Kelly Addresses NYPD Pepper Spray Incident At Wall Street Protests

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — The Civilian Complaint Review Board is now investigating the actions of the deputy police inspector who pepper sprayed Wall Street protesters last Saturday.

Police Commissioner Ray Kelly won’t say whether the cop was justified, but he did describe the protesters’ behavior leading up to the incident as “tumultuous conduct.”

1010 WINS’ Carol D’Auria Hears From Kelly

“We have not interfered with them even when they’re marching on the sidewalk in significant numbers — we’ve allowed them to do that. What we said, what we’ve told them is ‘don’t go out in the street and block traffic’ and that’s precisely what happened on Saturday,” Kelly told reporters, including 1010 WINS’ Carol D’Auria.

Kelly says internal affairs will investigate the claim made by a 25-year-old woman and others.

Video from Saturday’s Union Square incident shows an officer blasting a cluster of women with pepper spray. Two of the women crumple on the sidewalk in pain. One screams. The officer’s white shirt indicates a rank of lieutenant or above.

The women have also filed a complaint with the Civilian Complaint Review Board.

The protest march began at Zuccotti Park and proceeded uptown along Broadway toward Washington Square Park before moving farther to Union Square Park Saturday.

Authorities said they cannot force protesters to leave Zuccotti Park, where many protesters have been camping out. Although the plaza off Broadway and Liberty street is privately owned, it is required to stay open 24 hours a day.

Kelly also added that the protesters “were intent on blocking traffic — we could see it on Twitter.”

The commissioner said the protesters would make everybody’s life a whole lot easier if they would apply for a permit. He said the NYPD has done everything to facilitate the demonstrators.

The same group of protesters is expected to march to police headquarters on Friday. So far, about 100 protesters have gotten arrested.

Do you think the pepper spraying was justified?  Share your thoughts in the comments section…

(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

More from Carol D'Auria
  • Andre Andrushenko

    I was just walking Union Square when I saw the protest. People were gathered there making various political statements and chanting things like, “This is what democracy looks like.” I came closer to the crowd, as I was interested to see what they were all about when the police arrived on the scene.

    The cops, suddenly, and from what I could tell, without any reason or justification, surrounded the park with their orange nets and tried to create a barricade. I got trapped in the middle of it and began to panic, as I started seeing people who were trying to leave the park get caught on red lights between cops blocking off the streets (if the cops didn’t block them, they would have easily crossed the streets and not blocked traffic), who were then being arrested and thrown into police vans. The crowd started chanting, “Shame! Shame!” and I joined in because I was disgusted by their actions.

    Soon after, the protesters, and anyone else who was there, jumped the orange nets that the blue-line police officers were creating. We were forced down Broadway which was the only way out, for the cops closed off all the other streets and began chasing everyone down it.

    The NYPD created a dangerous situation out of what was just an assembly of people in Union Square park, sharing views and making their voices heard. I saw one cop – and I have it on video – push a protester from behind while another five or so cops tackled a bunch of people fleeing in the middle of the street – while other cops stood around with horror on their faces. Then they arrested more people, mainly targeting those who were the most vocal in the crowd.

    Many cops were polite, while other were downright brutal. Sadly, the polite ones did nothing to stop the ones that got out of line. And that’s the problem. When you have an institution that from the top-down disregards civil-liberties and condones the actions of cops that break the law, you shall have cops who break the law. Because they can.

    There was absolutely no need to pepper spray the crowd. The protesters were non-violent and weren’t even provoking the cops. When the cops crossed the line, the protesters chanted, “Shame! Shame!” That’s what provoked them, and they should all be ashamed of the ones who exercised excessive force, when there was no force necessary at all.

    • Philip B Kirschner


      There is only one answer for police who disobey gods law.

  • Spo101

    I’m not anti-police, I’m anti-abuse of power… but the video of police violating 1st Amendment rights of the Occupy Wall St supporters is more than I can take.

    Funny, how public sector workers such as police and corrections officers expect Americans to protect their job/pension/health care security from Republican/Conservative spending cuts (examples in Wisconsin and Ohio). But then the police union/association members pay us back by beating, gas, shoot with rubber bullets and wrongfully arresting Concerned Citizens demanding accountability from the Wall St con-artists who ruined our economy.

    It seems the real criminals have had police and secret service protection. I’m on my way to the Wall Street Campground at 11 Wall St. to re-join my activist brothers and sisters in the Occupy Wall Street movement. The Class War has begun and the LAW better get out of the way.

    Back in the late 90’s while the Newt Gingrich and Tom Delay were busy selling out the American middle class for a very few silver spoon trust fund babies… I don’t remember the public sector union workers standing up for their private sector union brothers and sisters.

    This rant is for all you Johnny-come-lately’s speaking out for the working class. I’ve been part of an accountability movement since the late 90’s. The newspaper headline we used is from 4/16/99, titled: “Mattel to layoff 3,000 workers. WALL STREET CHEERED the news of restructuring, sending Mattel’s stock up nearly 16 percent…”

    WHAT? We all know how IT turned out now that our children had all the latest LEAD based toys from China.

    Questions one must ask: How did Wall Street become the enemy of the American working class? What did the 90’s Congress legislate to make it easy for Corporations to move jobs out of the country? Would the police of the time blame 3000 Mattel workers for being VERY angry? Because that news article was about as “in your face” as it gets… (See where Michael Moore got his “Last Word” talking points from

    • Philip B Kirschner

      There is no right to job. Only a right to work. In a classic libreatarian system cops that are bad could be fired at will. No PBA, NO blue wall of silence. As a matter of fact, union is not a good thing period. Wall Street is not the enemy, its the people who control it. Its the likes of national socialists like ROCKERFELLER, SORROS, DUPONT,ROTHSCHILD. Most people have a normalcy bias, and that is what led to the death of 6 million jews. Its those people that want to bring about a new world order nightmare.

  • Samurai

    We have the benefit of looking at this incident from our warm, cozy homes. The Officers were on the street, being yelled at, cursed at, and ignored by many. That scene was very chaotic. It’s obvious that the Officers were trying to keep the crowd on the sidewalk and out of the street. The protesters were probably trying to shut down vehicular/pedestrian traffic on Wall street and cause great congestion. I’m sure that having thousands of people trapped in a log jam is not what a city that has experienced terrorists attacks, wants to happen again. The people being dragged away were laying in the street attempting to resist passively, they had to be removed. If they refuse to get up, you have to give painful stimuli, pick them up, or drag them to a safe area. The NYPD will determine how much discipline, if any, that inspector will receive. Like most Police Officers, I’ve been pepper sprayed during training. I never lied on the ground screaming, yelling, and crying bloody murder when I got pepper sprayed. As with most protests, over reaction is important to the protestors to appear as though they are receiving excessive force. The pepper spraying by the inspector does seem a bit much to me, but I wasn’t there and did not see what he was seeing. Remember, we are seeing video from the protestors perspective, not from an objective source or the NYPD.

    • Philip B Kirschner

      No SAMURAI, they were kettled and herded like cattle into pens. And then forced onto broadway.

  • Tim M

    Commissioner Kelly’s comments ring false. There were at least two separate incidents involving Anthony Balogna. In the video above, the women are clearly on the sidewalk and not causing any trouble. In the second video posted today, Bologna walks up to a group on the sidewalk and sprays them from behind.

    This psycho needs to be taken off the streets immediately.

  • sigusmunt Kreusz

    Doesn’t CBS know that the DI “fat Tony Baloney” is an alcoholic and that he was drunk and unfit for duty on that day?

  • JasonS

    I agree

  • New Yorker

    I was walking home from Union Square that day -not involved in the protest.It seems the police really over reacted – Commissioner Kelly said people were told not to go in the street -well those women were on the sidewalk when they were pepper sprayed look at the video -they are also upset at what was going on in front of them but not aggressive at all…

    As for the Lt. in the white shirt there are A LOT of videos posted where he can be seen aggressively pushing people as they tried to move from the street to the sidewalk -his behavior is out of line. I’m not saying his job is an easy one but he seemed more out of control than anyone there that day. Which is a shame because generally NYPD is usually very good with monitoring protests.

  • Wig Wam Willie

    Where do I go for training to be a professional activist? How much money do protesters earn? Who hires them?

  • marc

    If one of the women that was sprayed was a close relation of Commissioner Kelly you can bet your last dollar that the offending cop would have already working at McDonalds, or in jail. There are some police who are much too quick AND EAGER to mete out their own form of justice. Organized crime with a badge.

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