The New York City Police Department will look into the use of pepper spray on Occupy Wall Street protestors, the New York Times reports.
Video posted to YouTube shows officers corralling protestors in the Flatiron District using orange mesh Saturday. Deputy Inspector Anthony Bologna is shown using pepper spray on a few women.
The original video has garnered over one million views. The incident has been condemned by many, including MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell, as police brutality.
At a press briefing Wednesday, Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said that the department’s Internal Affairs Bureau and the city’s Civilian Complaint Review Board will both look into the use of pepper spray.
Commissioner Kelly said he hasn’t seen the full video and didn’t “know what precipitated that specific incident.” He said the protestors were “intent on blocking traffic.”
NYPD spokesman Paul Browne said that pepper spray was used “appropriately” and that the video in question had been edited.
In a video uploaded Tuesday, Officer Bologna can be seen using pepper spray on another group of protestors and walking away.
A petition has been started on Change.org asking for Bologna to be removed from the force. So far, it has about 600 signatures.
Bologna was identified by the hacktivist group Anonymous, who then posted his phone number, last known address and other personal information online. Sunday, the group since issued a warning to the NYPD to stop “brutality” on protestors. It threatened to take launch a cyber-attack on the department.
The protestors’s cause got a celebrity boost from actress Susan Sarandon, who visited the scene Tuesday. “I came down here to educate myself,” she told CNBC. “It's been really informative and I'll be back. There's a huge void between the rich and the poor in this country.