Nine months and $76,000 later, UC Davis's Pepper-Spray Pike is fired

As Rob noted, Lt John Pike, the UC Davis campus cop who attained infamy by casually walking a line of student protesters, pepper-spraying them at point-blank range, has been fired. He has been on administrative leave since the incident since the incident last November, and the university has paid him over $76,000 of his $110,243.12 salary during that period. Cory

Occupy News Bins: miniature Lego OWS, complete with pepper-spraying cop

"No property was harmed during this installation," DocPop tells us about this hilarious teeny-tiny Lego Occupy. "From what I understand the piece has already been removed though I don't know by whom."

Pepper-spraying cop gets Photoshop justice: Xeni's Guardian op-ed on meme-ing of UC Davis police brutality

LALO ALCARAZ

The nice people at the Guardian invited me to write an op-ed about the meme-ification of Lt. John Pike's unforgettable act of brutality against UC Davis students last Friday.

Photoshop out the students from that picture with your mind. Forget about Pike's uniform, let's say he's just wearing street clothes. Now, instead of a policeman spraying a less-lethal chemical weapon down the throats of peacefully seated 20-year-olds, you might be able to interpret this tableau as a figure sauntering through a garden, spraying weeds. Or maybe he's your paunchy, moustached uncle, nonchalantly dousing bugs in the basement with insecticide.

One way the internet deals with that kind of upsetting dissonance is to mock it. And that's what the internet has done with Pike. The "casually pepper-spraying cop" is now a meme, a kind of folk art or shared visual joke that is open to sharing and reinterpretation by anyone. This particular meme has spread with unusual velocity – in part, I imagine, because the subject matter is just as weird as it is upsetting.

Even Kamran Loghman, one of the men who developed pepper spray as a weapon with the FBI in the 1980s, had a hard time reconciling it. "I have never seen such an inappropriate and improper use of chemical agents," Loghman told the New York Times. And Loghman might add "insouciant" to that list of adjectives. I mean, look at the guy. He's not braced for imminent attack by a foe; he does not move with tension as if navigating a hostile environment. He's administering punishment, and his face says: "Meh."

"The pepper-spraying cop gets Photoshop justice" (Guardian)

GRATUITOUS BONUS PLUG: Illustrator Lalo Alcaraz, who is responsible for the 'shoop above, is releasing his 2012 Cartoon Doomsday Calendar, available by mailorder at laloalcaraz.com.

Photo:Brian Nguyen/The Aggie.

UC Davis course catalog, pepper spray edition

From Jay Rosen, "Excerpt from UC Davis 2010-2012 General Catalog":

176. Introduction to Pepper Spray. (3) Lecture— 3 hours. Prerequisite: Crowd Control Through Chemicals 122B. Basic uses of pepper spray in threatening, semi-threatening and completely non-threatening and utterly peaceful situations. Common spraying techniques. Overview of rationalization methods. Color choices. Jackboot styles.

177. Advanced Pepper Spraying. (3) Lecture— 3 hours. Prerequisite: Introduction to Pepper Spray 176. Calculating optimum angles in spraying situations. Spraying seated vs. standing persons. History and development of chemical warfare against inconvenient demonstrations. Elements of CYA: basics and best practices.

178: Pepper Spray Practicum. (3). Laboratory— 3 hours. Prerequisite: Advanced Pepper Spraying 177. Working in teams, students locate sites where individuals are exercising so-called First Amendment rights and develop a strategy for spraying them. Emphasis on intimidation and staying calm under awesome hippie threat. Teams are held responsible for escaping responsibility and insulating higher-ups.

Excerpt from UC Davis 2010-2012 General Catalog (Thanks, Jay!)

"A Pepper Spray Thanksgiving," Norman Rockwell's long-lost Saturday Evening Post cover

By artist and illustrator Bob Staake, whose work you may have seen on the cover of the New Yorker. Gonna have to add this one to the meme-stack. As I post this, word's coming in that the ACLU has just delivered a letter of condemnation to UC Davis chancellor Katehi.

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.

Massive rally at UC Davis, some protesters carrying "pepper-spraying cop" meme-signs

Photo: Ramon Solis

Hard to estimate numbers, but by some accounts, well over 15,000 students and supporters are gathered at UC Davis for a rally and Occupy GA right now, following an incident Friday in which a police officer pepper-sprayed peaceful, seated student protesters at point blank range.

Here's a Twitter list to follow. Reporter Cory Golden from the Davis Enterprise is there, as is Doug Sovern from KCBS radio.

Above, a photograph by student journalist Ramon Solis, who has been tirelessly covering the events at UC Davis: a bouquet of carnations, bound together with #OWS tent-poles.

And below, again shot by Ramon just now: Occupy Lulz-themed signs carried by protesters, with image macros making fun of the grim scene just days ago at the very ground on which they're standing. Recursion overload.

You should follow Ramon, too.

Update: Katehi apologizes but doesn't resign.

Photo: Ramon Solis

Measuring Pepper Spray on the Scoville scale of chili pepper hotness

If you're heading out to an Occupation today AND you're a fan of tasty, tasty chili peppers, you'll want to read Deborah Blum's "About Pepper" essay in Scientific American.

The reason pepper-spray ends up on the Scoville chart is that – you probably guessed this - it’s literally derived from pepper chemistry, the compounds that make habaneros so much more formidable than the comparatively wimpy bells. Those compounds are called capsaicins and – in fact – pepper spray is more formally called Oleoresin Capsicum or OC Spray.

But we’ve taken to calling it pepper spray, I think, because that makes it sound so much more benign than it really is, like something just a grade or so above what we might mix up in a home kitchen. The description hints maybe at that eye-stinging effect that the cook occasionally experiences when making something like a jalapeno-based salsa, a little burn, nothing too serious.

Until you look it up on the Scoville scale and remember, as toxicologists love to point out, that the dose makes the poison.

(via @chaplinscourage)

After police violence, UC Davis students plan large rally Monday

Following the widely-reported pepper spray incident which left multiple students injured, #OWS-affiliated students at UC Davis will hold a rally Monday, November 21, at noon.

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UC Davis chancellor Katehi issues statement on police pepper-spraying of student protesters

After police cracked down with shocking force on UC Davis student demonstrators, and those students in turn confronted the university's Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi in an unusual and dramatic way, the Chancellor announced that two police officers would be put on administrative leave pending an investigation, and then issued this statement today.

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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:

Read the rest

After pepper-spraying incident, UC Davis redesigns website

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