Friday, April 13, 2012

UC Davis Guilty at All Levels in Student Pepper-Spraying Incident

According to a report released this week, the pepper spraying of student Occupy protesters at the University of California, Davis last November, should never have happened. Students had been protesting rising tuition, privatization, and declining student services.

According to the report, the use pepper spray on seated protesters was not justified nor authorized, the Bay Citizen reported. The spraying was carried out at close range, though it is not supposed to be used at a range of less than six feet. Furthermore, the pepper spray used by the police was a high potency variety that was not approved for use on peaceful protestors. As a result, two students were hospitalized, while twelve others were treated and released by fire department personnel.

The task force, chaired by former California Supreme Court Justice Cruz Reynoso, held the university completely responsible for the atrocity, blaming campus police and the administration of UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi. Reynoso is an emeritus professor at the UC Davis law school. The task force was made up of 12 current and former UCD officials, professors, alumni and students.

The report also concluded that campus police leaders never confirmed their assertion that the protest involved outside agitators (not that this would have justified the brutality they used), nor did they consider alternative, less violent options, compromises or communication with the student activists.

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