The city has taken the unusual step of declining to defend a high ranking police official in a civil lawsuit over a pepper-spraying incident at Occupy Wall Street. Deputy Inspector Anthony Bologna is being sued by two women who say Bologna used pepper spray on them for no reason during a march on September 2.
Bologna has to hire his own lawyer, and if he is found liable, he will have to pay any damages himself.
The suit was filed by two women who say Bologna pepper-sprayed them during a march last September, in an incident that made the rounds on YouTube.
Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said it was not the New York City Police Department’s call not to defend the officer and he is worried about the effect the decision could have on other cases.
“I think it could have a chilling effect on police officers taking action. It’s a discretionary decision by the Corporation Counsel and I’m concerned about an adverse effect on officer’s willingness to engage,” said Kelly.
Chelsea Elliott, one of the women who brought the suit, says she is upset as well.
“I feel that it’s unfortunate. I feel that the NYPD is evading accountability,” said Elliott.
An internal investigation by the NYPD found Bologna in violation of departmental guidelines.
His lawyer says his client did not mean to spray the women.