Video remix: UC Davis pepper spray incident viewed from 4 different perspectives

Andy Baio says,

I was stunned and appalled by the UC Davis Police spraying protestors, but struck by how many brave, curious people recorded the events. I took the four clearest videos and synchronized them. Citizen journalism FTW.

Video Link / Sources listed here.


  1. This Phil Ochs song came up in my 5000 track shuffle just as I came upon this post. Perfect fit.

  2. Lord help me, watching that again I can’t believe it did not errupt into a riot. Intellectually I know that it is better both morally and pragmatically to remain nonviolent even in cases like this, but even now I feel such a strong impulse to run up and assault that cop, at least to disarm him and stop his attack. What kind of training or preparation did these protesters have that allowed them to behave so well?

  3. Just out of curiosity, I’m wondering what the ramifications would be if protestors started bringing their own pepper spray and returning the favor when this sort of thing happens? Is it still assaulting a police officer?

    1. Oh yes, yes it is. And it might open the floodgates of retaliation that, in the past have resulted in death. Never of the police, always a protester.

  4. 2011: The year overzealous law enforcement officials learned that pepper spray doesn’t blind cameras.

  5. I may have watched this clip over ten times by now, but it still makes me nauseous. How a man hired to protect the public can punish people for participating in the democratic process that demonstrations are, seemingly without any repercussions… You should be better than this, Pike.

  6. “struck by how many brave, curious people recorded the events”

    Has he ever been to Davis?  This is about the most exciting thing to happen there ever.  

  7. Huh.  That certainly looks like a calm, casual, and methodical attack by an asshole who postures and poses like he’s engaged in performance art.

    I’m sure he was really just a scared public servant defending himself from the rioting crowd, as he and his entire chain of command will continue to claim.

    Jail time for officer shitbird there and anyone who gave him orders or permission to engage in clear violation of CA law, Federal law, departmental rules of engagement, international treaties, and human fucking decency.

    1. Plural morons.  At 2:45 in the bottom right hand corner there’s a second “brave” cop who decides not to let Pike have all the glory.

  8. It really wasn’t fair, was it? The cops faced greatly asymmetrical levels of intellect, maturity, and resolve by the kids they were sent to punish.

  9. As shocked and appalled as I am as these events, there’s something incredibly uplifting and heartening about the crowd confronting, and eventually chasing off the police with chanting and an array of cameras.

    Who watches the watchers? Everyone.

    1. I agree with GeekMan. In addition, as the father of small boys I totally recognize the expression on the faces of those cops.  My children have that expression when they’ve been caught doing something they know is wrong and don’t want to deal with it. Watching the riot-geared cops retreat from people armed with nothing but cameras and their voices is incredibly emotional.

  10. There’s so much happening this year it’s hard to process.  This year has felt like a decade in terms of tumultuous shit going on.  They should really start putting the Gimme Shelter riff over all the daily news bulletins, cause Christ knows whats coming down the pike in 2012!

      1. Until this moment, I was only aware of that expression as a later variation “what’s coming down the pipeline.”  But I’m going to change it to pike, since it appears to pun on the name of everybody’s favorite person at the moment.

        1. I’m pretty sure that coming down the pike is the original, given that turnpikes have existed since the Elder Days.

  11. Such cowardice, by every single one of those storm troopers. Especially by the ring leader, but also by the “we were just following orders” people who stood by in uniform and watched. Haven’t they ever heard of the blackshirts? The two groups would get along well.

  12. What should have happened :

    “Officer Pike, I am placing you under citizens arrest for aggravated felony assault.  Place your hands behind your back.”
    Unfortunately, as Mark F points out, this will likely get you shot.

    1. Assuming that you even see this, resort the comments on the page (eg oldest first). It’s an ongoing glitch with Disqus.

  13. 1) How long do I have to wait until somebody develops VideoSynth to create a fully immersible 3d recreation of events like this from the source video? 

    2) How long after that until Microsoft or Google buys it up?

    3) Which will it be? MS or Google?

  14. I’m surprised by how many people just stood there and watched that guy prepare to assault those peaceful protesters without stepping in to prevent it from happening.

    1. Well, for what it’s worth, “stepping in” would have earned the in-stepper the first faceful of pepper.  Personally, I’m more amazed at how over-equipped these campus cops turn out to be.  I wonder if their gear still has the price tags on.

      As these events unfold, though I rejoice that fatalities have so far been avoided, I think the campus clashes themselves have been increasingly interesting.  It’s obvious that administrative reaction has been quicker there than in the off-campus world, since the parents and alumni who spend so much money on these institutions are watching these events with a jaundiced eye.  Heads are only beginning to roll.

      1. Personally, I’m more amazed at how over-equipped these campus cops turn out to be.

         I suspect a lot of it was bought circa 9/11 and is right around its expiration date.

  15. thanks to whoever did this. i had seen all the videos here separately, but together they are even more powerful. i was almost hyperventilating at the end, and my heart was racing a little. powerful stuff.

  16. This completely gives the lie to UC Davis Police Chief Spicuzza’s statement in defense of her officers: “Officers were forced to use pepper spray when students surrounded them. There was no way out of the circle”.

    1. I particularly enjoyed the officer-in-question’s method of “getting out of the circle” (he had to calmly step slightly up and over the students in order to get in front of them and take a nice long clean shot at their faces with his anti-bear spray).

      Nasty stuff.

  17. I have nothing witty to say here.  As I remember Kent State very well,  I think these students were incredibly brave.

    At an anti-foreclosure Bank of America action today in Springfield, Mssachusetts,  350 marched, 15 arrested.  Police did not wear riot gear,  did not use excessive force, and generally were not assholes.  But anything can happen, yes?

    I must mention the casual one-on-one brutality that happens every day between the police and people of color, poor people , LGBT people.  Unseen, unreported or ignored.

  18. I did start wondering about a portable, but powerful fan, to blow the pepper spray/tear gas/CS back at the police, but I couldn’t think of a way to make a powerful enough fan portable.

  19. ‘Don’t shoot students!’ Really? How about ‘Don’t shoot people!’
    I’m all for civil disobedience and the right to assembly but ‘Don’t shoot students!’ strikes a nerve.

  20. And this is why it’s probably better if I don’t get involved in these protests too much. If I (or people near me) were pepper sprayed like that all I would want to do is attempt to grab the pepper spray away from the cop and as Jason Pant said, “return the favor”… & as Mark said, wound up with myself and a lot of others shot dead…

    1. Yeah, the temptation is there, isn’t it, to grab that canister, flip it over, and just vent it straight up the guy’s chest and under his face-shield, turning it opaque orange from the inside.

      Such a bad idea.

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