Sunday Commentary: The Whole World is Watching

Pepper-spray.jpg

Saturday featured a flurry of activity as UC Davis had to rapidly backtrack in the wake of national and worldwide coverage, from CNN to the New York Times to the Huffington Post to the BBC.

University Officials initially defended Friday’s action, saying that police had to use pepper spray after being surrounded by students – something that the videos clearly and definitively refute as it shows a rather orderly scene with students simply huddled on the sidewalk and an officer walking up and pepper spraying them.

By Saturday, Chancellor Linda Katehi had beat a hasty retreat, and although she steadfastly denied that she would resign, she also walked through throngs of students without so much as a word, following a late afternoon press conference.

“I don’t think it’s appropriate for me to resign at this moment,” she said.  “I don’t think I have violated the process of this institution. As a matter of fact I believe I have worked very had to make this campus a safe campus for all.”

At the same time, she defended the policy of trying to remove the students from Centennial Walk, arguing that students could not set up an encampment and stay overnight.  “The intent was not to disperse the rally, the intent was to disperse the tents,” she tried to argue.

Alumni from the University may recall in the 1980s students camped out on the steps of Mrak Hall for over a week, in protest of Apartheid, and there was no effort to remove them. Campus officials simply walked past them to get to work.

In the meantime, aware of the growing anger on the internet, the Chancellor did what public officials usually do in moments of crisis, she called for a task force to review the pepper spraying of protesters.

“The use of the pepper spray as shown on the video is chilling to us all and raises many questions about how best to handle situations like this,” she did say in a statement.

The UC Davis faculty association called for the immediate resignation of Chancellor Katehi.

“The Chancellor’s authorization of the use of police force to suppress the protests by students and community members speaking out on behalf of our university and public higher education generally represents a gross failure of leadership,” they wrote.

Civil Rights Attorney Stewart Katz, who specializes in police misconduct and excessive force cases, called the actions simply “stupid, unnecessary, and mean-spirited.”

“There just wasn’t any need for them to do this,” he told the Vanguard on Saturday, “They are students anyway, they have finals coming up.  How long are they really going to stay anyway?”

Yolo County ACLU Chair Natalie Wormeli said that the local chapter “is quite concerned by what appears to be excessive force used on the students who were exercising their First Amendment rights and were peaceably assembled.”

“As the footage shows, the campus police, dressed in their dramatic helmets, which are designed to protect them from their noxious chemicals and any other non-lethal weaponry they were prepared to use, set the stage for a nonpeaceful ending to a student protest,” she added.

The City of Davis police were not involved in the pepper spraying, but they were present at the incident, as video shows.  The city was likely inundated with calls and complaints, and late last night issued a statement clarifying their role.

“The City of Davis and the City of Davis Police Chief exercise no authority over the UCDPD. While Davis PD officers were called to assist UCDPD officers, they arrived late in the operation, were in a support role only, and used no force on protesters, including no pepper-spray,” a statement from Davis Police Lt. Paul Doroshov read.

However, former Councilmember Lamar Heystek, in an open letter to council, questioned whether the City of Davis should even be involved in a support capacity.

“Despite this secondary role, our City peace officers were seen by millions around the world participating in the suppression of students who, while passively resisting, were actively engaged in exercising their constitutional freedoms to speak out,” Mr. Heystek wrote.

“Secondary or not, it is our obligation as a freedom-loving community to clearly and formally articulate our values so that there be no misunderstanding,” he said.  “Our City’s law enforcement resources must not be deployed in cooperation – however ancillary – at the request of another agency that is engaging in morally questionable police tactics.”

He called on the City of Davis to “seriously reexamine” their role in mutual-aid agreements in such cases.

A Davis Enterprise editorial called the pepper spraying an “overreaction.”

“We add our voice to the growing chorus of members of the Davis and UC Davis communities who are deeply concerned about the pepper-spraying of protesters Friday on the university Quad,” they wrote this morning.

“The images are shocking. The reactions in our community and online are of outrage, sadness, disappointment and shame,” they write and while they call the creation of the task force “all well and good,” they also recognize that with protesters planning to reassemble on Monday, it will require immediate leadership to avoid a repeat of Friday’s events.

Only very few have defended this action.  One who did wrote, “The students and Occupy people have the right to peacefully protest, but they don’t have the right to squat on property that doesn’t belong to them. They were asked to leave and they refused, the police did their job. End of story.”

Later that poster added, “Not a mistake, they nipped it in the bud before the students got entrenched in the plaza.”

In light of what has transpired since, one could hardly say it was the end of the story or that anything has been nipped in the bud.

Frankly, trouble had been brewing some time.  The Vanguard was sent a communication from the Cal Aggie Christian Association.

The communication came prior to this incident and involved questions as to “why police in full riot gear entered Mrak on Wednesday minutes after students who had been asked to leave voluntarily were packing up their things and exiting the building voluntarily.”

Assistant Vice Chancellor Griselda Castro told Reverend Kristin Stoneking that “the police were not supposed to be in riot gear and the administration was also not happy about their response,” but she also defended the administration, calling them “overworked” and saying that they were “doing the best they can.”

Remember, these are people making upwards of $200,000, $300,000 and even $400,000 – I think most of us cannot sympathize with these mistakes no matter how tired and overworked these overpaid public officials are.

The Reverend was also told, “The Chancellor is unavailable due to her triple booked schedule to move forward her agenda of globalization and internationalization of the university.”

Remember, this all came out BEFORE the events of Friday and this, to me at least, shows that the Chancellor was very slow to react and did not prioritize handling this situation properly.

Wrote Ms. Stoneking, “While each of these responses is deeply problematic, perhaps the most concerning is that ‘the administration’s highest goal is safety.’  This rhetoric is echoed in the Chancellor’s letter to the campus community after the pepper spraying, abuse and arresting of students peacefully protesting on the quad on Friday afternoon. “

“The ironies are overwhelming.  Instead of ensuring the stated ‘highest goal,’ the police are violating the safety of the campus community.  If the administration is dismayed about the response of the police, who is in charge?” she added.

Reverend Stoneking also noted that one of their interns, “Tom Zolot, has been a leader in the movement, spoke at the rally on Thursday and is now home healing from being pepper sprayed.”

I have to question anyone who believes that this was handled properly.  I have spoken to a number of law enforcement officials – most of whom did not want to go on the record at this point, and who are appalled at the actions here and use of force.

The Vanguard has an interview request with the Chief of Police and others in the chain of command.  Since then, this event has blown up even further, so it is difficult to know to what extent this will occur.

As we suspected yesterday, the approach of the UC Davis officials and police officers will likely spawn more anger and outrage.  The letter from Kristin Stoneking is particularly concerning, because it suggests that either the UC Davis administration is not in control or they are deflecting blame to the police.

We wrote yesterday that the response by UC Davis will in all likelihood backfire.  We said that already the public is recoiling from the images.

In point of fact, a lot has changed since yesterday morning.  Now it is clear that not only has this backfired, but inevitably heads will have to roll because of the amount of national scrutiny and regional outrage.

There is simply no way around it now.  The university has screwed up, the only question now is how many people will have to answer for this and whether the Chancellor survives.  And right now, despite her statement, I believe that is very much in doubt.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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90 Comments

  1. medwoman

    David

    As everyone probably knows from yesterdays posts, I am for the most part in agreement with your positions on this issue. However, I do want to take exception to one point.

    “Remember these are people making upwards of $200,000, $300,000 and even $400,000 – I think most of us cannot sympathize with these mistakes no matter how tired and overworked these overpaid public officials are.”

    I think that the salary of the people making the decisions regarding how to handle these protests is completely irrelevant . This kind of statement only lends credibility to the highly dubious notion that those of us on the political left are engaging in “class warfare”. It is entirely irrelevant to me whether Chancellor Katehi and the UCD police chief, or anyone else involved in the authorization of the use of excessive force against non violent protestors makes $50,000 or $200,000 or even $ 500,000. What is relevant is the short sidedness and lack of wisdom in their selection of violence as the best means of dealing with peaceful opposition.

  2. David M. Greenwald

    While I would say fair enough as to your point, I just do not agree with you on this point. The whole 99% argument is based on the notion that there is a privileged class out there and that most of the rest of us are struggling and that those in the privileged class cannot relate to the average person. These are highly paid individuals who are crying that they are being overworked even as many of them have gotten salary increases and bonuses at the same time students are being asked to pay more and more, faculty and staff are being laid off and furloughed. I’m sorry, I respect your views and your thoughts and civility here, but I don’t agree.

  3. SODA

    Agree with medwoman and with her posts of yesterday. The actions of the Chancellor and other top officials at UCD since Friday in tone and substance have not ‘improved’ the situation or increased their credibility. David’s post today with the description of the Cal Aggie Christian Assn dialogue doesn’t either. Triple booked?… Monday will be difficult for all.

  4. justoutsidetown

    It is a undeniable fact that Chancellor Katehi is a 1&#xer;.

    In fact nationwide, the violence being ordered against citizens expressing their first amendment freedoms are all 1&#xer;s.

    The cops are but the Praetorian Guards to protect this elite 1% who disrespect the 1st amendment (and all the rest of the amendments too for that matter).

    Face the facts, the police are not there to serve YOU, photos and films have made this painfully obvious.
    Its a police state now and your all lost your freedoms and precious Bill of Rights. Wake up people.

  5. David M. Greenwald

    Additional piece of info: just informed that John Pike, the LT scene pepper spraying the protesters is actually the LT in charge of the UC Davis Professional and Standards Unit – which is supposed to investigate accusations of misconduct by police officers. So here the guy who is in charge of overseeing the conduct of other officers is himself out on the front lines using force.

  6. justoutsidetown

    So John Pike should be pepper sprayed by the Chancellor in the spirit of equity.
    Then the Chancellor should spray herself in the face.

    Only then should they be allowed to keep their jobs.

    Absent that, they both must resign.

  7. E Roberts Musser

    [quote]By Saturday, Chancellor Linda Katehi had beat a hasty retreat, and although she steadfastly denied that she would resign, she also walked through throngs of students without so much as a word, following a late afternoon press conference.[/quote]

    Actually the Chancellor and Chief Spicuzza were holed up for two hours after the press conference, afraid to come outside bc of the protesters, who were shouting for her resignation. So there was no “hasty retreat”!

  8. E Roberts Musser

    I’ll repeat what I said yesterday. The university had the legal right to remove the students, who refused to disperse. As far as I am aware, the quad is NOT a free speech zone on campus. However, I watched the footage of the students being pepper sprayed. What was so ironic is that the students were in no way resisting, subsequently pepper sprayed, then carried away. So the obvious question is why couldn’t the students just be carried away without being pepper sprayed? It appears the pepper spraying was completely unnecessary.

    As a parent, I think we have to remember these are mostly 18-22 year olds first and foremost, not fully baked. I would ask the chancellor if that were her child involved in the protest, would she want her child treated that way? The fact of the matter is that kids do things sometimes that are unwise, and don’t fully understand the dangers involved. The safety of the students should be paramount, even if they are protesting. These students were not endangering anyone else, were not interrupting the normal course of business…

    I am not a big fan of civil disobedience, but even I draw the line against the pepper spraying on this one…

  9. David M. Greenwald

    Elaine: sometimes the best approach by law enforcement is the least heavy-handed. In the 1980s as I state in the article, there were protesters camped out on Mrak Hall’s steps and they let them stay there. As Stewart Katz said, it is cold, it rained, Thanksgiving is coming, the students are going to get bored and leave if people ignore them.

    I agree with your point which is the point, there are ways to disperse a crowd without using pepper spray.

  10. Dr. Wu

    [quote]HEADWATERS FOREST DEFENSE v. COUNTY OF HUMBOLDT

    Viewing the facts in the light most favorable to the protestors, we conclude that Philip and Lewis are not entitled to qualified immunity because the use of pepper spray on the protestors’ eyes and faces was plainly in excess of the force necessary under the circumstances, and no reasonable officer could have concluded otherwise.

    http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-9th-circuit/1332957.html%5B/quote%5D

    One of the over 40,000 blogs on the Huffington post mentioned this case in California which appears to say that the use is unreasonable in such circumstances. the situations are a bit different–in this case I believe it was actually applied directly to their eyes. On the other hand the protestors were also more difficult to remove and some UC Davis protestors claim that pepper spray was sprayed directly in some people’s mouths.

    I agree that the salary of the Chancellor (which is very low) does not mater and I think its likely that the decision to spray was made at the police level. But nevertheless this action was appalling and a full investigation is warranted. Someone should be fired and a civil suit is a virtual certainty here.

    I understand that UC Davis does not want a tent city, but a compromise could have been reached. Instead the reaction violates everything a university should stand for.

  11. Dr. Wu

    Clarification: Katehi’s $400k salary is certainly more than most of us make it is low for someone with her level of responsibility. I also am willing to give her the benefit of the doubt on this one..for now.

  12. Mr.Toad

    “There is simply no way around it now. The university has screwed up, the only question now is how many people will have to answer for this and whether the Chancellor survives. And right now, despite her statement, I believe that is very much in doubt.”

    I’ll believe it when I see it.

    Notice most of the heavy handed stuff happened while Obama is in Asia and while this is egregious it is not isolated. Where is the outrage from public officials and the Regents. My guess is she was told from above to get her scene under control when the regents had to cancel their meeting last week. There might be some consequences but I will be surprised if Katehi is forced out unless there is a sustained campaign that starts costing the university millions and seriously damages the ability of the university to execute its grand plans. Should that happen she will end up as a special assistant to Yudolf, put out to pasture at $400,000 a year hoisted on the indebted backs of students. Don’t forget Regent Blum, husband of Diane Feinstein, made a fortune selling crowd control gear to Indonesia under the authoritarian dictator Suharto.

    Indonesia on Obama’s list of places to be in asia, was it before or after Myanmar. Now that is leadership by example. Visit dictators abroad use chemical weapons at home.

  13. Herman

    I do not want to repeat at length the many reasons why I feel that UCD’s handling of the student demonstrators was an absolute disgrace that violated so many of the “rules” we associate with peaceful protest. If the Chancellor can be shown to have had any direct or indirect role in the tactics police used she should be fired, and without question the Chief of UCD police should be dispatched.

    I want to make two other points that arise because of this incident: First, what happened yesterday needs to be put in a wider historical context, so here goes: I am an immigrant (I have been a US citizen since 1977) and I arrived in the US almost 40 years to this very day from Europe. To protect my identity I will not divulge my nationality, but I want to say, as I said when I was last called for jury duty, that I was immediately shocked by the violent way in which protests were broken up despite the fact that I had seen footage of Selma 1965 and so on. But that was the South and Bull Connor et al. While the demonstrations against the Vietnam War that I took part in were never broken up quite as violently as in Ole Miss, police invariably used disproportionate force, to put it mildly, by the standards of my native country’s police force or by any civilized standards.

    But police violence and brutality did not end with the Vietnam War. In some respects it got much worse at around the time the Vietnam conflict ended. In countless media outlets, in movies, and especially in TV series, the often brutal and sometimes extra legal violence and actions of police were legitimized. 9/11 only contributed to this glorification, and of course to absurdly generous, and fiscally ruinous pension plans, of our public safety officers.

    Thus while very distressed at the footage I saw of the UCD student demo been broken up, it did not surprise me in the very least given this above history. What shocked me much more was the reaction of some residents, perhaps a majority, who wrote on this blog yesterday. There was a refusal, by all too many, to acknowledge any brutality at all; absurd legal quibbling; and above all, with a few exceptions, a total lack of sympathy for the cause and grievances of the students, as well, by extension the whole OWS “movement.” Do I have to spell it out, I mean just the narrow spheres of their grievances? Student fees are now astronomical (By comparison when I did my PhD at UC, 1974-1980, the fees were $250 per quarter when I entered my program and the same when I left it). Undergraduate students in this country are graduating with average debts of almost $25,000 and the total student loan debt is over a trillion dollars, and may, according to many financial analysts, be the next big domino to fall. Then upon graduation students are facing the worse job market since the Great Depression.

    And, yet, there are, on the evidence of yesterday’s blog, a good many residents of Davis who, having in many or most cases benefitted from very low college fees and a relatively good job market, have virtually no sympathy for the plight of our students. Since moving to Davis eleven plus years ago I have questioned many times Davis’s label as a “liberal” community. Notwithstanding the refreshing fact that every letter in the Davis Enterprise this morning denounced the Chancellor for her handling of the demonstration, I sometimes felt yesterday that I was in Selma, 1965 or some Midwest town dominated by the Tea Partyers.

    I can only hope that in the days and weeks ahead some of my at best shaky faith in the liberalism of Davis and the UC administration will be restored and that further impetus to my thoughts about leaving Davis will not be fuelled.

  14. Fight Against Injustice

    This just seems to be another sign of people trying to appear “tough on crime.”

    On this blog we have witnessed:
    1. A DA who overcharges, asks for sentences that are too tough for the crimes committed, and is more interested in getting the conviction rather than the truth.
    2. Our state has been cited by the feds for having too many people incarcerated. And Yolo County has one of the highest incarceration rates especially when you consider it has one of the lowest crime rates.
    3. A gang injunction has been put in place when many believe that it was not necessary.
    4. Now we have an over reaction to a student protest by the UC Davis police.

    The attitude of being “Tough on Crime” is getting out of hand. Good people need to talk about this so that incidents like what has happened at UC Davis doesn’t continue. Criminals should be appropriately punished for their crimes, but we keep seeing this “Tough on Crime” behavior escalate beyond what a reasonable citizen should condone.

    The incidents I listed above are not in isolation. One builds upon another.

  15. medwoman

    Dr. Wu

    I also am willing to give the Chancellor the benefit of the doubt. However, I am not encouraged by her initial response conceding only sadness and concern for the safety of the students. What I will be watching for is a strong statement of personal responsibility, willingness to make full public disclosure of findings and the steps the university will take to control the over zealous actions of their police including the current chief who appears to be
    supporting the actions of Lt Pike and others on the scene. A forceful statement rejecting these tactics, a concrete outline for sanctioning those responsible for and those defending these egregious tactics, and an outline of definitive steps the university will take to prevent any such future police abuse of power would be a minimum for me to consider her suitable to continue in her role as Chancellor.

  16. biddlin

    Dr.Wu, If $400,000 per anum in salary and compensation is low by any standard, then I worked for starvation wages for my civil service career ! If the pay scale is not relevant, the position is . She is, at the very least, adequately paid to run the show and take the heat . If she wishes to continue as Chancellor and salvage some moral standing for the office, if not for herself, she must act immediately to suspend Pike and any other command staff involved with the decision to use pepper spray . The smart move, politically, would be to now “facilitate” further demonstrations, to truly maintain the peace and give the appearance of an act of contrition .

  17. rusty49

    Notice most of the heavy handed stuff happened while Obama is in Asia and while this is egregious it is not isolated. Where is the outrage from public officials and the Regents. My guess is she was told from above to get her scene under control when the regents had to cancel their meeting last week. There might be some consequences but I will be surprised if Katehi is forced out unless there is a sustained campaign that starts costing the university millions and seriously damages the ability of the university to execute its grand plans. Toad: “Should that happen she will end up as a special assistant to Yudolf, put out to pasture at $400,000 a year hoisted on the indebted backs of students. Don’t forget Regent Blum, husband of Diane Feinstein, made a fortune selling crowd control gear to Indonesia under the authoritarian dictator Suharto.

    Indonesia on Obama’s list of places to be in asia, was it before or after Myanmar. Now that is leadership by example. Visit dictators abroad use chemical weapons at home.”

    Great post. The coordinated crackdown across the nation was rumored to be ordered by Washington. Oakland Mayor Quan told news agencies that 18 mayors had participated in a conference call before the crackdown to share tactical and practical advice on how to stop a movement that they had encouraged. Obama just happens to be out of the country by chance? I think not.

  18. Ryan Kelly

    Mrak Hall was in lock down all week. Some employees either didn’t come to work at all (taking advantage of the situation, IMO) Those that did had to enter the south doors, show their UC IDs to the posted guard. Undergraduate Admissions, Graduate Studies, the Office of the University Registrar and the College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences Dean’s Office are all in that building. The CAES Dean’s Office finally was able to arrange with authorities that students could call ahead and staff would meet them at the doors to escort them into the office to be seen by advisers. Meetings were still held at Mrak and staff walked over and made their way through security without a problem. Meanwhile, there is no protestors outside, all other offices, departments and other areas of the campus were open. This seige mentality of our administration put them out of touch with the student protestors and, frankly, the rest of campus. The student protestors were clearly non-violent and doing no harm. Students were walking through their camp as they crossed the quad with no problem. students, staff and faculty never felt unsafe. The lockdown was truely an overreaction by administration and led to the orders given to disband the camp by any means. What the Administration missed was witnessing the Principles of Community in action. Respectful, calm dialogue and an amazing excercise in governing by consensus.

    I have never been so ashamed of my University. I really question whether we have the right people in charge, if they are so paranoid and afraid of the community that they are supposed to be leading.

  19. hpierce

    [quote]Great post. The coordinated crackdown across the nation was rumored to be ordered by Washington.[/quote]I think not… he’s been dead over 200 years… the “rumors” weren’t from Rush Limbaugh, were they?

  20. E Roberts Musser

    [quote]I agree with your point which is the point, there are ways to disperse a crowd without using pepper spray.[/quote]

    What is even more strange is that the UCD police appeared like they were attempting to remove the students peaceably without the use of pepper spray. But then they were ordered back by the UCD policeman in charge, who proceeded to unnecessarily use the pepper spray… it makes no good sense…

  21. medwoman

    rusty49

    Please tell me that your comment was purely rhetorical exaggeration and that you do not honestly believe that Obama ordered the crackdown at UCD personally and then fled to Asia. This kind of hyperbole has a tendency to make one less likely to give due weight to the reasonable and considered arguments that you sometimes post.

  22. Superfluous Man

    ERM,

    “However, I watched the footage of the students being pepper sprayed. What was so ironic is that the students were in no way resisting, subsequently pepper sprayed, then carried away. So the obvious question is why couldn’t the students just be carried away without being pepper sprayed? It appears the pepper spraying was completely unnecessary.”

    I posted this before, but if you watch the video again, at about 2:18 officers on the right side of the screen walk over to the protesters sitting on the ground. One officer grabs the arm of a female protester while the other officers appear to prepare to either assist him or grab other protestors. Right as this is happening, the officers on the right side of the screen look up at Lt. Pike who motions with his pepper spray can as if to move back, which they all do. Lt. Pike then steps over the sitting protestors and pepper sprays them. Once he’s done with that, he then moves to arresting them.

    On its face, the use of pepper spary doesn’t seem reasonable to me. Like you, ERM, I don’t understand why the officer(s) did not first attempt to place the non-violent protestors in restraints (maybe some were, before being told to stop) instead of opting to use pepper spray first, then arrest them.

    In the Bee’s article, the Chief stated that the officers were encircled and that was a/the reason why such force was used. However, the officer used pepper spray not on the crowd, but the non-violent protestors sitting on the ground. Further, the crowd became more hostile/vocal once the officers used the pepper spray, which I think is predictable given the response to what are non-violent persons.

    At the end of one of the other videos available online, the officers are just about out of the quad-area when Lt. Pike halts (as do all the officers), grabs his pepper spray can and another officer’s pepper spray as well. He appears to be preparing for another spraying and the students begin chanting “you can go, you can go.” Shortly thereafter, Lt. Pike turns to his officers, says something (I assume) and they leave, w/out another pepper spraying.

    It would appear, based on the video footage, that Lt.Pike is in charge and commanding what the officers do and how they respond. If heads are going to roll, his will be one of them.

  23. rusty49

    Medwoman:

    “Please tell me that your comment was purely rhetorical exaggeration and that you do not honestly believe that Obama ordered the crackdown at UCD personally and then fled to Asia. This kind of hyperbole has a tendency to make one less likely to give due weight to the reasonable and considered arguments that you sometimes post.”

    Medwoman, did I say that? Read my post again, this time slowly. The 18 cities that were cracked down on all at the same time were rumored to have been coordinated by Homeland Security. I never said UCD was targeted, you somehow read that into it.

  24. Mr.Toad

    It seems to be lost in all the hubbub but shortly before Lt. Pike breaks out the pepper the kids are chanting “From Davis to Greece fuck the police.”

    I think they pissed off the LT who decided he was going to teach them a lesson. The Chief and the Chancellor covered for the Lt. What they all failed to realize is that we live in an age where everyone in the world can see what you did instantly and that reality made them look stupid or complicit.

  25. Rifkin

    [i]”Reverend Stoneking also noted that one of their interns, ‘Tom Zolot, has been a leader in the movement, spoke at the rally on Thursday and is [b]now home healing[/b] from being pepper sprayed.'”[/i]

    Perhaps someone — Meds? — can answer this question: how long does it take to fully ‘heal’ from being pepper-sprayed, presumably in the eyes and nose?

    Quite some years ago — around 1995 — I had an experience with pepper-spray, though it may have been Mace (which is different?). I was not actually sprayed. My puppy, Moxie, was.

    What happened was that she was playing off leash with other puppies in the Covell Park greenbelt near El Faro Ave. A lady — who I came to learn was, according to those who said they knew her, “a nut” — came walking along the greenbelt with her dog, an old Chow mix, on leash. Moxie, who like any 6 month old puppy was friendly and curious, ran up to the Chow, but did not make any aggressive moves or noises. The Chow growled at Moxie, but did not bite her or touch her. When the Chow growled, Moxie took on a passive position — she splayed out on her back. The woman then pulled out her pepper spray (or Mace) and shot Moxie in the face.

    Her eyes rapidly swelled up and closed. She was in some pain and teary. I ran over, grabbed Moxie and took her to a nearby bathroom (next to Del Oro Ave.) and washed her face with water. If memory serves, she was teary for a couple of hours, but pretty much good to go later that day.

    I imagine the industrial strength pepper that is used by the police is more caustic than what that lady sprayed my puppy with. But I also suspect that in 6 to 12 hours, the effect subsides.

    Anyone know if that is the case with people being sprayed?

  26. Linda J Wilson

    If you are as angry as I am about watching these peaceful students being pepper sprayed by an officer strolling along as if he were in his garden spraying Round Up on a bunch of weeds, do something to make your anger count. This was an orchestrated attack by the City of Davis and the UCD campus administration. Contact Gov. Brown and ask that he seek the immediate resignations of UCD Chancellor Linda P. B. Katehi and campus Chief of Police Annette Spicuzza. Furthermore, ask that the Gov. direct the Attorney General to prosecute those campus police officers, who assaulted the student protestors with pepper spray, to the full extent of the law, as dictated in California Penal Code Section 12403.7 (a) (8).

  27. Don Shor

    [url]http://ijt.sagepub.com/content/26/1_suppl/3.abstract[/url]
    [url]http://www.pepperspraysetc.com/pepper-spray-msds.html[/url]
    Effects on individuals vary, as with any toxicity, because of varying sensitivity.

  28. wdf1

    Officers in pepper spray incident placed on leave

    [url]http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5jKvf7nP1OnRlnopsb9mXt9MOb7KQ?docId=4fc70a7b680c40a0bac68efe25c00159[/url]

  29. wdf1

    Also from article linked above:

    ‘Katehi said she takes “full responsibility for the incident” but has resisted calls for her resignation, instead pledging to take actions to make sure “that this does not happen again.”‘

  30. rdcanning

    For what it is worth – here is what I believe is an excellent short piece about UC administrators and UC police by Jonathan Simon, a UCB criminologist in Boalt Hall. Check out his blog “governing through crime.”

    Adding Injury to Insult: Campus Police and University Administrations
    Students today at public universities like the University of California and the California State University systems have significant reason to feel insulted. In just the past decade tuition has more than doubled at UC and nearly tripled at the Cal State system. They have to listen to lectures from people like me who went to UC for almost nothing and have, in many cases, great opportunities to pursue our ambitions and passions, while they face the prospect of graduating with tens of thousands in debt into a job market that is likely to be stagnated for years.

    Mobilized by the nationwide “Occupy Wall Street” movement, and with perfect reason noting the relationship between government for the 1% and the long term strangulation of public higher education students at several UCs have undertaken non-violent occupations in settings, like Sproul Plaza in Berkeley, that pose no significant burden to ordinary University activities. But rather than finding that University administration’s have their back, students, and those faculty and staff protesting with them have been violently set upon by police.

    The week before last it was the Berkeley campus, where police used batons on non-violent demonstrators linking arms around a tent encampment (videos and reporting from Bay Citizen here). Yesterday it was UC Davis, where videos clearly show police calmly pepper spraying passive sitting students preparatory to arresting them (NYTimes coverage here).

    The Chancellors at both universities have called for investigations, but the real question is why police were ever deployed to clear these assemblies at all. Since 9/11 campuses have begun to define even non-violent protest and civil disobedience as an unacceptable threat to security the prevention of which warrants the ready use of police violence. Videos show a policing approach in which casual use of chemical weapons, non-lethal guns that look like automatic weapons (but shoot cotton pellets), and batons. In the absence of reasonable suspicion of violence, non-lethal offensive police weapons should not be brought to or displayed at peaceful campus protests. They serve only to chill speech, provoke panic, and become a moral hazard in favor of violence. Using police force to clear peaceful campus protests should be a last resort only when negotiations and passive measures have failed to restore vital university functions.

    The focus of investigations should not just be on individual police misconduct but on misguided university administration policies that have treated their own students as an intolerable threat to university security. More than even the tuition increases these policies raise the question of whose benefit these universities are operating for.

  31. wdf1

    CNN phone interview with Chancellor Katehi:

    [url]http://www.cnn.com/video/?/video/us/2011/11/20/nr-ucdavis-chancellor.cnn#/video/us/2011/11/20/nr-ucdavis-chancellor.cnn[/url]

  32. JayTee

    It seems to me that anybody who has been part of a campus police department for any length of time at all wouldn’t get his boxers all in a bunch over something like “From Davis to Greece, f**k the police.” I think it’s time for the majority of the UCD police to find jobs where carrying weapons and pepper spray aren’t considered necessities. The power has obviously gone to their little heads.

  33. medwoman

    Rich

    I reviewed the references cited by Don and found the first one very informative, but maybe a bit dense if you are not in the habit of reviewing animal studies and evaluating how that might apply to humans under different circumstances of route of administration, length of exposure, interspecies differences in the physiology of defense mechanisms and probably a whole host of other mechanisms. So I will give it a shot to provide my best guess about the possible range of adverse effects from pepper spray applied in the fashion chosen by the police.

    1) Pepper spray is a direct mucous membrane irritant. The degree of damage to the mucous membrane will depend
    upon the method of application, the amount of irritant applied and the duration of contact.
    2) Applied to the eyes, one can anticipate extreme pain, tearing, inability to hold ones eyes open, and most likely some temporary blurring of vision. Duration of effect is probably most dependent upon how long the spray is in contact with the surface of the eye. One thing that was problematic to me is that after the spraying, of the protesters who were handcuffed and led away, the police did not seem to offer immediate rinsing of their eyes which would been the humane thing to do given that they were by then restrained and presumably no longer a threat.This may have occurred off camera, however, I watched the entire sequence from many different views yesterday and did not see this being done.
    I anticipate that the protesters who were immediately treated with water or neutralizing substances post contact would have been affected for a relatively short period of time. I have no evidence but my best guess based on the duration of pain from other caustic substances in contact with the eye or skin would be about 1/2 hour.
    2) Applied to the nasal mucosa. Effects in this situation could range from minimal including severe pain and a very runny nose up to life threatening. If inhaled, the effects of this caustic agent could affect not only the nasal mucosa, but also the bronchi and alveoli ( which are the units of oxygen exchange in the lung). One of the body’s defenses when attempting to prevent a caustic substance from reaching the alveoli, is to cause a condition called bronchospasm. This means that the muscular passages that carry oxygen into the lung spasm, or close, in an attempt to protect the vital oxygen exchange surfaces. For young health adults, this will likely result only in a severe episode of coughing. However, in individuals with asthma, who are already prone to bronchospasm, a trigger such as pepper spray could provoke , bronchospasm, respiratory arrest and death.
    3) When swallowed the pepper spray can cause severe irritation to the lining of the esophagus and stomach. While the most likely outcome would be nothing more severe than a dramatic and prolonged episode of vomiting, it is possible that this kind of ingestion could result in esophagitis or the development of ulcers either of which could take weeks or months from which to recover. Again this is less likely to occur if a an effective buffer such as Pepto Bismol as seen being given to protestors by others in the crowd is administered. This does not appear to have been offered to those who were taken away by the police.

  34. medwoman

    Oops, I forgot something significant. When I was researching the toxicity of pepper spray yesterday, I found several references to its being related to cardiac arrhythmias ( potentially life threatening irregularities of heart beat). I have no idea what the mechanism of this might be. Possibly rapid increase in adrenaline in response to the other effects of the contact irritant including fear and/or pain. While I cannot state the mechanism, that does not mitigate the seriousness of this possible outcome.

  35. biddlin

    medwoman-Thanks for the summary, which is consistent with anecdotal information from SPD officers I know . One other concern, if swallowed, is for those who already have ulcers, as ingestion would be much more damaging, no?

  36. Rifkin

    Thanks, Meds.

    What shocked me when my puppy was sprayed was how extrememly fast Moxie’s face and eye area became inflamed. She could not open her eyes until I washed them out.

    My own view on the UCD case, much like most others, is that this spraying was unnecessary. And because I had that experience with my dog, I realize how painfully torturous pepper in the eyes is.

    That said, I don’t feel like I know enough about the chain of command decisions to suggest that Linda Katehi deserves to be punished in any way. I am open to the notion that she does. I am also open to the notion that this police action, as it was carried out, was not her fault. Perhaps everyone else knows a lot more about what Chancellor Katehi ordered, but I am surprised by how many people’s immediate reaction is to fire her or have her resign.

  37. treeguy

    David.
    I’ve watched about ten of the video, and your story seems so much better reflection of what I saw than the Bee and the Enterprise. Your capturing the involvement of Davis City Policy, and the now problematic Mutual Aid Agreement with Campus police is very good.

    The City of Berkeley ended its mutual Aid Agreement with other local police forces after the Fiasco at Occupy Oakland where 10(?) local police department were engaged…and a SF cop shot a Tear Gas Canister at 10 ft range at back of the head of a Vet who was protesting, hospitizing him for a number of days with concussion, etc etc. SF residents will pay for this action in their taxes.

    Campus officials are not democratically elected, so we have no control of action of their cops, so we certainly dont’ want these campus cops on Davis city street given what we see their poor leadership (a 3 level ranking officer is the one who did the tear gasing-then there’s the chancellor….).

    AT a very minimum this incident indicates the Campus police are untrained to deal with non-violent student protest.

  38. medwoman

    biddlin

    Yes, and in the most extreme case, lethal since if an ulcer on the back wall of the stomach erodes through full thickness it is possible to bleed to death very rapidly from the very rich blood supply to the stomach in that area.
    Not likely, but possible.

  39. Adrienne Kandel

    Back to the comments about the chancellor’s salary:
    The questionable argument that the Chancellor deserves exceedingly high pay from public pockets rests on her doing her job meaningfully better than potential competitors. Added to that is her working triple time, if I understood one vice-chancellor’s argument, so that the pay per hour while high to most of us is needed to retain talent. This exceptional talent should be able to foresee an Occupy problem and develop a clear policy for the UCD police, in writing, and that policy should preclude the recent atrocity and treat it accordingly, including firing police officers like pepper-sprayer Mr. Pike who are not fit to work in weapons-wielding jobs. As an exceptional talent, Ms. Katehi should know how to handle a triple-time load, delegating duties where need be and in function of importance.
    So far, it is looking like the hypothesis that Ms. Katehi has such exceptional talent has been tested and proven false. If investigations show Ms. Katehi to be an uninformed and overworked dupe, she might consider admitting she doesn’t have that exceptional talent but is so invested in UCD’s success she has lots to offer (listing what) and would happily work for UCD at a professor’s salary if we gave her another chance. Her free housing would be deducted or removed, and she’d compete with other candidates for the same job and salary.

  40. biddlin

    “1 percenter” medwoman, though I cannot speak to the veracity of that. I have no doubt that between her salary and income from many patents, she is better insulated from the recession than most of us .

  41. medwoman

    Rich

    Agree on all points.

    And one other thought. The extreme rapidity of the swelling that you saw with Moxie is exactly the same rate that you could expect swelling of any mucous membrane contacted including those of the respiratory tract. If you add to bronchospasm the severe swelling of the airways that can be induced, I can easily see the possibility of a respiratory arrest and death before someone could intervene to intubate.

    I feel that those who take this lightly, or even feel that the action was justified, would be well served by educating themselves about the potential for life threatening injury from this agent, and then asking themselves if they really feel that a protestors life would be worth a few tents on the quad regardless of whether or not they voluntarily placed themselves in harms way.

  42. Mr.Toad

    Thinking about your title “The Whole World Is Watching” as I recall was the chant of the anti-war protesters at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago in 68 as the cops beat the shit out of them on national TV. Today with instant communication this takes on a new more instantaneous poignancy as the worlds reaction and the resulting suspension of campus cops demonstrates.

  43. Don Shor

    Capsaicin is not something to trifle with. Eat an habañero pepper if you want to try it, then consider this:
    Commercial pepper sprays you can buy are rated at 1 million Scoville units. Enforcement agencies use pepper sprays rated at 5,000,000 Scoville units or more. A habañero pepper is rated at 100,000 to 350,000 Scoville units.

    My reaction to this picture from Portland was that it is likely to result in pretty serious injury:
    [img]http://i.huffpost.com/gen/411271/LIZ-NICHOLS-OCCUPY-PORTLAND-PEPPER-SPRAY.jpg[/img]
    The students in Davis protected themselves better, based on the video.

  44. David M. Greenwald

    Apparently it is pretty well known that Katehi is rarely here. She is out on the road lobbying and trying to be visible because she is angling to become the replacement for Mark Yudof when he retires.

    This info combined with the info from Kristin Stoneking and the lack of oversight over the police in Mrak earlier in the week, contributes to the believe that Katehi is very culpable here and needs to resign.

  45. medwoman

    Good choice of photo Don.
    It illustrates an important point about the use of pepper spray. One of the most common reactions to pain, or just to the relative shock of being sprayed in the face is to gasp. This is not a controllable reflex and would have the effect of drawing the pepper spray forcibly into the airways and esophagus where it is likely to do the most harm.

  46. David Thompson

    Sgt Pepper

    The photos give a whole new meaning to the words.

    Rally on the Quad at noon Monday. Students and people coming from all across the state.

    At the event, give money to feed those coming. Ann and I gave today.

    David Thompson

  47. Frankly

    I’m about as hot as pepper spray right now seeing how most of posters to this article continue to build their moral outrage over what appears to me to be a perfectly reasonable action given the circumstances.

    Most cops are required to take a shot or two in the face as part of their training. The pain/discomfort is temporary.

    They also test being tazed.

    Should they have used a tazer on these law-breaking students?

    How about water-cannon?

    Should they have hit the students with clubs?

    Note that cops are precluded from lift people from the ground who are uncooperative because it can easily result in back injury.

    What do the rest of you suggest should have been the correct response if not pepper spray?

    Help me understand this point, because I really don’t get it.

  48. Rifkin

    [i]”Apparently it is pretty well known that Katehi is rarely here. She is out on the road lobbying and trying to be visible …”[/i]

    Are you sure she is not ‘on the road’ raising money?

    When I questioned in a column some 6 years ago what I thought was an absurdly high salary paid to Chancellor Larry Vanderhoef–in inflation adusted dollars he was making three times as much as Chancellor James Meyer* had made–I was told by those who defended such high salaries for university executives that the job of a Vanderhoef or now a Katehi is mostly one of a fundraiser. That is, when Vanderhoef made (in total comp) about $300,000 per year, that was peanuts compared with the millions of dollars he brought into UC Davis as a fundraiser.

    If indeed being a fundraiser is the primary skill of a chancellor, then perhaps Linda Katehi, who makes close to $500,000 in total comp (salary is $400,000 of it), deserves her high pay.

    What is unclear to me, if fundraising is principally what that job is all about, is why academics–Katehi is unquestionably a brilliant academic engineer and Vanderhoef, I presume, was atop his field in plant biochemistry–are chosen for the job of chancellor. Why don’t they simply hire someone whose background is in fundraising? Why don’t they simply pay the chancellor-fundraiser a percentage of the funds the woman or man in that job raises for the university?

    Those who argue–and there are many who think this way–that UC Davis needs to pay Katehi $400,000 or so because that is how much other top public universities are paying (and of course some pay more), I say they are wrong, unless Katehi’s marginal value to the university is worth so much more than other possible candidates who would take the job. Again, if the job is largely as an administrator and as a visionary for the growth of UC Davis as an institution, and UCD could hire a top-notch administrator for $200,000, and I think it could, then Katehi is greatly overpaid. But if fundraising is the real job–and I concede it may be–then she is not overpaid, but she is also, as an academic, likely not the best fundraiser, either.

    All that hou-hah said, I find Chancellor Katehi an impressive person. I hope this scandal-crisis does not bring her down. I hope she has the time on the job to overcome this situation and rebuild the faith of the campus and the university’s alumni.

    *James Meyer’s daughter, Tracy, was a year behind me at Davis High. Not surprisingly at all, she was a brilliant girl.

  49. Rifkin

    [i]”What do the rest of you suggest should have been the correct response if not pepper spray?”[/i]

    What makes you think pepper=spraying those protesters was necessary? It seems to me that when a cop chooses to use non-lethal force on someone (pepper-spray or a taser) he should only do so if his safety is endangered or if a third-party’s safety is endangered and the shot of spray or the taser shot will relieve that danger to the cop or to a third-party.

    I recognize that the protesters were resisting arrest and the cops thought that spraying them would somehow make arresting them easier. But there was no clear and present danger. The cops could have just handcuffed and leg-shackled the 10 protesters and, if they could not physically remove one at a time, they could have simply waited them out. I am not sure why they did not take a more conservative approach.

  50. David M. Greenwald

    Jeff: you believe a person who does not cooperate but otherwise is not posing a threat to anyone should be dealt with by force? How about waiting until they leave? I have spoken to quite a few law enforcement people and almost none have believed this was the right response. Given the community response alone, you ought to reconsider it. They did not nip this in the bud, they have made it a regional embarrassment.

  51. medwoman

    Jeff

    “What do the rest of you suggest should have been the correct response if not pepper spray?”

    I agree with Rich that removal at this point in time was simply not necessary. I think that ignoring them would have been a better option. Or stepping over them . With officers on either side of the line, simply dismantling the tents and passing them over the protestors heads would have been another alternative.

    As far as lifting protestors from the ground if removal was felt absolutely necessary, this can definitely be done. With two years of experience as a nursing assistant in a home for people with cerebral palsy, I am well aware that every day, all over the country people are lifting others who are unable to assist in the lift and some who present “resistance” in the form of uncontrolled rigidity of their limbs or spastic jerking motions. It requires special training in how to lift safely and sometimes more than one person to do the lift, but as I said, we ask this regularly of nursing home attendants who I am sure are not as well trained or well equipped as our police.

  52. Neutral

    Toad: [i]shortly before Lt. Pike breaks out the pepper the kids are chanting “From Davis to Greece f**k the police.” [/i]

    At no time on any video I’ve reviewed do any of the students chant that phrase. If you’re going to claim otherwise, then you really need to provide us all with a link.

  53. Don Shor

    [i]What do the rest of you suggest should have been the correct response if not pepper spray? [/i]

    Just wait. There was no urgency to removing them. Block any food or water from being provided, and wait.

  54. Superfluous Man

    DMG,

    “I have spoken to quite a few law enforcement people and almost none have believed this was the right response.”

    Did they mention for which reasons?

  55. Superfluous Man

    DMG,

    “The protesters were not a threat to public safety.”

    Okay, just wondering if the reasons contained nuances. For example, “well, the officers had a right to use that level of force, but given X, Y and Z, it was unwise to do so.”

    I know you may not divulge your sources and I would not ask you to do so, but how about the general rank or experience of the officers you spoke with?

  56. Mr.Toad

    No problem Neutral thanks for doing my homework for me.

    JB, assume for a minute that I am correct, that the kids pissed off the cop and he decided he was going to teach them why its a bad idea to be rude to the police.

    First, remember this happens all the time where thing like writing the ticket for everything they can find or leaving the cuffs on extra tight. The problem here is that pepper spray represents a magnitude of escalation and the Lt. shows a level of maliciousness that is disproportionate to the rudeness of the students. Additionally the officer’s behavior in front of so many cameras shows an arrogance of power that even I, a person who generally supports the cops, finds grotesque. what worries me is if they do this when the lights are on what would he do if no one was watching!

  57. David M. Greenwald

    Good find Ethan. Reminds me of something else, police will often find that pursuing a fleeing suspect is too dangerous and therefore pull back. That’s potentially a much more dangerous situation when they have the discretion to pursue an arrest. Seems to me, that this is another situation. It would be a different matter if the demonstrators were throwing rocks or posing a physical threat, but they were sitting on the ground. Let them.

  58. David M. Greenwald

    UC President Mark Yudof is “appalled” by what happened and calling a meeting of the Chancellors. Obviously he is referring to Davis and Berkeley with the batons.

    Full statement:

    “I am appalled by images of University of California students being doused with pepper spray and jabbed with police batons on our campuses.

    “I intend to do everything in my power as president of this university to protect the rights of our students, faculty and staff to engage in non-violent protest.

    “Chancellors at the UC Davis and UC Berkeley campuses already have initiated reviews of incidents that occurred on their campuses. I applaud this rapid response and eagerly await the results.

    “The University of California, however, is a single university with 10 campuses, and the incidents in recent days cry out for a system-wide response.

    “Therefore I will be taking immediate steps to set that response in motion.

    “I intend to convene all 10 chancellors, either in person or by telephone, to engage in a full and unfettered discussion about how to ensure proportional law enforcement response to non-violent protest.

    “To that end, I will be asking the chancellors to forward to me at once all relevant protocols and policies already in place on their individual campuses, as well as those that apply to the engagement of non-campus police agencies through mutual aid agreements.

    “Further, I already have taken steps to assemble experts and stakeholders to conduct a thorough, far-reaching and urgent assessment of campus police procedures involving use of force, including post-incident review processes.

    “My intention is not to micromanage our campus police forces. The sworn officers who serve on our campuses are professionals dedicated to the protection of the UC community.

    “Nor do I wish to micromanage the chancellors. They are the leaders of our campuses and they have my full trust and confidence.

    “Nonetheless, the recent incidents make clear the time has come to take strong action to recommit to the ideal of peaceful protest.

    “As I have said before, free speech is part of the DNA of this university, and non-violent protest has long been central to our history. It is a value we must protect with vigilance. I implore students who wish to demonstrate to do so in a peaceful and lawful fashion. I expect campus authorities to honor that right.”

  59. anonymous

    “What do the rest of you suggest should have been the correct response if not pepper spray?”

    Turn on the water sprinklers, especially when the temperature drops in the evening.

  60. Steve Hayes

    When my male peers and I were drafted back in the mid-1960s, it was “go to the head of the line buddy, and don’t let the door hit you in the butt on your way overseas”. I should have known that the current “cause de jour” is far more important than past, potentially life-altering causes! When they bring back the draft, maybe you will all wake up!.

  61. wdf1

    Sacramento News10 ABC — Panelists discuss UC Davis incident: includes Davis City Council member, Stephen Souza, Amy Martin, a UC Davis Student Senator, and UC Davis Professor Blake Stimson; video posted at 12:11 on 11/20/11 at

    [url]http://davis.news10.net/news/crime/88017-panelists-discuss-uc-davis-incident?bctid=1286420143001[/url]

  62. davisite2

    I remember when on the UCD campus during the NO on X campaign how repressive the UCD policies were concerning free speech and assembly issues. The administration’s explanation, at the time, was that their policies were to “protect the students”. UCD holds the dubious distinction of being considered in the group of higher education U.S. institutions that are most repressive with regard to freedom of speech and assembly on their campuses.

  63. wdf1

    Glenn Greenwald (with a last name like that, you know it has to be good!) in Salon.com: The roots of the UC-Davis pepper-spraying

    [url]http://www.salon.com/2011/11/20/the_roots_of_the_uc_davis_pepper_spraying/[/url]

    A thought-provoking line from the article:

    ‘As Rosa Luxemburg so perfectly put it: “Those who do not move, do not notice their chains.”’

  64. Rifkin

    [i]’As Rosa Luxemburg so perfectly put it: “Those who do not move, do not notice their chains.”'[/i]

    Never mind that Rosa Luxemburg was a totalitarian communist. She founded the actual German Communist Party, which eventually ruled East Germany with an iron fist, a police state and no liberty whatsoever for its people, until they tore down the wall. East Germany is what Miss Luxemburg and her comrades left as a legacy to the world. Nice.

  65. medwoman

    “The question here is whether or not it was reasonable for an officer to conclude that a danger or threat was present to the officer(s) and/or public. I think that’s what is at the heart of the decision by the lieutenant and how reasonable his conduct was.’

    I understand, and completely agree with this post by Superfluous, and with the sentiments of those who argue that those who are not trained in or experts in law enforcement are not the best judges of what is reasonable under the circumstances. And that is why I think it is so valuable to be able to see the videos of what happened.

    Also, I think it is completely valid to consider what was going on with the rest of the crowd. So let’s talk about those points.

    It is on tape, not my subjective opinion, that both before, and after the pepper spraying, protestors were removed safely from the area. Other officers on the scene clearly were able to achieve the goal of removal without resorting to the pepper spray, or any other of the less desirable means of physical force cited by Jeff. So if this goal were being accomplished by others presumably of similar training, skills and judgement to Lt.Pike how is it reasonable for him to decide to escalate ?

    With consideration to “the rest of the crowd”, it is on tape, not my subjective opinion, that within a few yards of where the spraying occurred there is a police officer, probably Davis City since his insignia is different from that of the university police, who is not in riot gear, and who appears vigilant, but certainly not the least bit intimidated and at one point is seen laughing and talking with one of the people photographing.

    So, it would seem, from clearly visible evidence, that there was at least a difference of opinion amongst the trained professionals present about the correct course of action. When this is the case, and when there is no need for “split second decision making” as witnessed by the fact that Lt.Pike is clearly seen talking with other officers, prepping his bottle, and very calmly and deliberately stepping across the line of protestors prior to spraying, I would argue that the most prudent course of action would be to refrain from escalating.

    Now it is true Jeff, that philosophically, I will never support the use of violence in the face of non violent action.
    But it is not true that I am ” advocatingI for the cops to have played a political game… to leave the law breakers to keep breaking the law because it would look better on TV but because I believe it would be a wiser course of action. I am advocating for reasonable, prudent, judicious actions consistent with their instructions from their superiors and consistent with their mission to protect and defend because I believe it is the right thing to do. It is very unclear to me what, or whom was being protected and defended in the use of pepper spray, and the evidence is not speculative, it is on tape.

  66. medwoman

    Jeff

    For me this is not a matter of “winning hearts and minds”. I will always value human life and safety over the value of property. For me, property and laws ( both of which are constantly changing depending upon peoples goals, desires and values), will always be secondary to the absolute sanctity of human life.

    But at no time in this situation have I vilified anyone including the Chancellor or Lt.Pike. On earlier posts I have stated that I believe that both of them deserve a fair hearing and the benefit of the doubt. As I stated earlier, I believe that their actions in this circumstance should be weighed along with the totality of their career performances. While I do not agree with the choices they made for reasons stated above on multiple posts, including my medical knowledge which leads me to believe that pepper spray is not the totally benign substance some would like to believe, I am not in agreement with those calling for the immediate loss of their jobs or their resignation.

    I think that you sometimes do not consider what is actually being said by those of a different political philosophy from yours and immediately fall back on your stock anti-liberal generalizations.

  67. medwoman

    I have a question for anyone who recalls. A number of months ago, there was a thread that dealt with the on campus presence of a volunteer group charged with serving as an intermediary or facilitative group for protestors.
    I cannot recall the name of this group. Does anyone recall or have any information about whether this group was involved in the current situation and why or why not? This would seem to me a much more valuable purpose for such a group than monitoring and collecting information on individual students which I believe was one of the initial objections to their activities. Is the group even still in existence ?

  68. E Roberts Musser

    [quote]Is the group even still in existence ?[/quote]

    There was so much flak generated about this group, I doubt they are still in existence, or at least no one will admit to their existence! Anyone know anything? They certainly could have been of enormous help to diffuse this situation one would think…

  69. Frankly

    [i]”I think that you sometimes do not consider what is actually being said by those of a different political philosophy from yours and immediately fall back on your stock anti-liberal generalizations.”[/i]

    Medwoman, I consider what is said, but when there is a pack mentality being displayed (i.e., same thinking and same response) from those who have previously identified themselves as owning a liberal or conservative mindset, it is easy for me to categorize the pack as liberal or conservative. If it makes you uncomfortable then demonstrate yourself as an independent thinker and I will acknowledge it.

    The water project debate was/is very interesting to me because it is one of the first I can count where different opinions crossed ideological lines. However, for this pepper-spray incident, it is clearly divided across the lines of left-right political orientation. Those on the left celebrate lawless agitation from certain groups even when it results in economic and/or property damage… while they demonize lawful agitation of other groups. Those on the right celebrate personal freedom of anyone to legally protest as long as economics or property is not damaged, while also celebrating justified and professional law enforcement that seeks to protect property.

    You and others seem to discount the slippery slope of out of control crowd behavior. The occupy movement has been anything but peaceful and controlled. We should send a clear and early message that we will not tolerate law breaking, trespassing and property damage. I hope that this stupid media sensationalistic junk reporting does not cause the police to hesitate next time. In fact, I suggest they be prepared for the thugs and troublemakers to leverage the media attention to push the envelope in upcoming protests. Should that occur, I would support the cops using pepper-stray, rubber bullets, clubs and tazers as needed to bring order and protect property.

  70. E Roberts Musser

    [quote]However, for this pepper-spray incident, it is clearly divided across the lines of left-right political orientation. [/quote]

    I’m conservative, am not a big fan of civil disobedience as a tactic, but don’t agree w what the police did here…

  71. anonymous

    Boone, “In fact, I suggest they be prepared for the thugs and troublemakers to leverage the media attention to push the envelope in upcoming protests.”

    What happened here, among other things, is that the campus police seemed oblivious to the fact that there were so many witness video-recording the event. It doesn’t look like the students were damaging property, and they were assembled in a designated public place on campus.

    If they were damaging property, then I would expect campus security employees to video everything they could and do a better job of public communication than they have been so far.

    What is good for the goose is also good for the gander.

  72. Superfluous Man

    JB,

    “but when there is a pack mentality being displayed (i.e., same thinking and same response) from those who have previously identified themselves as owning a liberal or conservative mindset, it is easy for me to categorize the pack as liberal or conservative.”

    I think when one does this, they sometimes miss the nuances, relevant points, etc of the “identified” liberal or conservative and jump to conclusions and/or their own preconceived notion of what the poster is attempting to say based on what they think the “pack” generally believes, thinks, usually says, etc. IOW, I think it’s not conducive to a thoughtful and informative discussion. It’s is more convenient to fit people into neat categories, as “liberals” or “conservatives” and have ready-made responses (which rest on the assumption that “they” all share the same thinking) to these groups.

    “You and others seem to discount the slippery slope of out of control crowd behavior.”

    In what ways do the you find the protest to have been “out of control?” While you assert that others seem to discount how a protest can turn bad, it seems you discount the potential problems associated w/slippery slope-thinking re: police response to non-violent protestors.

    “The occupy movement has been anything but peaceful and controlled.”

    Specific to the UCD incident, please point to acts of violence by protestors and/or onlookers.

    Also, you continue to refer to “law breaking” w/respect to the pepper spraying incident. Just to be clear, violating a law alone isn’t sufficient enough of a reason to use such force.

    For the record, on its face, the response by the officers seems unreasonable to me, but I haven’t concluded that the use of force was not reasonable, legally.

  73. Moravecglobal1

    Whole world has seen the brutality applied by UC Berkeley Chancellor Birgeneau and UC Davis Chancellor campus police on their students protesting increases in tuition.
    Campus UCPD report to chancellors and take direction from their chancellor. University of California campus chancellors vet their campus police protocols. Chancellors knowledgeable that pepper spray and use of batons included in their campus police protocols.

    UC Berkeley Chancellor Birgeneau and UC Davis Chancellor are in dereliction
    of their duties.

    UC Berkeley Chancellor Birgeneau and UC Davis Chancellor need to quit or be
    fired for permitting the brutal outrages on students protesting tuition increases
    and student debt

    Opinions? Email the UC Board of Regents marsha.kelman@ucop.edu

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