NEW YORK (Reuters) – Two women caught on camera being doused with pepper spray by a New York police officer during an Occupy Wall Street march in September have sued the city, saying it failed to train police officers properly.
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.
The Manhattan district attorney’s office opened an investigation into his conduct but has not released any results. A spokeswoman for the office declined to comment on Monday.
Aymen Aboushi, the lawyer for the two women, said he waited several months for the investigation to conclude before filing the suit.
“We’ve given them more than enough time to follow up on this,” he said.
A spokeswoman for the city’s law department said in an e-mail on Monday that the city had not received a copy of the lawsuit but would review it upon its arrival.
(Reporting By Joseph Ax; Editing by Cynthia Johnston)
[Photo credit: Thomas Altfather Good, Creative Commons Licensed, via Wikimedia.]
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