Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly said at a press briefing on Wednesday that the Internal Affairs Bureau would investigate Anthony Bologna, a senior New York Police Department officer who pepper-sprayed young women at the "Occupy Wall Street" protests.
On September 24, four female protesters were rounded up on East 12th Street in an orange-colored mesh by police and subsequently sprayed with mace, seemingly without any provocation. The incident was captured on video by several people.
“I don’t know what precipitated that specific incident,” Kelly said, claiming the protesters were engaged in "tumultuous conduct" and "intent on blocking traffic." He said the incident had been referred to the independent Civilian Complaint Review Board and that the department would investigate it as well.
A diverse coalition of people have pledged to occupy Wall Street until something is done about corporate greed and the financial system's undemocratic influence on the U.S. government. The protesters have been camped out in New York’s old Liberty Plaza, one block from the Federal Reserve, since Saturday.
"Deputy Inspector Bologna’s actions that day were motivated by his concern for the safety of officers under his command and the safety of the public," Inspector Roy T. Richter added. "The limited use of pepper spray effectively restored order without any escalation of force or serious injury to either demonstrator or police officer."
Bologna was also accused of civil rights abuses and false arrest during the 2004 Republican National Convention in New York City.