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(Updated) UC Davis – Students Maced in Support of Occupy Movement

I have to wonder what the hell happened to our constitutional rights to gather and protest.  I warn you, this video is disturbing. A group of at UC Davis gathered to show support for the Occupy movement. The police responded to remove the students by pepper-spraying them and arresting ten of the students. At no time, did any of these students assault the police. they certainly didn’t deserve to be sprayed or arrested. their protest was peaceful.

Besides the clear violation of their civil rights, what shocks me about this video is how casually the police officers walk up and down the line of protesters, spraying them with pepper-mace.  I think the police are clearly out of line, and I hope they are brought up on charges for this outrageous demonstration of police brutality.

 

 

Update

I have gotten some interesting responses from this post on my Facebook page. One friend feels that the students clearly deserved the treatment they received from the police, and that the students had no right to block the sidewalk on the UC Davis campus. I agree that the protest could have been better staged so as to not block a sidewalk, but I disagree that these students deserved to be pepper sprayed and arrested.

Another friend sees the act of blocking the sidewalk as more passive aggressive than a peaceful assembly, and to that point, I do agree. An aggressive act, be it passive or otherwise, begets an aggressive response. To really drive the point home, my other friend shared this video clip with me of UC Davis Chancellor Katehi walking to her car past a thousand or so UC Davis students who sat quietly in protest along the side of the path. The mood of the video and the expression on Chancellor Katehi’s face clearly indicates that she fully understands the message these students are making. As my wise friend said in his post, “This is the way you protest”.

I couldn’t agree more.

 

 

November 21, 2011 Update

There have been a couple of interesting developments in light of Friday’s events at UC Davis involving protesting students being pepper sprayed by campus police. First, two campus police officers, including Lt

uc_davis_peppersprayJohn Pike, the officer who was videotaped casually spraying military grade pepper mace directly into the faces of protesting students who were sitting across a sidewalk on the UC Davis campus,  have been placed on administrative leave.  The other officer who was placed on administrative leave in connection with this incident was the University’s Chief of Police, Annette Spicuzza.  I saw her briefly on the news stating that Lt. Pike’s actions were within protocol with the California Penal code and University Police standards.

My first thought on this is that if we base our actions solely on protocol and procedure, we’re screwed. The fact that there is a large crowd of protesters surrounding the responding police officers does not indicate that these officers were in any danger of being attacked. The decision to use force and inflict pain and suffering on the UC Davis students was a poor decision and uncalled for.

I am not saying that it is wrong for law enforcement to use non-lethal methods, not by any means. I’m just saying that no policy or procedure should ever out rule simple common sense.

The other two significant events involves Chancellor Katehi. She has been a very busy lady today trying to put out the fires that Friday’s events have caused. Not to mention, trying to save her job. It’s true that hind-sight is 20/20, as was shown in a 17 minute interview with Aggie TV, where Chancellor Katehi interviewed one-on-one with Ani Ucar. All in all, I thought it was a good interview; controlled, but good. After I watched the interview, I was left with the feeling that Chancellor Kathi was not completely forthcoming. For one thing, she lacked sincerity when she stated her reason for denying the students request to protest over the weekend owing to a lack of campus personnel and resources, and student safety. She has obviously never been to a sorority house on the weekend or a college game. She did make a striking good point though about something that I was not aware of, and that was that there were people involved in the student protest from outside the campus. I could see and understand her concern there.

I have posted the video of her interview here so you can take a look for yourself and come to your own conclusion.

 

 

Later this day, Chancellor Katehi addressed the student population and apologized for the events of Friday, and she called for peace and reconciliation and stated that there would be plenty of opportunity to learn from these events and build a better and stronger campus. For this I give Chancellor a big thumbs up.  I give the crowd of students a lessor score owing to the noise and chaos of the crowd while Chancellor Katehi tried to reach out to them.

 

 

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