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Occupy Protesters Sue NYC over Pepper Spray Incident

- Common Dreams staff

Two protesters who were pepper sprayed by Deputy Inspector Anthony Bologna of the NYPD last fall during a peaceful march against Wall Street crimes and corporate greed, have sued the city for damages.

The lawsuit states, "Anthony Bologna maced the plaintiffs as they were exercising their constitutionally protected rights, including freedom of speech and freedom of assembly."Chelsea Elliott (right) and Kaylee Dedrick (2nd from left on knees) scream in pain after they and two others were sprayed with pepper spray by NYPD Dep. Inspector Anthony Bologna on 12th St. near Union Square. (Jefferson Siegel for New York Daily News)

And Reuters reports:

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

The video helped draw attention to the Occupy protests, which spread throughout the country last fall with calls for greater economic equality before the movement lost some ground as many U.S. cities evicted them from tent camp footholds.

Chelsea Elliott of Brooklyn and Jeanne Mansfield of Massachusetts filed the lawsuit last week in Manhattan federal court against Bologna, the city, the police department and other unidentified officers.

Bologna was docked 10 vacation days for "using pepper spray outside of department guidelines," police said in October.

In an interview with The New York Daily News, Mansfield, 24, a Boston writer, said she was suing because she wanted to put the NYPD on notice that what Bologna did was wrong.

"I was attending a peaceful demonstration when I was met with what I feel was an undue amount of force," she said.

Mansfield said she is sympathetic to police in general but said she didn't deserve to be pepper-sprayed.

"I think he allowed his emotions to get the best of him," she said of Bologna.

The lawsuit, filed quietly last Wednesday, accuses Bologna of violating both women's civil rights.

Here's video:

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