Officers Pike and Lee Gone From UCD

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Pepper-spray

It has been over 8 months since the November 18 incident at the UC Davis Quad made national news when seated protesters were pepper sprayed by the UC Davis police.  The officers at the center of the controversy are no longer with the university.

The Vanguard confirmed that Lt. John Pike and Officer Alexander Lee are no longer with the police force.  What we do not know, and probably never will know, is whether they resigned, were fired, or simply did not have their contracts renewed.

UC Davis Spokesperson Barry Shiller confirmed that John Pike is no longer an employee of the university.

He told the Vanguard in a statement, “Consistent with privacy guidelines established in state law and University policy, I can confirm that John Pike’s employment with the University ended on July 31, 2012. I’m unable to comment further.”

However, he was unwilling to confirm whether Lt. Barry Swartwood, who was the incident commander, or Officer Alexander Lee remain university employees.

He told the Vanguard: “As you know, the courts have only permitted the identities of two officers — John Pike and Annette Spicuzza – to be revealed while an appeal filed by the police union is litigated.”

However, Claudia Morain told the Davis Enterprise that the employment of Alexander Lee ended on July 11.

The determination of the employment status of John Pike and Alexander Lee appears to indicate that the university has completed its internal investigation.  The Yolo County DA’s office has yet to determine whether or not to file criminal charges against the officers.

In April, the independent investigations led by the Kroll Team and the Reynoso task force concluded: “The pepper spraying incident that took place on November 18, 2011 should and could have been prevented.”

Kroll wrote: “The actual deployment of pepper spray by Lieutenant Pike and by [Officer Alexander Lee] at Pike’s direction was flawed and unnecessary.”

The task force found, along with Kroll, “The decision to use [pepper spray] was not supported by objective evidence and was not authorized by policy,” as the pepper spray that was used was not an authorized weapon for use by the UCDPD.

The task force found, “Lt. Pike bears primary responsibility for the objectively unreasonable decision to use pepper spray on the students sitting in a line and for the manner in which the pepper spray was used.”

They found that the pepper spray used was unauthorized under UCDPD General Order No.559, which “provides that pepper spray can be used, but specifically refers to the MK-4 (a smaller canister).”

The task force added, “Furthermore, the investigation found no evidence that any UCDPD officer had been trained in the use of the larger MK-9.”

Kroll supported their conclusion that use of pepper spray was not reasonable use of force, by stating, “This conclusion is buttressed by the facts that the MK-9 was not an authorized weapon under UCDPD guidelines and that UCDPD officers were not trained in its use.”

The task force noted that  UCDPD officers were not trained on how to use this pepper spray correctly and that they “did not use it correctly.”  Writes the task force: “The MK-9 is a higher pressure type of pepper spray than what officers normally carry on their utility belts (MK-4). It is designed for crowd dispersal rather than field applications and “[t]he recommended minimum distance for . . . application of the MK-9 is six feet.” Lt. Pike appeared to be spraying protesters at a much closer distance than 6 feet.”

Deanna Johnson was one of those pepper sprayed.  She spoke with News 10 last night.

“I was sitting near the front. I had burns on my hands after the event,” said Ms. Johnson. “It’s nice to know that a little bit of my tuition is no longer going to his salary. But in reality, it doesn’t change much at all. Police still have access to these military grade weapons. The chancellor and assistant chancellor, who ordered this event, are still running this university. They haven’t had any backlash toward them whatsoever. This really isn’t enough. “

Student Sarena Grossjan was also pepper sprayed.

“It’s frustrating that people are only focusing on the pepper spray (incident) and not on the students who were involved in the bank protests and have to go through those trials,” said Ms. Grossjan.

The students have a pending civil suit against the university.

Vanguard’s View – Police Lose Their Jobs, Administrators Keep Theirs

The three officers involved in the incident are now gone.  John Pike and Alexander Lee’s departure follows the retirement of Annette Spicuzza immediately following the release of the report in April.  It would appear that the incident commander Barry Swartwood will at the very least retain his job, despite approving the use of pepper spray.

Frankly, the termination of Alexander Lee is surprising.  The Vanguard determined his identity through his photo, combined with a number of records requests.  These records requests show that he was a recent student at UC Davis where he served as a Cal Aggie Host.

Upon graduation he got a job as a police security officer – a non-sworn position, a position he held as recently as June 2011.  Somewhere between June 2011 and November 18, 2011, he became a sworn police officer.

His involvement was limited to carrying out the orders of his superior officer.  Police and legal experts have told the Vanguard that officers are trained to uphold the law and resist illegal orders.

The Vanguard remains concerned at the length of time that the District Attorney’s office has taken in determining whether to file criminal charges in this matter.

The Vanguard now believes that a federal investigation may be warranted to determine whether the officers violated Title 18, USC Section 242, “Deprivation of Rights Under Color of Law.”

According to that federal law: “This statute makes it a crime for any person acting under color of law, statute, ordinance, regulation, or custom to willfully deprive or cause to be deprived from any person those rights, privileges, or immunities secured or protected by the Constitution and laws of the U.S.”

The key question is the determination of “willfully,” but the fact that the officers acted without clear legal authority, as well as used unauthorized pepper spray against protesters who were seated, passive and posing no clear or immediate threat bolsters that case.

The statute notes, “Acts under ‘color of any law’ include acts not only done by federal, state, or local officials within the bounds or limits of their lawful authority, but also acts done without and beyond the bounds of their lawful authority; provided that, in order for unlawful acts of any official to be done under ‘color of any law,’ the unlawful acts must be done while such official is purporting or pretending to act in the performance of his/her official duties.”

Finally, the Vanguard notes that, while the police were convenient targets for dismissal, the report made it clear that the November 18, 2011 incident was the result of systematic failure.

As Kroll noted, “It was the systemic and repeated failures in the civilian, UC Davis Administration decision-making process that put the officers in the unfortunate situation in which they found themselves shortly after 3 p.m.”

Indeed, it was Katehi who chose the time of day to clear the Quad against the advice of the police, and it was Katehi and her subordinates such as John Meyer who worried about non-affiliates.

As the task force wrote, “No one can know for certain what would have happened if the police operation had been conducted in the early morning on Saturday, or a day or two later on Sunday or Monday night. What is clear is that the timing of a police operation is a tactical decision that should be determined by police officers rather than civilian administrators.”

Added Kroll, “By insisting that the tents not be allowed to stay up on Friday night, Chancellor Katehi did in fact make a tactical decision: that the tents would be removed during the day.”

The chancellor and her team did not know the true extent of the non-affiliates, and ignored the warnings of those such as Vice Chancellor Griselda Castro, who believed the number of non-affiliates to be overstated and unsupported by on-the-ground intelligence.

Chancellor Katehi stated, “We were worried at the time about that [nonaffiliates] because the issues from Oakland were in the news and the use of drugs and sex and other things, and you know here we have very young students . . . we were worried especially about having very young girls and other students with older people who come from the outside without any knowledge of their record . . . if anything happens to any student while we’re in violation of policy, it’s a very tough thing to overcome.”

However, as Kroll noted, and the task force concurs, “These concerns were not supported by any evidence obtained by Kroll.”

The task force reported, “Assistant Vice Chancellor Castro explicitly challenged Chief Spicuzza’s report that a substantial number of the protesters at the encampment were non-affiliates and the Police Chief conceded that Castro’s information was more credible than the reports of her officers.”

However, the chancellor challenged the report of Ms. Castro, asking if she could “prove” that the protesters were mostly students. Castro replied, “I didn’t ask for IDs. It’s just from my sense of what I know.” The Leadership Team did not discuss the matter further.

“The Task Force concludes that the failure to conduct any additional investigation into the presence of non-affiliates in the encampment was a significant error in the Leadership Team’s decision-making process,” the Task Force concluded.

The bottom line is the police involved in this incident have lost their jobs, and the administration who clearly made the policy that led to the incident are still employed.  The Vanguard must question the fairness of this outcome – if indeed this is the final arrangement.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

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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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46 thoughts on “Officers Pike and Lee Gone From UCD”

  1. medwoman

    David

    [quote]The Vanguard confirmed that Lt. John Pike and Officer Alexander Lee are no longer with the police force. What we do not know, and probably never will know, is whether they resigned, were fired, or simply did not have their contracts renewed.[/quote]

    [quote]Frankly the termination of Alexander Lee is surprising.[/quote]

    Do you have additional information that did not make the final cut, that Officer Lee was terminated as opposed to, for example, having successfully found another job in a less potentially hostile environment for him ? My hope would be that if, acting as a junior officer, without the experience necessary to make a fully reasoned decision about the legality and/or wisdom of using pepper spray in this admittedly difficult circumstance, this would not, as a single incident by career destroying.

  2. medwoman

    [quote]The bottom line, the police involved in this incident have lost their jobs, the administration who clearly made the policy here that made the incident policy are still employed. The Vanguard must question the fairness of this outcome – if indeed this is the final arrangement.[/quote]

    Do you know, or are you planning, any further investigation into whether or not there has been, or will be
    any internal investigation with recommendations for changes in process involving the ineffective nature of the “leadership team”, which in my view, was largely responsible for this fiasco ?

  3. David M. Greenwald

    “Do you have additional information that did not make the final cut, that Officer Lee was terminated as opposed to, for example, having successfully found another job in a less potentially hostile environment for him ?”

    I don’t have any further information and probably should not have used the word termination, though I tend to believe that is what occurred.

  4. David M. Greenwald

    To answer your second question, it’s difficult given personnel privacy laws to ever know what happened.

    I will note that it was only because we learned the identity of Officer Lee, do we know of his status.

  5. E Roberts Musser

    [quote]The bottom line is the police involved in this incident have lost their jobs, and the administration who clearly made the policy that led to the incident are still employed. The Vanguard must question the fairness of this outcome – if indeed this is the final arrangement.[/quote]

    Let’s see, the Vanguard was mistrustful of the Reynoso report, which turned out to be quite reasonable and explicit in its analysis; the Vanguard constantly complained that the University wasn’t doing anything about those involved in the pepper-spraying incident, yet Spicuzza, Pike and Lee are now gone. Is the Vanguard now calling for Katehi to be fired? How many people have to lose their jobs before the Vanguard is satisfied? Barry Smartwood? John Meyer? Yudoff? Where should it end? At what point will the Vanguard, as the self-appointed Queen of Hearts, concede that mistakes were made, but no more heads need to roll?

    And just as an aside, many in town do not sympathize much/are angry with the students who precipitated this entire unnecessary fiasco. And what good came out of it? Did it stop the escalation of student tuition? No. All it resulted in is bringing bad publicity to a good university; wasted a lot of time, money and resources. And as an outgrowth of the original protests now a number of protestors egged on by a couple of university professors have been criminally charged in the bank protests; the university is out money for student activities; and students have lost the convenience of banking on campus. How has any of this been helpful to anyone/productive?

  6. David M. Greenwald

    Alright so let’s clarify misstatements…

    “the Vanguard was mistrustful of the Reynoso report”

    Fact: The Vanguard was never mistrustful of the Reynoso Report. I stated publicly last week that in fact when Reynoso was named, I knew that there would be no whitewashing of the report.

    The concerns were: (A) Kroll and whether they would do enough for Reynoso to reach real findings and (B) the lack of subpoena power which in fact was a problem but not fatal

    “the Vanguard constantly complained that the University wasn’t doing anything about those involved in the pepper-spraying incident, yet Spicuzza, Pike and Lee are now gone.”

    The Vanguard believes that Spicuzza and Pike are appropriately gone.

    ” Is the Vanguard now calling for Katehi to be fired?”

    The Vanguard is concerned that the police have become the fall guys for this and that the problem was not just theirs. Do you disagree? The rest is secondary to that point.

  7. David M. Greenwald

    My view on the rest:

    I think many in this town are very supportive of the students as well. I believe their actions exposed longstanding problems with the police and administration and while that was not their intention, I think the university will be better off having had this emerge so long as they appropriately deal with it.

    Did it stop the escalation of student tuition? That’s an interesting question. The UC Regents have not raised tuition for next. Now they will if the Governor’s tax plan does not pass. However, I think the Regents have actually gotten some of the message. Now they continue to give raises and such, but if they have to pay a price, that is going to be more and more difficult.

    If you want to argue that the students did not achieve their objectives, then I largely agree. But I think they raised that issue and I think they have done a number of good things.

    I do think you have to separate the bank protests from what happened on November 18. We will see what comes of the criminal case in that matter, but the November 18 matter appears to have been relatively clean in terms of student actions.

    “How has any of this been helpful to anyone/productive? “

    So you believe the students should have kept quiet and not attempt to change things because in the end they might not have changed anything? Is that your position?

    I think the university deserved bad publicity because they handled this EXTREMELY poorly.

    I don’t think time has been wasted.

    Money and resources? There is a price to pay for incompetence.

  8. E Roberts Musser

    [quote]“the Vanguard was mistrustful of the Reynoso report”

    The concerns were: (A) Kroll and whether they would do enough for Reynoso to reach real findings and (B) the lack of subpoena power which in fact was a problem but not fatal [/quote]

    I remember distinctly you and I had a number of back and forth discussions in the comment section about this issue. I insisted you shouldn’t jump to conclusions that the Reynoso report wouldn’t be fair and balanced; you didn’t see how it could be w law enforcement investigating its own; lack of subpoena power. But as it turned out, I was correct that the Reynoso report was reasonably objective.

    You still haven’t answered my question. If you think the police are the “fall guys”, then how many more heads have to roll, and whose heads? Katehi? Meyer? Smallwood? Yudoff?

  9. E Roberts Musser

    [quote]I think the Regents have actually gotten some of the message. Now they continue to give raises …[/quote]

    So the Regents haven’t gotten the message.

    [quote]If you want to argue that the students did not achieve their objectives, then I largely agree. [/quote]

    I rest my case…

  10. E Roberts Musser

    To dmg: Is there ever a situation when heads should not roll, but those who makes mistakes be given the opportunity to learn from their mistakes? And where do you personally draw that line?

    Let’s take for example Katehi. Let’s assume she made a mistake for argument’s sake (let’s not get into whether she did or she didn’t). Should she be fired for a single mistake, or allowed to correct the situation and learn from her mistake?

    In my experience, smart people are not those who have made no mistakes, but those who learn from their mistakes. How can anyone learn from a mistake if they are always fired for a first infraction? Granted, certain infractions are so egregious, termination of employment may be necessary, e.g fraud, embezzlement, etc. What the Katehi situation so egregious in your mind that you feel Katehi should have been fired?

  11. David M. Greenwald

    You specifically didn’t address my point/ question about proportionality of response – why do you believe the police officers are the most culpable here?

  12. SouthofDavis

    I don’t know Officer Pike, but I had to laugh when I saw the photos in the link below soon after the “incident”…

    http://www.uproxx.com/webculture/2011/11/meme-watch-pepper-spray-cop-will-casually-pepper-spray-everyone-and-everything/#page/1

    After the photos went viral I got them from a few different people who asked me what is the deal with overweight cops that sport 1970’s porn star mustaches?

    Every bad cop I have ever had a run in with was an overweight guy with a 1970’s porn star mustache (and almost all of them have been shorter than average).

    I don’t want to be “prejudice” but when I see a cop that looks like Officer Pike I get more worried than I do when I see a guy with a MS13 tattoo or a swastika tattoo…

  13. Frankly

    [i]”In my experience, smart people are not those who have made no mistakes, but those who learn from their mistakes.”[/i]

    Absolutely agree here with Elaine.

    And another related point, those that do nothing but criticize and demand those that do actually do something be run up a flagpole for their errors, are contributing to many of the problems we face.

    We have lost our perspective recognizing and honoring real leadership.

    I think this goes back to the 1960s. It was during this time that the media began to glorify agitation. You could chain yourself to a road or a tree and become a hero of the unwashed, mind-altered, bubble of baby-boomer humanity. All that behavior got injected into our American pop culture and psyche… which the brain-dead media is only too happy to perpetuate.

    The Vanguard does put itself out there at times, and does real work for causes it supports. However, the majority of what I read is the same risk-averse criticism of the work of others. And if that wasn’t troubling enough, the criticism has a pretty severe ideological bent. For example, if you are not on the politically-correct-qualified team of like-thinkers, you are likely going to be criticized for your mistakes. Conversely, you will get infinite second chances if you belong to the qualified team.

    I think it is this tendency to elevate the power of cranks, critics and blockers that is responsible for so much of our social and economic problems. The effect has been to change the profile and behavior of politicians. Instead of real leaders, we get actors… people that are risk averse, but good at not offending the armies of professional agitators that stop at nothing to destroy reputations and careers.

    What does it accomplish?

    Not much given the high cost.

  14. David M. Greenwald

    Jeff: I am raising a very specific point, and I don’t disagree with learning from one’s mistakes. But the police here – three of them, are no longer employed by the university. At this point, none of the administrators have had such consequence to their role. My point was simply one of equivalent punishments because I think right now the police are being the convenient fall people in this when the problem was far larger than their conduct. What says you?

  15. Frankly

    David, I get that. However, I am getting a bit philosophical on you.

    I think there is a larger consideration when these mistakes happen. When people operate in fear of repercussions from honest mistakes, they stop doing things that could result in honest mistakes. They may question their judgment, or they might absolutely abstain from doing what they believe to be right and accurate at the time. In either case, it is not a good result.

    The Vanguard has been like a dog on a bone for this pepper spray incident. Frankly, I don’t know what the Vanguard wants to see accomplished other than see people they think are responsible fired. In addition, there is a bit of ideological and/or class bent to this apparent goal seeking a pound of flesh. To illustrate this, let’s say that a city tree trimmer miss-calculated and sent a large tree limb crashing into a group of protestors causing several to receive minor injuries. My guess is that the Vanguard would argue that the tree-trimmer should not be fired for his honest mistake. Cops bad, university management bad… tree-trimmers good? Why is that?

    Fear of mistakes is a universal ill that feeds incremental decline. What is the end goal? If the end goal is to minimize the recurrence of the mistakes made, then we should focus on demanding process improvement, training and setting of performance expectations. People making the same or similar mistakes… or those that make obvious and egregious mistakes… should be fired or worse. Otherwise, they deserve a chance to learn and improve. Isn’t this the same that you are advocating for people with criminal records? Why not extend the same love to US cops and UC executives.

    Last I checked all those protesters sprayed with high-strength taco sauce are doing just fine, and the UC police and brass has made changes to their protocol and decision criteria. Why not move on?

  16. David M. Greenwald

    Jeff: But no one seems to want to address my core question here which is a basic fairness issue.

    I understand your point about honest mistakes, I just don’t view this as an honest mistake.

    I’m not sure why you arrive at the cops bad – university management bad – tree-trimmers good rubric. Did the tree trimmer in your depiction make an honest error or was he negligent or worse. That’s a key consideration.

    The problem I have is you are talking about this as a mistake – this was not a mistake like I forgot to tie my shoes, or I should have covered the north flank, and instead covered the south flank. This was inflicting pain and harm on individuals without just cause under the color of law. That’s a huge difference.

    “Last I checked all those protesters sprayed with high-strength taco sauce are doing just fine”

    What you visited them? Called them on the phone?

  17. Frankly

    David, I think you are forgetting that these are cops. They have a unique job. If not pepper spray, then it is other pain compliance techniques that are lawful and common. The use of pepper spray was an honest error in the context of their assigned responsibility to serve and protect.

    Negligence is defined as a failure to exercise the care that a reasonably prudent person would exercise in like circumstances. However, the “reasonably prudent” consideration has to be contextual. For example, the acts of a soldier should not be measured against what a civilian might consider prudent.

    Given what had gone on in Berkeley and other places around the nation, the actions of the UC cops should be considered reasonably prudent… but a mistake in hindsight.

    There is a saying my mom used on me… “Don’t attribute to malice, what can be attributed to ignorance”. I think you view law enforcement as somewhat malicious in general (or maybe you think there is a malicious element within). That, I think, causes you trouble at times trying to provide a balanced argument for issues related to law enforcement.

    As far as I know, none of the protestors had any long-lasting pain or damage from being sprayed. Please educate me if I am wrong about that.

  18. David M. Greenwald

    Jeff: I disagree on that point.

    Secondly, several of the protesters have something like post-traumatic stress disorder and a few have told me they still suffer physical symptoms.

  19. Michael Harrington

    OK, so the line officers are gone. Good riddance. There should be a criminal prosecution for what those officers did to those seated, non-violent students.

    Next: what about the rest of the chain of command? Wen are they going to take responsibility the old fashioned way, apologize to those seated students who were physically and chemically assaulted under color of law by their own UCD, and resign? They would earn a lot of respect if they would own up to it, and resign.

    Well, the ACLU/plaintiffs case will do it for them, if the rest of the chain doesn’t first resign. Those administrators’ jobs will never survive the depositions and trial testimony; they will have to be fired at the end of it. Maybe part of a settlement?

    I think I was the only public person who objected to hiring the Chancellor from Illinois. She ran the admissions office that had a secret special admission program, admitting non-qualified sons and daughters of wealthy alums and donors, and political figures. She claimed she did not know what her subordinates were doing.

    Fast forward to the pepper spray attack on the kids: here, she is claiming even though she was the boss, she did not know what her subordinates were doing vis a vis getting rid of those seated students and tents. Sound familiar?

    And it will happen again, if she hangs onto her job here. It will be another meltdown, another program that is exposed as not meeting the standards. And she will again blame her underlings, and say she did not know what they were doing.

    She is incompetent if she does not what what her underlings were doing.

    She is incompetent if she approved what they were doing.

    Either way, she should leave or be fired. And she never, ever should have been hired by UCD after the hiring committee learned about the secret admissions program being run in her office at the Univ of Illinois.

  20. Michael Harrington

    typo correction: “if she does not know what her …”

    Also: I wonder what the pepper spray attack has cost UCD in dollar terms to date?

  21. 91 Octane

    for the upteenth time, the vanguard continues to treat the students as if they had done the right thing when clearly they were in the wrong, started the entire confrontation with the tents, clearly provoked it throughout the video, and yet none of those students will face justice for politically correct reasons. yet the vanguard has not yet acquired enough scalps to suit itself.

  22. 91 Octane

    Harrington: “There should be a criminal prosecution for what those officers did to those seated, non-violent students.”

    Harrington – those protestors and their actions were not “non-violent.” just because you and others repeat it over and over.

  23. David M. Greenwald

    Octane: Your point is irrelevant. The university and not the Vanguard decided not to bring back the officers. Obviously they feel differently than you. My only point – a point no one has addressed – is that the Kroll and Reynoso reports both cited fault at the police and administrative level, and yet up until now at least, the only people who have lost their jobs have been police. No one has addressed this point.

  24. Frankly

    [i]Secondly, several of the protesters have something like post-traumatic stress disorder and a few have told me they still suffer physical symptoms.[/i]

    David, Really?

    I have looked for evidence that pepper spray causes long-lasting symptoms, but I cannot find a thing that is backed by any science. The reason is it popular is that it naturally dissipates without a trace in about 4 hours. “Post-traumatic stress disorder” is not specifically attributed to pepper spray is it? For example, what if the cops used pain compliance procedures to get the protestors to release their locked arms and stand so they could be removed? Might they have similar symptoms from that experience… especially if – say – a finger was sprained or broken?

    Might the stress these protestors are feeling be due to the over-the-top media attention? How about the cops… what stress might they be dealing with as a result of all the agitated activists and bubble boy story-seeking “news” reporters?

    Question… if a cop tried to drag a protestor and the cop injured his back doing so, would you demand that the protester be held accountable for it?

  25. David M. Greenwald

    I thought Medwoman had some information when this topic came up previously.

    They got hit with a lot and it burned their eyes and lungs pretty badly.

    I’m not an expert on PTSD, but it is what I have been told.

    “Might the stress these protestors are feeling be due to the over-the-top media attention? “

    I don’t believe that to be the case. In fact, I think the media coverage was fairly appropriate.

    “Question… if a cop tried to drag a protestor and the cop injured his back doing so, would you demand that the protester be held accountable for it?”

    No, that’s why departments have insurance policies.

  26. medwoman

    [quote]What is the end goal? If the end goal is to minimize the recurrence of the mistakes made, then we should focus on demanding process improvement, training and setting of performance expectations.[/quote]

    I agree completely with this statement. I do not feel that this episode, as a single incident would warrant the
    “rolling of heads” as I have maintained since the incident. However, what I would anticipate would be a complete assumption of responsibility from Chancellor Katehi and a step by step plan, publicly communicated
    on how she intends to institute the process improvement, training and performance expectations as Jeff has stated. I feel that this needs to be done for all of the leadership positions, including that of the Chancellor and the leadership team as a whole.
    Until this is done, I would not consider that the situation has been addressed fairly or adequately.
    Regardless of one’s position on the merits or lack thereof of the actions of the students, I don’t believe that any one can defend the process or lack thereof by which the critical decisions were made by the “leadership team”.

  27. medwoman

    [quote]I thought Medwoman had some information when this topic came up previously. [/quote]

    I am no expert in PTSD but did a quick review on Up to Date revised as of 7/12/12. The following are listed as the most common precursors of PTSD:

    Military combat
    Violent personal assault
    Natural and man-made disasters
    Severe motor vehicle accidents
    Rape
    Incest
    Childhood sexual abuse
    Diagnosis of a life-threatening illness
    Severe physical injury
    Hospitalization in an intensive care unit (ICU)

    I do not think it is much of a reach to interpret the pepper spraying as a violent personal attack from the point of view of those sprayed. And it is important to realize that it is only the point of view of the person sprayed that determines whether or not they will suffer significant psychological harm, not what others project would or should be their response.

    Whether any of these students are experiencing PTSD is of course a matter of diagnosis by their personal physician and so not subject to verification unless the student chose to release their medical records.
    If any are truly experiencing PTSD, the consequences can be much more serious than temporary stinging of the nasal and oropharyngeal passages and the eyes and skin.

    From Up to Date:
    [quote]Trauma exposure and PTSD have also been associated with physical illness [14]. In a population-based study of 3171 community respondents, PTSD was associated with increased risks for angina (OR 2.4, 95% CI 1.3, 4.5), heart failure (OR 3.4, 95% CI 1.9, 6.0), bronchitis, asthma, liver, and peripheral artery disease (ORs range = 2.5, 3.1) after adjusting for sociodemographic factors, smoking, body mass index, blood pressure, depression, and alcohol use disorders[/quote]

    Obviously if an individual is prone to PTSD, this could also apply to other physical assaults such as baton use,
    taser use, hand cuffing …etc. However, this does not exclude pepper spraying as a cause of PTSD.

  28. Frankly

    [i]I agree completely with this statement.[/i]

    medoman, did I read this correctly?! 😮

    To add to that point, if heads roll as the solution, then we may only temporarily solve the problem as the replacement hasn’t the benefit of experience.

    If we make the assumption that we are all equal as humans in terms of our basic needs (the old Maslow stuff), then we can also assume that we all respond similarly to inputs addressing our needs. So, just ask yourself how best you respond to the need for personal growth and development? What works best: punishment and scorn or coaching and encouragement? Certainly there are behaviors that cannot be tolerated and punishment is necessary as a controlling mechanism to reduce the risk of harm to others. But the key is assessing is the intent to be malicious. Was there intended malice in the actions of the UCD police that day? I think there is a stronger argument to be made that their actions were justified and defensive – although wrong; and that the protestors’ intent was malicious – although backed by some that support their techniques for attention.

    Considering the point of malice, from my perspective, the protestors’ deserved punishment – albeit much softer punishment (like being handcuffed, carted away and given a citation); and the UCD police deserved coaching and encouragement to change the way they handle the next incident.

    One more point… how many incidents like the one that resulted in Pepper Spray Gate had the UCD management and UCD police had experience dealing with? How were they preparing and training for it if at all? It is easy to be an armchair quarterback here; but the fact is that you cannot prepare for every crisis. You can only learn from your mistakes and get better for the next one.

  29. E Roberts Musser

    [quote]You specifically didn’t address my point/ question about proportionality of response – why do you believe the police officers are the most culpable here?[/quote]

    I don’t necessarily think the police officers were the most culpable here. IMO, I don’t think anyone should have been fired, except perhaps Pike, if and only if he had a previous history of being overly aggressive. I strongly believe people should be allowed to make a mistake, be suitably reprimanded, and permitted to receive training/rethink their approach and improve their performance. Otherwise history will repeat itself bc learning just will not occur if we fire everyone every time they make a mistake. I don’t expect perfection, nor do I think it reasonable to expect perfection. Also, to expect perfection breeds indecision and paralysis.

    So now I have answered your question. So now how about answering my question to you? Should Katehi be fired? Meyer? Smallwood? Yudoff? What/how many heads should roll before the Vanguard is satisfied?

  30. David M. Greenwald

    Elaine: I ran full articles answering all of those questions. My view hasn’t changed.

    Analysis: Does Katehi Deserve to Be Fired? Yes But She Won’t Be ([url]https://davisvanguard.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=5316:analysis-does-katehi-deserve-to-be-fired-yes-but-she-wont-be&Itemid=114[/url])

    Sunday Commentary: Pike and Swartwood Should Face Criminal Charges ([url]https://davisvanguard.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=5313:sunday-commentary-pike-and-swartwood-should-face-criminal-charges&catid=63:law-enforcement&Itemid=114[/url])

    My answer hasn’t changed since the analysis and puzzled as to why you would think it’s unreasonable for me to hold the same beliefs as two months ago. It’s not like I hid my beliefs then or now.

  31. medwoman

    Jeff

    [quote]I think there is a stronger argument to be made that their actions were justified and defensive – although wrong; and that the protestors’ intent was malicious – although backed by some that support their techniques for attention[/quote]

    I am sure that you truly believe what you wrote. However, I do not believe that you or I have any greater ability than anyone else to see into the hearts and minds of others. I do not believe, as you seem to that all police are necessarily well intentioned, nor do I believe that it is possible to decide that the protesters intentions were malicious. I do not think it is unlikely that at least some of them were very well intentioned. You seem to believe that if someone agrees with you, they must be of superior moral character. What a comforting thought that must be.

  32. David M. Greenwald

    One thing that is interesting to me is that both Jeff and Elaine view the police actions as a mistake and the protesters as culpable. I don’t believe that the police simply made a mistake. I believe they were hung out to dry by the administration, left with an unclear command structure and questionable legal authority that left them with muddled instructions to the protesters. But they over-reacted in response to a situation that should have been handled very differently.

    You can characterize that as a mistake but consider the following:

    1. Questionable legal authority
    2. Objectively improper use of pepper spray
    3. Unauthorized pepper spray
    4. not trained on that pepper spray
    5. used improperly
    6. used excessively

    There are mistakes and then there are mistakes. I’m surprised that Alexander Lee was let go/ terminated, but Pike definitely should have been.

    But what troubles me is that Pike while making egregious lapses in judgment and overreacting, was in effect hung out to dry by the administration and he and Lee pay the ultimate consequence and the administration is off scott free. That doesn’t sit well with me.

  33. wdf1

    UC Davis chief overruled panel to fire pepper-spray officer ([url]http://www.sacbee.com/2012/08/02/4684333/uc-davis-chief-overruled-panel.html[/url])

  34. David M. Greenwald

    It is an interesting article, but it is based on leaked internal (confidential documents), I am hoping to have a story myself by noon. But we shall see.

  35. 91 Octane

    Octane: Your point is irrelevant. The university and not the Vanguard decided not to bring back the officers. Obviously they feel differently than you. My only point – a point no one has addressed – is that the Kroll and Reynoso reports both cited fault at the police and administrative level, and yet up until now at least, the only people who have lost their jobs have been police. No one has addressed this point.

    Vanguard: my point was in response to yours. So if it was irrelevant, than thats on you. Second, an argument could be made that pike needed to be transferred out for his own protection more than anything else. That could have been behind the administrations thinking. They aren’t going to say, and hopefully key details will never come out so the vanguard wont get the satisfaction of spewing more venom.

  36. 91 Octane

    vanguard: “One thing that is interesting to me is that both Jeff and Elaine view the police actions as a mistake and the protesters as culpable. I don’t believe that the police simply made a mistake.”

    The protestors were the ones intending to cause trouble thats why. forgive the redundancy, but if it weren’t for their actions none of this would have happened and noone would have been fired.

    It was clear from the reports, that pike and Katehi and others expressed private concerns about how the situation was going to go down, and the best way to handle it quietly. In other words, they DID NOT WANT A CONFRONTATION and that was clear from their conversation. In contrast, from the chants,to the tents, to the encirclement – it is very clear the jerks DID WANT A CONFRONTATION. And they got it anyway they could. That’s the difference.

  37. E Roberts Musser

    [quote]My answer hasn’t changed since the analysis and puzzled as to why you would think it’s unreasonable for me to hold the same beliefs as two months ago. It’s not like I hid my beliefs then or now.[/quote]

    You haven’t said how far up the chain you want to go. Should Smallwood be fired? John Meyer? Yudoff?

  38. David M. Greenwald

    I believe that I noted that Swartwood deserves the same fate as Pike, because he approved the use of pepperspray and was the incident commander. I believe I did not call for Meyer’s firing, but agree that removing him from command of the police was warranted. I don’t see any need to fire Yudof, in fact, I commend his handling of this matter even though I disagree with his policies over all.

  39. E Roberts Musser

    [quote]But what troubles me is that Pike while making egregious lapses in judgment and overreacting, was in effect hung out to dry by the administration and he and Lee pay the ultimate consequence and the administration is off scott free. That doesn’t sit well with me.[/quote]

    Yes, we know the Vanguard wishes to play the part of the Queen of Hearts, and order heads to roll. But whose head and how many heads?

  40. davisite4

    [quote]Yes, we know the Vanguard wishes to play the part of the Queen of Hearts, and order heads to roll. But whose head and how many heads?[/quote]

    Hunh, I thought expressing a journalistic opinion was one of the things that the Vanguard did. Since when is expressing an informed opinion tantamount to wanting to play the part of the Queen of Hearts?

  41. Siegel

    “we know the Vanguard wishes to play the part of the Queen of Hearts”

    Another attack on David by Elaine, this one veiled… I note the reference from Wikipedia: “She is a foul-tempered monarch, that Carroll himself pictured as “a blind fury”, and who is quick to decree death sentences at the slightest offense. Her most famous line, one which she repeats often, is “Off with their heads!”” Remarkable that people let you get away with just insolence. This is the chair of the Water Advisory Committee publicly demeaning people in this community?

  42. E Roberts Musser

    [quote]Hunh, I thought expressing a journalistic opinion was one of the things that the Vanguard did. Since when is expressing an informed opinion tantamount to wanting to play the part of the Queen of Hearts?[/quote]

    The reference was to how many people the Vanguard wishes fired from their jobs for this incident. Spicuzza, Pike, Smallwood, Katehi. Apparently not Meyer or Yudoff. IMO that is a rather harsh and arbitrary assessment…

  43. Frankly

    medwoman: [i]”Jeff: I think there is a stronger argument to be made that their actions were justified and defensive – although wrong; and that the protestors’ intent was malicious – although backed by some that support their techniques for attention

    You seem to believe that if someone agrees with you, they must be of superior moral character. What a comforting thought that must be.”[/i]

    If they agree with me, I might question their sanity… 😉

    Seriously though, I don’t see the difference in opinon as a clearly deliniated moral issue. Part of what drives my opinion is a general dislike of the methods used by these protesters. I don’t disagree with what they were protesting, but their intent was malicious… to break the laws and rules they knew existed. They stressed people responsible for the protection and safety of the UCD students (note that many of these protesters we not UCD students). They goaded them to do something that could be exploited for media attention. They got their wish.

    So why then go after the jobs of people that gave these protesters what they were looking for?

    The larger moral issue here is the witch hunt. It is because these protesters and their supporters are seeking retribution by demanding people lose their jobs. That is the real malice I see. And, because of it, it amplifies the original malice of their methods of protest. If this is the type of end game we are going to see, then I have zero tollerence for their so called “peaceful” civil disobedience. There is nothing peaceful about demanding people get fired for making mistakes in judgement dealing with a crisis caused by the very people demanding the firing.

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