Pepper-Spraying of Wall Street Protesters Under Investigation

According to this report, the actions of a New York City police officer who used pepper spray on some Wall Street protesters are under investigation by the NYPD and the Manhattan District Attorney.  The use of this kind of force might be appropriate in some circumstances.  However, based on the videos I have seen, use of pepper spray in this instance appears to have been unwarranted.  Of course, I’m aware that video evidence like this is subject to differing interpretations and that not all of the activity on the street is visible in any one video.  We will have to wait for the results of the internal and external investigations to draw conclusions. 

As police officers in New York City and elsewhere have learned, their public policing activities will almost certainly be recorded.  In what seem like ancient times, before the networking of public places and persons, this incident would likely have received little if any public or official attention.  Today, as Danielle points out in this post, protesters are recording police and police are recording protesters.  Meanwhile, particularly in places like Manhattan, CCTV cameras are recording everyone and everything.  Whether this will ultimately lead to more or less protection, for civil liberties in general and public protest in particular, remains to be seen.

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