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Ten Things You Should Know About Friday’s UC Davis Police Violence
by via Student Activism
Sunday Nov 20th, 2011 7:40 PM
The protest at which UC Davis police officers used pepper spray and batons against unresisting demonstrators was an entirely nonviolent one.

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.

Comments  (Hide Comments)

Like many i was outraged at the unprovoked close up pepper spraying of the students sitting in . I only wish i could travel to Davis tommorrow for your rally . But in your attempt to show how unjustified the UC Davis PD actions were Please don't go overboard and label a '' Fuck you '' as violent ! Believe me no one in the "99 %'' (especially the working class segment of it , that is the huge majority ) would consider that to be ''violent ''and therefore would think that to be remotely a legit reason for a genuinely Violent Police attack .
I will go further and say that if people would have knocked the weapon out of the cops's hand that would not have been ''violence ''. That would have been an act of very legitimate self defence , Morally and Politically .
I am not advocating that Perhaps the students there aren't capable of that . But i'm just trying to inject a bit of reality into the discussion to counter the uber pacifist ideology .
PS I don't especially like the slogan '' Fuck the Police '' because i don't think it's a effective organizing tactic and it doesn't say much other than a crude expression of rage .. But not because it would hurt the feelings of those uniformed thugs who's main job is serving and protecting the '' !% ''.
by Anti-fascist
Sunday Nov 20th, 2011 10:59 PM
As has now been widely reported, including on the KPFA weekend news, Sunday, 11/20/11, 6 p.m., 94.1 FM, Pike and 1 other cop are now on paid leave, better known as vacation.

The most outrageous and dangerous aspect of the pepper spray is not mentioned in this report or on KPFA, but it is in Professor Brown's letter, at the online petition which you should co-sign at
That is, these thugs pepper-sprayed people in the throat, causing violent vomiting, first of food, then of blood. This is attempted murder. Can you imagine Ben-Gay in your throat? And magnify the effect of that many times. Here is the statement:

"When students covered their eyes with their clothing, police forced open their mouths and pepper-sprayed down their throats. Several of these students were hospitalized. Others are seriously injured. One of them, forty-five minutes after being pepper-sprayed down his throat, was still coughing up blood."

And of course, they are waking up for days afterward feeling sick. Now that they have a legal team which plans to file a civil rights lawsuit, which will cost the taxpayers about $1 million as these students have a high potential wage capacity, this internal bleeding will be very important to report, over and over again.

I hope this school of 33,000 students has a rally of the same size tomorrow, November 21, 2011. Most of us who are not in any way connected to UC Davis, other than being taxpayers, federal and state, cannot be there, but we can sign the petition. There are now 46,000 signatures demanding Katehi resign. The petition is addressed to Katehi, Democratic Governor Jerry Brown (his silence is deafening), Democratic Attorney General Kamala Harris, Democratic Lt Gov Gavin Newsom, President of UC, the infamous reactionary parasite Mark Yudof (salary is $594,000 plus benefits totalling $828,000 annual salary & benefits, see,
Robert Anderson, Chair of Academic Senate of UC, and the entire Regents Board which should be eliminated and UC should be placed under the Cal Department of Education.

There are 38 million people in the State of California and 310 million residents of the USA. Can we at least get 1 million signatures on this petition? When we march in the street, we are petitioning for redress of grievances. We can do the same online and now is the time to get off the dime. The power of the pen is mightier than the sword, especially when it comes to petitions.
by justus
Monday Nov 21st, 2011 5:18 AM
People should show up at this asshole's home and picket, demo, whatever. Flyer his neighborhood and his kid's school about what a sadist fuck he is.
Now the chief cop, Annette Spicuzza is on leave, a vacation paid for by the taxpayers. The money these cops are receiving, $100,000 a year and up plus benefits, and the administrators are receiving, $400,000 a year and up plus benefits, must be transferred to the financial aid for students fund. These people are incapable of governing or policing at all. The police department at UC Davis and the City of Davis must be abolished and all that money be transferred to social services departments. An accountant, receiving $200,000 a year, could easily manage any university. These leaves are prompted by the lawsuit which will cost the taxpayers millions of dollars. Anyone who thinks pepper spraying people in the face or down the throat is in any way appropriate is criminally insane. Pepper spray and tasers should be banned everywhere.

There are now 51,611 signatures on the petition to demand Chancellor Katehi resign. Please add your signature to the petition at

We need the biggest show of strength possible not only to stop this attempted murder, but also to protest the fee increases and privatization of our school system, which is to say, the destruction of our school system. For those of us not at UC Davis, that means signing the petition now.
by Insurance
Monday Nov 21st, 2011 9:49 PM
UC Davis likely has an insurance policy for these types of things and the claims adjustor will fight tooth and nail to never pay out a settlement for civil rights lawsuit that the militarized coppers are guilty of violating peoples constitutional protections. The district attorneys need to bring criminal charges against Lt. Pike and the jerks who issued the order to OC the students.

Oh yea, the insurance policy that protects the cops is likely AIG, the wall street insurance company. A lot of the municipalities in the central valley have self insurance for a limited amount, but then they buy coverage for incidents like this. Thus the UC policing polices. Those policing policies are reviewed by claims adjustors who work on Wall Street or within the Wall Street Financial District. Yes, AIG is the company who was bailed out by the Federal Government. Remember wall street. Follow the insurance premiums that UC Davis pays and it will trace right back to Wall Street. A public records act would in all likely hood show the money trail right back to Wall Street. Please remember, the insurance policy also will cover UC Davis' defense of the soon to be filed civil cases. IE.. a private law firm will be hired by an insurance company to defend the UC Davis military police and string out the civil rights attorneys.
by Geoffrey King
Monday Nov 28th, 2011 6:47 PM
Just something to think about:

"Characterizing the protestors' activities as 'active resistance' is contrary to the facts of the case, viewing them, as we must, in the light most favorable to the protestors: the protestors were sitting peacefully, were easily moved by the police, and did not threaten or harm the officers. In sum, it would be clear to a reasonable officer that it was excessive to use pepper spray against the nonviolent protestors under these circumstances." - Headwaters Forest Defense v. County of Humboldt, No.98-17250 (9th Circuit, 2002)
by Marc Brody
Friday Dec 9th, 2011 11:09 PM
Pepper spray was developed as a means to incapacitate a person through chemical means. It affects the eyes, the nose and air passage and lungs. Have there been any long term studies on the affects of Pepper Spray. Like any toxin these can have dangerous affects years afterwards. For all those who were sprayed, there should be some legal protection in the event health problems occur later in life. Nobody really knows the affects of toxins in the long term. Each person reacts differently to dangerous, chemical agents. Please,to all those students exposed to this toxin. Make an effort to document and don't sign away your rights. Protect your long term legal rights and access to medical care in the future.
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