“My 27 years in law enforcement have been dedicated to the ethical and committed service to the departments and communities I have been proud to be a part of,” the statement read. “For the past seven years, I have accomplished many good things for both the Police Department and community here at UC Davis; and am grateful to those of you who have remembered this.”
“As the university does not want this incident to be its defining moment, nor do I wish for it to be mine. I believe in order to start the healing process, this chapter of my life must be closed.”
University Spokesperson Claudia Morain did not have further details at the time, other than to say they are confirming that they received her resignation.
The university also confirmed that they will have more information on her successor shortly. Lt. Matt Carmichael has been acting as chief since the incident occurred. He emerged largely unscathed by this scandal; indeed, his name does not even appear in either the Reynoso Task Force or the Kroll reports.
The reports painted a bleak view of the police chief, ineffectual and also failing to challenge the leadership team’s decision on the timing of the police operation. Also, apparently, she lacked the respect of the lieutenants under her control, as they basically ignored her.
The task force nails her on multiple occasions in their summary of events. They write, “Chief Spicuzza bears individual responsibility for failing to challenge the leadership team’s decision on the time of the police operation and for not clarifying the role the police were expected to play during the operation.”
They add: “She is also responsible for numerous deviations from best police practices both before and during the operation.”
The reality is even far worse than that, as the report paints a picture not only of indecisiveness but incompetence, to the point where even her own people did not follow her orders.
The Reynoso report writes, “Police Chief Spicuzza, at least initially, argued to her officers that the police operation was to be limited in various respects. She attempted, unsuccessfully, to dissuade her officers from using batons and pepper spray or to prevent them from wearing ‘riot gear’ during the operation.”
The task force report describes a complete breakdown in the leadership in the UCD Police Department.
They write: “The command and leadership structure of the UCDPD is very dysfunctional. Lieutenants refused to follow directives of the Chief.”
It went further: “This breakdown is illustrated by the heated exchanges between the Chief and her Lieutenants as to the scope and conduct of the operation and the Chief’s apparent concession that her officers will do things their own way and there is nothing she can do about it.”
Kroll further reports, “Also that night, Chief Spicuzza told the Lieutenants that she didn’t want them wearing helmets and face shields, or ‘riot gear, as she called it,’ according to Garcia-Hernandez.”
The Lieutenants replied, “You cannot tell somebody to walk into a situation like that without their safety gear” and called her suggestion “ridiculous.”
The Vanguard, therefore, concluded that the chief needed immediately to be terminated, based on this account.
The most puzzling portion of the account is that Chief Spicuzza largely withdrew from a command position. Instead, Officer L describes seeing the “Chief of Police staring at me with her camera, videotaping me with her iPhone.”
Kroll notes, “Other officers said that they observed Chief Spicuzza outside of the encircled crowd observing the events.”
In summary, the Kroll team cites an order by the police chief, without any asserted legal authority for the order, to clear the Quad. Furthermore, “Chief Spicuzza failed to challenge or question this administrative policy directive at crucial decision points. Indeed, according to Pike’s Supplemental Narrative Report, it was Lieutenants Pike and OFFICER P who demanded the last-minute call to Campus Counsel to obtain legal guidance.”
Kroll continues, “The timing of any police operation is a key tactical consideration and Chief Spicuzza should have affirmatively resisted this direction – that is, assuming she did not agree with it. Chief Spicuzza’s position is unclear: she clearly considered 3:00 a.m. on Friday morning as a first choice and 3:00 a.m. on Saturday morning as a second choice. Kroll has not determined whether Chief Spicuzza viewed 3:00 p.m. as simply the third choice or whether she strongly objected to this timing on tactical/operational grounds.”
Kroll goes on to argue that Lt. Pike “was hampered by repeated failed leadership of Chief Spicuzza, his supervisor, who did not attend the briefing for the operation, did not raise objections to the flawed plans suggested by the administration, and played an unusual, disengaged role at the scene.”
They call the chief’s actions deficient, as “she failed to say ‘no’ to the chancellor when suboptimal tactical decisions were being promoted; when she saw things during the police operation not occurring to her satisfaction, she did not to step in and assume command. Rather, the chief chose to call. repeatedly. the Department Operations Command post and relay instructions.”
It was clear from this report that there was no conceivable way for the police chief to continue on in her capacity. The personnel under her command clearly lacked respect for her.
Moreover, none of these problems are particularly new. UC Davis had simply never really evaluated the performance of the chief in any meaningful way. If they had they would have seen the personnel problems and the breakdown in the command structure far sooner.
—David M. Greenwald reporting