Info for Students » Uncategorized

UC Davis pepper spray video: Two officers suspended

Shocking videotape shows police dousing students staging passive sitdown protest with pepper sprayTwo campus officers suspendedSchool chancellor ignores calls to step down claiming she has worked hard to make the campus ‘a safe place for all’School task force to look into police response as students stage silent protest By Hannah RobertsLast updated at 8:43 PM on 20th November 2011 Two campus police officers caught in shocking video footage using pepper spray on student protesters have been suspended, UC Davis announced today. In a statement, school Chancellor Linda Katehi announced that the officers were on administrative leave. She also said that she accepted ‘full responsibility’ for Friday’s incident.The videotape shows an officer using the spray on a group of protesters who appear to be sitting passively on the ground with their arms interlocked.Scroll down for video Brutal attack: The chancellor of UC Davis has refused to step down following the emergence of shocking video footage of police drenching a line of student protesters in pepper spray. Witnesseswatched in horror as police moved in on more than a dozen tents erectedin the campus quad drenching demonstrators with the burning yellow spray and arresting 10 people, nine of them students.Although UC Davis had not named the officers, one of them has been identified locally as Lt John Pike.In the latest statement Ms Katehi said:  ‘I spoke with students thisweekend, and I feel their outrage. ‘I have also heard from an overwhelming number of students, faculty, staff and alumni from around the country. ‘I am deeply saddened that this happened on our campus, and as chancellor, I take full responsibility for the incident. Mea Culpa: Linda Katehi, the chancellor of the University of California, Davis on Sunday accepted full responsibility but did not step downBut despite widespread calls for her resignation, the chancellor still refused to budge. The statement continued: ‘I pledge to take the actions needed to ensure that this does not happen again.’ ‘I feel very sorry for the harm our students were subjected to and I vow to work tirelessly to make the campus a more welcoming and safe place.’ Katehi said the investigation into theevents surrounding the arrests, including communications from the police to the administration had been accelerated with a deadline of 30 days for the task force to issue its report. The task force, which will be selected this week, will include faculty, students and staff, she said.  The latest statement is a Uturn from the chancellor’s original position. Katehi at first spoke in support of the police, whom she had ordered to take down the UC Davis Occupy encampment, saying they had no other option. But she later called the footage ‘chilling’.Los Angeles attorney Okorie Okorocha said the use of the chemical spray was overly forceful and illogical.’Tear gas you spray in the area you want people to move away from,’ Okorocha told ABC News. ‘Pepper spray isto keep the people from being able to mount an attack. Here the police officer is trying to disperse a crowd. Why would you incapacitate them?’In protest against the alleged police brutality, demonstrators staged a night time rally on Saturday, Backlash: Last night students staged mass protests over the excessive police force at the the University of California, DavisAfter a news conference, Ms Katehi waited more than two hours to leave, eventually walking to an SUV past hundreds of students who, in a coordinated effort, remained completely silent, The Sacramento Bee said.The moving protest was held in support of the overall Occupy Wall Street movement and in solidarity with protesters at the University of California, Berkeley who were jabbed by police with batons on November 9.The school faculty association had demanded the chancellor’s resignation, saying that her authorisation of police force represented ‘a gross failure of leadership’. A statement released by the Davis faculty board said: ‘Given the recent use of excessive force by police against ‘occupy’ protestors at UC Berkeley and elsewhere, the Chancellormust have anticipated that, by authorizing police action, she was effectively authorizing their use of excessive force against peaceful UCD student protestors. Soaked: The students’ faces were covered in the orange pepper spray Moving in: Police officers remove the protesters as they clutch their faces Defiant: The police officers also carried what appeared to be paint guns as they confronted the crowd’The Chancellor’s role is to enable open and free inquiry, not to suppress it.’NathanBrown, an assistant professor in the Department of English, also called for Ms Katehi to step down. He wrote in anopen letter to Katehi. ‘You are responsible for it because this is whathappens when UC Chancellors order police onto our campuses to disperse peaceful protesters through the use of force: students get hurt. Facultyget hurt.’In the video, the officer displays a bottle before spraying its contents on the seated protesters in a sweeping motion while walking back and forth. Most of the protesters have their heads down, but at least one is hit in the face.Somemembers of a crowd gathered at the scene scream and cry out. The crowd then chants, ‘Shame on You,’ as the protesters on the ground are led away. The officers retreat minutes later with helmets on and batons drawn.Officersfrom UC Davis and other UC campuses as well as the city of Davis responded to the protest, according to Annette Spicuzza, UC Davis policechief. Davis is about 80 miles north of San Francisco.Ms Spicuzza told the Sacramento Bee that police used the pepper spray after they were surrounded. Protesters were warned repeatedly beforehand that force would be used if they didn’t move, she said.’There was no way out of that circle,’ Ms Spicuzza said. ‘They were cutting the officers off from their support. It’s a very volatile situation.’Spicuzza said that the officer will have to submit a report explaining his actions, the Davis Enterprise reported. ‘The officer who made that decision, we need to know why he made it,’ Spicuzza said. ‘He’s going to be required to make a report and then it will be reviewed and it will be looked at through this task force.’The officer has served the UCD Police Department for 10 years and is a ‘very good officer, she said.The tents went up on Thursday, and protesters were apparently warned on Friday morning that they had until 3 pm to take them down or they would be removed.Watch the video  

Comments are closed.