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Nov 21 2011

Take that, rabble

The UC Davis police chief has been placed on leave after the pepper spraying of students on Friday.

On Sunday, the university said that two police officers had been placed on administrative leave with pay pending an investigation into Friday’s incident. In videos that were widely distributed over the Internet, two police officers in riot gear were seen dousing about a dozen protesters with pepper spray as they sat on a sidewalk with their arms entwined.

Yup. That’s what happened.

14 comments

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  1. 1
    Nele

    … and rightfully UC Davis, their chancellor, their “police department”, and their facebook page have been flooded with appropriately outraged comments…

  2. 2
    NathanDST

    Is it me, or does it just seem really stupid to do something like pepper spray calm protesters at a highly publicized event in a modern age when everyone and their dog has a cell phone with a video recorder? Apart from any other reason (and there are good ones) they should be tossed just for sheer stupidity.

  3. 3
    Aratina Cage

    I think it’s time we put term limits on police employment. Something needs to be done to stop these immoral buffoons from staying in their positions of power.

  4. 4
    kosk11348

    NathanDST, that assumes the police knew they were doing something inappropriate. I have seen many comments from people who think the police did nothing wrong. The attitude seems to be: “Listen to the police or you get what you deserve.” Worse yet, I’ve seen some people commend the police who pepper sprayed these students for exercising such restraint, since the police in Egypt and Syria shoot protestors!

  5. 5
    julian

    NathanDST, that assumes the police knew they were doing something inappropriate.

    Actually that’s spot on. Notice how calm the police officer in the picture is? That’s because he has been trained to react like this to protesters (or anyone really) is isn’t immediately obedient to commands. He also, according to some people I’ve spoken to, been justified in busting out the baton and using it to beat them while another officer tried to cuff them. I’m told (haven’t verified this) that’s standard procedure in many precincts across the country.

  6. 6
    Kevin

    These are “campus police” … aka, security guards with university badges. Let’s just say the people who take that kind of job aren’t exactly the cream of the law enforcement crop.

    I would think there are clear guidelines for use of pepper spray in California state law and/or regulations regarding the use of force by law enforcement of any stripe. And suffice it to say, this isn’t one of those instances. In fact, those who were sprayed are most likely due financial compensation from UC Davis. There’s already case law — from California, no less — that went all the way to the Ninth Circuit (the Supremes refused to hear the case and the Circuit ruled against the cops). See Headwaters Forest Defense v County of Humbolt (9th Cir. 2000) 240 F.3d 1185.

    In other words, one might suspect that these two are soon-to-be ex-campus police. And that the university otherwise has a world of hurt on its hands, liability-wise.

    And no, it is not — as in never — appropriate for one police officer to whack someone with a baton while they are in the process of being cuffed AND NOT RESISTING. Resist arrest, and you’re risking escalating use of force. The cops will never — as in never — de-escalate from a situation where they’re cuffing someone, so once that process starts, you’re far better off cooperating. Once cuffed, you may find yourself uncuffed if the overall situation changes…but if they’re trying to cuff you, let them.

    There’s no point in risking danger to yourself in resisting — even to try to “talk them out of it”. Ain’t gonna happen until AFTER you’re already cuffed. Keep resisting and you’ll not only get a whack on the noggin, you’ll get a resisting arrest charge added on, which probably will stick.

  7. 7
    Sithrazer

    “Campus Security” was interchangeable with “rent-a-cop” during my brief college experience. They fell somewhere between a meter maid and security guard. Then it was also a community college that I attended.

    What really annoys me is that he’s been suspended WITH PAY. in any other job that I’m aware of, they call that a vacation. Can someone please tell me there’s some other strings attached to suspension for “law enforcement”?

  8. 8
    Ophelia Benson

    It’s a vacation for which he doesn’t even have to use up his vacation days. It’s a reward!

  9. 9
    geocatherder

    I did my undergrad degree at U.C. Davis in the late ’70s; back then, there was always some protest or another going on, and the campus police handled the protests gracefully. Apparently the skill has been lost over the years.

    I’ve done some writing in the past couple of days and made it clear the the alumni in my household will no longer be donating our hard-earned money to the school, because of this incident. I encourage other alumni to do the same.

  10. 10
    Newman

    As a former Davisite for the past 2 years, this hurts. Davis is not Berkeley. We never expect this to happen on our own campus (though I also suspect Berkeley students/faculty didn’t expect to be “nudged” with police batons earlier that week, either). Officer Pike and the other as-of-yet unidentified officer should be arrested and charged with the crimes they committed. Chancellor Katehi should be forced to resign. Kudos to the faculty, staff, and students who participated in the massive rally today on the quad in protest of the violence that took place Friday- particularly Assistant Professor Nathan Brown, an UNTENURED faculty member who has the balls to speak out in support of the students and against the administrator(s) who are responsible for the crimes committed against the students/faculty at the UC schools over the past week.

  11. 11
    Trebuchet

    These are “campus police” … aka, security guards with university badges. Let’s just say the people who take that kind of job aren’t exactly the cream of the law enforcement crop.

    “Campus Security” was interchangeable with “rent-a-cop” during my brief college experience. They fell somewhere between a meter maid and security guard. Then it was also a community college that I attended.

    While the above is likely true, they are almost certainly have real police powers — perhaps lots of them. The “Campus Charlies” where I went to school 40+ years ago were also sworn in as auxiliary city police and county sheriffs, giving them authority neither the regular city police or sheriffs had.

    Sadly, the tendency of some jerks to aspire to becoming police officers has not changed in hundreds of years.

  12. 12
    NathanDST

    @Aratina:

    I think it’s time we put term limits on police employment. Something needs to be done to stop these immoral buffoons from staying in their positions of power.

    I disagree. I think good cops who don’t let the power go to their head can be very valuable in the long term, with the experience they gain. The bad ones need to be gone though, I agree with that.

    @kosk and julian, 4 and 5 respectively:
    Very Disturbing if true. Very.

  13. 13
    dirigible

    Oh looky, it’s a fourth amendment issue. Now what was that about this all being perfectly legal and reasonable?

  14. 14
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    If you changed your design your site would be banging. The content is good and quite well written though.

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