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UC Davis Pepper Spray Report Released: Campus Police Force 'Very Dysfunctional'

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.

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AP news

Report: CA Pepper-Spray Incident was Preventable

A University of California task force says the pepper-spraying of student protesters by UC Davis police could and should have been prevented.

That conclusion was contained in a report released Wednesday on the Nov. 18 crackdown on students who had set up an Occupy Wall Street camp on campus.

The university published the document online a day after a judge approved its publication without the names of most officers involved in the clash. [...]

The 13-member task force was created to investigate the notorious incident, when officers shot pepper spray on the heads of sitting protesters.

The pepper-spraying prompted national outrage, campus protests and calls for the chancellor's resignation after online videos of the confrontation went viral.

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LA Times reports:

UC study criticizes, places blame in pepper spray use at Davis

The study strongly refutes campus police assertions the band of Occupy demonstrators posed a violent threat and it also says administrators wrongly assumed that many off-campus troublemakers were part of the tent-city protest that officials wanted evicted. It details a chain of miscommunication and poorly timed efforts to remove the protesters, leading to the incident that gripped the nation via an online video showing campus Police Lt. John Pike spraying a line of seated students at close range.

“On balance, there is little factual basis supporting Lt. Pike’s belief that he was trapped by the protesters or that his officers were prevented from leaving the quad. Further, there is little evidence that any protesters attempted to use violence against the police,” the report stated.

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Read the full report here:

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