NEW YORK — Two cops whose separate recorded clashes with Occupy Wall Street protestors helped build public sympathy for the movement — one pepper-spraying protesters, the other punching a demonstrator — will not be charged with a crime, according to prosecutors.
"The District Attorney's Office has concluded, after a thorough investigation, that we cannot prove these allegations criminally beyond a reasonable doubt," said a spokeswoman for Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance Jr.
Deputy Inspector Anthony Bologna was captured on camera crossing a Downtown street on Sept. 24, 2011 to where three women were penned in by officers holding orange crowd control netting. Bologna unleashed a cloud of pepper spray at the women until they fell to their knees weeping and then walked away as fellow officers choked for air.
A few weeks later, on Oct. 14, 2011, photographers caught Deputy Inspector Johnny Cardona cocking his fist and socking demonstrator Felix Rivera-Pitre in the head.
"Despite the overwhelming proof on videotape, seen around the world, Cy Vance Jr. has shown that he will do nothing to disturb his cozy relationship with the police, even in the face of the clearest wrongdoing," Ron Kuby, who represents Kaylee Dedrick, a teacher's aide hit by the pepper spray, said in a statement.
Kuby called the prosecutor's investigation "bogus" and vowed to take his case to the U.S. Attorney and the state attorney general.
"It is a cowardly and despicable abdication of the most basic responsibility of the office that Vance is unfit to hold," Kuby said in the statement, noting that it took the prosecutors 19 months to reach the decision.
The head of the union that represents both NYPD cops applauded the decision.
"I am pleased with the District Attorney's decision," said Roy Richter, president of the Captain's Endowment Association. "Deputy Inspector Cardona is the true victim in the OWS fiasco."
Richter said Cardona is still recovering from "multiple surgeries to his body as a result of injuries sustained by while policing the demonstration."
Cardona was cleared of any wrongdoing after a department investigation, Richter said.
"Inspector Bologna was acting within the scope of his employment, and he was doing what he was trained to do," Richter told the Wall Street Journal last year.