California News

UC Davis pepper-spray incident was preventable, says report

Wednesday, April 11, 2012
A UC Davis campus police officer is seen pepper-spraying demonstrators in Nov. 2011.

A UC Davis campus police officer is seen pepper-spraying demonstrators in Nov. 2011. (KABC Photo)

A task force determined Wednesday that UC Davis police shouldn't have pepper-sprayed seated protesting students.

The incident prompted national outrage and calls for the chancellor's resignation after online videos of the confrontation went viral.

Students had set up an Occupy Wall Street camp on campus Nov. 18, when officers shot pepper-spray on the heads of protesters, who were all seated with arms intertwined. In the viral video, one officer can clearly be seen calmly and liberally dousing a line of seated students with pepper-spray at close range.

The 13-member task force concluded that the spraying occurred due to breakdowns in the campus chain of command and communications.

The report was published online by the university, a day after a judge approved its publication without the names of most officers involved in the clash.

The report was supposed to be released March 6, but the campus police officers' union sued to keep the document under wraps, claiming it contained confidential personnel records that should not be publically released under state law.

However, a judge ruled that the university could publish the entire report without the names of all the officers except Lt. John Pike and Chief Annette Spicuzza, whose identities became widely known during media coverage of the incident.

In February, the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit against school administrators on behalf of a group of pepper-sprayed students seeking unspecified damages and campus policies to prevent similar responses to non-violent protests.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

(Copyright ©2014 KABC-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)

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