UC Davis Police Chief On Leave After Pepper Spray Incident; Students Rally

DAVIS (CBS SF) — The chief of police at University of California, Davis has been placed on administrative leave because of the furor over the pepper spraying of peaceful protesters by campus officers.  Meanwhile, hundreds of students rallied on the UC Davis campus Monday in protest against the pepper-spraying.

The university said in a news release early Monday that it was necessary to place police Chief Annette Spicuzza on administrative leave to restore trust and calm tensions over Friday’s pepper spray episode.

It was announced earlier that two police officers who were videotaped deploying pepper spray against seated protesters were also placed on administrative leave.

Ten protesters were arrested Friday for an illegal campus encampment. The protesters were cited and released on misdemeanor charges of unlawful assembly and failure to disperse.

UC Davis Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi said in a statement about the campus police chief move, “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.”

Katehi said, “I take full responsibility for the events on Friday and am extremely saddened by what occurred. I eagerly await the results of the review, and intend to act quickly to implement reforms that will safeguard the rights of our students, faculty and staff to engage in nonviolent protest.”

Katehi has also called on the Yolo County District Attorney’s Office to investigate the police department’s use of force.

On Sunday, two campus police officers who were videotaped deploying pepper spray against protesters were also placed on administrative leave.

Protesters have called for Katehi’s resignation, but she has resisted.

Navid Shaghaghi, a senior in electrical engineering and computer science at UC Berkeley, said an anonymous donor provided a van to shuttle about 15 Occupy Cal protesters to UC Davis for Monday’s noon rally.

In addition, Shaghaghi said, Occupy Cal protesters plan to have a “sleepout” at Sproul Plaza Monday night to show solidarity with UC Davis students.  He said he’s not sure how many will participate but that so far, 375 people have indicated on a Facebook page that they will be there.

Shaghaghi said Occupy Cal protesters will decide at a general assembly Monday whether to make another attempt to set up tents on the steps of Sproul Hall.

Occupy Cal members set up tents there last Tuesday night, but campus police removed them early Thursday.

Shaghaghi said Occupy Cal members plan to sleep out on the Sproul steps even if there’s a vote against setting up another encampment.

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


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