Occupy Wall Street cops won’t be prosecuted, DA says

occupy zucotti park 2012
Protesters in Zucotti Park at the Occupy Wall Street revival in September 2012. Credit: Danielle Tcholakian.

The Manhattan District Attorney will not be prosecuting the NYPD cops who were caught on video pepper-spraying and punching Occupy Wall Street protesters, the DA’s office announced on Friday.

The cops in question are two Deputy Inspectors, Anthony Bologna and Johnny Cardona.

In video footage that surfaced in late 2011, Bologna was seen liberally pepper-spraying a seemingly calm crowd in Union Square on September 24, and Cardona was captured punching a protester named Felix Rivera-Pitre in the face in the Financial District on October 14.

Bologna was reportedly docked 10 vacation days, and Cardona was cleared by the department.

According to a law enforcement source, the decision not to prosecute was based on evidence involving the time before and after the video recordings, which reportedly called into question the criminality of the officers’ actions.

“After a thorough investigation … we cannot prove these allegations criminally beyond a reasonable doubt,” said Manhattan DA chief spokeswoman Erin Duggan.

Roy Richter, Captains Endowment Association President praised the decision to the Daily News, and hailed Cardona as “a true victim of the [Occupy Wall Street] fiasco.” Cardona needed hip- and knee-replacement surgery due to injuries sustained during a demonstration.

Richter also said that Bologna “did nothing that rises to the level of criminal conduct.”

Ron Kuby, an attorney who pressed for assault charges on behalf of victims in both cases, condemned the DA’s decision, particularly in light of the office taking ”almost 19 months to decide he would do nothing.”

“Despite the overwhelming proof on videotape, seen around the world, Cy Vance Jr. has shown that he will do nothing to disturb his cozy relationship with the police, even in the face of the clearest wrongdoing,” Kuby complained to the Daily News.

Duggan pointed out to Metro that the DA’s Office has prosecuted more than a dozen police officers since 2010.

Among those are an NYPD Lieutenant David Chee, who pleaded guilt to making harassing phone calls in January 2011, NYPD Officer Shawn Jenkins who conspired to burglarize an apartment where a drug kingpin had hidden a large amount of money, and NYPD Sergeant Williams Eiseman, who pleaded guilty to perjury for lying under oath and conducting illegal searches and seizures.

 

Follow Danielle Tcholakian on Twitter @danielleiat


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