LOWER MANHATTAN — The pepper-sprayed woman whose screams galvanized the Occupy Wall Street movement exactly one year ago filed a lawsuit Monday against the NYPD officer she says illegally assaulted her.
But Sept. 24, 2011 wasn't entirely bad for Kaylee Dedrick, 25, an Albany teaching assistant — it's also the day she met her fiancée Robert Grodt, the volunteer medic who rushed to her aid as she fell crying to the ground.
"Good things can happen from horrible things," said Ronald Kuby, the lawyer representing Dedrick in her lawsuit against NYPD Deputy Inspector Anthony Bologna.
Dedrick and Grodt are expecting a daughter within two weeks, Kuby said.
Kuby waited until now to file Dedrick's suit against Bologna in the hopes that the Manhattan District Attorney's office would file criminal charges against him for pepper spraying several female demonstrators who were trapped in police netting near Union Square last Sept. 24.
"It was an unprovoked attack, a group of young women who were behaving completely lawfully," Kuby said. "It was not the worst episode of police brutality in New York City history. It was the most extensively documented police brutality in New York City history."
Videos of the incident went viral and built broad support for fledgling Occupy movements across the country.
The Manhattan DA's office, which has not charged Bologna, declined to comment Monday. Bologna's lawyer did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Other women who were sprayed by Bologna alongside Dedrick have already filed lawsuits as well.
In a rare move, the city decided last month not to defend Bologna in the civil suits, meaning that he could be responsible for all legal fees and damages.
The NYPD reprimanded Bologna for the pepper-spraying incident, docking him 10 vacation days.
In a statement, Roy Richter, president of the NYPD Captains Endowment Association, defended Bologna's actions.
"Deputy Inspector Bologna took action based upon his observations and training and consistent with his role as a police commander," Richter said in a statement. "We believe indemnification is required under the law and will pursue judicial intervention if the city once again denies representation."