The Face That Launched A Thousand Signs

On September 24, Occupy Wall Street caught the attention of media around the world when Deputy Inspector Anthony Bologna indiscriminately deployed pepper spray on a group of women who, in videos, do not appear to be emotionally disturbed, assaulting police or bystanders, resisting arrest, attempting to flee, or to be dangerous animals—the only five instances when NYPD guidelines allow the use of pepper spray. One of those caught in Bologna’s poison mist was 25-year-old Greenpoint resident Chelsea Elliott, a photographer, who became a minor media celebrity in the ensuing coverage. What was that like? “Honestly, at first it was really horrifying,” she tells us, “but kind of funny. My friends love to make fun of me about it which helps. I am happy to be a voice for the movement but I feel awkward about all the attention; I have too much social anxiety and I hate to scare my family.” Bologna got a slap on the wrist—he lost ten vacation days. “I have no ill will towards Anthony Bologna personally,” Elliott tells us, but she added that she hopes police revise their protocols, at least so that the repercussions for wielding pepper spray like a canister of Raid dissuade officers from taking similar actions in the future.

Photo Ashley Minette

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