Can The NYPD Back Up Its Claim Of A Confrontation That Required Pepper Spray, Despite More Video Evidence?

from the keep-the-videos-running dept

Yesterday we wrote about the NYPD claiming that the video evidence of a police officer, now identified as Deputy Inspector Anthony Bologna, pepper spraying a group of women shows that it was done appropriately. The specific claim from NYPD spokesperson Paul Browne was that “Pepper spray was used once after individuals confronted officers and tried to prevent them from deploying a mesh barrier — something that was edited out or otherwise not captured in the video.”

The problem, of course, is that the video evidence suggests no such thing, and with more videos taken by other people at the same time and place indicating no such editing or confrontation, it’s increasingly clear that the NYPD’s Paul Browne lied to the press, and falsely accused folks of editing out a confrontation that does not appear to have happened.

The US Law blog, which has been at the forefront of covering this particular story, has linked to another video at the same place (at about 5:45 in the video). While the person taking the video is turned away from the pepper spray at the moment it happens, you can see as she walks through the women just before it happens (in fact, you can see this same person in the original video passing right behind the pepper sprayed women, seconds before it happens).

Add to that another video that actually pulls together two perspectives of the incident, which you can see below:

And, finally, we have a 4th view of the events surrounding the incident, immediately prior to the pepper spraying. From these multiple videos at multiple angles, two things are abundantly clear: contrary to the claims of the NYPD, nothing was edited out of the first video and while there was lots of screaming, the women who were sprayed do not appear to have “confronted the officers and tried to prevent them from deploying a mesh barrier” at all. Some others may have done so, but not the women being sprayed. Instead, as originally alleged, it appears that the spraying was entirely arbitrary.

Furthermore, as pointed out on the US Law Blog link above:

Having approached the immediate area from some distance away, it is difficult to understand how the Deputy Inspector could have had any instant awareness of what, if any, confrontation may have been happening at that time and place. The officer does not appear to take adequate time to assess whether the handfull of people in the immediate vicintiy were obeying police orders. In fact, his approach with outstretched arm and the surprised reaction of the blue shirted officers suggest he may have made the decision to release pepper spray in advance of his arrival at the immediate location of it’s deployment.

Furthermore, they note that the NYPD rules say that pepper spray may be used if “it is necessary to effect an arrest of a resisting suspect.” And yet, after pepper spraying the women, no arrests were made (some of the people sprayed were arrested later, at different locations for different reasons). It appears that even if there was a confrontation, which there does not appear to be, involving these women, the use of pepper spray was inappropriate.

Once again, what fascinates me about all of this is all of this video evidence, and the value in showing that the “official story” from the police is almost certainly false. I’m curious as to how long the NYPD will keep up the charade of pretending its version is accurate.

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Comments on “Can The NYPD Back Up Its Claim Of A Confrontation That Required Pepper Spray, Despite More Video Evidence?”

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ltlw0lf (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 The thin blue line

If you live near the MX border and are a convicted criminal, the ATF will buy the guns for you.

Might be better to include links so that people know what it is you’re talking about…

Operation Fast and Furious
ATF/FBI Forced Gun Stores to Sell to Felons
FBI Allowed Firearms to Criminals after Consulting with ATF

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: The thin blue line

It doesn’t quite work like that. After the incident surfaces the police officer in the incident will be questioned. He’ll give his story and then that will be propagated throughout the force and by the PR officer.

It is a simple case of giving the benefit of the doubt to your fellow police officer. So when it looks like initial collusion it probably isn’t.

After other officers see this video on the net make no mistake that they’ll think this guy is a dickhead – but most of these guys can’t do anything, they’re just beat police officers. Only someone with rank can start anything and they don’t like to do that. They’ll protect him until overwhelming evidence surfaces and then they’ll hang him out to dry.

Remember that the actions of a few bad police officers don’t reflect on the actions of the majority of good police officers.

nasch (profile) says:

Re: Re: The thin blue line

It is a simple case of giving the benefit of the doubt to your fellow police officer. So when it looks like initial collusion it probably isn’t.

I don’t agree. Giving him the benefit of the doubt would be saying “we’re examining the allegations to determine whether they have any merit”. Taking the officer’s story at face value and repeating it to the press as though it were verified fact is much more than that.

Cowardly Anon says:

Re: Re:

In the PR person’s defense, I don’t think they are lying. I’m willing to bet that Deputy Inspector Bologna told her the truth as he saw it, and without any other evidence at the time his word was taken.

The problem is more with Bologna’s version of the events. I have no doubt in my mind that he felt there was a confrontation. I have no doubt in my mind that he thought he was in the right.

That is the problem. That he had such a complete lack of understanding on the situation but still felt that he did the right thing. That shows to me that he’s not fit to be doing his job b/c he doesn’t have the proper judgment to know when to use force and when not to.

Scote (profile) says:

Re: Re:

“In the PR person’s defense, I don’t think they are lying.”

And to the PR person’s detriment, she shouldn’t just assume cops are telling the truth and that citizens are lying. She should say “we are investigating the incident” not irresponsibly asserting facts not in evidence.

Cops who lie should be fired prosecuted for obstruction. Cops who gratuitously assault unarmed protesters helplessly wrapped in a burrito of orange mesh should be prosecuted for assault and battery. No qualified immunity. None.

Jeff says:

Another NYPD scandal is nothing new

You first have to ask yourself when has the NYPD come and told the truth in the first place. They have been plagued with scandal after scandal for decades. All up and down the chain of command. Just now with verifiable evidence are we seeing their theatrics come out against them. I have no doubt that we’ll probably see some effort to outlaw video taping officers. Just think, if “New York’s Finest” are caught committing illegal activities the terrorists win.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Why do you keep bringing up facts as if they matter? After the first video went up, there was a PR statement spinning the video, and a significant number of vocal commenters on the first video actually defended the cop it became abundantly clear that the facts are irrelevant. More context is just going to make them spin even harder.

HothMonster says:

“I’m curious as to how long the NYPD will keep up the charade of pretending its version is accurate.”


You have to love the amount of concern shown by the police department for the pepper sprayed women:

Also, wtf is the point of that barrier all those videos just show people walking around it willy-nilly

Prisoner 201 says:

Re: Re:

“Also, wtf is the point of that barrier all those videos just show people walking around it willy-nilly”

It might help if you think of them as the various lines in different sports like football, hockey etc.

Basically these women were deep in the Pepper Zone, and they did not Get The Hell Out when the officer crossed the field, and quickly cut across into the Gratituitus Violence zone.

The officers pepper spraying was crystal, his footwork was perfect and the arm never rose above shoulder level, so there was no foul.

See, once you understand the rules, it’s really simple.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

For a franchise with such a deep bench of aggressive talent, I think the NYPD really missed an opportunity to make some serious gains.

They’re going to have to address their ineffectual blocking, which only blocked a small amount of protected speech. It was also a clear error in judgment not to kick a head for the extra point.

Fushta (profile) says:

Re: Re:

I believe the barrier is not to keep them in, but instead to designate the “protest area.” Did I mention that I think protests are worthless? They try to draw attention to their cause, but most people are apathetic, and won’t remember next week.

As for the pepper spraying, maybe the cops were afraid of the trim-haired Wiccan in the prairie skirt. Maybe she was about to cast a spell on their asses, so they had to act. That’s the aggression they were anticipating.

HothMonster says:

Re: Re: Re:

“maybe the cops were afraid of the trim-haired Wiccan in the prairie skirt. Maybe she was about to cast a spell on their asses, so they had to act”

thats a good point, i need a better view of her hands

“I believe the barrier is not to keep them in, but instead to designate the “protest area.””

so your telling me these girls were standing in the protest area? As in they were standing around shouting in the place designated for standing around and shouting? Oh well in that case i can see where the cops are coming from…

Ninja (profile) says:


They can. But they shouldn’t try to keep it stand and issue public apologies. Will do much better for their image.

It’s like on Sim City 3k when you set too much money for the Police Department and build too much Police Stations. The headlines start to say something like: “Nervous babies arrested for disturbing the peace.” Police (worldwide speaking) is close to make it reality 😉

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Paul Browne has destroyed any possible credibility the NYPD could possibly have had in this case.
Anthony Bologna, former IA investigator – former head of the unit tasks with dealing with demonstrations, has ruined any possible trust the people have with the NYPD.

With luck what one will see from here on out is people unwilling to accept everything NYPD demands, before people did it out of fear of the next terror attack now the police are terrorizing the people.

This should raise serious question about the “imminent terrorist threat” statements they like to release.
You lied about what I could see with my own eyes, and I am to trust you about that the “Feds” told you privately?

Why is Paul Browne still employed?
This is a city that executes psychotic control over smoking, but a liar can keep his job while attempting to cover up bad acts by a cop. While the media has done an amazing job of ignoring Occupy Wall Street, this is now out on the internet. Its not just all fringe loonies out here.

Betrayal of the public trust… seems like a damn good reason to remove someone channeling the Iranian Information Officer.

New Yorkers had near riots over the “Ground Zero Mosque” (while ignoring the Ground Zero McDonalds and the Ground Zero Strip club.) how many of them are up in arms about what could be jackbooted thuggery of one of their fine upstanding protectors?

You know those same guys who seem to enjoy sodomizing people with night sticks and broom handles. You had your day of outrage then… where is it now?

When the people protecting you are as bad as the people they claim to be protecting you from, it is time to move to action before your protectors become your masters.

NYPD we can take down a plane all on our own, and we can lie about what you saw with your own eyes. Look away there is nothing to see here, just someone who thought they had rights we decided they shouldn’t have anymore.

foomanchu says:

These protesters are retards

I agree the mace is technically out of line in this incident, according to the footage presented. But look at the scene? It just makes me cringe. A bunch of adults acting like whining little children. They obviously outnumber the cops by a large ratio. The cops are there to try to keep things civil, and the protesters are doing everything in their power to make things as unstable and uncivil as possible without technically crossing the line (and many of their compatriots are crossing lines). They just keeping pushing up the adrenaline level of everyone involved and begging for problems.

Stamping their feet and screaming, egging on the cops, yelling at them, pushing at barriers and basically begging to be the next Internet Protester Martyr, because if they can escalate the situation until an officer makes a mistake and exceeds the boundaries of the force allowed him, they win on teh internetz.

Grow the fuck up you retarded failed hippies 🙁

Gwiz (profile) says:

Re: These protesters are retards

The cops are there to try to keep things civil, and the protesters are doing everything in their power to make things as unstable and uncivil as possible without technically crossing the line….

Well, yeah. That’s why it’s called “civil disobedience” instead of “civil obedience”.

And really, what kind of protest would it be if everyone quietly walks away when the first policeman on the scene tells them to leave?

Grow the fuck up you retarded failed hippies 🙁

You realize of course, that the “hippies” from the 60’s and 70’s are now the establishment that is currently in power.

Michael says:

Re: These protesters are retards

Actually, this protest has been spotlessly non-violent. I have been watching it live for 11 days now, and the only time things get out of control is when the police decide they should be. It was peaceful until they start violently pulling random people out of the crowds and putting foot to neck. This ENTIRE incident was incited by the police and the way they are handling a peaceful protest by responding with violence puts the blame for any altercations directly at their feet.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: These protesters are retards

Yeah fuck protestors for trying to voice their cause, they should instead whisper and silently chant so I can get some sleep at night in my three story apartment.

Signs are also a hazard, I mean what if one of those signs obstructs a road sign?

And gathering in a large place is also a fire hazard. Protests shouldn’t include any more than three or so people. Gatherings of more than this many people should involve nightsticks and tasers.

PrometheeFeu (profile) says:

Let’s be entirely honest here. I don’t sympathize at all with much of the message promoted by the Wall Street protesters. I think a lot of it is hogwash. (Though they do have some good points) But when I watch these videos, all I can see is a bunch of uniformed thugs brutalizing terrified people who are trying to exercise their right to free speech. When cops pull unarmed protesters out of the crowd all I hear is panicked cries and pleas for help. Some say most of the police officers are doing their job professionally. But that is not true. They have a duty to protect and they are failing. When an unarmed woman is dragged out of the crowd and thrown on the floor they stand there and do nothing! When that cowardly criminal assaults those innocent protesters with his pepper spray before running away, the cops holding the line are clearly confused and appalled. You can see that they know what their superior did is wrong and illegal. Their duty at that point is to turn around, hunt down the criminal and lock him up so he can be prosecuted. But they just stand there. In their silence, they are complicit. When the police force closes ranks and protects their own, they are complicit.

If you are a cop and you witness police brutality, arrest the offender on the spot. Tell the world. Tell your superiors. If your organization refuses to act, buck the boat until something happens. Or remain quiet and remember that you are a disgusting failure, a traitor to your country and to its citizens.

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Just skip ahead to 3:30… Bankers sipping champagne while people protest. Shame the media refuses to admit they are there, I think even the die hard support for these poor corporations with these wacky kids bothering them would have a hard time spinning that.

?First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.?- Mahatma Gandhi

Found via BoingBoing…

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

I support the protests as much as anyone, but I have a hard time taking RT seriously. I can’t tell if I’m the one who is biased, or if they are trying to think of new ways to take jabs at America in every sentence that they write.

I’m thinking a little of both. Especially the closing jab at the end.

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

I admit to knowing little of RT, but I saw bankers enjoying their drinks while the people most affected by their corporations misdeeds were protesting.

These are the same bankers we HAD to honor their contracts and bonuses and bail them out, and then the same people who claimed we had to honor the contracts then said we had to shatter teacher contracts.

The NYPD trying to spin this just shows the huge gap in this country that a few people are reaching their boiling point with.

Anonymous Coward says:

I think it comes back to the same problem with any of these videos: they are only a moment in time, in a much longer situation.

Does anyone know (or care) when the protest started, and do they know how long the police were working to try to create the cordoned area? Did they have to move this group from one location to another, example, and were they unruly or difficult to deal with?

A few minutes of video doesn’t explain an afternoon’s worth of action.

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Actually for the video of the pepper spray there is a fairly good timeline. The women were standing behind the barricade, they had gotten vocal after one of the nice officers yanked a woman over the barricade by her hair ripping chunks out but never crossed the line to threaten the officers. Then Bologna walks up and point blank violates all of the NYPD rules they say matter and then he runs from the scene.

I’m not saying that every video is a perfect representation, but when the NYPD in this situation demands you ignore what you can see from multiple angles, something is very wrong.

Bob says:

Wall Street incidents

No one seems to be telling what the protesters (?) want. They appear to be impeding traffic on the walk and street. Don’t know if they have a right to impede others.

If an officer tells them to clear the way for others, and they don’t, the officers have only a few options.

Of course, they won’t shoot them, they won’t stab them. so what is left? They could “push” them out of the way … a massive wall of police pushing against a crowd … someone falls, gets trampled, and injured …

Or, they could use their sticks, again someone will get hurt.

Or, they could hit (with a fist) those that don’t follow the legal police instructions … and start a riot and hurt people.

What are the choices? Just letting the protesters do what they want is NOT an option, UNLESS you are willing to let those other civilians do what they want. To research this option see the file the footage of the union-Ford riots during the early days of union organizing.

The police are charged with “keeping order.” That means making sure EVERYONE can pursue legal activities.

I’ve worked with young people for 40+ years, they like most of us, often make poor choices, especially in groups and when we THINK we are in the “right.”

To my way of thinking, if you spit on a cop; don’t expect a thank you. If you refuse to follow a police order during a confrontation, don’t expect the officers to turn around and leave.

In a civilized society (like we claim to be), you quietly get the officers ID (the badges have a number), leave and get a lawyer. Let a judge chastise the officer. Let a judge order the police the allow you to enjoy your civil rights.

I have NO love for Wall Street and the mess that SOME of the “big boys” created. I wish there were laws that would strip them of their ill-gotten gains. Although I’m a Republican (don’t hold that against me) I have explained to my elected representatives that I’d work against them if they didn’t put some protections into the law. I’m now sending my (small) donations to those that oppose my party’s candidates that embrace the greedy destroyers.

That is the American way. I still have not heard what the protesters want, or are demanding. Does anyone know? Do they?

That Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Wall Street incidents

In a civilized society (like we claim to be), you quietly get the officers ID (the badges have a number), leave and get a lawyer. Let a judge chastise the officer. Let a judge order the police the allow you to enjoy your civil rights.

And when the people who are supposed to investigate these charges claim that video of the scene is edited and does not show everything before looking at the other 5 videos… this inspires what?

Oh and Bologna did it to other people walking down the street the same day, and now with that video coming out suddenly NYPD wants to investigate what he might have done wrong.

What the protestors want is to show the 1% that the other 99% have had enough.
they can explain it better.

The video footage of the bankers coming out to sip champagne while the protestors marched by might be a good example of the issues at play here.

And sadly it does not matter if you vote republican or democrat anymore, both sides are deeply in the pocket of business. They are supposed to represent the people, hearing one complain about making ends meet on the $400,000 (he reinvested into his business and such and paid 200,000 for the care of his family.) he had left over from his $6.3 million earnings really might explain the problem.

The government shuts down, people stop getting paid… but not congress critters.
They pass laws that do not apply to them.
People with the super Cadillac of health care, arguing that it costs to much to make sure the average citizen has even basic health care.

We are not helping, because we are lazy voters and many of us vote the hot button issues that “matter” rather than look at the issues that might not directly affect us yet.
There are voters more concerned with what happens with a womans uterus, than making sure that every child can have lunch.
There are voters who keep electing people to office despite the evidence they are not good people. Marion Barry convinced enough people it was white peoples fault he was doing crack. Newt Gingrich talking about morals while he was cheating and being investigated for ethics violations, now running as a religious conservative.

The politicians are playing amazing games making us terrified that if we don’t vote for them a terrorist will burst forth from their hiding places in every uterus that has ever had an abortion. They point at the other side and say its their fault the spending is out of control, but none of them can tell you the last time any of them “shared our pain” and took a pay cut.

The simple fact we are coming up on 2 weeks of a protest in NYC and mainsteam media still refuses to cover it should give you an idea of what is wrong. The fact that the members of the NYPD blatantly are violating citizens rights and using violence to encourage them to leave can have nothing to do with the recent 4.6 million dollar donation from JP Morgan and Chase.

The fact they are attempting an end run around the law to get new super powers for media corporations to help them “protect innovation” while they hide more and more of the money they extract from the economy outside of the country so they do not pay their share.

Let me know when you feel your blood boiling… because if not one of these issues touches you yet… it will soon enough. Once they crush us small regular people they will want to make sure the people one step up are reminded they are the bottom of the ladder now, and they will keep moving up that ladder pushing people down to seem even higher.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Wall Street incidents

“If you refuse to follow a police order during a confrontation, don’t expect the officers to turn around and leave.”

You’re right, I wouldn’t expect that… except that particular officer just walked up, sprayed her, and then turned around and left.

We can’t have police just spraying random people in a crowd. If she was violating the law, at least try to arrest her; preferably without resorting to pepper spray as a first option. What was the purpose of the officer’s actions? The woman is still in the same spot, but now on the ground and physically unable to obey any officer’s commands, and suddenly the crowd is a lot angrier. How does that help anything?

Matt Bennett says:

The rise of Non-lethal weapons in hands of law enforcement concerns me, in a way. On the one hand it’s great that you have this tool, someone is being a danger, great, you don’t have to shoot them to subdue them.

On the other hand, many cops seem to feel a very low barrier to deploying this kind of force. And force it is. Pepper spray fucking hurts. I think I can say that in most circumstances, I’d rather get punched than hit with pepper spray. Just because there’s no lasting damage doesn’t mean you don’t need a good excuse before you taze, mace, pepper spray, whatever. If you do it without cause, you’ve still assaulted me, and should go to jail, just as if you had hit me with a nightstick.

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