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Video Showing Officer Pepper-Spraying UC Davis Protesters Prompts Investigation

DAVIS (CBS SF / AP) — The University of California, Davis has launched an investigation in the wake of video showing an officer using pepper spray on a group of protesters who appear to be sitting passively on the ground with their arms interlocked.

The video of the tense standoff between police and Occupy demonstrators at UC Davis shows an officer using pepper spray on a group of protesters who appear to be sitting passively on the ground with their arms interlocked.

In the video—posted on YouTube—was shot Friday as police moved in on more than a dozen tents erected on campus.

The officer displays a bottle before spraying its contents on the seated protesters in a sweeping motion. Some members of the scream and cry out. The group chants, “Shame on You,” as the protesters on the ground are led away.

Chancellor Linda Katehi says she’s not resigning as outrage spreads over the cellphone video.

Katehi described the video images as “chilling” and says she’s forming a task force to investigate. The Davis Faculty Association in a letter Saturday said that Katehi should resign, calling her authorization of police force during the Friday protest a “gross failure of leadership.”

During a news conference later Saturday, Katehi said the events surrounding the protest have been hard on her personally, but she has no plans to step down.  She said she is forming a task force made up of faculty, students and staff to review the events surrounding the protests a day earlier. Katehi made the announcement in a message to the campus.

UC Davis Police Chief Annette Spicuzza said that police used the pepper spray after they were surrounded and said protesters were warned beforehand that force would be used if they didn’t move.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

  • vb

    Thats what happened when you don’t heed their warning. they should have been taxed

  • cnredd

    Surrounding police officers is NOT PASSIVE…It’s very AGGRESSIVE…

    Political Wrinkles

  • j

    The FBI and DEA fabricate evidence, steal from suspects and use murder to close bad cases.

    My dog was poisoned to death because I called the San Francisco Attorney General’s office to complain that corrupt FBI and DEA where stealing from me.

  • Craig Sonneborn

    Chemical warfare by the police against U.S.citizens is an Outrage!

  • Alan B

    Police Chief Spicuzza states that this was a defensive action on the part of the police who were surrounded. Clearly the video evidence is to the contrary. What is most disturbing about this is 1) how readily police use weapons and harmful sprays 2) they can do this if they feel threatened 3) the Chief Officer is prepared to lie in support of her officers.

    Left unchallenged police over reaction to peaceful demonstrators will escalate to the point where serious injuries and maybe deaths occur.

    The whole world is watching.

  • Sam

    The students did not look very aggressive to me, the Police however looked very aggressive. Students sitting arms locked isn’t aggressive. There is a thing called free speech in this country and the right to protest. The whole world is watching.

    To the moron above that said the students should be taxed you are ignorant and most likely a paid troll.

    • Ray

      I agree but “troll” vitriol aside, this is about your children NOT getting educated so that you actually do leave them with nothing but intolerable debt, crumbling infrastructure and broken government.

      Your (our) taxes pay for these “power junkie cops” to beat up and abuse your kids at schools most can already barely afford to attend. And idiots applaud.

      Unfortunately, I am noticing an alarming trend where comments are so divided between extreme points of view that we should just call it quits and divide the country into blue and red states.

  • Justin Goble

    he should of taz them to

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  • Walter Brewster

    Interesting! People in other countries get attacked by their police/army and the US makes grand statements about the right to peaceful protest. This over the top reaction by US police shows they are no better and would probably act in just the same way as those in Syria, Libya et al if their sense of control began to evaporate. The difference is the US and other so-called civilised countries are supposed to know better!

  • PLW

    If there are laws and people are warned that they will be arrested for breaking those laws, then they cry like little babies when the law is enforced…. What a bunch of Morons! Everyone, the Demonstrators, the Students involved, the Liberal Educators that don’t teach anyway, should be held accountable! If the Liberals, Environmentalists, Students, Unions, Communists, and other Special Interest Groups have their way, we will become a 3rd World Country!!!!!

    • Sam

      Another moronic Faux News, Glenn Beck type of statement. Everyone is a Hippie, Commie, unemployed lazy self entitled welfare queen. I guess the original Tea Party people should have obeyed the law as well.

      The environmentalists and teachers don’t teach comment is really funny, like wanting to protect our environment is bad, or helping to provide an affordable education and clean environment to our kids and grandkids is bad. I always hear you don’t want to leave a massive debt to our kids but you have no problem leaving them with a dirty environment and little to no options to afford an education. Ever think about the debt these poor kids take on to get an education so they can get a job. A job that will be sold to the lowest bidder in another country so a CEO can make another buck. Much cheaper to educate your society then to jail it. Much better for your pocketbook since that is all you think is important. Perhaps if you were educated you could see that you are being scammed. An extremely small tax increase to the wealthiest 1% would help tremendously. Ever look at what the tax rates were in the 50 & 60’s when America was respected and a real leader in everything?

      I pay taxes, my kid goes to UCD. He works and pays taxes and didn’t participate in the protest but we are both outraged by the treatment of Peaceful demonstrators. If this was the Middle East I”m sure you would be happy to invade not knowing the rich just want the war to profit off of while your kids die.

      Wake up watch something other than Fox or Glee or Bill or Mark. Actually read something they didn’t assign and think.

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