A senior New York police officer accused of pepper-spraying young women on the “Occupy Wall Street” demonstrations is the subject of a pending legal action over his conduct at another protest in the city.
The Guardian has learned that the officer, named by activists as deputy inspector Anthony Bologna, stands accused of false arrest and civil rights violations in a claim brought by a protester involved in the 2004 demonstrations at the Republican national convention.
Boston Review gives this eyewitness account of the macing incident:
One protester, Jeanne Mansfield – who said she was standing so close to the women sprayed in the face that her own eyes burned – claimed other NYPD officers had expressed disbelief at the actions of the senior officer. . . . Mansfield said: “A white-shirt, now known to be NYPD Lieutenant Anthony Bologna, comes from the left, walks straight up to the three young girls at the front of the crowd, and pepper-sprays them in the face for a few seconds, continuing as they scream ‘No! Why are you doing that?!'”
Despite her attempts to turn away from the “unavoidable” spray, Mansfield, who took part in Saturday’s march with her boyfriend on a whim after “stumbling across” it, said she suffered burning and temporary blindness in her left eye and tears streaming down her face.
She continued: “In the street I shout for water to rinse my eyes or give to the girls on the ground. But no one responds. One of the blue-shirts, tall and bald, stares in disbelief and says, ‘I can’t believe he just f**kin’ maced her.'”