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. bobcat (in a hat)

    @michaelfury

    I'm just curious. Do you ever get any responses ?

    November 19, 2011 at 10:57 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Fred Mc

    WHAT? How can any administrator running a higher level of education try to double talk her way out of disaster lastly seen in the 60's in Alabama? The video showed peaceful protest. There was no overt confrontation by the protesters. However, what was seen on the screen was a 'peace officer' treating the situation by using a can of bug spray to do harm to peaceful protest.
    Thank God I live in Canada. We may not be perfect in our public handling of protest. Yet we don't bug spray our citizens.
    Any Administrator of a School responsible for such acts would be fired on the spot and not waste media time in trying to explain her complete lack of judgement

    November 19, 2011 at 11:00 pm | Report abuse |
  3. bigwilliestyles

    @ Fred Mc: its very hard to predict how every single person will act or react in a mob situation. If this was the 'plan' and the officer was just 'following orders', then retribution based on responsibility should go all the way to the top; if it was just 1 idiot, or 1 group of idiots, then they should be dealt with accordingly. THEIR tactic is wholesale retribution; two wrongs don't make a right.

    November 19, 2011 at 11:10 pm | Report abuse |
  4. banasy©

    @bc(iah):
    THAT GUY told me one time he goes there.
    'Nuff said!

    November 19, 2011 at 11:15 pm | Report abuse |
  5. citizen

    Remember that in Germany every day common folk convinced themselves it was ok to go to work and do inhumane things to other human beings.
    Meanwhile , newt gingRICH tells protesters to take a shower and get a job. Is this guy the ultimate caricature of a bank CEOs henchman or what?
    Another "family values " Republican hypocrite, unafraid to strap on the feed bag at the trough of taxpayer owned fredie mac.

    November 19, 2011 at 11:19 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Fred Mc

    Two wrongs don't make any right, that is agreed
    However, I got this feed from CNN where the Administrator purposely tried to 'talk over' the interviewer.
    He had to cut her feed to get a question in sideways. Her answers were less than satisfactory such as, "I will look into this"
    I'm familiar with the strong beliefs of the citizens of Frisco based on historical fact over the last 50 years.
    My suggestions is for this woman to resign and find a job at Burger King. It probably would suit her level of skills, imo

    November 19, 2011 at 11:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jean Sartre, Milwauke, WI

      I could not agree more... the "lady" had the standard PC lines all down to a T!

      November 20, 2011 at 8:09 pm | Report abuse |
  7. banasy©

    @citizen:
    Yeah, he sure is.
    The only thing we can be reasonably sure about is that he won't be elected POTUS.

    November 19, 2011 at 11:30 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Fred Mc

    errrr Citizen
    What does Nazi WW2 German population ignorance have to do with a bunch of peaceful protesters sitting on their campus in Frisco and getting pepper sprayed in the face?
    This 2011, the place is USA. This has nothing to do with the subject at hand.

    November 19, 2011 at 11:33 pm | Report abuse |
  9. GIVE PEACE A CHANCE

    REALLY NO EXCESSIVE FORCE IS NECCESSARY THERE IS ENOUGH BRUTALITY IN THE WORLD WITHOUT THIS

    November 19, 2011 at 11:34 pm | Report abuse |
  10. citizen

    The point is, we should use care in whom we champion. And set basic minimum standards for how we allow the rule of law to be used in modern civilized society.
    If we do not do either of these things an example of the potential consequence has been set for us by history.

    November 19, 2011 at 11:42 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Fred Mc

    Give Peace....
    I partially agree with you. I'm a neutral when it relates to force.
    Look back through history, Force of any kind has been abused for thousands of years. Indifference has also been abused for about the same amount of time.
    If you look carefully at where force had to be used in the extreme it was always based on survival...
    Nothing more and nothing less.
    Other choices have had a lot more to do with indifference and politics.

    November 19, 2011 at 11:43 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Fred Mc

    Citizen
    I assume you are a Citizen of the US or another democratic society.
    The rule of law in this form of Government allows free speech and the right of protest in a peaceful manner.
    This does not allow a choice for a 'champion'. It means that the Law must be upheld by both opposing sides.
    Making either side a champion is wrong and downright dangerous as that is not what a democratic society demands of it's citizens...
    "Democracy is the worst form of Govenrment that there is; but it's the best we have"
    Winston Churchill

    November 19, 2011 at 11:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jean Sartre, Milwauke, WI

      A benign dictatorship is the most efficient...

      November 20, 2011 at 8:12 pm | Report abuse |
  13. citizen

    @fredmc
    The unacknowledged religion of our age is greed. That has to change. Let's hope humans have evolved well past the caveman emotional template of kill to survive.

    November 20, 2011 at 12:00 am | Report abuse |
  14. bigwilliestyles

    The good thing about the use of force in protest situations is that 99% of the time it back fires. Repression by force does the one thing that all the talking in the world cannot do: it exposes the lies that fascist regimes are predicated upon. It exposes the purpose of police in a corporate state, and shows to what extent power will go to (including murder) to retain power.

    November 20, 2011 at 12:01 am | Report abuse |
  15. citizen

    That's fine. Not choosing a side. Let's make the process better for every citizen of the world.

    November 20, 2011 at 12:06 am | Report abuse |
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