One Year Since NYPD Officer Pepper Sprayed Occupy Wall Street Protesters

Screen shot from video of young female protesters screaming after being pepper sprayed

The screams pierced the air of a scene already filled with chaos and disorder fomented by squads of men in blue. The female protesters shrieking were on a street near Union Square in New York City and were part of Occupy Wall Street, which had just taken over Zuccotti Park one week ago. They were penned inside orange mesh netting the New York Police Department had used to corral and control protesters. One of the young women sprayed dropped to her knees and threw her hands up into the air and continued to scream in pain. The young women had been pepper sprayed by a white-shirted NYPD officer, who they would later find out was named Anthony Bologna.

Chelsea Elliott, twenty-five year-old with long hair who was wearing a crop tank top, was one of the protesters pepper-sprayed. She told the Village Voice after the incident she “heard screams” near her. Officers had shoved a young girl to the ground. She had been yelling at them as they beat another person, and they put their hands on her and pushed her down onto the pavement. Elliott shouted, “Stop! Why are you doing this?” Bologna then walked up and sprayed the women.

“Not even one steady stream, more like you were spraying a plant — me and three or four other girls,” Elliott recounted. “I fell to the ground, and the girl behind me, this pretty, thin girl, a total hippie, with short hair and a gray tank top, they got her so bad! We were just lying on the ground, it was extremely painful.”

Elliott could not see for “fifteen minutes.” She could not breathe at first and was sobbing. It felt “like the worst sunburn of my life.” It was like “pouring a bottle of Tabasco all over your eyes and face.” Occupy medics poured milk into her eyes “for like 10 minutes, and apple cider vinegar” on her face.

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