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Video: Calif. Campus Chief Placed on Leave After Pepper-Spray Incident

November 21, 2011  | 

VIDEO: UC Davis Officers Pepper-Spray Protesters

The University of California, Davis has placed its police chief and two officers on administrative leave, after campus officers pepper-sprayed students at a Friday demonstration supporting Occupy Wall Street.

Administrators said they placed Chief Annette Spicuzza on leave as "a necessary step toward restoring trust on our campus," UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi, said in a statement.

The school has also placed two unidentified officers involved in the incident on paid leave. Lt. Matt Carmichael has been named interim chief. 

At the Friday protest, video shows officers in riot gear spraying seated protesters at close range. Ten individuals were arrested during the protest on Friday after they refused to remove their encampment.

On Sunday, Katehi also called on the Yolo County District Attorney's office to investigate the police department's use of force. The district attorney agreed to conduct a review in collaboration with the Yolo County Sheriff's Office.

Katehi also formed a task force Monday to conduct a campus review.

Higher up the chain of command, UC President Mark G. Yudof called for a system-wide review of campus law enforcement, saying he was appalled by the incident.

"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," Yudof said. "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."

Comments (14)

Displaying 1 - 14 of 14

john @ 11/21/2011 12:31 PM

The officers were told to disperse/move the students/group. The officers told students to move, students did not move. The officers notified them they would be pepper sprayed. Students did not move, The police sprayed them. I guess the powers to be would have had the police use their riot sticks and beat the pea-wading out of the students rather than use less lethal force.

disappointed @ 11/21/2011 4:34 PM

@john Are you 100% sure the officers told the students that they would be pepper sprayed if they did not move? Please share your source because that would put this incident into better context (I can't tell from the video if they did or did not).

Also, if you are correct in your description of the sequence of events, then I realize that the police officers may not necessarily be at fault. It's "the powers that be" or whomever "told" the officers to move the group and authorized them to use pepper spray if the group didn't comply. I understand it's a less harmful method than trying to grab students or beat them with sticks because that could've led to an even more violent situation, as those tend to get out of hand, but I can't help but wonder if the order to remove the students wasn't wrong in the first place.

I could be completely wrong (I don't know the entire context, so pardon my ignorance), but aren't the police on the students' campus there to protect the students? I understand they're just robots following orders, so then it must be up to whomever is giving them orders to think about whether students should have been moved or if they had the right to sit peacefully where they were.

disappointed @ 11/21/2011 4:45 PM

also, @John, if the police did in fact ask the students to leave, does it mean they have to legally oblige? The 1st amendment protects citizens' right to peaceful assembly, and by judging from the video (since I have no other point of reference), it did not look as though they were anything but peaceful, so where does it say that they have to follow all directions from an officer? If the officer asked them to please step off the edge of a cliff, I don't think there's any legal grounds for them to have to comply to something as unreasonable as that. Now, in the case of this incident, I'm a little confused as to why the students had to either comply or be sprayed when there is no evidence (as of yet) to suggest that their staying put would endanger anyone or cause things to get violent.

dapper dave @ 11/22/2011 8:17 AM

Disappointed, you are obviously not a law enforcement officer. If so, then you are part of the liberal camp that is part of the problem and not the solution. You see, in law enforcement there is this thing of ask, tell, make. You're right the video did not show them asking or telling. Probably because the person video taping didn't start it until the pepper spray cans came out. Correct me if I'm wrong but isn't UC Davis a public school? If so, the state, and I'm sure the campus, has laws about blocking public right of ways, making there acts illegal. Next time just sit on the grass. Even the chancelor told them to act legally. Fault is on the demonstrators, not the police.

Accountable @ 11/22/2011 9:42 AM

It's time for accountability. The students chose to disobey the lawful order of the police. They are free to do that. They are not free to choose the consequences of their choices. It's time to hold the students accountable for their actions. Best of luck to the police officers involved. It's becoming harder and harder to be an honest hard working police officer.

Also, remember, video does not tell the whole story.

TimFromLA @ 11/22/2011 10:11 AM

This is a police mag. I wonder how many brass will be punished for a POST ( certified tactic? Remember Rodney King? Suffice to say ZERO!

John @ 11/22/2011 10:15 AM

I agree with "Accountable." I've learned these law-violators were warned verbally and in writing. Then, a Captain gave the order to use pepper spray; which, by my dept. policy, is used when verbal commands are ignored. So, these un-informed liberal hipocrites in the UC Board of Regents, the president, and the chancellor are obviously under-educated and have no business overseeing a even a playschool swingset; much less a University campus. However, on the other hand, thankfully for us L.E., there are so many ignorant Americans out there causing our job security to remain secure. Best of luck to the affected L.E. who were place on leave, and I hope you sue the bleeding-morons and win lots of retirement $$.

Tom Ret @ 11/22/2011 10:20 AM

disappointed-I guess the officers should have said will you please move with chocolate and a cherry on top, or the police could have held up a sign so the media and students could read that the protestors were going to be pepper sprayed if they didn't move. Of course they wouldn't be able to spray them for at least 24 hours after displaying the sign to give the students ample time to figure out what was happening.

Milt @ 11/22/2011 4:37 PM

In one news report I saw, the police DID in fact, give the protestors 24 hour notice, INCLUDING putting up a sign advising these people they would be sprayed if they did not move. I saw one of the protestors interviewed and he said "The officers told us we would be sprayed if we did not move, but I didn't expect that". How educated ore these college aged idiots. He was told he would be sprayed, but didn't expect it!?!? The campus administration is just trying to make themselves look good now by punishing the officers. They are going to throw these officers under the bus for doing their jobs.

Dan Buckley @ 11/23/2011 6:12 AM

I am so sick of these idiot liberals saying the police are to blame. These moron college students, and trust me, we have them in my town too, are 100% responsible for getting sprayed. There lucky there weren't in isreal, they would have gotten rubber bullets. Good luck to the officers. Just remember, those in charge are all morons who bow down to pressure because they have no backbone. If it wasn't for a****les for them there be less problems in the world

JAYKIRK @ 11/24/2011 3:16 PM



PoliceAREtoBLAME @ 11/25/2011 11:15 AM

Is a moron someone who doesn't know the difference betwee there and they're? Could the moron be the person that believes what they see on FOX News...could the moron be the person that didn't go to college and envies those who did - those who have critical thinking abilities and those who do not base their decisions on "might makes right".
Violence has NEVER SOLVED ANY PROBLEM...those who are more evolved already know that.
I feel very sorry for those that are so unevolved...or so caught up in their own insecuriities that that can't problem solve other than by hitting or hurting someone...I wish those with the billy clubs and pepper spray would put these weapons away and start to use their midns and their hearts to solve problems - THERE IS ANOTHER WAY! Would JESUS be using PEPPER SPRAY ON NON-VIOLENT PROTESTERS? I think not. We should all be listening more and hurting less...
Our Constitution gives individuals the right to free speech...the constitution does not support a militaristic marshal law -
It is possible to work together - not against each other - but VIOLENCE IS NOT THE SOLUTION - NO MATTER WHAT! Would you pepper spray your daughter, your son, your grandchild??? Would you pepper spray your 84 yr old mother? How low can we go before we have lost all our morality? We are sinking pretty low now...I am very saddened by each persons willingness to create blame and use violence today...THERE ARE OTHER WAYS TO SOLVE PROBLEMS AND DISAGREEMENTS...INFINITE POSSIBILITIES!!!

Capt David-Ret LA County @ 11/26/2011 6:26 PM

I remember one of my buddies at Firestone Station Robert C___ in 1968 during the Will Rogers Park riots, mace every black guy on the transportation bus cause someone spit on him. Those cameras can be hell. Read about it

Jackjumpin @ 11/29/2011 7:59 AM

It will take one agency to just walk away and watch the protest and let the protesters loot, damage, and burn If thats what the protesters choose to do. Let the Mayor, School President, or whoever the civilian honcho is deal with the situation. When asked by the LAW to move, MOVE! If you don't, then deal with the consequences. If its your park, school, or street corner then leave your office and handle your business. "If ya call da Pol'eas, let da Pol'eas handle it.

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