New York City has distanced itself from a high-ranking police official accused of firing pepper spray at Occupy Wall Street protesters, taking the unusual step of declining to defend him in a civil lawsuit over the incident.

The decision means Deputy Inspector Anthony Bologna also could be personally liable for financial damages that may arise out of the suit, said lawyers familiar with similar civil-rights claims.

The 29-year veteran has asked a judge to reverse the city. "He wasn't doing this as Anthony Bologna, mister. He was doing this as Anthony Bologna, deputy inspector, NYPD," said his lawyer, Louis La Pietra. Mr. Bologna's union, the Captains Endowment Association, is now covering the cost of his defense.

Read the full Wall Street Journal story.

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VIDEO: NYPD Inspector Pepper-Sprays Wall Street Protesters

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