New information has emerged about the women participating in the “Occupy Wall Street” demonstration who were fenced in, hit with pepper spray and mace, and arrested over the weekend, and about the policeman who sprayed them.
Kelly Schomburg, an 18-year-old photography major at Parsons the New School for Design in New York, has identified herself on her blog as the woman with the red hair in the video who was maced and then arrested while taking photographs.
On Monday, New York blog the Gothamist had reported that NYPD may be specifically targeting photographers and videographers for arrest.
Chelsea Elliott, a Brooklyn resident, has identified herself to the blog Animal New York as another woman who was fenced in and pepper sprayed by NYPD. Elliott says police overreacted and escalated the situation.
The New York police officer in the video has not identified himself, so Hacktivist group Anonymous took it upon themselves do so — naming NYPD Deputy Inspector Anthony Bologna as the policeman who sprayed the women.
The Guardian reports that Bologna already has an alleged crime under his belt — he stands 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.
Police and civil rights activists are now sparring over who’s at fault for the scene, in which two women crumple to the ground and scream in pain from the mace as a white-shirted police officer walks away. (Watch the original video here.)
NYPD spokesman Paul Browne said police had used the pepper spray “appropriately.” He also disputes the authenticity of the video, claiming the footage of protesters trying to stop police from putting up a mesh barrier has been edited out.
The police are charging at least one of the women with blocking traffic and unlawful conduct.
But civil rights activists and protesters say the police overreacted and needlessly used the pepper spray.
Shomburg, who recounts the entire tale from photographing the protests to her arrest on her blog, says police mistreated her and she was forced to wait to go to the bathroom until she was in pain.
Hacker group Anonymous has retaliated by releasing a possible phone number for Bologna, as well as addresses and the names of his family members, warning, “Before you commit atrocities against innocent people, think twice.”
Demonstrations also appear to have gained steam since the arrests, with one protester telling a New York newspaper Monday that after the “mass police brutality” of Saturday, “morale is as high as it can be” and that the protesters’ ranks have grown.
The group also got a boost from filmmaker Michael Moore who visited Zuccotti Park on Monday evening to cheer on the protesters.
On Twitter, Moore wrote he was honored to be a part of the protest. “A great mix of all kids of people, people who've had it,” he said.
Watch the original video below:
Read other coverage of the protests here: