NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Next up for the “Occupy Wall Street protesters” are the courts.
Lawyers bombarded the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office Monday with a number of demands, including the charges against the hundreds arrested be dropped and called for the immediate arrest of the cop who used pepper spray, reports CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer.
The protesters will be “occupying” the courts in a very big way unless Manhattan DA Cy Vance agrees to drop all charges against the nearly 800 who have been arrested.
“We’re hoping to accomplish justice,” Martin Stolar said.
Protesters’ attorneys with aides to Vance will demand the dismissals, and if the DA balks they’ll occupy the courts by going to trial on each and every case.
“Given the nature of the arrests, the number of people who say, I’m not guilty of anything, I want a trial here, is likely to be very, very high,” Stolar told reporters. “We’re prepared to try every single case where somebody wants to have a trial, even if it’s only for blocking a roadway.”
The idea that the protesters would put pressure on the already overloaded court system didn’t sit well with Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
“I don’t think our court system should be a political football. It’s hard to reconcile that with what America stands for to say we’re going to deliberately keep the court system from working,” Bloomberg said.
Officials said everyone who wants a trial will get one.
“It’s the responsibility of the court system to take these cases and address them and give people their day in court,” said Officer of Court Administration David Bookstaver.
Meanwhile, attorney Ron Kuby and his client, Kaylee Dedrick, who was pepper sprayed by an NYPD deputy inspector, met with the DA’s office to demand that he be arrested. Back in September, a group of penned-in protesters were pepper sprayed . The incident was caught on video and prompted “Occupy Wall Street” protesters to march on One Police Plaza.
GRAPHIC CONTENT – Watch the pepper spray incident below:
Deputy Inspector Anthony Bologna is said to be the officer who used pepper spray on the women, who were already cordoned off by a mesh barrier in Union Square.
Bologna was given 24-hour protection at his Staten Island home after the hacker group “Anonymous” put out his name, personal details and a vague warning online that said in part “Before you commit atrocities against innocent people, think twice. WE ARE WATCHING!! EXPECT US!”
At the time of the incident, the NYPD said the pepper spray was properly used against people trying to interfere with police attempting to disperse a crowd.
The incident, however, is being eyed by the Civilian Complaint Review Board.
“The video tape on its face makes out a case for third-degree assault,” Kuby said.
A new Quinnipiac poll shows that the public is divided about how the NYPD is handling the protests:
* 46 percent say they approve of the NYPD’s actions
* 45 percent said they disapprove
So now the ball’s in the district attorney’s court. Vance still has to decide whether to indict a cop in the pepper spray case and whether to dismiss hundreds of cases against the protesters.
The cost of police overtime to deal with the protests is now $3.4 million, money the city says it could use for other things in these tough economic times.
At least two police officers were hospitalized this weekend, including one with a head injury.
The protesters have planned what they are calling a “National Day of Protest to Stop Police Brutality, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation” next Saturday. The protest will begin at 2 p.m. at Union Square.
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