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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  1. icon
    Any Mouse (profile), 27 Sep 2011 @ 7:35pm

    Re: Re: Can/should

    I love how the 'teacher' in the comments defends this when the school system themselves stated it was a huge mistake in the linked article.

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