Skip to: [ search ] [ menus ] [ content ] Select style [ Aqua ] [ Citrus ] [ Fire ] [ Orange ] [ show/hide more content ]

Police pepper-spray non-violent, seated protesters at UC Davis

Police helped to radicalize yet another generation of college students on Friday, this time at UC Davis, as they pepper-sprayed a group of sitting Occupy protesters only inches from their faces. An 8 1/2-minute video in a newsfeed from shows a policeman walking up to the students sitting on the ground, displaying his can of pepper spray to the crowd, and sweeping the protestors with the spray at close range. At least one teacher reported that police restrained students as they were pepper-sprayed in the mouth. One of the students who was pepper-sprayed in the mouth was still coughing up blood 45 minutes later, according to the junior faculty member.

Pepper spray, also known as OC spray, OC gas, and capsicum spray is a chemical compound that irritates the eyes, causing tears, pain, and even temporary blindness. The “OC” comes from “Oleoresin Capsicum.” The inflammation causes the eyes to close, taking away vision temporarily, which allows officers to more easily restrain subjects. Although pepper spray is considered to be a less-than-lethal agent, it may cause death in rare cases, and there have been a number of deaths in which being pepper sprayed might have been a contributing factor.

My one-and-only exposure to pepper spray occurred as I walked  with two friends across the Oval at Ohio State University in Columbus in the spring of 1970, and a gust of wind blew a speck of the dust into my left eye, DAYS after protests there had left white patches of pepper spray and tear gas on the grass of the open space. The left eye wept uncontrollably, while the right eye did not, and it was necessary for my friends to help me to find a place to sit down. Unlike tear gas, which can be washed away (at least a bit) with water, pepper spray is pretty much “immune” to water. I hope that the students who received large “doses” of pepper spray received proper medical attention afterward, so that no deaths occur, and I hope that police receive additional training in the proper use of the agent, including having it sprayed down the throat of the offending officer(s). :-) With attending physicians being present, of course….

The afternoon ended with 10 arrests, nine of them students, according to the Associated Press. According to Annette Spicuzza, the UC Davis police chief, students were surrounding police officers, cutting off officers from their support. She told the Sacramento Bee:

“It’s a very volatile situation.”

Yes, it is. When Ohio National Guardsmen at Kent State University found themselves in a position in which they felt threatened (even though they had the “high ground”) on May 4, 1970, they fired live ammunition into the crowd, killing some that were only walking to class. No, we will never forget.

UC Davis chancellor Linda Katehi has formed a task force to investigate the police action. She said:

The use of the pepper spray as shown on the video is chilling to us all and raises many questions about how best to handle situations like this.

AFTERWARDS is a heck of a time to THINK about such things, chancellor! You should have a plan in place IN ADVANCE that anticipates the use of crowd-control agents and what you are willing to accept on your campus.

At a news conference later on Saturday, Katehi said what the video shows is “sad and really very inappropriate.” The events surrounding the protest have been hard on her personally, but she had no plans to resign, she said.

Do not expect high-ranking bureaucrats to resign. They will FIRE anyone beneath them that they can, first!

I would just like to help answer some questions that UC Davis students had on Friday afternoon:

  1. “Whose university?” THEIR university! YOU, like generations of students BEFORE you, only help to FINANCE it! Universities are Big Business! They are mostly about money (and “prestige,” which attracts money), including donations from rich alumni of the 1%, but also about attracting GRANT money for research and projects. As you can tell from the UC presidents who are receiving 6-figure RAISES to their 6-figure SALARIES, the MANAGEMENT of the universities are the principal financial beneficiaries, along with the corporations who can license inventions and discoveries OWNED by the universities. Students have seen their tuition and fees TRIPLE since 2002-2003. If you graduate, you will receive a piece of paper that may help YOUR financial situation incrementally as well, at least until age discrimination sets in, sometime in your 50s.
  2. With regard to the police – “Who do you protect? Who do you serve?” It is pretty obvious that, in situations like Friday’s, that the police protect the wealthy and the powerful, and that they serve the cause of the “status quo.” After all, money continues to flow to the university and its management – what could be wrong? Police are present to stabilize the situation and maintain order. If you want to talk about JUSTICE, you had better wait until you go to court. It is the Judiciary Branch, not the Executive Branch, that CARES about such things, at least some of the folks in the Judiciary do.
  3. If you think that UNIVERSITIES are corrupt, wait until you enter the world of corporations.

I hope that helps.

If it does not, return to the sidewalk and sit on the pavement and get pepper-sprayed and arrested repeatedly, until you understand. (Listen to the lyrics of Steppenwolf‘s “Monster” and “You Can’t Win” by Iron Butterfly, if you are an “auditory learner,” BUT take the lyrics as a CHALLENGE, not a prediction. The rest of the 99% are with you.)

(Note added November 20, 2011: Two UC Davis campus police officers have been placed on indefinite paid administrative leave after their controversial use of pepper spray on student protesters.

Mark G. Yudof, the UC system president, said he would be talking to the 10 campus chancellors, as well as experts and other campus groups, “to conduct a thorough, far-reaching and urgent assessment of campus police procedures involving use of force, including post-incident review processes.”

“Free speech is part of the DNA of this university, and nonviolent protest has long been central to our history,” Yudof said. “It is a value we must protect with vigilance. I implore students who wish to demonstrate to do so in a peaceful and lawful fashion. I expect campus authorities to honor that right.”)

(Note added November 21, 2011: Chief Annette Spicuzza, the police chief at the University of California at Davis, has been placed on administrative leave while offiicials investigate the use of pepper spray against protesters. From CNN:

“As I have gathered more information about the events that took place on our Quad on Friday, it has become clear to me that this is a necessary step toward restoring trust on our campus,” UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi said in the statement.

Photography and videography have become two-edged swords in 21st-century America. Although the surreal proliferation of cameras and facial-recognition software have infringed our liberties, the placement of video cameras in cell phones, and the ability to upload the videos produced, have applied pressure in cases such as THIS one to seek justice. Thank you, amateur videographers, for risking your own safety to bring all of us the truth.)

Note added November 26, 2011: Lieutenant John Pike of the University of California, Davis Police Department has now drawn the wrath of Anonymous!)

-Bill at

Cheshire Cat Photo™ – “Your Guide to California’s Wonderland™”

You can view higher-resolution photos at the Cheshire Cat Photo™ Pro Gallery on Shutterfly™, where you can also order prints and gifts decorated with the photos of your choice from the gallery. The Cheshire Cat Photo Store on Zazzle® contains a wide variety of apparel and gifts decorated with our images of California. All locations are accessible from hereBe a “Facebook Fan” of Cheshire Cat Photo here! If you don’t see what you want or would be on our email list for updates, send us an email at

No Comments to “Police pepper-spray non-violent, seated protesters at UC Davis”

  (RSS feed for these comments)

InspectorWordpress has prevented 52153 attacks.
Get Adobe Flash player