State lawmakers are calling for greater oversight of campus police departments after investigators blasted administrators and officers at the University of California, Davis, for pepper-spraying demonstrators—a police action that drew widespread criticism after a video went viral.
In a report released Wednesday, a UC Davis task force said the decision to douse seated Occupy protesters with the eye-stinging chemical was “objectively unreasonable” and not authorized by campus policy.
“The pepper-spraying incident that took place on Nov. 18, 2011, should and could have been prevented,” concluded the task force created to investigate the confrontation.
The chemical crackdown prompted widespread condemnation, campus protests and calls for the resignation of Chancellor Linda Katehi after videos shot by witnesses were widely played online. Images of an officer casually spraying orange pepper-spray in the faces of nonviolent protesters became a rallying point for the Occupy Wall Street movement.
Assembly Speaker John Perez, who sits on the UC Board of Regents, said in a statement that the report “shows the systemic and administrative problems that led up to an outrageous and excessive use of force against peaceful student demonstrators.”
SACRAMENTO (CN) – Nineteen UC Davis students claim in Federal Court that campus police unconstitutionally dispersed their “occupy”-style protest with pepper spray and targeted students for arrest.
The students set up tents on Nov. 17, 2011 to support the Occupy Wall Street Movement. They say that police in riot gear showed up the next day after Chancellor Linda Katehi ordered the tents removed.
“Students held another assembly, discussed the letter the Chancellor had delivered, and many decided to remove their tents and did so. Others resolved to remain,” the complaint states.
“Shortly before 3:00 p.m., a large number of police in riot gear armed with long batons, pepper-ball guns and other weapons were seen massing in formation adjacent to the quad. The students moved the remaining tents to the circle on the Centennial Walk, a concrete pathway in the middle of the campus quad, and stood around them.
The faculty of the UC Davis English Department supports the Board of the Davis Faculty Association in calling for Chancellor Katehi’s immediate resignation and for “a policy that will end the practice of forcibly removing non-violent student, faculty, staff, and community protesters by police on the UC Davis campus.” Further, given the demonstrable threat posed by the University of California Police Department and other law enforcement agencies to the safety of students, faculty, staff, and community members on our campus and others in the UC system, we propose that such a policy include the disbanding of the UCPD and the institution of an ordinance against the presence of police forces on the UC Davis campus and the Occupy Wall Street movement, unless their presence is specifically requested by a member of the campus community. This will initiate a genuinely collective effort to determine how best to ensure the health and safety of the campus community at UC Davis.
The chancellor of the University of California, Davis, said Monday that its police chief had been placed on administrative leave, three days after two campus police officers sprayed seated protesters with pepper spray during a demonstration aligned with Occupy Wall Street.
The university’s chancellor, Linda P.B. Katehi, indicated that she was trying to calm the campus community amid widespread outrage at the police tactics. Referring to the temporary removal of the police chief, Annette Spicuzza, Ms. Katehi said in a statement Monday, “It has become clear to me that this is a necessary step toward restoring trust on our campus.”
Take their contact info, pictures and video and put it on your Facebook page. Put it on your blog and your website if you have one. Make funny Photoshopped pictures of them for all to see. Go viral! No matter how hardcore these individuals may be, they definitely don’t want to be the butt of any joke or embarrassment to any friends and family members.
On Friday, a group of University of California, Davis students, part of the Occupy Wall Street movement on campus, became the latest victims of alleged police brutality to be captured on video. The videos show the students seated on the ground as a UC Davis police officer brandishes a red canister of pepper spray, showing it off for the crowd before dousing the seated students in a heavy, thick mist.
“The UC Davis students were peacefully protesting on the quad,” wrote the student who took the videos in an email to The Huffington Post. The filmmaker, a senior, asked that his name not be used for fear of retribution by campus authorities. “The cop gave them 3 minutes to disperse before he said they would come and disturb the protest. The main objective for them was removing the tents. … The students did have a right to be on campus, they were assembling peacefully and the campus was open at the time.”