jump to navigation

UC Davis Pepper Spray Report Released: Campus Police Force ‘Very Dysfunctional’ April 11, 2012

Posted by rogerhollander in California, Criminal Justice, Education.
Tags: , , , , , ,
1 comment so far

Roger’s note: now that it took over four months to document the obvious, the question is whether the UC Davis administration and police will be held accountable and face justice, or will the authorities decide, to use the infamous words of our gutless president, and choose to “look forward rather than backward” (which is code for letting those in power get away with crimes for which we ordinary folk would pay dearly).

Published on Wednesday, April 11, 2012 by Common Dreams

Pepper spraying incident ‘should and could have been prevented’

  – Common Dreams staff


Months after students at UC Davis were filmed being soaked in pepper spray and arrested by police in riot gear after peacefully protesting at their university, a UC Davis ‘task force’ has finally released a report on the incident today.

The report includes a number of criticisms against police and administrative action on the day stating, “The pepper spraying incident that took place on November 18, 2011 should and could have been prevented.” The report is critical of the actions of Police Chief Annette Spicuzza. It states, “the command and leadership structure of the UCDPD is very dysfunctional.”

The 190-page Reynoso Task Force Report said the use of pepper spray was “not supported by objective evidence and not authorized by policy.”

According to CBS News, the report finds:

  • The incident was not managed according to plan.
  • The pepper spray used (MK-9) was not an authorized weapon for UC Davis police officers and officers were not trained in how to use it.
  • Chancellor Linda Katehi bears responsibility for deploying police at 3 p.m. to remove tents rather than earlier in the day or the night before
  • Chancellor Katehi bears primary responsibility for failing to communicate her position that physical force should be avoided.
  • Lt. John Pike bears responsibility for the use of pepper spray on the students.

The Reynoso task force will be presenting the report live at UC Davis from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Eastern, which will be available via webcast here.


Less Lethal, Or You Die November 22, 2011

Posted by rogerhollander in Civil Liberties, Criminal Justice, Occupy Wall Street Movement.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
add a comment
11.22.11 – 11:01 AM

by Abby Zimet, www.commondreams.org, November 22, 2011

A chilling look at “crowd management tools” – a.k.a. weapons – made by companies with names like Defense Technology and Combined Tactical Systems and increasingly used by police, from pepperball guns and compressed-air pepper-spray backbacks to projectiles firing bean bag “pain compliance rounds” and fog machines dispensing clouds of tear gas “to provide reliable, less-lethal, effective means of incapacitation.” From Mother Jones.


2 Comments so far

Hide All

Posted by Demonstorm
Nov 22 2011 – 11:32am

Most of these – and all the future ones still in development – weapons have one and only one purpose: to be used against Amereichan citizens who have the balls to dissent against the U.S. government. Think about that. Anyone thinking we still live in a democracy needs to have their blinders ripped off.

Posted by Oikos
Nov 22 2011 – 11:45am

The Evil Empire’s ways come home to discipline and punish the citizenry.

Ten Things You Should Know About Friday’s UC Davis Police Violence November 21, 2011

Posted by rogerhollander in Civil Liberties, Education, Occupy Wall Street Movement.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
add a comment

November 20, 2011 in Students

1. The protest at which UC Davis police officers used pepper spray and batons against unresisting demonstrators was an entirely nonviolent one.

None of the arrests at UC Davis in the current wave of activism have been for violent offenses. Indeed, as the New York Times reported this morning, the university’s administration has “reported no instances of violence by any protesters.” Not one.

2. The unauthorized tent encampment was dismantled before the pepper spraying began.

Students had set up tents on campus on Thursday, and the administration had allowed them to stay up overnight. When campus police ordered students to take the tents down on Friday afternoon, however, most complied. The remainder of the tents were quickly removed by police without incident before the pepper spray incident.

3. Students did not restrict the movement of police at any time during the demonstration.

After police made a handful of arrests in the course of taking down the students’ tents, some of the remaining demonstrators formed a wide seated circle around the officers and arrestees.

UC Davis police chief Annette Spicuzza has claimed that officers were unable to leave that circle: “There was no way out,” she told the Sacramento Bee. “They were cutting the officers off from their support. It’s a very volatile situation.” But multiple videos clearly show that the seated students made no effort to impede the officers’ movement. Indeed, Lt. Pike, who initiated the pepper spraying of the group, was inside the circle moments earlier. To position himself to spray, he simply stepped over the line.

4. Lt. Pike was not in fear for his safety when he sprayed the students.

Chief Spicuzza told reporters on Thursday that her officers had been concerned for their safety when they began spraying. But again, multiple videos show this claim to be groundless.

The most widely distributed video of the incident (viewed, as I write this, by nearly 700,000 people on YouTube) begins just moments before Lt. Pike begain spraying, but another video, which starts a few minutes earlier, shows Pike chatting amiably with one activist, even patting him casually on the back.

The pat on the back occurs just two minutes and nineteen seconds before Pike pepper sprayed the student he had just been chatting with and all of his friends.

5. University of California Police are not authorized to use pepper spray except in circumstances in which it is necessary to prevent physical injury to themselves or others.

From the University of California’s Universitywide Police Policies and Administrative Procedures: “Chemical agents are weapons used to minimize the potential for injury to officers, offenders, or other persons. They should only be used in situations where such force reasonably appears justified and necessary.”

6. UC police are not authorized to use physical force except to control violent offenders or keep suspects from escaping.

Another quote from the UC’s policing policy: “Arrestees and suspects shall be treated in a humane manner … they shall not be subject to physical force except as required to subdue violence or ensure detention. No officer shall strike an arrestee or suspect except in self-defense, to prevent an escape, or to prevent injury to another person.”

7. The UC Davis Police made no effort to remove the student demonstrators from the walkway peacefully before using pepper spray against them.

One video of the pepper-spray incident shows a group of officers moving in to remove the students from the walkway. Just as one of them reaches down to pick up a female student who was leaning against a friend, however, Lt. Pike waves the group back, clearing a space for him to use pepper spray without risk of accidentally spraying his colleagues.

8. Use of pepper spray and other physical force continued after the students’ minimal obstruction of the area around the police ended.

The line of seated students had begun to break up no more than eight seconds after Lt. Pike began spraying. The spraying continued, however, and officers soon began using batons and other physical force against the now-incapacitated group.

9. Even after police began using unprovoked and unlawful violence against the students, they remained peaceful.

Multiple videos show the aftermath of the initial pepper spraying and the physical violence that followed. In none of them do any of the assaulted students or any of the onlookers strike any of the officers who are attacking them and their friends.

10. The students’ commitment to nonviolence extended to their use of language.

At one point on Thursday afternoon, before the police attack on the demonstration, a few activists started a chant of “From Davis to Greece, fuck the police.” They were quickly hushed by fellow demonstrators who urged them to “keep it nonviolent! Keep it peaceful!”

Their chant was replaced by one of “you use weapons, we use our voice.”

Six and a half minutes later, the entire group was pepper sprayed.

If you’d like to stay in the loop as I continue to cover this story, feel free to follow me on Twitter

About This Blog

StudentActivism.net is the work of Angus Johnston, a historian and advocate of American student organizing.
To contact Angus, click here. For information about bringing him out to your campus or event, click here.

Is this 84-year-old woman the new poster child of the Occupy movement? November 16, 2011

Posted by rogerhollander in Civil Liberties, Occupy Wall Street Movement.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,
add a comment
Roger’s note: It is inevitable.  As a mass movement grows against the ravishes of capitalist “democracy,” the repressive instruments of the state will come into play.  From the point of view of the government, from Obama down to the smallest of city mayors and their police chiefs (and, of course, the military industrial complex behind it all), it cannot be allowed to grow any further.  The police repression of the Occupy Movement in Oakland, Berkeley, Portland, Seattle, and many other cities to come, serves two purposes. Not only does it serve to terrorize democratic non-violent first amendment protest, but it also will shift the blame for the violence to the protesters, creates a characterizatuib if the movement as riotous and anarchic.
Activist Dorli Rainey, 84, was hit with pepper spray during an Occupy Seattle protest on Tuesday at Westlake Park in Seattle.Activist Dorli Rainey, 84, was hit with pepper spray during an Occupy Seattle protest on Tuesday at Westlake Park in Seattle.

Joshua Trujillo/AP

Lorianna De GiorgioToronto Star


// <![CDATA[
jQuery(document).ready(function () {
if (jQuery('.ts-main_article2_image').width()

 Is this the face of the Occupy movement?

Photos of 84-year-old Dorli Rainey being cared for by fellow activists after Seattle police blasted a crowd of Occupy protesters with pepper spray Tuesday have popped up on news websites and blogs around the world.

Occupy Seattle condemned the force, posting a statement on its website shortly after the incident saying “we offer our sympathies to the many protesting patriots that were indiscriminately pepper sprayed including a 4’10” 84 year old woman, a priest and a pregnant woman who as of this writing is still in the hospital.”

Rainey is a well-known activist who has supported liberal causes in Seattle since the 1950s.

RELATED: Occupy Wall Street protesters return to park, but can’t camp out

The former mayoral candidate is a member of the Seattle chapter of Women in Black, an international network of women who “stand in silent vigil, calling for peace, justice and non-violent solutions to conflict,” according to its website.

In a 2010 interview with Talking Stick, a weekly program airing on a Seattle community cable access channel, Rainey described her desire to represent inequalities in the system.

“Freedom of speech is a concept. It is not always practised in this country,” says Rainey, whose blog, Old Lady in Combat Boots, talks about her civic activism.

“I think she’s a role model among activists that walks the walk,” Talking Stick TV producer Mike McCormick wrote in an email.

“She’s passionate, thoughtful, well informed, dogged, fearless, in-your-face but not in an intimidating way, warm, caring, humorous, doesn’t pull her punches kinda activist you want right next to you when the s–t hits the fan.”

Seattle police spokesman Jeff Kappel told the Associated Press he didn’t have the details on the Rainey confrontation, but he said pepper spray is “is not age specific. No more dangerous to someone who is 10 or someone who is 80.”

READ MORE: Full coverage of the Occupy movement

Kappel noted on the department’s blog the protesters began blocking traffic on 3rd Avenue and “officers gave numerous verbal warnings to get out of the street and back onto the sidewalk.”

He said at one point during the march a woman tried to hit an officer but failed to hit him.

Also a man threw an “unknown liquid” into an officer’s face. The officer was not injured.

“Pepper spray was deployed only against subjects who were either refusing a lawful order to disperse or engaging in assaultive behavior toward officers,” Kappel wrote on the blog.

Seattle fire department spokesman Kyle Moore said the city’s paramedics treated several people, including the pregnant woman.

Many of the protesters used homemade remedies, such as milk to counteract against the pepper spray, Moore added.

Rev. Rich Lang, pastor of the University Temple University Church in Seattle was pepper sprayed earlier in Tuesday’s march (see video below).

He joined the movement as a pastoral counsellor a few weeks ago after the Occupy Seattle moved its encampment to Seattle Central Community College from Westlake Park.

Lang said he broke up a series of altercations between protesters and police before he was pepper sprayed in the face by officers.

“Last night was interesting,” Lang said Wednesday.

“The Occupy movement took care of me…rinsed my eyes out,” he said. “Pepper spray feels like a severe burn. In your eyes…it’s just misery.”

Lang wrote a letter to explain what happened and to urge his fellow clergy members to get involved in the movement.

“I walked between the lines, I was alone, I was in full clergy dress, everyone knew who I was and what I was…six officers turned their spray on me thoroughly soaking my alb and then one officer hit me full throttle in the face,” he wrote.

“My question to my clergy colleagues is this: Where are you?”

Officers arrested six people in the incident.

With files from the Associated Press

B.C. man pepper sprayed when he asked border guard to say ‘please’ March 6, 2009

Posted by rogerhollander in Canada, Immigration.
Tags: , , , , , , , ,
add a comment

The Canadian Press

VANCOUVER — A British Columbian man has learned the hard way that you don’t ask a U.S. border guard to be polite when he asks you to turn off your vehicle’s engine.

Desiderio Fortunato, of Coquitlam, B.C., asked the guard to say please and instead received a face full of pepper spray.

“I just said please,” Mr. Fortunato explained Thursday. “He said ‘get out of the car or I spray you’ and … I thought he was just trying to scare me off or something and I was pepper sprayed from a foot or two away.”

He said it was then that five or six border guards jumped on him, placed him in handcuffs and questioned him for three hours last Monday afternoon.

“I felt like I was attacked by a bunch of wolves. They jumped on me, they threw me to the ground and they kneeled on me.”

But he said the worst part was the pepper spray burning his eyes, and every time he rubbed his eyes he made the problem even worse.

Mr. Fortunato, 54, was born in Portugal, but became a Canadian citizen almost 30 years ago.

During questioning from U.S. officials, he said, the first thing they wanted to know was where he was born.

He said the entire demeanour of the officials changed when he told them he was of Portuguese origin.

“Their shields dropped slightly down. It was like you know: OK he’s a Westerner, OK he’s not a Muslim, OK he’s a Christian, he’s one of us. That’s what I read [from them].”

Mr. Fortunato noted that the motto of U.S. Customs and Border Protection is to “serve the American public with vigilance, integrity and professionalism.”

“What is that, that’s what they pledge. I’m just asking for a please, and I get pepper spray in the face, and of course their argument is you must comply with anything an officer says.”

U.S. Customs spokesman Mike Milne said the officer made a lawful order that travellers must obey but the use of force is under review.

Mr. Fortunato said he spoke with the same guard later and the man seemed contrite.

He crosses the border two or three times a week to visit his second home in Blaine, Wash., and said he plans to go back.

But first he’ll need to send U.S. Customs an RCMP criminal record check and proof that he lives where he said he did.

He has no criminal record and said he isn’t worried about going back.

Mr. Fortunato, who travels the world competing in and teaching jazz dance, said he often deals with customs agents.

“I just become more cynical,” he said.