NEW YORK — A video has emerged that shows an officer use pepper spray on a woman as police tried to control a crowd of demonstrators in New York on Saturday.
Four women are seen standing behind netting used for crowd control — part of police response to an anti-Wall Street protest — when an officer wearing a white shirt approaches the netting and appears to spray them.
The footage has been widely posted — even edited and annotated by USLaw.com to draw attention to the moment the OC spray was used — but NYPD spokesman Paul J. Browne told the New York Times police used the weapon appropriately.
“Pepper spray was used once after individuals confronted officers and tried to prevent them from deploying a mesh barrier — something that was edited out or otherwise not captured in the video,” Browne said.
Thomas Graham, a former deputy chief who used to command the department’s Disorder Control Unit until he retired last year, commented further on the officer’s choice.
Police officers, he said, “have the choice between spraying the guy or struggling with the guy with the night stick,” he said, adding, “Get poked with a nightstick good and hard and you might have a cracked rib from that.”
Chelsea Elliott, one of the women in the video, said she and the others did nothing wrong.
“I’m not pushing against anybody, or trying to escape,” she said.
According to reports, Elliott was not among the approximately 80 people taken into custody in lower Manhattan. Those arrested were charged with disorderly conduct, impeding traffic, inciting to riot and assaulting a police officer.