November 19th, 2011
06:58 PM ET

California university to investigate police use of pepper spray

University of California Davis' chancellor Saturday called police use of pepper spray on Occupy protesters "chilling" and established a task force to look into the incident.

The startling video broadcast by CNN Sacramento affiliate KOVR showed an officer, in a sweeping motion, spraying seated protesters point blank Friday before other officers moved in. Eleven people were treated on site for effects of the spray. Two of them were sent to the hospital, university officials said.

"Yesterday was not a day that would make anyone on our campus proud; indeed the events of the day need to guide us forward as we try to make our campus a better place of inquiry, debate, and even dissent," Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi said in a statement.

UC Davis spokeswoman Claudia Morain told CNN that 25 tents were in place Friday afternoon - despite fliers explaining the campus prohibits overnight camping.

After written and verbal warnings, officers reminded the protesters they would be subject to arrest if they did not move their tents, Morain said.

A group of protesters sat on a path with their arms interlocked as police moved in to remove the tents.

At one point, protesters encircled the officers and blocked them from leaving, the spokeswoman said. Cut off from backup, the officers determined the situation was not safe and asked people several times to make room, Morain said. One officer used pepper spray when a couple of protesters and some of the 200 bystanders moved in, she added.

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Filed under: California • Crime • Occupy Wall Street
soundoff (211 Responses)
  1. genomega

    When you break the law be man enough to accept what happens to you. Look at Europe and the middle east people get killed for protesting.

    November 19, 2011 at 9:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • andrew*

      In the middle east. When protesters get beaten or pepper sprayed. The united states will ask the united nations to step up to the plate and condemn the attack on democracy

      November 19, 2011 at 9:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jean Sartre, Milwauke, WI

      This is AMERICA, you IDIOT!

      We have a right to peaceful protest...

      November 20, 2011 at 8:00 pm | Report abuse |
  2. beachrat

    This is not Kent State, but we are getting there. It is so ironic that the police are actually part of the 99% but they are protecting the establishment , as it has always been

    November 19, 2011 at 9:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • daniel

      The people who fight for the right of police officers to collectively bargain will remember these actions when the anti-government folks come for your pay and benefits. If you choose to act as a tool for the 1%, you can look to them for your support.

      November 19, 2011 at 9:57 pm | Report abuse |
  3. pmk1953

    It won't be too much longer before some "christian" right wingnut plows his car into a group of protesters. I hope I'm wrong, but I have a weird feeling that it's going to happen.

    November 19, 2011 at 9:23 pm | Report abuse |
  4. banasy©

    Of course there is going to be repercussions for breaking any law.
    Using it on protesters already subdued is overkill, though, and should be investigated.

    Hi, pmk1953.

    November 19, 2011 at 9:23 pm | Report abuse |
  5. pmk1953

    Hey Banasy, I get my space back monday.

    November 19, 2011 at 9:25 pm | Report abuse |
  6. banasy©


    Unfortunately, they have a job to do, whether they like it or not.


    I sincerely hope you are wrong.

    November 19, 2011 at 9:26 pm | Report abuse |
  7. banasy©

    Already? That's great!
    I'll bet that you miss the noise, thought – for about 20 minutes.
    Powder will be relieved...

    November 19, 2011 at 9:27 pm | Report abuse |
  8. chrissy

    the people in the middle east do not have the CONST/ITUT/ION either!!

    November 19, 2011 at 9:28 pm | Report abuse |
  9. bobcat (in a hat)

    I apologize for my choice of words. I guess you have to consider me a bleeding heart also. Because I do have empathy.
    But my point was from the article I read, these officers were encircled with no way out. They used the pepper spray when a couple of protesters and some of the 200 bystanders moved in.
    I mean, if you were in that situation and had that many people coming at you, wouldn't you do something to protect yourself ?

    November 19, 2011 at 9:29 pm | Report abuse |
  10. pmk1953

    I do too. But I've had these kind of feelings before and it happened. It's scary when something gives you the willies and it happens. I had a feeling about a plane crash at the Pittsburgh airport and 3 days later it happened. I was taking my wife to eat one day and as we drove on the road to the restaurant, we drove through a spot where the road changes from 4 lanes divided back to 2 lanes. I told Michele it's a wonder there had never been a head on collision there because of the way the road was arranged. That night and 5 days later there were head on fatalities there. It's scary when that stuff happens. I had that same feeling of dread again. I sure hope I'm wrong.

    November 19, 2011 at 9:37 pm | Report abuse |
  11. banasy©

    @bobcat (in a hat)

    You don't have to apologize; my reaction was to the term "bleeding heart", which I see all too often thrown around these pages like it were a curse word, most notably by THAT GUY.

    I agree in principle to what you said otherwise, however; any use of excessive force, especially if the protesters were already obeying the commands, must be looked at.

    I also do not agree with the premise that since people in the ME are killed for protesting, it is perfectly all right for pepper spray, et al, to be used on OWS protesters, simply because it's not lethal.

    November 19, 2011 at 9:47 pm | Report abuse |
  12. banasy©

    That all being said, I agree that the OWS needs to obey laws and *peacefully* protest; I do not condone unlawful or unruly acts, no matter how good the cause is.

    November 19, 2011 at 9:49 pm | Report abuse |
  13. banasy©

    Jeez, pmk, I hope so, too!
    We've had a couple of incidents where a car plowed into pedestrians here in Chi; elderly folk whose foot slipped.
    Those were accidents, however; I really hope nobody would ever do it intentionally!

    November 19, 2011 at 9:52 pm | Report abuse |
  14. pmk1953

    There was one a few years ago, I forget where it happened though. The guy was stuck in traffic, got mad and drove down the sidewalk. There was another one where a guy drove into a street fair, too. He was drunk though.

    November 19, 2011 at 9:57 pm | Report abuse |
  15. bobcat (in a hat)


    I agree. If this was indeed a case of overkill by the police, it definitely needs to be investigated.
    Like I said, I was un unable to watch the video, so I was going by the written accounts.

    November 19, 2011 at 9:58 pm | Report abuse |
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