2 NYPD Officials Won't Be Charged in Occupy Pepper Spray, Punch Incidents

Friday, Apr 19, 2013  |  Updated 5:48 PM EDT
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2 NYPD Officials Won't Be Charged in Occupy Incidents

A YouTube video still of Deputy Inspector Bologna pepper spraying an Occupy Wall Street protester.

Two NYPD officials involved in separate altercations during chaotic moments of Occupy Wall Street demonstrations won't face criminal charges, officials said Friday.

Deputy Inspector Anthony Bologna and Deputy Inspector Johnny Cardona were investigated by the Manhattan District Attorney's office.

Bologna used pepper spray on a group that had spilled over into the streets during the early days of the movement in September 2011. The small group of mainly women had been corralled by orange netting used by officers to control crowds, and the official was captured on video blasting the cluster with pepper spray. 

The video was posted online, went viral and helped propel the movement into the international spotlight.

One of the women, Kaylee Dedrick, has filed a federal lawsuit against the department and the officer.

The second incident, involving Cardona, was an altercation with protester Felix Rivera-Pitre a few weeks later. Police said Cardona was sprayed in the face with an unknown liquid by a group of demonstrators and that Rivera-Pitre tried to elbow the official in the face. Cardona is seen on video lunging at the protester.

Rivera-Pitre said the attack was unprovoked and that Cardona punched him in the face, ripped out his earring and bloodied him.

Both of the incidents occurred during mass protests in Manhattan, and the snippets of videos posted online did not appear to capture either altercation in its entirety. Erin Duggan, a spokesman for the district attorney's office, said the allegations could not be proved criminally beyond a reasonable doubt.

Lawyer Ron Kuby, who represents the protesters involved in both altercations, blasted the lack of charges. He said he would ask federal authorities to investigate.

Bologna was disciplined internally after a review found he had violated departmental guidelines when he used pepper spray. Cardona was not.

Roy Richter, president of the union representing the officials, said Cardona was the "true victim of the OWS fiasco," who was recovering from several surgeries he had after injuries sustained while policing the demonstrations.

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