Screen shot 2014-06-15 at 3.01.22 PM A Youtube screen grab show the moment Deputy Inspector Johnny Cardona, right, punched Occupy Wall Street protester Felix Rivera-Pitre, left, in the face on October 14, 2011. Credit: YouTube

A cop who was caught on video punching an Occupy Wall Street protester three years ago has been granted a tax-free disability pension worth about$120,000 a year, according to theNYPD pension board.

The NYPD previously said the protester,Felix Rivera-Pitre, instigated the altercation by elbowing Deputy Inspector Johnny Cardona, who sustained significant injuries in the melee that followed.


No charges were filed against either party involved in the confrontation but Rivera-Pitre, an artist, filed a lawsuit againstthe city, settling for $55,000 last year.

Roy Richter, head of the Captains Endowment Association, said any outrage directed at Cardona over his pension, which was first reported by the Daily News, is misplaced.

"The guy was basically crippled that day," Richter said. "He had hip replacement surgery,surgery in his back and both knees, and walks with a cane all because he went to work for the police department of New York and did what he was asked.

Ron Kuby, Rivera-Pitre's lawyer, could not be reached for comment.

Follow Emily Johnson on Twitter @emilyjreports

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