Anonymous exposes info of alleged pepper spray cop

Activist group releases contact information for officer who allegedly sprayed women protesters with pepper spray, unprovoked.

Elinor Mills Former Staff Writer
Elinor Mills covers Internet security and privacy. She joined CNET News in 2005 after working as a foreign correspondent for Reuters in Portugal and writing for The Industry Standard, the IDG News Service and the Associated Press.
Elinor Mills
3 min read
Slow-motion video shows a New York police officer spraying women in the face with pepper spray in a holding area at an Occupy Wall Street protest.
Slow-motion video shows a New York police officer spraying women in the face with pepper spray in a holding area at an Occupy Wall Street protest. USLAW.com

The Anonymous activist collective today released personal information about a New York police officer who is believed to have sprayed pepper spray on women protesters on Wall Street.

The group released a phone number, addresses, names of relatives, and other personal data for a New York police officer that numerous Web sites identified as Deputy Inspector Anthony Bologna, as well as photos that appear to show him at the protest and a close-up of his badge.

Bologna was identified as the officer in a slow-motion video who sprayed pepper spray directly in the faces of a handful of women who had been penned in behind police netting at Wall Street protests on Saturday. The video shows no evidence of provocation on the part of the sequestered protesters.

It's unclear how much of the data released is accurate. Calls to the numbers listed were not answered. New York Police Department representatives told CNET to e-mail questions but did not respond to an e-mail seeking comment.

In a statement, Anonymous said:

"As we watched your officers kettle innocent women, we observed you barberically (sic) pepper spray wildly into the group of kettled women. We were shocked and disgusted by your behavior. You know who the innocent women were, now they will have the chance to know who you are. Before you commit atrocities against innocent people, think twice. WE ARE WATCHING!!! Expect Us!"

The Occupy Wall Street organizers also called for the resignation of Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly and released additional video from the incident on the protest Web site.

Photographs of the incident and a first-person account is provided on the Davids Camera Craft blog:

"The protesters were marching back to Zuccotti Park when the NYPD turned violent. Hitting, arresting, and forcing protesters into a small area. At that point, a NYPD supervisor yelled shut up to one of the protesters and shot pepper spray into her eyes point blank range and hitting a half dozen protesters (including 3 police officers) when they had nowhere to go. The same supervising officer was seen (photographed) laughing after the arrests while looking at his text messages."

Another first-person account of the pepper spray incident is here.

Anonymous members are known for their harsh handling of targets. One of them leaked embarrassing photos of the spokesman for the San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit agency during the group's protests last month of several shootings by BART police.

Meanwhile, the YourAnonNews Twitter account tweeted, "Question: what kind of pizza do you think (the police officer) would like?"

Anonymous and others have criticized the police for excessive measures against people participating in a nonviolent protest. About 85 people were arrested and 5 hit with pepper spray on Saturday, according to The New York Times.

The demonstration is in its second week, with several hundred people camped out in Zuccotti Park and as many as 1,000 or more joining in protests and street marches. The protesters are borrowing a page out of the playbook of the Arab Spring uprisings.

"#OCCUPYWALLSTREET is a people-powered movement for democracy that began in America on September 17 with an encampment in the financial district of New York City. Inspired by the Egyptian Tahrir Square uprising and the Spanish acampadas, we vow to end the monied corruption of our democracy," is the description on the Adbusters site, which has been promoting the protest.

Update, September 27 at 9:40 a.m PT: NYPD has not gotten back to CNET, but the NYPD chief spokesman, Paul J. Browne, told The New York Times that police had used the pepper spray "appropriately," and only after victims had "confronted officers and tried to prevent them from deploying a mesh barrier--something that was edited out or otherwise not captured in the video."

USLaw.com, which analyzed the video, dismissed those claims, saying that no video was edited out and noting that the video, as well as other video of the incident, clearly shows that the victims were not confronting anyone or obstructing anything.

Update, September 27 at 11:25 a.m. PT: The officer, identified on numerous Web sites as Deputy Inspector Anthony Bologna, "is accused of false arrest and civil rights violations in a claim brought by a protester involved in the 2004 demonstrations at the Republican National Convention," according to The Guardian.