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.

UC Berkeley police give "Beat Poets" new meaning: poet laureate Robert Hass on his violent encounter

University of California, Berkeley poetry professor and former US poet laureate Robert Hass writes in the New York Times, on what transpired when he wandered down to the Occupy with his wife, to see for himself if reports of police brutality against student protesters were really true:

[UC Berkeley] is also the place where students almost 50 years ago touched off the Free Speech Movement, which transformed the life of American universities by guaranteeing students freedom of speech and self-governance. The steps are named for Mario Savio, the eloquent undergraduate student who was the symbolic face of the movement. There is even a Free Speech Movement Cafe on campus where some of Mr. Savio’s words are prominently displayed: “There is a time ... when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that you can’t take part. You can’t even passively take part.” 

Earlier that day a colleague had written to say that the campus police had moved in to take down the Occupy tents and that students had been “beaten viciously.” I didn’t believe it. In broad daylight? And without provocation? So when we heard that the police had returned, my wife, Brenda Hillman, and I hurried to the campus. I wanted to see what was going to happen and how the police behaved, and how the students behaved. If there was trouble, we wanted to be there to do what we could to protect the students.

Once the cordon formed, the deputy sheriffs pointed their truncheons toward the crowd. It looked like the oldest of military maneuvers, a phalanx out of the Trojan War, but with billy clubs instead of spears. The students were wearing scarves for the first time that year, their cheeks rosy with the first bite of real cold after the long Californian Indian summer. The billy clubs were about the size of a boy’s Little League baseball bat. My wife was speaking to the young deputies about the importance of nonviolence and explaining why they should be at home reading to their children, when one of the deputies reached out, shoved my wife in the chest and knocked her down.

PHOTO: Occupy Cal demonstrators gather in Sproul Plaza at the University of California, Berkeley November 15, 2011. Throngs of anti-Wall Street protesters converged on the University of California at Berkeley on this day, vowing to set up a tent camp in defiance of campus rules a day after police dismantled a long-standing encampment in nearby Oakland. (REUTERS/Stephen Lam)

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.

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One day after pepper-spraying, UC Davis students silently, peacefully confront Chancellor Katehi

[Video Link]

I thought I wouldn't see a more dramatic video than the ones yesterday of the pepper-spraying of students by police at UC Davis. I was wrong.

In the video above, UC Davis students, silent, with linked arms, confront Chancellor Linda Katehi just one day after the incident. It's hard to tell exactly how many of them are present, but there they are, a huge crowd. They're seated in the same cross-legged-on-the-ground position their fellow students were yesterday just before Lt. John Pike pulled out a can of pepper spray and pulled the trigger.

Note that Katehi remains silent during what looks like her perp walk. She does not acknowledge the presence of the students. And yet, within an hour she was live on CNN explaining away the pepper-spray incident to host Don Lemon, who had to cut her off a few times because her responses were so long-winded.

Student videographer Anna Sturla shot the video above for the Davis Senior High School's newspaper/website's, The HUB.

More at The Second Alarm blog:

A pretty remarkable thing just happened. A press conference, scheduled for 2:00pm between the UC Davis Chancellor and police on campus, did not end at 2:30. Instead, a mass of Occupy Davis students and sympathizers mobilized outside, demanding to have their voice heard. After some initial confusion, UC Chancellor Linda Katehi refused to leave the building, attempting to give the media the impression that the students were somehow holding her hostage. A group of highly organized students formed large gap for the chancellor to leave. They chanted “we are peaceful” and “just walk home,” but nothing changed for several hours. Eventually student representatives convinced the chancellor to leave after telling their fellow students to sit down and lock arms.

ME: Chancellor, do you still feel threatened by the students?
KATEHI: No.

One of the students pepper sprayed yesterday, a young man wearing a brown down coat over a tie-dye shirt, said he met with Kotehi and personally showed her a video of pepper spraying attack. Speaking to about a thousand students with the “human mic,” the young man said he personally asked for her resignation.

More about yesterday's pepper-spraying videos, from Brian Stelter at the New York Times:

Some protesters were hospitalized afterward, according to local reports. Ten were arrested. Interviewed at a hospital by a local newspaper, The Davis Enterprise, one of the protesters, Dominic Gutierrez, said that he had been sprayed while trying to shield others.

“When you protect the things you believe in with your body, it changes you for good. It radicalizes you for good,” he said.

Boing Boing reader Sarah Messbauer, in the comments for this blog post, writes:

So proud to say that I was there tonight. The greatest words are those left unspoken, and I sincerely hope Katehi got the message.

And Boing Boing reader William Fertman, who was also there tonight, sends in the reassuring news that the revolution comes with pizza:

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After pepper-spraying incident, UC Davis redesigns website

Link. They might want to rethink that motto, however. (thanks, @justinq!)

Police officer pepper-sprays seated, non-violent students at UC Davis

[Video Link, by terrydatiger, and Video Link 2, by jamiehall1516].

At the University of California at Davis this afternoon, police tore down down the tents of students inspired by the Occupy Wall Street movement, and arrested those who stood in their way.

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UFO: Unidentified Flying Occupation. Tents float over UC Berkeley after cops trash encampment.

This is what democracy looks like, gliding up toward the heavens on helium-filled balloons after campus police beat students and smashed all their Occupy Cal tents.

This was shot outside UC Berkeley by zunguzungu.

Occupy Cal: School-wide student strike at UC Berkeley

Turnstyle News photog Denise Tejada has a set of photos from today's mass protest at UC Berkeley, in California's Bay Area. At the time of this blog post, the crowd gathered is somewhere north of 1,500 people. (thanks, Alejandro de la Cruz)

The Grass Is Closed: an Occupy Cal protester, on police and power

Snip from a terrific long-read by Aaron Bady, aka zunguzungu, on his experience at the OWS-inspired "Occupy Cal" protests at UC Berkeley, after campus police violently attacked peaceful fellow student demonstrators (see video above).

At about 11:30 a.m. yesterday, a police officer told me and about eight other students that, and I quote, “the grass is closed.” We were going to sit under a tree and discuss things, and two police officers were watching us vigilantly to make sure we didn’t suddenly do something violent like try to put up tents. As we moved towards the tree, the first police officer stepped up and informed us that we could not walk from the broad concrete steps of Sproul Hall, where about a hundred people were sitting and talking, and sit on the grassy area just to the north of it. “The grass is closed,” she said.

If you meditate on these words until they become a mantra, you will learn some profound things about how police authority works. What could it possibly mean to declare that “the grass is closed”? Who could have the authority to say so? I had always considered that stretch of grass to be public; I’ve often been among the hundreds of students who eat their lunch there, every day, and 11:30 a.m. is a time of day when it is common to eat lunch. I have had conversations with other students sitting on that very grass, many times. Why was it that I could not do so now? Why had this stretch of grass suddenly become un-public and closed off? No signs said so, and no police tape marked it off. At the far end of that grassy area, in fact, several people were actually sitting on the grass. But those people were sitting there eating lunch. Because we were part of the group which was sitting on the steps of Sproul Hall, clearly, the grass had been declared off limits to us.

To make things more interesting, it immediately transpired that the other police officer had, in fact, already given them permission to sit on the grass. And in an instant, the arbitrariness of the rule was made evident and undeniable.

Read the rest: “The Grass Is Closed”: What I Have Learned About Power from the Police, Chancellor Birgeneau, and Occupy Cal (zunguzungu).