/ Xeni Jardin / 1 am Sun, Nov 20 2011
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  • Interview with a pepper-sprayed UC Davis student

    Photo: Brian Nguyen, The Aggie.

    Interview with a pepper-sprayed UC Davis student

    Photo:Brian Nguyen/The Aggie.

    22-year-old UC Davis student W. (name withheld by request) was one of the students pepper-sprayed at point-blank range Friday by Lt. John Pike while seated on the ground, arms linked and silent.

    W. tells Boing Boing that Pike sprayed them at close range with military-grade pepper spray, in a punitive manner. Pike knew the students by name from Thursday night when they "occupied" a campus plaza. The students offered Pike food and coffee and chatted with him and other officers while setting up tents. On Friday, UC Davis chancellor Linda Katehi told students they had to remove their #OWS tents for unspecified "health and safety" reasons.

    "Move or we're going to shoot you," Pike is reported to have yelled at one student right before delivering pepper spray. Then, turning to his fellow officers and brandishing the can in the air, "Don't worry, I'm going to spray these kids down."

    Photo:Brian Nguyen/The Aggie.

    XJ: So, we see in the videos and photos that you were one of the students pepper-sprayed by Lieutenant John Pike yesterday. How are you doing today?

    W: I still have a burning sensation in my throat, lips and nose, especially when I start coughing, or when I'm lying in bed. Everyone who got sprayed has sustained effects like this.

    XJ: Can you tell us how it happened, from where you were sitting?

    W: I'd pulled my beanie hat over my eyes, to protect my eyes. I received a lot of pepper spray in my throat. I vomited twice, right away, then spent the next hour or two dry heaving. Someone said they saw him spray down my throat intentionally, but I was so freaked out, and I was blinded by my hat, so I can't verify. I did get a large quantity of pepper spray in my lungs.

    Another girl near me who has asthma had an attack triggered by the pepper spray, and she was taken to the hospital.

    Photo:Brian Nguyen/The Aggie.

    He used military grade pepper spray on us. It's supposed to be used at a minimum of 15 feet. But he sprayed us at point blank range. Another student, 20 years old, who was sprayed and then arrested—instead of receiving medical care for the pepper spray exposure, he was made to wait in the back of a police car. His hands were sprayed, and he had intense burning in his hands throughout the evening while he was being held. He asked a police officer what they could do to stop it, and they refused to give any advice.

    Photo:Brian Nguyen/The Aggie.

    XJ: Take us back to what led up to that moment. Friday's protest wasn't an isolated expression, or the beginning of the Occupy Wall Street movement on the university campus, right?

    W: We'd been protesting at UC Davis for the last week. On Tuesday there was a rally organized by some faculty members in response to the brutality on the UC Berkeley campus, and in response to the proposed 81% tuition hike.

    One of the reasons I am involved with #OWS, and advocating for an occupy movement on the UC campus, is to fight privatization and austerity in the UC system, and fight rising tuition costs. I think that citizens have the right to get an education regardless of economic condition. Most people are not going to get a job where they can afford to pay off student loans. But to exclude people from knowledge is unconscionable.

    The #OWS movement is global, but it's expressed locally in ways that are relevant to each city. People who are in NYC go to Wall Street. Oakland takes the port. At Davis, we have a university.

    Photo:Brian Nguyen/The Aggie.

    So the Tuesday protest was one of the biggest rallies on the campus since tuition hikes in 2009. That protest ended with a march around the campus, which led us to the administrative building. Sort of spontaneously, we all decided to occupy an area on the grounds and we stayed the night. The administration allowed it. I had a wonderful conversation with Lieutenant Pike that night. I dialogued with him for a while. He was cordial to me. He knew me by name. We offered him coffee and food.

    We have a food collective, and we are organizing to feed the occupiers with food we grow at the student farm. It was all really lovely.

    On Wednesday there was the big protest in San Francisco, and striking at the UC regents meeting over the proposed 81% tuition increase next year. The regents actually canceled their meeting because they knew we were coming, and they have since decided to do it by teleconference next Monday so we can't disrupt them.

    UC Davis police cleared out the 15 or so protesters who remained in Mrak Hall while the rest of the occupiers had left for the demonstration in San Francisco.

    We had another rally on Thursday, with a big General Assembly. We decided to have an occupation against the injustices we were facing, and on Thursday night there were 35 tents set up, with more planning on coming.

    Photo:Brian Nguyen/The Aggie.

    It was beautiful. We we had food, we sang songs, students were tutoring other students. We were talking about important issues, dialoguing over issues affecting our campus.

    Chancellor Katehi agreed to let us waive the "no camping on campus" policy that night, and allowed us to stay there.

    That same night, we went to the associated students of UC Davis student government meeting on campus, and we asked them for a resolution for peaceful protest without police intervention. We wrote it, they passed it, and we now had the support of the student body to have this protest, which was great.

    The next morning we woke up, made breakfast, and had a lovely morning.

    Pretty early on, before noon we got a letter from chancellor Katehi to please remove our tents, citing health and safety reasons, but not saying what those reasons are.

    We took the letter, and replied more or less: look, we understand we're in violation of the camping code. But we believe that this is superseded by our first amendment rights.

    Photo:Brian Nguyen/The Aggie.

    On Friday, they delivered another letter: at 3pm your tents will be taken down. This letter was not signed, it was just one paragraph in a big ugly font. Not on letterhead.

    "We are demanding you remove these tents by 3pm," it read, "You need to move to another area on the campus so we can remove these tents, and if you do not comply you will be arrested."

    We talked amongst ourselves, and decided that we were going to stay. We spent the next few hours talking about tactics so our tents wouldn't get stolen. Maybe we'd go to the Occupy City of Davis camp, and just keep migrating so they couldn't take us down.

    And then, at around 330pm Friday, riot police. A lot of them showed up. We saw them and put our tents in the middle of the area. We'd been keeping the paths clear keeping space immaculately clean, feeding everyone who was hungry who came by... we tried to talk to the campus groundskeepers and tell them that we understood they need to do their job. We offered to move our tents so they could water the lawn. We wanted not to disrupt unnecessarily.

    Photo:Brian Nguyen/The Aggie.

    When the riot police came, we put our tents in a circle. We walked around in a circle, and said nothing hateful towards the police. Maybe one guy chanted, "Fuck the police" a few times, but it died down right away. None of us wanted to chant against the police.

    And then the police officers rushed in.

    We were chanting so loud we couldn't hear any order to disperse. And with no warning, moving incredibly violently, they seized a few students.

    Photo:Brian Nguyen/The Aggie.

    They handcuffed the students so tightly. One kid, later on they were unable to cut off his ties, they'd been tied so tight. One of the other students couldn't feel his hands they were so purple, his circulation was cut off so badly for so long. He took himself to the hospital after he was released from the zip-tie restraints. They told him he had nerve damage and not to expect to be able to feel his hands for the next week. He has to come back next week to see if there was permanent nerve damage in his wrists.

    We came back to the area after that round of arrests. That's when the recording for most of the video you see on the internet was started.

    We yelled, "clear these tents," we didn't want them to take our tents. Aside from refusing the order to disperse, the only rule we were breaking was camping on campus. But since we had the first night waived by Chancellor Katehi, we really hadn't even broken university policy, she waived the code.

    Photo:Brian Nguyen/The Aggie.

    So, everyone removed the tents, and they were in the process of arresting more people. A collective decision was made on the fly to just sit in a circle arms linked legs crossed, with police officers and "prisoners" in the middle because we didn't want them arresting only 3 of us. It wasn't fair that 50 of us were there, and only a few arrested who hadn't volunteered to be arrested. There was still one walkway open that the police were going to use to walk the arrestees out. I saw some friends of mine sit down there, and they were my friends, so I joined them. We linked arms, legs crossed.

    Photo:Brian Nguyen/The Aggie.

    We were never warned that we were going to be pepper-sprayed.

    Lt. Pike walked up to my friend, and I am told that he said, "Move or we're going to shoot you."

    Then he went back and talked to a few of his police officer friends. A couple of other officers started to remove people who were sitting there, blocking exit. Pike could have easily removed us, just picked us up and removed us. We were just sitting there, nonviolent civil disobedience.

    But Pike turned around and I am told that he said to the other officers, "Don't worry about it, I'm going to spray these kids down."

    He lifts the can, spins it around in a circle to show it off to everybody.

    Then he sprays us three times.

    As if one time of being sprayed at point blank wasn't enough.

    I was on the end of the line getting direct spray. When the second pass came, I got up crawling. I crawled away and vomited on a tree. I was yelling. It burned. Within a few minutes I was dry heaving, I couldn't breathe. Then, over the course of the next hour, I was dry heaving and vomiting.

    Photo:Brian Nguyen/The Aggie.

    More people were arrested, then. One other person told me he was pepper sprayed while he was on the ground subdued. They tried to go up his shirt, because he'd pulled his shirt over his face to protect himself. So they aimed it up his shirt to spray him, to make sure he got it.

    XJ: Chancellor Katehi finally gave a press conference tonight about that incident.

    W: I was the first one there. I went right up to her and introduced myself. "I'm an undergrad here. I'm a victim of police brutality," I told her. "The police sprayed pepper spray down my throat. I do not feel you have done your job protecting me on your campus. I hold you personally responsible for inflicting pain on me."

    Photo:Brian Nguyen/The Aggie.

    XJ: What do you want from Katehi, and the UC system?

    W: I can't speak on behalf of the movement, I can only speak on behalf of myself. But I personally request that Chancellor Katehi and Lt. John Pike resign. We have a petition out there already. I request that a mechanism be set up for the impeachment of chancellors, and a system for democratic election of our chancellors. There is no good reason why students and faculty don't make that decision. Even when a chancellor makes a decision likes this, they feel safe, because they've been appointed by the regents, and the goal of the regents is to make more money. They sit on the boards of big institutions like Bank of America, they are the richest of the 1%, and they're using this institution to fatten their pockets and they're putting students into debt to do that.

    There will be a large rally on Monday at UC Davis, and I invited her to take part in our GA, if she's willing to speak to us on our terms and operate on consensus method with no power dynamics.

    She made a promise right there, on video, to come to our meeting.

    I think she has done a terrible misdeed and that she and Pike should resign immediately so we can figure out a better way to run this institution.

    XJ: Any final thoughts you'd like to share with the world about what this day meant to you?

    W: I would like to note the beautiful way that the protest ended. My adrenaline was raging but in between hacking coughs I raised my fist in solidarity with the students peacefully chanting the officers off of the quad. Even in the face of brutality we remained assertively passive. I have no doubt that the world community will come to our aid so that this inclusive movement can not be defeated.

    Imagine a chancellor running on the platform of banishing monsanto and defense development from their campus. Or perhaps, a chancellor who was merely a facilitator of a university-wide GA. We cannot let this occupation, or the public's concern over the situation, be limited the police brutality. Police brutality is just a symptom of systemic failure.

    Photo:Brian Nguyen/The Aggie.

    Photo:Brian Nguyen/The Aggie.


    / / COMMENTS

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    1. The abuse that has been happening by police over something that they should not be standing up for is just disgusting. Do the police not realize how bad this is going to come back onto them and that they are on the wrong side of this problem. It’s the 60’s anti-war protests all over again and I feel that things will get worse, with people dying, before the police and their brutality are stopped. Democracy is at stake in America. Time to end the Corporatocracy.

      1. This kind of behavior is disgusting, as well as what happened at Baruch CUNY. I’m greatly sorry that these students suffered and thank them for their service to the us and the future of my children. Officers like this are despicable and power hungry. If you are anti-violence, please read this petition. If you agree with it, please sign it and share it.  https://wwws.whitehouse.gov/petitions/!/petition/condemn-disproportionate-violence-used-police-opposing-occupy-movement-and-stand-free-speech/rlQ5mHYZ

    2. Lt. Pike is obviously crazy, Chancellor Katehi may have ultimate organizational responsibility for his actions, and there is a very good case they should resign and face charges for their actions.

      But Lt. Pike must not be singled out as a ‘bad cop’. All the other police there did nothing to stop him, and are all just as guilty.

      1. Yes, the “just following orders” excuse is something we’ve agreed not to put up with. But if you look at officer Pike’s body language, he was truly following orders. He didn’t want to spray those kids. I know I’ll get torched for saying this, but in this case I don’t think he’s really the aggressor we should be looking for. Someone else made the decision about how the protesters were to be “handled,” and that’s the person towards whom we should be directing our anger. Someone who was smart enough not to be videoed giving the order.

        1. Whether he was “following orders” or not is irrelevant, to me at least, but I am curious, do you think his orders actually included the command to spray from such close range?

        2. Remember the Milgram experiment? Seen The Reader? At what point is it an officer’s job to question the orders as wrong?

          Bush no doubt gave orders to water board people but that doesn’t let everyone down the chain of command involved off the hook for carrying out those orders. At some point someone has to grow a brain and realize what they’re doing is wrong and take the consequences of going awol on the orders.

          Of course, more easily said than done (especially in a comment thread). I was involved in a replication of the Milgram experiment in the 1970’s (before I’d heard about it) and I shocked the shit out of the subject, so I have no legs to stand on either. Still, I admire the few people who have enough guts to recognize that what they’re doing is wrong and at the very least, not do it, at most, attempt to stop it from happening at all.

          1. Using the Milgram experiment as a defence, and then claiming that folks need to grow a brain is a bit of an oxymoron.  The point is that, psychology, that’s how most people respond to authority, it’s not about growing a brain, if you wanted to stomp it out you’d need to fundamentally change the mental makeup of the human being.

            It doesn’t make it any easier to condone these actions though, and I’m pretty sure that accountability factors into the psychology, i.e. if officers thought that they might actually be punished for breaking the rules (which aren’t defined by their superiors, but an independent body) then they might be a little more cautious about how they treat people.

            1. Nathan: I’m not using it as a defense (again, I was part of it, how can I?), I’m using it as a piece of the puzzle of how this stuff happens.

              It’s a rare person who can step outside of a chain of command and take action. I wish I were such a person but in fact, I’m pretty sure I’m not, even though sitting here on the sidelines I know that spraying pepper spray on the students was wrong no matter where the order came from.

              When you say “rules” its tough to know which rules are THE rules. The rules of command? The rules of human decency?

            2. The rules of command lead to the Nazi death camps.  We have to have the courage to follow the rules of decency.  Like the soldiers in Egypt who refused to fire on the crowds.

            3. I agree with you but as I said, history shows us that we don’t learn from history. The famous Milgram experiment has been repeated numerous times and over 90% of the folk participating do the unthinkable under orders. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milgram_experiment

              I’m not excusing Pike or anyone else who does obviously terrible and wrong things under orders, I’m simply saying that it’s tougher than you think to be in the 10% (or less) of people who decide that particular orders aren’t humane or right.

            4. I’m not sure that it is an oxymoron. The Milgram experiments demonstrated that the test subjects had a propensity to follow orders blindly, even if they knew they were causing harm, but they did not demonstrate an absolute compulsion to follow orders that could not be resisted. Later variations on the experiment showed that certain manipulations in the set-up could reduce compliance, so this is not an irresistable behaviour. Leaving aside arguments as to whether it is nature, nurture or a combination, the results showed the tendency for people to blindly obey people in authority, but with that knowledge people can be forewarned. It is not unreasonable to expect people to be aware that they can be easily manipulated, and if they are being asked to follow an order that seems morally unreasonable, to question whether they should follow that order, “grow a brain”, as it were. I’m not suggesting it would be trivial, but training to promote this sort of thinking should be baked-in to the police training process.

              That said, I’m not sure it is valid to invoke the Milgram experiments here. The subjects in those experiments generally exhibited some opposition to what they were being asked, even if they did eventually comply. Lt. Pike seems to be revelling in what he is doing. I also find it very hard to believe that he was following a specific order that instructed him to follow that exact course of action. Yes, there would have been an order to clear the protestors, but he chose to interpret the order in that manner. If we’re looking for an experimental model of this situation, I would suggest that the Stanford Prison Experiment perhaps provides a closer analogue.

          2. I asked a medically retired cop what training she received on evaluating the legality of orders. Her answer was none.

            Military personnel do get trained on the concept that some orders are illegal and they should be disobeyed.

            I think we should be asking what training police receive when they are indoctrinated and what sort of refresher training and updates they get on an ongoing basis.

            1. Absolutely. All of us need such training but people in positions like Pike need even more of it.

              The thing is, it may be that in order to actually kill people in war one has to wall of the part of the brain that looks at it from altitude. This doesn’t excuse Pike but in the larger sense in order for riot police to do their jobs they no doubt need to filter at least some emotional involvement with the rioters.

              The other example of the of following orders (or not) besides Milgram and the Bush years is the movie (and play before it) A Few Good Men.

            2. “I think we should be asking what training police receive when they are indoctrinated and what sort of refresher training and updates they get on an ongoing basis.”

              This is completely correct, more than anything OWS to me has raised questions about the latent power of the police/authorities that can quickly become sadistic, fascistic and criminal in certain scenarios. To me this sort of battle, the battle for the right to be treated as human beings always, cannot be won through punishing individual cops but through setting up systems that actually affect the culture of our police forces. Punishing those for their mistakes is a tool to repress actions but to change the thought process behind those actions a more powerful tool is needed: education.

        3. No – but he had options and one of them was to NOT use the pepper spray as he did.  Everyone makes choices and the use of excessive force is one of either will, ignorance or willful blindness.  In each case the offender should be relieved of authority so that he isn’t put in that position again.  Pike is not capable of the decision.

        4. Pike’s body language? The dude was clearly into it and happy to do it. He should be fired & so should his superiors.

        5. Are you serious? You think he was asked to walk up and down spraying them three times at point blank range? Don’t get me wrong I’m sure someone ordered someone to spray them, but that man sprayed them in the most violent and merciless method possible, there is nothing in his ‘body language’ to suggest he was feeling bad about it.

        6. I am telling people again and again – UCDPD Police Chief and her goons need to be fired right away, not just the measly action of administrative leave for 2 police officers….

        7. Its called being job scared . No one wants to lose their livelihood including the police ! Its really a shame that  people have to fear losing riches rather than way of life !

          1. Well tough shit, copper. You’ve got a right to work. You don’t have a right to a job. The new economy isn’t designed to molly-coddlle people from cradle to grave. Some of those OWS folks are trying to change that– go back to the old ways; reform society, and all that jazz. 

        8. truly, i don’t agree with you. from your point of view, everybody is innocent by “following just orders”. from my point of view, everybody has to decide by himself what to do and what’s right or wrong. so it was his fault not someone else who gave the order. if i tell you to do shit like that because i’m the one who’s giving orders, would you fullfil it? would you do something like that and walk away saying “i just followed an order”? if so you’re not on bit better or better not smart enough to decide things for yourself.

        9. Just goes to show how subjective are our interpretations of body language. Did you watch the video?

          Lt. Pike behaved as if he were in a vaudeville act: holding up the large, red bottle of pepper spray; moving it about to show it off; then, walking with a spring in his step that could even allow his stride to fairly be described as “prancing,” he moved down the line of sitting protesters and sprayed them in the face at a distance of roughly 12 inches. The recommended minimum distance is 6 feet, but it is effective up to 20 feet away. He repeated the process three times. Before he sprayed them, he delivered this threat to the protesters: “Move, or we’re going to shoot you.” Then, turning to his colleagues, “Don’t worry. I’m going to spray these kids down.”

          His behavior was colored by a substantial degree of performance. He may have been following orders, but he certainly seemed to be enjoying himself. Regardless, he deserves to be taken to task for the use of excessive force and for assaulting citizens with a chemical weapon.

          I do understand and agree with your point that it’s important that those who issue the orders are not allowed to evade accountability through the scape-goating of an officer lower on the organization chart. But holding Lieutenant Pike responsible for his actions does not automatically give a pass to those who issue him his orders. 

          He broke the law, failed to perform his duties (for which he is amply compensated) and brutalized citizens. He must be held accountable.

          Furthermore, he is, in fact, in a position of power as an officer. As a Lieutenant, his actions carry more weight and influence the behavior of those on the force who he outranks.

          It also appears from reviewing the UCDavis Police Department’s website, that he is in some way involved in assessing claims of  inappropriate or illegal behavior committed by members of UCDPD. If that’s the case, a thorough investigation and trial must be conducted to establish standards of conduct going forward. The Occupy Movement is in its early stages and I think we ain’t seen nothin’ yet. (to paraphrase Slim Pickens.)

        10. You have got to be kidding me.  Pike was casually holding the military grade pepper spray device inches from the students as he sprayed them.  He showed no emotion at all.  I have no idea why you feel his body language showed anything other than that he was enjoying the power of his position.  Most importantly, there was no reason at all for pepper spray to be used in the first place.  The students had a constitutional right to assemble and to free speech. In the worst case, the officers could have just picked up the students and moved them with no chemical agent being forced into their eyes or down their throats. Officer Pike acted inhumanely and showed absolutely no concern for those he was hurting. I wouldn’t allow this man to baby sit my grandchild or even take care of my cats.

      2. Plus, being a lieutenant means he is in a leadership position, which means he is the boss of a lot of those officers.  So that also implies that this is just Standard Operating Procedure for this use of force.

      3. I don’t agree, in the sense that it is quite clear to me that he is, indeed, a bad cop. Yes, the system seems to now encourage badness. But his firing – and ideally, lawsuits that land like successive & forceful punches in the gut to the budget that pays his and his colleagues’ salaries – needs to reset the precedent of protect & serve.

      4. The other police who did nothing are not just as guilty.  The perpetrator is way more guilty.  Doing nothing is bad, though.

      5. I think all the police officers responsible for this disproportionate action on my campus should be fired, starting with UCDPD Police Chief Annette Spicuzza

      6. @bnschlz Your comment is not rational. He knew what he was doing. Watch the video. If other  Cops tried to stop him that would have caused a riot. Think about it. He is fully to blame. Bad Cop. No Donuts.

    3. Unfortunately, it’s a matter of time when KSU ’70  scenario will happen. Police strategy is to brutalize and provoke OWS protesters.  

    4. People outside of Northern California may not realize how politically active UC Davis has been for some time. It it unfortunate that recognition had to come in this form. I hope this grows on your campus and everywhere else in this country. Fuck football. I’ve seen enough of that shit. What I haven’t seen is peaceable assemblies en masse. Until now. Go aggies! The first time I ever tried jungle juice and was cheated on by a woman was on your campus. Haha. Has nothing to do with anything, but keep fucking fighting.

    5. You refer to him as “W”, but his name is in the interview: “My name is W- and I’m an undergrad here.”

    6. I think the protesters were very smart, very disciplined and very brave and I think they stand a good chance of getting the chancellor to resign.

      That being said I have often found the amount of deference police officers are given in America to be a peculiar national trait. Feeling that you have to insist that you didnt verbally abuse someone who went on to abuse his authority to a sickening extent seems crazy to me. Surely this deference is going to end for a generation at least.

    7. Until someone arrests this “officer” the concept of law is broken.

      Those charged with upholding the law should be held to a higher standard but so far in all of the cases of the police assaulting protesters and violating the law have been glossed over. 
      If you will not even hold them to the same standard you demand of everyone else, you want the system to fail.
      You allow them to heap abuse on those you feel are less than you, and then click your tongue as those people reach their breaking point and lash out.  You then go on and on about those stupid people not listening to the police, and using it to justify treating them like crap.

      There are so many steps for them to make sure the officers rights are protected, do you really need to review the video and photos more than once?
      This is someone on a power trip, who was hoping to get the crowd to be violent so they would be justified in their tactics.
      He needs to be suspended, and then arrested.

      One wonders how the raid on Liberty Park would have changed had the OWS protesters taken this page from the playbook, to stand up and refuse to sink to the level they want to show the Fox News cameras.

    8. When comparing this to Kent State — at the time 58% of Americans felt the students were to blame, and only 11% felt the National Guard was to blame.

      Why would anything be different now? If anything, we have become much more tolerant of excessive police force.

      1. Because now the talking heads of media are still making jokes about the protesters, and making sure that they report on the violence running right up to the line of suggesting the protesters did it.
        The talking heads do the thinking for far to many people in this country.
        The talking head tells them that the OWS people are kids just bored and not wanting to work, that they want the government to take money from you poor average people and give it to them.
        The talking head tells them that the OWS are pooping on the street and making everyones life more difficult.
        The talking head tells them that OWS is a joke that needs to be stopped or babies will get aborted!
        The talking head tells them it is perfectly ok to take away the rights of these people, because you good people who listen will still be allowed those rights (as long as you don’t ever try to use them.)

        If you think this is bad, you should have seen the coverage of the BART protest, where people were angry and wanted the protesters jailed.
        Because free speech is a good thing, until it slows down my commute… then its a freaking crime and we need jack booted thuggery.
        As long as they can keep us focused on whats good for a single person above what is good for all people, the more people who will believe the lie that anyone different, who does not accept the lies, who exercises the rights we are supposed to have is just a trouble maker who should be stopped.

        Freedom is not always clean, neat, orderly.

      2. Why would anything be different now? If anything, we have become much more tolerant of excessive police force.

        We have also become much more able to document it. NOW is when we get to see what we can do with this new ability.

      3. I hope the difference between the reaction to Kent State and modern police brutality is access to new media.  True, most people get their “news” from plastic tv personalities, but I learned of this through old-fashioned word of mouth and saw it here online.  Too many are still willing to play along, but more and more see that something is wrong.  

        Hopefully the pain these poor students endured will not be for nothing.  I have been sympathetic but completely non-participatory until now.  I now intend to visit and support my local Occupiers.  

      4. @boingboing-32e0740fc318fc059523a2f830a5b248:disqus  Until 2007 we had thought this was a mistake. We had been told the National Guard was not acting under orders. In 2007 we found out that there were orders to shoot given. It was covered up all theses years.
        How do you think the public would have reacted if they had known that? Today we have cameras everywhere so that kind of coverup is very difficult. No, now they simply say it is justified.

    9. I request that a mechanism be set up for the impeachment of chancellors, and a system for democratic election of our chancellors. There is no good reason why students and faculty don’t make that decision


    10. So let me get this straight… the university chancellor was concerned with health and safety issues ….so they send the protesting students to the hospital with chemical injuries. Alrighty then.

      1. I’m waiting for their justifications to not just be assbackwards, but fully circular.

        “We had to remove those protestors for their own protection.  After all, there was a violent, disturbed man spraying people with chemical weapons there, so it clearly wasn’t safe for them to remain.”

        1. I believed that line was already passed, when UC Berkeley police capt Margo Bennett defended police brutality on campus with this statement:

          “The individuals who linked arms and actively resisted, that in itself is an act of violence,” UC police Capt. Margo Bennett said. “I understand that many students may not think that, but linking arms in a human chain when ordered to step aside is not a nonviolent protest.”

      2. I kept shouting this at the Chancellor in my head when I read the original memo she sent out.  She must have said ‘health and safety’ a bagillion times in it, and yet at no point did she consider that the gravest instance of health and safety non-compliance was sending in an armed gang to disperse peaceful, intelligent students from a small piece of land.

        If she’s not stupid, then she’s certainly incompetent.

        1. “If she’s not stupid, then she’s certainly incompetent.”
          Or utterly cynical. But I’d hope that’s not the case.

      3. This is the rub with authorities declaring Occupy presents some nebulous threat to public health and safety.

        The authorities invoke this nebulous threat to public health and safety ask justification for an attack by the police, an attack which is a specific threat to the physical well being of demonstrators and officers alike.

        Are the authorities motivated by safety? Suppressing the message? Or do they simply feel they have to show they are “in charge”?

        1. Carl,  No they are just using their power to the detriment of the students they are tasked to protect. What possible motivation could there otherwise be? Public Safety? Health concerns? Doubtful indeed!

      4. I guess she knew something they didn’t know when it came to their safety: the police were about to make it a very, very unsafe place indeed.

    11. As a Davis class of ’77 alum, while horrified at the pepperspray incident, my overwhelming reaction is one of pride for the manner in which the Aggies stood firm until the police backed off. “You can go! You can go! We won’t follow you! You can go!” There’s the message that ought to be broadcast far and wide. A great show of courage and principle. This may be the most important lesson that they learn in their tenure at UCD. “It’s our University!” Indeed.

    12. Move or you will be arrested, then if and only if they resist arrest can force be used, ONLY enough force to arrest. That is legal. MOVE or we will assault you, that is in no way a lawful order. The use of pepper spray in California is ILLEGAL if it is not used in self defense, the law is the law, There is NO exception in the law for police. This officer needs to do jail time along with the others who conspired to commit assault.  WILL he be arrested cuffed as per proper police procedure, will he be booked and placed in a cell like any other citizen accused of a crime. NO because despite the constitutional prohibition of the creation of a separate class WE have one. THE DA should do jail time if he refuses to prosecute. California Penal Code Section 12403.7 (a) (8)

      (g) Any person who uses tear gas or tear gas weapons except in self-defense is guilty of a public offense and is punishable by imprisonment in a state prison for 16 months, or two or three years or in a county jail not to exceed one year or by a fine not to exceed one
      thousand dollars ($1,000), or by both the fine and imprisonment, except that, if the use is against a peace officer, as defined in Chapter 4.5 (commencing with Section 830) of Title 3 of Part 2, engaged in the performance of his or her official duties and the person committing the offense knows or reasonably should know that the victim is a peace officer, the offense is punishable by imprisonment in a state prison for 16 months or two or three years or by a fine of one thousand dollars ($1,000), or by both the fine and imprisonment.

      1. Um.  I’m not sure that’ll fly in court:
        “Nothing in this chapter shall prohibit any person who is a
        peace officer, as defined in Chapter 4.5 (commencing with Section
        830) of Title 3 of Part 2, from purchasing, possessing, transporting,
        or using any tear gas or tear gas weapon if the person has
        satisfactorily completed a course of instruction approved by the
        Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training in the use of tear

        CPC 12403.1
        Please note that there’s no carved-out exception for peaceable protests. The law should contain an exception for peace officers, even if not acting in self-defense – tear gas/CS can prevent further escalation of a dangerous situation, even if there’s no imminent danger.

        But not surprisingly, pepper-spray, tasers, etc. are being increasingly abused, and it’s inexcusable. What’s needed are tightly-drawn rules on their employment, and if those rules are violated, the violator is out the door.
        What shouldn’t be allowed, as you accurately point out, is use on people who are not resisting, not making any violent moves, etc. These things cannot be allowed to be used as a tool to gain compliance from people who aren’t actually *doing* anything, as they were used here.
        Unfortunately, like in so many of these cases, I’m afraid that little will come of it. That seems to be emblematic of the society we live in these days – even a little power and wealth are more than sufficient to shield people from the consequences of their wrongdoing or abuse.
        At the end of this road lie chaos and madness, but those in power don’t seem to grasp that. I sincerely hope that they grasp it before it’s too late.
        I also sincerely hope that the Occupy movement starts to try to translate its protest into actual action – you know, put some damned candidates up for office, or support candidates whose goals closely mirror their own. Crazy, I know.

        1. This allows police to use pepper spray legally, and the only  legal use of pepper spray is described in sections g, this section says nothing about allowing police to use it other then described  in section G ,   the law still applies to the police. Sorry nice try. 

          1. It seems that you only read the first part of the post.  Your “nice try” comment is insulting – it suggests I am defending the police officers” actions, when in reality I find them abhorrent.  I merely pointed out that your case that the police acted illegally is tenuous – that there’s enough of a grey area in the law that while a case for assault may exist, it might be difficult to get a court to agree that the spraying amounts to said assault. 

            If you can provide case citations that support your position, I will gladly and publicly retract my statement.  Otherwise you’re just frothing.

            1. You are correct that I was rude, and I apologize for the Nice try comment. I think the law speaks for itself, the only grey area is that lawyers are tools of the Bar and all of them ultimately protect the state in my opinion. a California court determined that recklessly using pepper spray on non-violent protesters constitutes “excessive force” and would not provide police with qualified immunity.

            2. Eh…bygones.   As for the Headwaters case, there are a few differences that have to be addressed, though the opinion as I read it broadly supports your argument. 

              In the Headwaters case, the protesters were already under police control – having already been arrested, and had chained themselves together, in fact – not even able to pose a threat theoretically.    Here, a decent attorney for the cops can argue that the UCD protesters were not in police custody (mainly because they weren’t yet), and thus could have posed a threat.

              I’m still quite skeptical that any serious repercussions will descend on the officer who sprayed the protesters, even though if the same standard were applied to this as was applied to Headwaters, the police would lose. 

              I’ve never understood the broadly-drawn application of the notion that if the police make an “honest” or “reasonable” mistake (what’s all the continuum-of-force training good for if they can’t remember any of it?) that they get qualified immunity.  God knows that if I accidentally shot a door-to-door salesperson because I “believed” him to be a home invader, I wouldn’t have the same luxury.

      2. Oh, he will be severely punished, make NO mistake! Just wait, just WAIT til he feels the wrath of his department when they take away some vacation days!!!
        THE HORROR!!!!

        OH!!!! Maybe he’ll even get transferred to a nice, cushy district too??? Take THAT Mr. Pike….as you hi-five Mr. Bologna.

    13. Hi folks,

      Out in the open and not to simply be inferred (because I peruse BoingBoing), I wholeheartedly support NV civil disobedience.  That is our right.  Esp. that which we are seeing today on campuses nationwide.  

      A couple of minor clarifications ref. the interview above.  For background, I have been OC sprayed 4 times.  Minimum deployment distance is generally 2 to 3 feet due to the possibility of ocular damage.   Also, LE pepper spray ranges from .02% to 1.3% concentration.  Most civ and mil LE uses.07%.  Either way it sucks for about an hour, then mildly sucks for a couple more.  If its hot out or humid, it sucks worse.  

      The OC is contained in an oil mixture.  Lots of flowing water and mild detergent work best for decon.   Don’t use a dunk type tank as it collects the oil and transfers it to your neck or other sensitive areas.  Hold your head forward and to the side to not contaminate your privates.  Please try not to let the oil spread to your nether regions.  

      Also, be aware of where the Supreme Court places OC spray use on the “continuum” of police use of force.  It is very low…   Maybe rightly so, OC doesn’t break arms or cause gaping wounds.  And when you compare “riots” overseas, understand the relative difference between police/army use of force here and abroad.  

      The Supreme Court also has set pretty firm limitations on “where” we can exercise our 1st Amend rights.  This is the root of many of the “violent” confrontations in the past couple weeks.  In other words, that’s usually the legal justification for many of the recent police actions.  I guess the SCOTUS and the Court of Public Opinion are different though so go at it.  Just be smart about it.  That’s it.

      Be safe you all,

    14. You mean the body language of a guy calmly walking up and down a row of 20ish skinny college kids sitting down, spraying them at point blank range multiple times? No, a person just following orders to disperse that line would not have done it in the way Pike did it.

      He may have been following orders, but he’s a lieutenant of a campus police force. Probably not too many people above him on the chain of command, and he looks to be the senior officer on site (judging by the rest of the pictures). So if anyone had the ability to question those orders, it would have been Pike. And obviously you didn’t read the interview; he was showing off just before he did it.

      Yes, he was probably following orders, but that only means that the people who gave the orders, assuming they were direct orders to spray protesters at point blank range, need to be called to account too.

    15. this is absolutely sickening, disgusting and wrong. Those Nazi cops should lose their jobs, including their health insurance! They have already lost their dignity.

    16. Demand your rights and keep demanding, or someone will assume they do not exist. It shouldn’t have to be that way but it is.

    17. Until the press stops writing things like, “OWS Protesters Clash With Police, ” this stuff will continue. This and virtually all other occasions prove where the “clashing” and violence is really coming from. If you can’t physically be a part of the protests, then contact the media and demand they tell the truth about who’s clashing with who.

      1. In addition to having a corrupt and dysfunctional economic and political systems, we have corrupt and dysfunctional media.

        Remember, our corporate media has never held accountable the people who lied us into invading Iraq.

        The corporate media has never held accountable the Bush administration and telecoms that illegally tapped the phones of U.S. citizens.

        The corporate media has never held accountable in specifics the financial sector companies that perpetrated fraud. Although they are willing to let the right push the idea that government is to blame and that poor Blacks and Latinos did it through the Community Reinvestment Act.

        OWS is a movement that criticizes the control corporations exert over our government and society. The corporate media exists to do the PR work for those in control.

      2.  What do you expect?  The media always looks for whatever gets people to watch.  People like watching conflict, especially reality based conflict.   It’s in our nature.  All the conflict in the world is an expression of human nature, conscious or unconscious (unless you believe in the devil).

    18. What the Tony Baloneys of this world seem to forget is that if those who swore an oath to “protect and serve” refuse to reign in those who assault a peaceful populace then someday the people will.

    19. The next step here is to get in front of the courts. The chances are slim it will go in front of criminal courts since the police will clear themselves. This case might make it to the criminal level. But it has to go in the civil courts and it has to be highly public.

    20. I can’t believe you’d think that your constitutional rights to peaceful assembly trump campus code!  Clearly your chancellor is a more powerful authority than the rights granted to you in the First Amendment.  You should know better than to question petty authority figures!  Seriously though, the victory of the students is clear & apparent.  The police behaved like thugs, & the UC Davis protestors utterly crushed them with non-violence & ideology.  Crazy, right?  But it happened.  If the chancellor steps down, then I’d recommend UC Davis as a university to anyone– seems like a great community of students.  If she doesn’t, well, then I guess I’d have to condemn the school for enshrining officials who hurt their students– I can’t really recommend to anyone that the attend.  Let the potential tuition dollars talk.

      1. I had realized a couple years ago that we’re socially still fighting the same battles we eventually lost in the 60’s against the establishment.  Our policies on drugs, war, and equality in wealth all have taken turns against the good of the people and for the good of the corporations(led by the banks) since that attempt at revolution.  Im hopeful this round we will be more successful, but the bad guys have more toys to abuse us with, and the “good guys” are largely locked in a electro-hypnotic vice of infotainment.

      2. Don’t forget Kent State. Granted there was a lot more having had transpired in Kent and around the US at that time, but truly this is the most horrific of actions against students. The officer in the video implies as he would prefer to be shooting them to pepper spraying them anyhow.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kent_State_shootings

    21. Am I the only person who feels the rise in situations like this are, in some way, an attempt to distract us from our problems with government corruption and the 1% by focusing our attention on police brutality?

      I suppose I should be the first to admit that I sound a little paranoid here but I can’t help feeling that way every time I hear about another brutal attack on protesters from some pseudo-military police/security force.

      Although, on the other hand, I suppose the OWS movement has only gained strength due to these violent acts of law enforcement. It would probably be difficult to protest if we didn’t have some resistance to actively protest against.

      1. It’s occured to me, but at the same time since we’re probably never going to get any real positive change through voting one of the first obstacles is going to be the police one way or another.

      2. It’s easy to get distracted, but the truth is we have many issues to address at the same time. Lt. Pike just added more problems to the pile, rather than resolving any of them. Yes, the OWS movement would fade, if someone actually started to address the issues they raised, like structural  income inequality.

    22. Every one of those officers shares the guilt of assaulting those people for no other reason than being  jackasses on a power trip.  The  officer that sprayed them directly is only slightly more responsible than those that did nothing.  I’ve experienced the “joy” of pepper spray in portions of training, and can attest that for some, it can be one of the most painful experiences they will ever have.  What some of these people are not realizing is that, like large scale protests of the past, this kind of activity only fuels the will of those they are attempting to beat down.  If the election system is broken and the financial system is rigged, where is there left to turn?  Nowhere.

      Local law enforcement is only incidentally interested in your Constitutional rights, because it hinders their ultimate job, which is to protect property owners, their financial interests and enforce local peace ordinances.  Beyond that, you’re on your own.

    23. It sounds like UC Davis came awfully close to Kent State. But far worse. Shooting in the heat of panic is one thing. But cold blooded torture leading to injury and/or death is quite another. Pepper spray down peoples throats is attempted murder pure and simple. This pepper spray was used illegally and contrary to instructions. Please don’t just file civil suit, press for attempted murder. Consider the day a student dies from police torture.

    24. New York Times asks you to twitter what you are doing this Sunday.  #sundayroutine I just used this hashtag to tell them I am reading this thread. Maybe if more people do this, that will wake them up.

    25. I am amazed the UCDavis students stayed peaceful. As a 50 year old who works for another college in the Pacific Northwest, I could not have exercised that level of discipline.

       It is clear that the campus Barney Fifes were hoping to instigate a violent response so they could take it out on 19 and 20 year olds. And it seems quite likely that the university administration put this order in place for the same reasons with the intent to discredit your efforts.  No university should treat its students this way. The administration at UC Davis have lost all credibility and should all step down.

    26. As a parent, I consider the chancellor, acting “in loco parentis”, to be guilty of child abuse.And STUPIDLY so!

      1. @Electro_Jones:disqus 

        Dude. Godwin much? Plenty of other repressive authoritarian thuggish regimes to use in comparison.

        1. You only invoke “Godwin’s” law when the claim is purely to make the arguing opponent look evil, usually tangentially related to the actual argument at hand. On BoingBoing where you’re actually responding to a post, which has focus and usually doesn’t descend into flame wars.

          Also, in this case, the post is about police abuse and “just following orders”.
          This is called The “Nuremberg Defense”.

          While I agree disagree that we are living in Nazi Germany (history doesn’t quite repeat itself that cleanly), I’d say the actions of our police forces around the nation really do seem like the actions of thugs, jackbooted or not.

          If what you were looking for is another example of an entire nation falling to the will of a corrupt group, I’d urge you to look at the history of almost any nation. You probably won’t find overt thuggery that often anymore if you’re middle-class. Surveillance technology has evolved, and it’s rather hard to forcibly convince someone to change their cultural ideology. Besides, it’s very easy to convince them they are doing a ‘good moral thing’ when they supporting the atrocities of the state, especially when the enemy is some nebulous ‘terrorist, who is brown today, white tomorrow, and black always.

          So: No, this is nothing like Nazi Germany, but only because they’ve become more efficient and covert in regards to repression. I’d say they’ve probably learned from the mistakes of the regime more than the populace has.

    27. They were warned they would be sprayed.

      They were warned they would be shot, according to one witness; but sprayed, shot, they would have deserved it so long as they were warned, do you think?

      People need to be held accountable for THEIR OWN actions…not the
      actions of someone else.

      Indeed.  I’m guessing that irony isn’t your strong suit, am I right?

      1. So if I warn you that I will break your leg, you will have deserved it because I warned you? Even if I have no cause to do you harm?

        I don’t think that is how criminal law or liability works in the USA. 

        1. I don’t think that is how criminal law or liability works in the USA.

          I rather doubt it myself; which is why I was asking the previous poster – whose post has been removed – if that was really what he meant.

    28. Two of the (I think) unintended consequences of the Occupy movement that are, in some ways, as important as its stated focus on economic disparity, are (1) revealing irrefutibly to the general public the true extent and unaccountability of police authority in America, and (2) forcing a re-examination of the incremental ways in which First Amendment rights have been constrained.

      What impresses me most is how this dialogue is being forced in a consensual and sometimes eerily spontaneous way. When W- mentions that the nature and location of the Occupy protests are relevant to their particular city, it makes me realize the sheer brilliance of the movement. With no stated agenda, with no lists of demands or manifesto, they are nevertheless agents of change in this country.

      The entrenched media will continue to find the most superficial aspects of the movement and its constituents and tout that in sound bites. That’s what the entrenched media do across the board. But this is not a fad or a fringe. This is the voice of a generation that has had enough and doesn’t feel it has to mutely accept its crippled legacy. At long last this is the voice of Howard Beale in NETWORK crying “I’m mad as hell and I’m not gonna take this anymore.” Except that *this* voice is not angry. I marvel at its intuitive understanding of how to proceed. I marvel at its tenacity and assurance. I don’t know how much it will be heeded, but it will certainly be heard.

    29. “The pepper spray didn’t cause any permanent damage.” Really? They sprayed it down some of the student’s throats, and they were coughing up blood. One asthmatic student was rushed to the hospital. So, I wouldn’t be so quick to say that no permanent damage was done.

      Anyway, disobeying police orders to disperse might get you arrested, but you cannot characterize the student’s behavior as hostile or even actively resisting arrest. That’s the whole point of passive resistance in civil disobediance.

      Threatening violence and physical abuse, or actually following through with the same, is a tried and true way of convincing people to surrender their constitutional rights. I’m not surprised when it sometimes works. What surprises me the most is that people like you come out of the woodwork to defend it.

    30.  Sitting in a line with arms linked and simply refusing to move is hostile?

      Are you daft?

      Hostile is what happened during the Arab Spring.

    31. You’ve got an argument for excessive use of force when the same thing happens, and the police shoot.

      But do you think that shooting non-violent student protestors would be an excessive use of force by the police?  You leave that rather up in the air.

      In any case, the courts appear to have ruled that using pepper spray on non-violent protestors is contrary to the 4th Amendment, so it’s pretty clear that the law on what constitutes excessive force contradicts what you seem to be trying to say.  Perhaps it depends on how much weight you put on the law.

    32. It’s all well and good to ask Chancellor Katehi and Lt. Pike to resign, but they’re not going to do so. The best thing to do is to retain a lawyer and file suit against Ms. Katehi and Lt. Pike for personal damages–Katehi for ordering the arrests and Pike for deliberately inflicting grievous bodily injury. If they see that their personal assets are in the game, they’re likely to take more precautions.

      That’s one of the problems with the Occupy movement–cities, police departments and now universities have been fighting it with the easiest tools they have at hand–violent retaliation. Occupy has basically been allowing them to do it. It now needs to hit them where they hurt–in their pocketbooks.  Go after city budgets and personal assets. Force some police officers to declare bankruptcy. Make mayors explain why, on top of clean-up costs, they’ve left their cities open to tens of millions of dollars in liabilities, money that they can’t use to collect garbage or keep the streets clean of snow.

    33. Today I love you Boingboing. 

      This sort of police violence is outrageous but commonplace, I am so proud that the occupy movement is happening in this generation, the world can see how peaceful questioning of the obviously failing system is met with might, what will happen when the fattened pigs are faced with a intelligent community of people who want peace, justice and a fair means of living on a protected fruitful planet? 

      Might will never overcome Right, we will prevail.

    34. Headwaters not only declares the use of pepper spray on peaceful protestors, under the control of the officers, a violation of the  “protestors’ Fourth Amendment right to be free from excessive force” – it also holds the officers involved civilly liable http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-9th-circuit/1332957.html since they should have reasonably known they were violating the protestors’ constitutional rights.

    35. So, you guys are falling for boringme’s obvious trolling I see.

      You don’t go after Lt. Pike’s job, you go after his pension.

    36. This is criminal assault by Officer Pike, plain and simple. Beyond the evidence provided above, show us where, in the manufacturer’s instructions, or police training, it says to spray military grade pepper-spray down people’s throats. Disgusting. Pike and his superiors both need to answer to their brutality and the heinous decisions that sanctioned it. As a Californian, i’m appalled at how the UC system has been taken over by the 1%, and proud of these students for taking a stand, even as they are treated worse than animals by those who were entrusted (and paid handsomely) to protect them.

    37. A fat man firing pepper spray into someone’s face.  Worryingly that strikes me as an image that pretty much defines the era.

    38. Damn you people.  Can’t you just go to church, go shop at Walmart, hit the McDonalds and get your super sized #3 value meal on the way home in your gas guzzling SUV to watch football, and all those commercials, like good Americans so we the top .1% can make a few billion more dollars this year.  

    39. So if a policeman is embarrassed at his impotence it is OK for him to brutalize the public.  Heaven forfend his fellow officers might rib him a little.  This cannot stand – the only solution is assault with a weapon.  Good to know. 

      You really need to get better at cutting and pasting.

      In every occasion, the apologists for police brutality manage to utterly amaze me.

    40. These cops and the departments need to be sued into submission by civil rights lawyers.  It’s the only alternative to violence against them and their families.  The cops should be careful.  They are escalating the violence as usual.  

      1. This is so off the scale in terms of professional law enforcement that I can’t even begin to address it.

        I know many policemen, both on the job and retired retired, who are sickened and appalled by what these “cops” are doing at the OWS protests.
        There is no rational whatsoever to justify this kind of excessive behavior on the part of the police.  It’s happening way too often in too many cities.  The cops ARE escalating the violence and I truly believe that’s what they want to do.- This way they can blame the protestors.

        1. It would be nice to see them stand up in public and say something.   It would be nice to see one of them stand up in public and say something.  I’m not asking for any of them to so much as lift a finger to defend harmless U.S. citizens from chemical-weapons battery, just a disparaging word or two.   So when will I read the first editorial article or letter to the editor or teevee interview or blog post from any active-duty police officer anywhere in the U.S.A.  saying that this kind of excessive police brutality is bad policy, or bad morals, or both?

          When Hell freezes over!  The police officers of the U.S.A. have chosen which side they’re on, one and all.  They’re our enemies.

          1. Not all police officers are enemies. There are still those who truly care about citizens. Those police who moved in to try to peacefully remove students were going to do the right thing without causing harm to the students, but then Pike stopped them from that. Do not let asshole cops like Pike ruin your perception of cops, because there are still those few who care. 

    41. As a U.C. alumnus, I find this incident frightening and out of control. To say that the U.C. police over-reacted barely begins to scratch the surface of the problem. For the U.C. Davis police force to reach this level of idiocy required years of cultivated ignorance. Administrative heads should roll over this one, and they should be banned from holding positions of public trust. The officers who did the pepper sprayings should be fired and banned permanently from public contact positions because their judgment is so far off-kilter it would be nearly impossible to recover their civility. Officer Pike is clearly deranged and it looks like no other officer challenged him.  Those officers who stood idly by should be suspended for a year without pay, and undergo proper re-training and annual check-ups.
      But what’s gonna happen instead is none of that. Having the perspective of nearly half a century, I see that America has turned into a military nation, in which at least $1.2 trillion of our $3.6 trillion annual budget is spent on national security which is many, many times more redundant than any sane nation would allow. Those attitudes easily and regularly percolate into our daily lives while we look away. And frequently I hear a sucking sound as university administrator’s brains vacuum up anything in sight for new means of money and control. Including their students. I don’t always recommend any U.C. as a good school to attend.

    42. The focus on the Movement vs Police is detrimental. Not because of the ribs punched or the capricious pepper spraying, but because it’s making the Movement about civil disobedience rather than about its one actionable intent: Wall St/banks need regulating. In a full-force election year, it’s hard to believe any electable candidate from either party will champion daily/nightly civil disobedience. It’s political suicide. I understand its exactly this kind of protest that’s given the Movement international attention, which is exemplary. But it can’t become synonymous with violence – regardless of who causes it. Nobody will touch it. And without supporters in office, it’ll have no voice where it matters most. imo.

    43. In contrast, it’s interesting to see how the Wichita,  Kansas police arrested over 2,600 abortion protesters in 1991 during a six-week period with hardly an incident. It might have been one of the city’s largest protests without injury, receiving kudos from Operation Rescue (abortion protest)  founder Randall Terry. Police simply separated linked protesters and carefully lifted them into vans.

      Strange to see how Kansas is seen as backwards many times (yeah, I’ll give you the Creationism in Schools argument), when sane and peaceful protest is considered rather routine. I doubt Lt. Pike would make it very far in Wichita.

      1.    Somehow I think the OWS protesters would not be treated so gently and respectfully by the police in Wichita as were the anti choice people.

        1. “Somehow I think the OWS protesters would not be treated so gently and respectfully by the police in Wichita as were the anti choice people.” Nor would Tea Party rally participants brandishing loaded weapons in public. Can you imagine if OWS protestors sat and stood around with rifles? It’s always ok for conservatives to “freely assemble” – they’re on the “right” side.

    44. Doctors, nurses, firefighters and policemen, among a few other professions, have a very particular responsibility to perform their jobs effectively because a failure to do so can have a very great impact on life and limb.  The issue here is the performance of the police officer in doing his job.  We know that, in order to achieve the optimal outcome, we must use the proper tool for the job and we must use it with skill and discretion.  So if I am removing a staple on a wound I don’t use a hammer, I use a specialized tool and I use it based on my training, on protocols and, ultimately, my professional judgement.  This police officer, the man who casually doused multiple peaceful, protesting students who posed no risk to his own well being with pepper spray, used none of those qualities in the performance of his duties.  He either does not have the training, the understanding, or the will to do his job properly.  He should be removed from active duty, investigated and dealt with accordingly.  This kind of behavior is in no way acceptable and is a blight and a stain on the reputation of the police force.

    45. @boringme:disqus 
       (- it looks like you got removed. But I’ll leave this here for you.)
      I’ve read all your comments on this thread, and I can’t for the life of me figure out why you are such an naive apologist. Let’s all feel sorry for the “Embarrassed Policeman”? Are you from Lego Town where everything is simplified, black & white, and sugar coated?These police chose this profession. Is the stress too much? They’ve had the choice to get out of it at any time. And, “We can be safe knowing that the people who are in a position to judge these men will do so and will do so fairly.” Hahaha. Any of these cops or the many others beating the shit out of Occupy protestors seen even a reprimand yet? It’s like you get your knowledge from a middle school government textbook that presents everything in a idealist, ‘cops are your pals’, ‘this is how it should be’ way rather than, ‘this is how it is’ way. You know, the way it actually is – real life.

    46. A couple of passages from the declaration of independence that most folks seem to forget. I think its about time we all started thinking about them again.

      “That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”


      “But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”

      its not just the police that are the problem. We all have the problem of a Government that truly only cares about perpetuating its own power, at any cost. the welfare of the people is no longer any concern to it.

    47. Please sign the petition demanding Chancellor Katehi’s resignation #occupyoakland #occupysf #occupycal #occupydavis #occupytogether #ows

    48. what the hell is going on?  im not for violence but i think it is time to fight back with physical force.  there are more of us than these relentless “police officers”…

      1. Um, no.  The thing that’s making this event so utterly memorable (including the Chancellor’s walk of shame through the silent demonstrators) is that the students are so utterly non-violent.  

        Bluntly, until you have military officers and men supporting Occupy, you will be creamed the instant you go violent.   And if you get the support of the military, you won’t need to go violent.

    49. He could have just as well shot them at point blank range? This is such a blatant and disproportional use of excessive force that this guy should be suspended and on administrative leave right away pending charges. This is a disgrace for the entire force. Macho nazi style policing has no place in any civilized country – period. Pepper spray is not harmless it is a known cancerogen agent and is known to cause death amongst people suffering respiratory diseases. You don’t use it unless you have to – did Lt Pike have to? Looking forward to his CO to comment on this. Shameful and disgraceful.

      Update: (CNN) — The University of California at Davis placed two police officers on administrative leave after they pepper-sprayed non-violent protesters at point-blank range, the school announced Sunday.

    50. Nobody should be shocked or surprised by any of this; even without the KSU example. Our government and their agents in law enforcement and the military have constantly and consistently overstepped every ethical, legal and constitutional boundary over the past century; illegal surveillance, torture (domestic or outsourced) and assassination are not uncommon here. Yes, pepper spray sucks hard, but this is pretty easy stuff overall. The police and the army are there to protect the elite first, and the common people last. This is not about one bad cop. This is business as usual.

    51. This video was hard to watch; it is unnecessary police brutality, plain and simple.  Simply unconscionable.

      From a larger perspective though, I think the occupy movement could be smarter: take down the tents when you’re asked to.  Defending the “right to camp” isn’t worth sacrificing the efficacy of the movement.  It would be better to just occupy legally in shifts, giving the authorities absolutely no excuses for violence.  Even though the campers are obviously in the right, whats more important is winning the greater public’s support, and that means not breaking the law..  As uncomfortable as that sounds…

      1. No.  If their primary goal is to observe every law and every request (not the same) of the establishment they will never get anywhere.  I should say we will never get anywhere.  Civil disobedience works.  Also, speaking of winning the public’s support you may not have noticed but the UCD students are doing that with this incident.  What makes you think that they are not?!  Also, winning the public’s support is not what is important to OWS.  Peacefully demonstrating for change is.  Doing so nonviolently is.  Pressuring the establishment is.  Occupying one’s own city is.  Doing what is right is. 

    52. All of us stand with the young woman who was  treated to this abuse. And we stand with all of the courageous students who sat down to take a stand for democracy. They should know that the abuse they suffered is part of a great sacrifice being made by thousands who are all part of the process by which we can win. The regime will not  peacefully accept the change we are demanding. As mirogster and ironstream1 suggest, if what we all have said about the corporate imperium and their paid thugs is true, and if what we are fighting for is necessary justice, then we have to be ready to keep pushing the regime to reveal its true nature. What the powerful students of UC Davis witnessed was the regime’s true nature.


    53. If these brutal officers – and the folks that sent them to viciously attack peaceful, smiling, and non-violent protesters are not punished and arrested, the implications should be clear.  Constitutionally protected rights to free speech and free assembly do not exist at UC Davis. Ponder that reality – and remember that UC system has historically been a leader in tolerance, civil liberty, and diversity. How fall we fallen from our ideals? Our values? 

    54. Remember kids, if someone says “health and safety”, ask to see the risk assessment.  Bluffzacallin’.

    55. I’ve never seen a more out of shape police force in my life.  Seriously, they all looked like they were 50 pounds over the wright limit.  As for Mr. Pike (I refuse to call him officer), he should be removed from the farce.  He had absolutely no just cause to do what he did.  Except, that is, to attempt to incite the situation.  He is despicable and tarnishes the badge that he wears.  But, then again, that whole police farce appeared as ‘Kangaroo Kops’.  Did they all arrive in a miniature paddy wagon?  So sorry students ar UC-Davis had to endure this atrocity!!

    56. There’s a disconnect here between the police, – who loved the whole post-911 atmosphere of fear that glorified their profession, and reality – the one where cherished institutions and the free market system have been co-opted by a powerful elite.  

      In the former, they feel needed, establishing order and carrying out orders without question.  It’s a much simpler world – no grey area of doubt.  It’s what the republicans and Fox News have been selling – a return to the mythical 50’s.  Of course, if you’re the sort that finds difficult moral choices easy, so much the better.  Reality is a lot messier, with a corrupt and moribund government, compromised judicial system, and a wealthy elite intent on returning us to a state of serfdom.  It’s a fight for the soul of the new world.  Having said that, I think you have to consider that some people don’t handle stress well, and order at any cost seems better than living in chaotic world, no matter the cause.  It’s still going to better in the long run to make the police understand that they’re part of 99% too.

        1. Thanks, and FWIW being placed “indefinitely” on administrative leave is really the closest most cops get to being fired in the U.S. for now…  Considering these protests are only 2 months old and the 2012 U.S. election is about a year away, I hate to say it the chances of something else boneheaded being done by the cops is high. So the more the cops screw up, the better a chance for reform of some sort somewhere.

          1. Jake.  I’m trying to discover if the administrative leave is paid or unpaid.  I believe it is a paid leave – essentially a vacation.  Do you know if it might be unpaid?

            1. No clue. Wouldn’t be surprised. But at least he’s out of direct contact with the public. Here in NYC Tony Bologna was docked vacation days but is still active on the force and on daily duty.  So this is a tad better.

      1. Jake?  Did you read in the article that you posted that the chief of police stated that the reason the officer used the P-spray is because the students surrounded them and they had no exit?  That’s a lie. I didn’t see the officers surrounded, and the students were extremely peaceful!  They had no just cause for using the P-spray.  What an arrogant cover-up attempt from the chief of (kangaroo kops) police.  

        1. Who are you yelling at. I agree that the case they were “surrounded” is a complete lie, but the fact these asshats are off direct duty is excellent.  Small victories. 

    57. “The greatest use of power is in its restraint!” (Thucydides, “The History of the Peloponnesian War”)

    58. Everyone keeps citing the Milgram experiments in these comments, but it seems like the more relevant analogy is the Stanford prison experiment conducted by Zimbardo…. this (and many other instances of police brutality) isn’t a case of an individual blindly carrying out orders based on respect for the authority of their source, or at least it doesn’t seem there was any direct order to spray these students. Instead it’s a scenario where individuals are placed IN a position of authority, and they’re led to excessive force through various mechanisms of depersonalization (directly tied to uniforms, weapons, facemasks, etc.) and the sheer will to exert their own power over others. 

      This doesn’t excuse this guy’s behaviour, though I think it does explain it in some ways, especially the weird disconnect that comes out in this interview, between students cordially chatting with this cop one night and getting pepper-sprayed by him the next… We can’t say this officer is some kind of wholly evil monster here either. Lots of otherwise decent people, placed in his situation, would respond in similarly brutal ways. Even if there were no orders to do this awful thing, the responsibility has to be shared around. We’ve got to maintain the notion of responsibility in spite of these kinds of contextual influences, but since we know about them it’s also incumbent on those in police bureaucracies to design their institutions better, and carefully manage police-citizen interactions in ways that make these kinds of excessive force situations less likely.   

    59. I think a certain lieutenant by the name of Pike needs to resign or at least be demoted and sent back to the academy for remedial protect and serve training.  He has shown first hand that he is not mature enough to be in a position of authority.  He seems to have the extreme paramilitary mentality  like that of the minutemen and nazi groups.  All into uniforms, posing and power trips.

    60. Stumbled on this, live in UK. I don’t know much about what is going on in the world, however even with the little knowledge I have I am extremely worried. Society as we know it is changing, behind the scenes. We see the iceberg moving but very little of the force that pushes it from beneath. We are considered pawns by this force, nothing but bugs that need to be controlled, we do not deserve to make our own decisions. Whoever controls the  entities that are designed to uphold the law, police, army etc, holds the upper hand. Yet what we need to remember is that we outnumber them. Together, unified, we are stronger. As many as possible must be awakened to the reality we face, we must be willing to face what is coming (indeed what has already arrived) for if we are not prepared to use the little freedom we have left to push against that which opposes us, then all will be lost, we will be at the mercy of the greed and corruption that has festered in western society. Dramatic? No, realistic. They want your freedom, they want your compliance, they want your soul, they want your fathers and brothers and sisters and mothers, they want absolute control. History shows us the evil humans who strive for this are prepared to commit, even after obtaining it the evil does not stop. The dehumanisation of those considered ‘beneath’ the ruling section breeds unspeakable acts in many forms, it is human nature to do so, consider the evil experiments or genocide in many of the countries who’s governments have ‘absolute’ control (so to speak). There is an important basic principle I believe exists when fighting what we consider to be ‘evil’ (for in whole, this is what we fight). The capacity for a human to commit evil far outweighs the capacity to do good, one may give ones life only once, but may potentially take unlimited. Good can only give so much, good is less prepared to result to violence, whereas evil will, all to readily. Seriously people, the people who uphold the law are breaking it without consequence, how can you play a game against a person who cheats?

      Society has been allowed to crumble and become weak for a reason, a weak host is more easily suppressed and dominated. Think, an uneducated population does not understand what is happening, merely filling their lives with the crap that suffocates us within the media. They do not want us to be intelligent enough to care, only to want to be like the idols dangled in front of us, MTV, D rate celebrities that are multiplying at a fascinating rate.

      This generation may well be the last generation with enough awareness to stand in the way of the 1%. Of course alongside the previous generations, but a huge proportion of the next generations will be dumbed down in a sense, from there on in it is only a matter of time.

       This occurrence depicted on this site is merely a taste of things to come. These students are strong. We must find our strength, we must not pause, we must not falter, we must not be weak. Stand together as strong free people, for our freedom, our children’s and there’s after them, or ignore what is happening and continue in a blissfully ignorant prison, until it is too late to do anything.

      Sorry if this is off point, its just what I think.

    61. Derrick Jensen is right. Violence always comes from the top down. Police aren’t pepper spraying the CEOs or government officials at close range. Violence is always perpetuated in defense of the rich toward those who have less.  Capitalism is self-destructing. The level of violence and intolerance being waged against OWS protesters tells me that the people in charge are scared. Very scared of the change this is bringing to the world. Their paper with imaginary value is no longer empowering them. The jig is up and it is AWESOME. 

    62. This summer: what was the world’s loveliest protest ever assembled quickly progressed to the most peppery pandemonium in UC Davis history.  Join W persistently pushing peacefully against policy until Lt. Pike maniacally manifests macabre methods of dispersion.

      Pepper 2012

    63. Ironic that a man not known much for speaking should have given one of the greatest speeches in history. Here’s Charlie Chaplin’s moving oration from The Great Dictator set to contemporary imagery.

      I’m sorry but I don’t want to be an Emperor – that’s not my business – I don’t want to rule or conquer anyone. I should like to help everyone if possible, Jew, gentile, black man, white. We all want to help one another, human beings are like that.

      We all want to live by each other’s happiness, not by each other’s misery. We don’t want to hate and despise one another. In this world there is room for everyone and the earth is rich and can provide for everyone.

      The way of life can be free and beautiful. But we have lost the way.

      Greed has poisoned men’s souls – has barricaded the world with hate; has goose-stepped us into misery and bloodshed.

      We have developed speed but we have shut ourselves in: machinery that gives abundance has left us in want. Our knowledge has made us cynical, our cleverness hard and unkind. We think too much and feel too little: More than machinery we need humanity; More than cleverness we need kindness and gentleness. Without these qualities, life will be violent and all will be lost.

      The aeroplane and the radio have brought us closer together. The very nature of these inventions cries out for the goodness in men, cries out for universal brotherhood for the unity of us all. Even now my voice is reaching millions throughout the world, millions of despairing men, women and little children, victims of a system that makes men torture and imprison innocent people. To those who can hear me I say “Do not despair”.

      The misery that is now upon us is but the passing of greed, the bitterness of men who fear the way of human progress: the hate of men will pass and dictators die and the power they took from the people, will return to the people and so long as men die [now] liberty will never perish…

      Soldiers – don’t give yourselves to brutes, men who despise you and enslave you – who regiment your lives, tell you what to do, what to think and what to feel, who drill you, diet you, treat you as cattle, as cannon fodder.

      Don’t give yourselves to these unnatural men, machine men, with machine minds and machine hearts. You are not machines. You are not cattle. You are men. You have the love of humanity in your hearts. You don’t hate – only the unloved hate. Only the unloved and the unnatural. Soldiers – don’t fight for slavery, fight for liberty.

      In the seventeenth chapter of Saint Luke it is written ” the kingdom of God is within man ” – not one man, nor a group of men – but in all men – in you, the people.

      You the people have the power, the power to create machines, the power to create happiness. You the people have the power to make life free and beautiful, to make this life a wonderful adventure. Then in the name of democracy let’s use that power – let us all unite. Let us fight for a new world, a decent world that will give men a chance to work, that will give you the future and old age and security. By the promise of these things, brutes have risen to power, but they lie. They do not fulfill their promise, they never will. Dictators free themselves but they enslave the people. Now let us fight to fulfil that promise. Let us fight to free the world, to do away with national barriers, do away with greed, with hate and intolerance. Let us fight for a world of reason, a world where science and progress will lead to all men’s happiness

    64. Nobody should be mislead about what we are seeing around the country. 

      “Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is the merging of state and corporate power.” ~~Benito Mussolini

      We are witnessing the extent to which this country has become fascist, and these police crack-downs are emblematic of The United Fascist Empire of the World.

      1. Fascism’s theory of economic corporatism involves management of sectors of the economy by government (as this administration is and has been doing)as well as usurpation of government by private enterprise (as has been happening for many years, and is worse now than ever). I can’t see the latter changing unless we get campaign contributions from businesses, unions and other large groups banned and outlaw the practice of lobbying in DC.

        The police crackdowns are not “emblematic of The United Fascist Empire of the World. ” What they are emblematic of is the fact that we are a Nation of Laws, and when people break those laws, they will be arrested, detained or put under control in what manner is necessary at the moment……

        1. Except when the people breaking the laws are members of law enforcement. Or members of the ruling class, in which case we give them billions in TARP funds and six-figure bonuses. Actually, we are only a Nation of Laws when you don’t have enough money or power to be above the law.

        2. Sandie, did you watch the video? If so, do you truly believe the “manner” portrayed was “necessary at the moment”?

          I want to like you for your first paragraph, but then you go right off a cliff of either ignorance or denial.

      2. Read this (III.B.).

        And then check in on this.

        Summing up: not only were the “corporate” powers of Mussolini’s day entirely different from modern business corporations, there’s significant doubt that Il Duce ever said or wrote those words at all.

      3. Spoken like a true propagandist!

        Nice way to showoff your bungling knowledge of even the most basic forms of sociological structures.

        Your propaganda is rife with fallacies. It’s almost easier to list the fallacies you didn’t engage than the ones you did: Appeal to emotion, appeal to inappropriate authority, straw man, red herring, etc., not to mention that your definition is incomplete. But, we’ve been down that road before, haven’t we?

        And to boot, quoting Mussolini as if there’s some value in an incomplete account of fascism in comparison to corporatism. It’s not a good analogy because there is a critical element missing that you and Mussolini failed to include. Do you want to know what it is?


        1. Odd to see you so convincingly and vehemently defending Obama’s goons, and the merging of Wall Streets interests with the Administrations in D.C…. 

          As for Mussolini, this post is not about him—a lengthy historical review would serve no purpose, same goes for Franco and Adolf’s later incarnation. The general gist of the statement stands on it’s own quite fine.

          Your position is at odds with your “faith”.

          1. Care to translate all that gibberish into something coherent?

            My post didn’t defend anyone – it merely pointed out flaws in VT’s comments about fascism. As for this post not being about Mussolini, do you mean this article or VT’s comment or yours?

            And what faith do you think I hold? Assumptions abound!

            1. Ah, I see. Rather than clarify and educate you deflect and run – nice strategy for defending your argument. You know, this is too common with most anyone who doesn’t really have a reason for their beliefs.

              And on to the assumptions – why do you think I am in anyway supportive of Beck? How have you come to this conclusion? You and I have never exchanged thoughts before. Are you someone known by an alias elsewhere who’s been in hiding?

              You wrote gibberish, and then responded with insults.

              If this is the best you’ve got I’ll make you look like an idiot just for the fun of it!

            2. Once you put up an argument worth having, we’ll have one.

              You know: profit motive and all that…


              You’ve plopped yourself on my dashboard, presumably since you’re a fan of dildodoodledumb.

              Go to it: have fun.

            3. Arguments worth having? Arguments are made.
              Profit, motive? Not everything revolves around these, albeit they are prolific.

              Assumptions abound!

    65. I was disgusted by the video and it’s scary to read this and see the determination in spraying these nonviolent protesters. Also strange to read the supporters hateful comments on youtube, how is it possible? Where does all the hate and fear come from? It’s pure ignorance it seems… Stay strong! The world is watching!

      /Helena – Occupy Sweden

      “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” Gandhi
      “When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will finally know peace. Jimi Hendrix”

      1. These asshats have been empowered and legitimized by the Republicans and the right wing media and are reveling in the opportunity to openly express their feelings in public. Thankfully they really are a minority.

    66. Officers in pepper spray incident placed on leave

      A California university placed two of its police officers on administrative leave Sunday because of their involvement in the pepper spraying of passively sitting protesters, while the school’s chancellor accelerated a task force’s investigation into the incident amid calls for her resignation.

      On Saturday, the UC Davis faculty association called for Katehi’s resignation, saying in a letter there had been a “gross failure of leadership.” Katehi has resisted calls for her to quit.”I am deeply saddened that this happened on our campus, and as chancellor, I take full responsibility for the incident,” Katehi said Sunday. “However, I pledge to take the actions needed to ensure that this does not happen again. I feel very sorry for the harm our students were subjected to and I vow to work tirelessly to make the campus a more welcoming and safe place.”

    67. The students did an amazing job maintaining their non-violent attitude throughout. It takes a lot not to loose it, to not even yell abuse or threats. They are a credit and a great example for the rest of us. Way to go, UC Davis Occupiers! May we all be so brave.

    68. Interesting quote on the Yahoo article linked above by another commentator.
      “Charles J. Kelly, a former Baltimore Police Department lieutenant who wrote the department’s use of force guidelines, said pepper spray is a “compliance tool” that can be used on subjects who do not resist, and is preferable to simply lifting protesters.”

      Preferable to who Mr. Kelly? Sadistic cops with a taste for violence?

      This gun I’m carrying is a “compliance tool” not a weapon, I believe shooting people is preferable to the hassle of reading someone their rights before attempting to arrest them, they might resist after all!

    69. New Chicago Tribune Report Appears to Directly Link Katehi to Scandal


      To repeat commenter Mike S. (nakedcapitalism.com remarks):

      o    And what of Katehi’s pre-UC administrative chops?
      As Provost at University of Illinois, she was a willing and active facilitator of a recent admissions scandal.(Which ultimately led to the resignations of 12 of 14 Trustees and the UI President.)
      Lesser qualified applicants with political connections in the state (or money to throw around) were accepted to the university in preference to better qualified applicants.

    70. What a joke. Go ahead and argue around the subject — straight joke, is this. Take your reasoning and suck on it while you touch yourself. This is sick. Not sick as in stupid fresh, just sick bad yo.

      1. Are you using that to justify the pepper spraying? Do you really think anyone but the protesters and police were using that area at the time? Don’t you think these polite young people would have made way for handicapped students, if there were any? Are you really serious????

    71. So many ‘academic’ dick-waggers post here (IE my point is… I merely pointed out… I , for one…) get another degree and go home yo. Sick of the minutiae-mud….

    72. Cops are just whores for Wall Street.  Realize that it’s going to get worse — MUCH worse — because the 1% have proven that they won’t give up a thing without a severe struggle!

    73. When the likes of John Pike and His Armed Cohorts start breaking rules in the name of enforcing rules—acting as judge, jury, and executioner in summary fashion upon the citizenry; and when those we elect and entrust through appointment as officials to regulate the actions of John Pike and His Armed Cohorts either order and/or defend the breaking of rules in the name of enforcing rules; and when we’ve got trolls among our citizenry actually applauding and/or wishing further the breaking of rules in the name of enforcing rules by John Pike and His Armed Cohorts … then it is time we hold firm—rationally, quietly, calmly, and with dignity and discipline—and maintain the full and unrelenting force of sunlight upon those who would turn our messy democratic republic into a nation of warlords.

    74. Chancellor Katehi and Lt. John Pike should be FIRED! 
      What a sad day for the students at UC Davis when their first amendment rights were denied to them let alone how brutal they were treated. I’m so disgusted after seeing the videos. A TRUE democracy doesn’t shut people up for voicing their concerns and mind about all the wrongs happening to our country today.

    75. It is very hard to see what the narrow strip of pavement had anything to do with wealth inequity, fiscal responsibility, or the rest of the OWS movement, but the protesters fought for it.

      These sort of things are going to happen because the police and the protesters are framing the interactions from very different perspectives. The protesters are only considering the national political aspects of their actions while the police are focused on the local and practical aspects.

      I doubt the police see their actions as symbolic of their part in a corrupt system and violating the ideals of freedom and political expression. They are just using the tools and training they have at hand to move some obstinate college students off a pathway.

      It is sad when anyone is harmed but it seems inevitable at this point when disruptive political activists seeking a national stage are in conflict with local authorities with local responsibilities.

      1. Considering that most of these students were protesting tuition hikes that would leave them with massive burdonsome debts for a large portion of their lives the protest was relevant to local issues, to the point of being local to the very institution they were protesting at. 

        That the local issues are significant of larger society wide issues is hardly a surprising coincidence. 

      2. You might want to READ the interview. The students are protesting a proposed 81% tuition hike. That’s a LOCAL situation which will have a drastic effect on their lives.

        I very seriously doubt that the police training ever suggested spraying military grade pepper spray into people’s faces from point blank range. If it does, it needs to be rewritten immediately.

      1. They are paintball guns. These guys seem to have the mentality mixed with a mall cop mixed with someone who likes hitting his “bros” with paintballs on the weekend.

        1. They’re not paintball guns. Well okay, they are, but they’re definitely not filled with paintballs.

          They’re ‘pepperball’ guns — That’s right, more chemical ‘compliance enhancers’. Each ball is filled with powdered pepper-spray (PAVA, aka capsaicin II), which is designed to burst on impact with the target, forcing them to inhale the spray. Thus, it gets it in their nose, throat, and eyes. Basically it’s just more of the same crap Pike hosed the protesters down with, but with the comforting addition of putting the ‘officer’ out of reach of the victim. It’s designed for the safety of the arresting officer, and not for anyone that might be struck with it.

          These devices can — and have — killed people before, not to mention causing moderate-to-severe injury. The fact that they’re willing to point these things at another human being in such a cavalier fashion frightens me.

          1. I knew that but didn’t make that clear. I think that actually the long-term national debate on the use of stuff like this will be tighter fines/regulations on the use of non-lethal devices like this. I almost wish stun-guns & pepper-spray did not exist; a gun & a bullet draws a much clearer line. Horrible stuff.  Horrible, horrible stuff in the hands of someone who wants to abuse power.

            1. I’m not sure how I feel about that; in a perfect scenario, I wouldn’t put weapons of any kind in the hands of people like this. My understanding is that police are supposed to filter out the mentally-unfit, and train their officers in the use of ‘necessary force’.

              But the more I hear about it, the more it seems that police departments are tight-knit fraternities of thugs willing to forgive deplorable actions and quickly sweep them under the proverbial rug. And if you’re on the inside looking out, they’ll burn you for ‘ratting on one of their own’.

        2. http://www.pepperball.com/products.html#cc They are designed to shoot capsaicin balls and other “less-lethal” projectiles during a riot. Who knew there were degrees of lethality?

          Seems to me we have an object lesson on over prepping, over weaponizing, and over militarizing our peace officers. The weapons and the behavior of the police in this video are symptomatic of a larger malaise in which a cop’s opponents are deemed sub-human. Not just UC Davis, but our entire nation needs to dial down the post-9/11 jitters and examine its law-enforcement priorities rationally.

          And the UC Davis students have won my vote to be our teachers in this matter. My God, they were wonderful, brave, disciplined and smart:
          “Mic check! Mic check! We are willing to give you a brief moment of peace so you may take your weapons and your friends and go. Please do not return! You can go! We will not follow you!” (from the Naked Capitalism post on the video) Gives me chills.

    76. What the UC Davis students did showed immense maturity and presence of mind. They embodied civil disobedience and the tenets of non-violence, and should be named the TIMES Person of the Year. Taking a cue from the silence of the students, I’d like us all to send our legislators a non-partisan, non-violent, silent Thanksgiving Day message. Here’s the idea:http://palmerspurview.blogspot.com/2011/11/thanksgiving-day-message.htmlPlease copy and paste to spread the word. Can you imagine everyone standing outside together in silence? How profound would that be? “…and remember what peace may there be in silence.” – Desiderata

    77. This may be somewhat off topic.
      I read somewhere that the University Police “earn” around $100,000/year, almost twice as much as an Assistant Professor. Can anyone confirm this?

    78. Pike and the rest of these robo cop clones are a shame to America. They are pathetic men attacking Americans in the service of their multinational billionaire overlords. Shame on them indeed. Occupy everywhere!

    79. The people have a right to peacefully assemble as per the Constitution — don’t we?  So why would it be legal to harm us in exercising this right?  

    80. That is just one of the most disgusting displays of abuse and brutality I have ever seen. I am appalled. Shame on you, “officer”. I hope none of the protesters suffer any long term/permanent effects from this.

    81. I’ve come to see the police brutality issue as a perfect example of “Rules for Them vs. Rules for Us.”

      Their rules are full of exceptions and favors, broadly interpreted, held to unlimited due process, and gifted with forgiveness (and pensions).

      Our rules are to be held to the letter, strictly enforced, summarily executed, brutality accepted, you got what you got coming (with laughter from the trolls).

      Bankers don’t get pepper sprayed.

    82. How can the police feel threatened and surrounded when the video shows Pike casually stepping over the protestors  to initiate his spraying spree?

    83. I haven’t been this proud of our California brothers and sisters since the ’60’s!!  I love you all.  Keep up the good work.  I’d like to be there with you. – Arkansas Occupier

    84. So the conundrum is that we, the people, have the right to freely and peaceably assemble. We’ve seen multiple situations around the country now where the police have turned on, and arrested, peaceful protestors for “failure to disperse.” Who decides when forcing people to disperse trumps the peoples’ right to assemble? It seems very arbitrary to me. It seems like when the police get tired of dealing with a crowd, they get to override our Constitutional rights and decide that they don’t apply anymore. They were ok last week, or yesterday, or this morning, but now they’re not. Disperse, or be assaulted illegally with means that the courts have already deemed “excessive force” and illegal (Headwaters case in Humboldt County). Even if the police had the law on their side by acting in self-defense – which they clearly did not because the kids they assaulted were sitting down and not threatening them in any way – there’s a difference between spraying students from 15 feet away as required with this grade of pepper spray, and forcing the spray inside their clothing or down their throats. Besides the clear illegality of the actions, the degree to which the bounds were overstepped is appalling.

    85. Want a masked Photoshop file of the pepper-spraying cop at UC Davis? Hit the “DataFileHost” link at the end of this paragraph. Included in the ZIP-compressed archive is a Photoshop CS2 file consisting of 2 layers, along with a separate transparent PNG24 image, both ready for your social commentary & parody compositing needs. MASK EDGES ON FULL SIZE FILES ARE SMOOOOOOTTTTTHHH! Released with absolutely no restrictions into the wild, you can credit Phos FourDots if you feel like it, or not. Just pass it around! Image size for both is 2048 pxW × 1365 pxH. http://www.datafilehost.com/download-8ea028f4.html

    86. The Chief needs to be removed from office.
      While it is nice to put the 2 who sprayed on “leave” while they investigate, the words of the Chief need to be heard and acted upon.
      “Spicuzza said officers were forced to use pepper spray when students surrounded them. They used a sweeping motion on the group, per procedure, to avoid injury, she said.”There was no way out of that circle,” Spicuzza said Friday. “They were cutting the officers off from their support. It’s a very volatile situation.””


      This disconnect from reality in someone in charge of those with weapons needs to be acted on quickly.

      I don’t expect anything to happen, because no one gives a crap about the 99%.  When they defended Tony Bologna with claims of Ninja Protestors who vanished leaving those poor women to be pepper sprayed, that is was an isolated incident (ignoring the footage of Tony fleeing the scene pepper spraying more people), and he lost 10 vacation days.  THE HORROR!  You violate peoples rights, use excessive violence and you can’t go on vacation.

      And that captain needs to be removed as well.

      I think it is time we demand lawmakers to actually do something, to stop worrying about being painted as soft on crime.
      When police abuse their position and authority someone needs to do something.
      I love seeing people saying the protesters got what they deserved, it shows us how many sheep we have in this country who will stand for nothing.
      The rest of us still remember we have rights, and that it is the worst possible thing to have them violated by the people who are to serve and protect.

    87. These students should be proud of what they did.

      They attained one of the objectives of peaceful protest: push the authorities to commit morally reprehensible actions, although the law might be on their side (and in this case that wasn’t even necessarily the case), even at the cost of sustaining injuries. It demands a lot of courage and discipline, but the payoff is amazing. Now the Campus Police has been clearly identified as a bullying organization and its members will think more than twice before pulling that kind of stunt.
      I just hope nobody was permanently injured and that their determination remains intact, because this is just the beginning.

    88. It’s pathetic and sad how much sensationalism this movement is investing into the excessive police force rather than their actual cause. C’mon, The Civil Rights movement didn’t bitch like this; MLK told people to be ready to be hosed and beaten. I am not saying I’m against the movement, I just find the methods used inefficient and an adulteration of an honest and just cause. MLK knew that his coordinated protests were breaking the laws of disorderly conduct (much like this), but that “one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws.”

      And for fucks sake, do some research on previous movements like civil rights to see where you’re going wrong. Has this generation never heard of the Letter from Birmingham Jail? How about you do something more than set up tents and sing songs and sit in a circle and actually get active and constructive and go confront people and groups who need to be confronted.

    89. For an European like me even the term “university police” sounds like a bad fascist-fiction movie. And if someone told me last week that you even have university police with riot gear, I would not have believed it. 

    90. The police are probably looking at the situation as,  us against them.  Just like the way sports is.  My team against your team. Repubiclan against Democrat.    Christian against Muslim etc.  It’s the old divide and conquer strategy.  Instead of the 99% figuring this out by now,  it just keeps going on and on and on.  That why the 1% want the American people to be ignorant.  Because when, and if the 99% find out what’s being done to them.  This injustice would stop by the 1%.  A book that everyone should read is by Howard Zinn.  Which is called “The Peoples History Of the United States”.  Until, all of us get educated with the truth,  we will continue to suffer.  Also the 99% need their own media.  So if the educational system can’t provide the truth,  then we will.  Also I suggest any University or Colleges that are handling these protests like fascist dictators should be exposed and people should not attend these schools in the future. 

    91. Some one forgot you are to uphold the law and to protect our community. You are not God, judge and jury. The decesions our made in our court room. Not on the streets where a officer (no less a luetient) over did himself that day. Yes, I’m angry! If it was my child he did that to he would get more than just a resignation. I would also charge him for assult and battery with a deadly weapon. But oh no not the police (there brother hood protects them).I’m tired of the double standards. So if you see the example they set for the young people, it’s ok to assult anyone without warning. Hurting people is ok. Im here to say; it’s not ok! Berkley has always been known to speak out. I’m a baby boomer, so I know this very well with vietnam era.

    92. I am all for non-violent protest, but for how long are people supposed to just take this crap!  I think we need to start posting personal information on the police that do this…not all of them, just the ones we know have abused their limited authority.  What is the home address of Lt. Pike?  What is his phone number, his email account.  Put bios of these anti-American jerks online for the rest of us to peruse, and decide how to deal with on an individual level.  I am sick and tired of seeing these clowns pepper spray or rubber bullet peaceful protesters and get away with it.  I want retribution.

    93. many different have commented here. I am curious, could you all write where you are from, a yes or no answer to whether you have gone out to protest against the corruption before, a yes or no to whether you would do it again, and the number of people you know who agree with the cause and would come with you. e.g

      London, no, yes, 12

      Just to give each other an idea of the numbers of people who are there even just looking at this site. Not recruiting for anything.

    94. Sorry, but the more I look at this guy Lt. John Pike, the more he reminds me of Kenneth Mars in the Producers

    95. Acts like this as well as some of the more disgusting things that the more enthusiastic members of Occupy have done isn’t the story here.
       The fact that the overwhelming majority of those in attendance did not respond in kind should be the take away here.
      To me, I think that we may be witnessing the tipping point in the number of people that fully realize that the methods and tools that governments have been using (urged by business interests) to affect change is wrong.

    96. Just to play devils advocate for a moment (and I in no way think what these cops did was right.  That was uncalled for, and the students should have been left alone to peacefully protest as long as they wanted) when students are seated locked arm to arm, and the cops are ordered to remove them, how should they have handled this without harming the students?
      Physically pry them apart?  I think that would have lead to more people being bloody and broken.  I don’t know what the right answer is.  It seems like if you have to move people that don’t want to move someone is going go get hurt.  Perhaps someone with law enforcement training has an answer?
      I’m not saying its right, I’m unfortunately just saying what seems to happen.

    97. I’m British and reside in the UK. I have written to our Foreign Office demanding the UK government calls the US government to account for this and other violent treatment of the Occupy movement in general.


    98. US Federal Appeals Courts ten years ago declared pepper spraying peaceful protesters to be an illegal violation of their 4th amendment rights to be free from excessive force and that officers who cause such felony assault are liable for their actions and do *not* receive protection of sovereign immunity as their actions are  excessive use of force which the 4th amendment prohibits. 

      US FEDERAL APPEALS COURT Legal Precedence: “We concluded in our prior opinion that, viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the protestors, a rational juror could conclude that the use of pepper spray against the protestors constituted excessive force and that [officers] Lewis and Philip were liable for the protestors’ unconstitutional injury. 240 F.3d at 1199-1209.   This analysis is consistent with Saucier’s first inquiry viewing the facts in the light most favorable to the protestors, [officers] Lewis and Philip violated the protestors’ Fourth Amendment right to be free from excessive force.* “http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-9th-circuit/1332957.html

      So sue the officers, charge them with felony assault, arrest them using Citizens Arrest if necessary,  their fellow officers who aided and abetted or who failed to stop them, their commanders, their political leaders (in this case the chancellor and others in her office or whom see sought advice from), and even the prosecutor if they fail to prosecute to the fullest extent of the law. If anyone (of those listed or at the police or in the government) attempts to prevent justice being done in these cases arrest them and charge them with Obstruction of Justice.  

      DO NOT USE FORCE TO ARREST ANYONE, USE THE LAW, GET A LAWYER, if necessary place these people under Citizens Arrest for Felony Assault and Conspiracy. Also note that in California the the Three Strikes Law could put Pike and the other officer who sprayed (yes two sprayed) into prison for life since each person counts as a separate Felony Assault charge and all it takes is THREE.

      LEARN ABOUT YOUR LEGAL POWERS of CITIZENS ARREST. CONSULT A LAWYER before hand. If the Government won’t act YOU CAN.

    99. This 

      “After decades of complaining about student apathy, now a generation steps forward to make its voice heard and is promptly pepper-sprayed.” 

       may be one of the most trenchant comments on this. If students can run a tent city at Duke for 25 years for the greater glory of their basketball team but not for democracy, what does that say about our values and priorities? 

      I really have a hard time seeing those kids as scary, especially to a trained (?) public safety officer with body armor, a helmet and several weapons, not least of all their brain. 

      — http://edgeofthewest.wordpress.com/2011/11/21/kville/   

    100. Yes, they knew they were disobeying orders; it’s called civil disobedience for a reason.  But honestly, pepper spray at point blank?  Unnecessary.  None of the officers used as much force to “try” and move the students as they did to force their faces into the ground to arrest them, or to hold them down to pepper spray their faces.  These students were probably ready for reasonable consequences, not torture.  To those who believe these actions are justified, I implore you to think about both sides of the story.  If you’re money-conscious, would you stand idly by as a prospective 81% tuition hike draws near?  If you believe the officers’ actions were not brutal, would you be able to withstand what those students had?  Perhaps one day you’ll see, and understand what this demonstration represents.

    101. Seriously? To those who are quoting rules and law trying to justify the use of pepper spray by the authorities against these students, it ultimately comes to this: Whatever the written Law may say, the essence of the Law is simply that the Law was created to protect the people. It is created for the better of the people. And obviously, it’s not a question of whether the police can or cannot use pepper spray. Its whether they are smart enough and truly worthy of the responsibility of those weapons. And obviously they are not.

    102. this is just such a clear act of abuse and this officer should be dismissed and punished, his boss and fellows who stood by and did not protected abused citizens should be disciplined. the rights watch dogs must sue them of of the force. those are the people who are victims and police must protect them. offensive actions on non convicted people is a crime. until police is punished legally and some of them go to prisons to taste their medicine they will continue committing those unlawful actions. where are all those liability lawyers? all those donations from wall street to police should be used to pay retributions to the victims

    103. Pike’s behaviour was disgusting. He was revelling in what he was about to do. That much is obvious from the images in the article.

      I’d be calling for his arrest, and the same for whoever else was involved in this. A few years jail time per culprit will do nicely I think. Sack the lot of them without bonuses or other kind of benefits. Show them the mercy they showed the students. They should count themselves lucky they aren’t being sprayed at close range with pepper spray multiple times. Make it all very public so the world knows who they are and what they look like.

      Pike could have killed that girl because his pepper spray caused her to have an asthma attack. I have asthma myself and I know it can be lethal. That and the injuries he caused the other students too must be taken very seriously.

      I hope these students sue the culprits for every penny they can get.

    104. If incidents like this continue to happen, perhaps we will all safely reach the conclusion that “protect and serve” is no longer really what law enforcement does.  Law enforcement agencies are simply punitive law enforcers for the local, state and federal governments.  We are their cash-cows, and new and returning prisoners make money for huge private companies like Haliburton. 

    105. Sorry for the “didn’t read, hit-and-run,” but I wanted to put it *somewhere* that I hope people start brutalizing the police back.  I, for one, would not stand for a point-blank pepper spraying idly:  I would HULK out and let the bodies fall as they might.  It’s why I’m staying well-away from any of this Occupy stuff; I know myself too well.  I’d do that, and innocent people would get hurt as a result.  A crying bloody shame, that.

      Only when we stop acting like sheep, and more like grizzlies, will the wolves finally take notice of us.  Thing is, it seems no one really wants to fall on the sword – myself included.  Admittedly, I don’t care enough about the daily struggles of others to act as martyr to their cause.

      I’m reasonably certain that, given the Current State of Things, those who believe in resolution without revolution are (sadly) deluded.

    106. In plain view of a large group of police, a man brutalized a group of passive citizens. The police witnessing this event did not do a thing to stop the attacker. Some of those who were attacked by this maniac were later arrested for being passive.
      What’s your take away from this? Mine is that the police will not protect you. Police will allow people to attack you. Police will attack you unprovoked. Police will arrest you for doing nothing but sitting on the ground at a school you pay tuition to.
      Clearly the powers given to the police are not only being abused but it seems that they are no longer trained that their power is derived from the citizenship who they used to swear to protect and serve.

    107. I think this police officer is a sick twisted person. My husband was a Maine State Police officer and would have been horrified by this. In Maine the police officers are trained to serve and protect. Any officer here would be severely reprimanded or fired for this type of action.

    108. Listen kid, you don’t have much sense of reality. You fight against privatization,  and austerity, while railing against tuition increases. You can’t have all three. Privatization can help lower costs, which in turn will help lower tuition. The reason for the austerity is to help lower tuition. Imagine how much tuition would be if they didn’t cut some of the programs, or let go some stuff. I’m sure your plan to help pay for your plans would be to tax companies and the rich more. You can do that, but even if we took 100% of their wealth we wouldn’t be able to fund the federal government for a full year. And with their wealth taken by the federal government, that leaves nothing for the states, meaning your schools would be facing serious trouble.  

      1. you seem to know a lot, can you please tell me how SWEDEN, DENMARK and others countries do so well at have Education FREE

        1. The answer is simple. Taxes. In Sweden for example, they have tax rates on individuals between 28-60%, then a payroll tax of over 31%, and a VAT of 25%. If you want to have that much of your hard earned money taken out of your pocket then pack your bags, get on a plane and move there.

          1. Did the bag packing 22 years ago and very happy much HIGHER standard of living now and YES paying more taxes but saving way more on medical and schooling for the kids.

    109.  Fighting the police in the streets will lead to bloodshed. Fighting in the courts will lead to victory. Nonviolence is victory on every level.

    110. Before the start of the next semester – EVERY student attending at any University of California campus should change schools, boycott the UC system, vote with their dollars (and their feet).  A sudden and drastic drop in tuition revenues will send the message home.  Hey, if they say money=speech, make your money talk…make it say “goodbye!”

    111. This is incident goes to the heart of OWS.  While ordinary Armericans are brutalized and arrested for minor loitering offenses and “not following orders”, Wall Street criminals count their millions.  Uninvestigated and unmolested.  Bank robbers have to give their money back and be punished, robber banks buy themselves the gov’t.

      We have the 2-tiered justice system of a banana republic.  If that doesn’t make your blood boil, you’re part of the problem.

    112. As westerners we pride ourselves on our “freedom of speech” and “humanitarian morals” but we should test our TRUE limits of freedom more often like this and we’ll realize just how little our rights and freedoms mean to a higher authority.

    113. I have tons of respect for these students. Even in the face of danger, they used their CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS to demonstrate peacefully. Even when big brother tried to stop them, they took it like true grown, humble adults, and proved they were the better people.

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