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. citizen

    Lets feed and educate everyone. Find a new source of energy so that the economic pie is bigger, then cut an equal piece for each person.
    You must agree it would eliminate many of these power and control issues most politicians, cops etc. demonstrate.

    November 20, 2011 at 12:16 am | Report abuse |
  2. Fred Mc

    You said: "Let's make the process better for every citizen of the world."
    Good Lord I wish that was true in any sense. 1/2 of the world goes hungry every night as we stuff our obese selves with poisons.
    If only all the fine tuned words on this any any other forum would actually go to the people that need it the most.
    The United Nations was supposed to reach out and meet the needs of those people we would rather forget about.
    In truth, I send my contributions every year to Africa and I get my tax advantage.
    Would you consider doing the same if there was nothing coming back to you?
    Would I do the same?
    I'm ashamed to be a part of this planet as I know for a fact that most of that money I donate ends up in the back pocket of some Tin General buying arms on the most lucrative money market on the planet:
    US, Russian or Chinese Arms.

    November 20, 2011 at 12:25 am | Report abuse |
  3. bigwilliestyles

    To anyone that wants to understand the effects of mace ('pepper spray'): take a can of personal mace (or if you can't get one, you can by 'OFF!'. bug repellent, same thing) and spray it on any insect. What you will witness clearly demonstrates the purpose of mace: agony. That's why Fred Mc called it bug spray; it IS bug spray.

    November 20, 2011 at 12:35 am | Report abuse |
  4. citizen

    For example the idea of American Exceptionalism. How absurd.
    We are all human and that way of thinking lays the intellectual groundwork for stuff like NEOCON ideology.
    The idea that the U.S is somehow or must remain the preeminent force in the world.
    What, that we have to preemptively attack sovereign nations at any provocation.
    What, that we have the least social mobility of most developed nations.
    What, that we have 5% of the world's population and use 25% of the worlds resources.
    What, in an interesting symmetry have 25% of the world's prisoners as well.
    Maybe we would be exceptional if we could rest back the direction of our beloved country from the corporations and the super rich.
    What, we tortured people in the United States. Come on. How did that happen?

    November 20, 2011 at 12:43 am | Report abuse |
  5. Fred Mc

    I commend you on your idea of education for all yet an infrastructure has to be in place. Hungry people have a hard time learning let alone have enough energy to walk to a school.
    Speaking of energy, we have lots (beyond petrochems). Wind power, Solar energy, Geothermal, Bio diesel, Tide power are all available to us yet there is really no incentive to change power sources until there is a Global plan to loose the present Oil based infrastructure.
    It seems when the last tank of gasoline gets auctioned off for Gawd knows how insane a price, someone in the crowd leaves and wishes they would have invested in alternative energy 30 years ago....

    November 20, 2011 at 12:48 am | Report abuse |
  6. Fred Mc

    I live on the west coast of Canada and keep a healthy supply of Mace as an avid outdoorsman, and know the effect at close contact for 'Bear Spray'.
    I watched that video on CNN and it really looked to me likeit was used at random like a can of 'RAID' bug spray, (or possibly Febreeze, to air out the laundry). Considering the distance of use to the protesters, serious eye damage could be a possibility (hoping not!)

    November 20, 2011 at 12:56 am | Report abuse |
  7. Fred Mc

    Bug Spray
    Just in case someone is not quite up to speed on Pepper Spray, the active 'nasty' is Cayenne Pepper.
    Yet there are other variations.

    November 20, 2011 at 1:06 am | Report abuse |
  8. Fred Mc

    What is the difference between Mace and Cayenne based spray?
    Not a lot. They both do their job to stick to the target it is intended for.
    Both types of delivery are not fine sprays, they are sticky streams designed attach itself to the target for maximum effect.
    Consider that a charging bear weighing 1000 lbs plus needs to be stopped as soon as possible, this method has limited use in the first 10 seconds or the product will be useless.
    Mace based sprays are usually light brown in color. Cayenne based sprays will have a distinct pink color.
    Maximum effect will be from a Cayenne based product, which was used at UC-Davis
    Using either product on a human being is both cruel and abusive, especially when no threat was displayed towards the officers using this product.

    November 20, 2011 at 1:33 am | Report abuse |
  9. **cosmicvox *

    If you are putting yourself out there you have to be ready for it. It Could get a Lot uglier...

    November 20, 2011 at 2:41 am | Report abuse |
  10. bigwilliestyles

    @ Fred Mc: thanks for the update; @ cosmicvox: agreed.

    November 20, 2011 at 2:54 am | Report abuse |
  11. Odd...

    ...they didn't "investigate" police using pepper spray and shotgun beanbags on those of US who were protesing the War on the Iraqi peoples. (shrug) hmmmf!

    November 20, 2011 at 6:16 am | Report abuse |
  12. @citizen (12:43)

    How could this happen? Because no matter if we have a neocon or a democon leadership, it still happens. Blaming America's stupidity on a political party is one of the things that makes us look stupid to anyone with a brain. (like taking food...corn, for example...and mixing it into bio-diesel as even many of our own children go to bed hungry. Totally retarded)

    November 20, 2011 at 6:26 am | Report abuse |
  13. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    The police can tell a crowd to move. If the crowd will not move, the police can use force to move the "chilling" crowd.
    As another writer stated above, pepper spray is mild compared to bullets.

    November 20, 2011 at 6:52 am | Report abuse |
  14. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    If you are arrested by the police or told to move by them, it does not mean that you "live in a police state."
    It means that you live in a state that has police.

    November 20, 2011 at 7:01 am | Report abuse |
  15. wrong

    You are wrong, Joey. We were peacefully protesting the War on the Iraqi peoples and were pepper-sprayed AND shotgun beanbagged back in 2003. There is no call for police to use potentially lethal force on citizens who protest illegal wars and occupations of foreign countries. And I hope that when we get-around to protesting in front of courthouses that do not allow men who raype boys to be charged with statutory raype that the police don't beanbag our already scarred asses.

    November 20, 2011 at 7:28 am | Report abuse |
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