Anthony Bologna, a man infamous among Occupy Wall Street protesters, who even warranted the nickname, Tony Baloney, is being sued for pepper spraying a crowd of protesters on September 24, 2011. Three women involved in the protest are filing the lawsuit as well as two additional protesters. They claim that Anthony Bologna, a Deputy officer, violated their free speech and civil rights. His actions were described as having “no legal reason,” and therefore the city of New York will not financially back Mr. Bologna for his actions regarding the protesters. Instead the Captains Endowment Association, an organization that represents NYPD officers in the rankings of Captain, Deputy and Surgeon, will be covering Mr. Bologna’s lawsuit costs. The Deputy was only docked 10 vacation days and given a departmental discipline which was an outrage to some who saw the viral video of the pepper spraying on YouTube.
Last week, the City of Chicago agreed to settle with the group of Iraq War protesters who were unjustly arrested in 2003 to the tune of $6.2 million. The Chicago Tribune reports that an appellate court decided last year that the 800 citizens were detained or arrested without warrant. Since then, the city and the protesters have been in arbitration to settle the case outside of the court system. Though the settlement still has to be approved by the city council, it is likely less expensive than continuing to litigate.
The decision marks a stern victory for the First Amendment as well as the Fourth, which protects against unlawful search and seizure. In the wake of the appellate decision, the City of Chicago has changed its tactics against protesters, as seen in the recent Occupy protests. Now, the police apparently give the protesters ample time to leave before they are arrested. The question for the police and the protesters alike is now, “Is that enough to guarantee the first amendment right to assemble?”