The attorney for an Occupy Wall Street protester who was allegedly punched by New York City Police Department Deputy Inspector Johnny Cardona last month is calling on the district attorney to charge the officer like any other civilian suspect.
Civil rights attorney Ron Kuby and his client, Felix Rivera-Pitre, met with the Manhattan District Attorney’s office Monday to discuss video tape that appears to show Cardona’s violent actions.
“It was a careful questioning,” Kuby told Raw Story Tuesday. “The sort of very meticulous kind of questioning that you would expect from somebody doing an investigation. … I’ve seen this act before. I’ve been doing this for 30 years and, historically, they have always acted like they are taking it seriously, but they seldom do.”
“The usual process that I’ve seen over and over and over again is that they conduct a very long, very thorough investigation. They present it to a grand jury. It’s a secret proceeding. It’s a black box of law. And then the district attorney announces that the grand jury has failed to indict. … It provides the perfect political cover for timorous prosecutors.”
Instead of complicating the case with the grand jury process, Kuby and Rivera-Pitre are asking the DA to file a misdemeanor complaint against Cardona just like they would with any other assault suspect.
“They do this every day against other people,” Kuby explained. “When some angry white guy, instead of an angry white shirt, goes off and slugs someone in the street and its captured on video, he’s charged with a third-degree assault. … We just want [Cardona] treated like everybody else. And since the DA’s office can do that in an hour and they have not done that, it makes me even more suspicious than I am ordinarily.”
“I think they do recognize that Cardona, at least, is a genuinely dangerous individual who needs to be separated from his badge and his gun.”
Kuby has documented at least three alleged assaults by Cardona against protesters in the last month alone. It wasn’t immediately clear if he had a previous history of violence.
“Even by any standard, even Commissioner Kelly’s standards, that’s worrisome,” Kuby pointed out. “[Officer Anthony] Bologna is just a dick and always has been. And he’s one of these old school cops who does not expect pretty young women to be disrespecting him. When they do, he pepper sprays them or probably as a younger man, would slap them around. He’s just a dick. I understand that but Cardona seems like a bit of a psycho.”
“I’ve got him on video tape throwing the identical punch at another protester. It’s eerie.”
Watch this video from NY1, broadcast Oct. 31, 2011.