Wall St. Protesters Charge Pepper Spray Abuse

Four women corralled by cops sprayed in face
By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser User
Posted Sep 26, 2011 1:30 AM CDT

(Newser) – You just can't Mace people discreetly these days, given the ever-ready video cams and cells phones everywhere. Now Wall Street protesters are screaming pepper-spray abuse by New York cops, and emerging videos and photos of the weekend's confrontation between police and demonstrators appear to be backing them up. A number of women corralled in an orange net by cops seem to be doing nothing more than arguing, loudly, with police as other cops tackle a protester nearby. As the women chant "shame" at least one cop in a white shirt, indicating a higher rank, sprays them in the face. They crumple to the ground, screaming.

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“Out of all the people they chose to spray, it was just me and three other girls,” protester Chelsea Elliot, 25, tells the New York Times. “I’m not pushing against anybody, or trying to escape.” She was not arrested, but a police spokesman said the pepper spray was used "appropriately" after "individuals tried to prevent" officers "from deploying a mesh barrier— something that was edited out or otherwise not captured in the video." Other protesters complained about the level of force police used. "It seemed like one person after another was being brutally tackled, and it wasn't clear why," said Meaghan Linick, 23. Members of Occupy Wall Street took to the streets Saturday after camping out for a week to protest "greed and financial corruption." (Read more Wall Street stories.)

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