim community."