University Police Outrage Decency with Pepper Spray Assault on Seated Students
November 20, 2011 Scott Galindez / Reader Supported News & Anonymous Central & Prof. Nathan Brown, UC Davis
The scene of the crime was the University of California, Davis. Police once again sprayed fuel on the fire in the form of pepper spray, and lots of it. The target? Students sitting peacefully with arms interlocked. Some were occupying a pedestrian walkway that clearly was not a roadway open to traffic. The seated students were chanting the subversive line: "Don't shoot students." How was this a threat to riot-clad police? Critics have called for the Chancellor's resignation.
UC Davis Police Violence Adds Fuel to Fire Scott Galindez / Reader Supported News
California Penal Code Section 12403.7 (a) (8) (g) Any person who uses tear gas or tear gas weapons except in self-defense is guilty of a public offense and is punishable by imprisonment in a state prison for 16 months, or two or three years or in a county jail not to exceed one year or by a fine not to exceed one thousand dollars ($1,000), or by both the fine and imprisonment, except that, if the use is against a peace officer, as defined in Chapter 4.5 (commencing with Section 830) of Title 3 of Part 2, engaged in the performance of his or her official duties and the person committing the offense knows or reasonably should know that the victim is a peace officer, the offense is punishable by imprisonment in a state prison for 16 months or two or three years or by a fine of one thousand dollars ($1,000), or by both the fine and imprisonment.
DAVIS, California (November 19, 2011) -- In response to the crackdown on Occupy Wall Street and the pepper-spraying of an 89-year-old woman in Seattle I wrote, "Fanning the Flames of the Revolution." Quite simply, I argued that each violent crackdown by the police against non-violent protesters does little more than "fan the flames" of Occupy protests and, in many cases, adds fuel to the fire of the Occupy movement.
It happened again on Friday afternoon.
This time the scene of the crime was the University of California, Davis. Police once again sprayed fuel on the fire in the form of pepper spray, and lots of it. The target? Students sitting peacefully with arms interlocked on the University's quad. Some were positioned across a pedestrian walkway. It is wide enough for small utility vehicles, but is clearly not a roadway open to traffic.
The students had gathered around an area that had earlier housed their tents. What an ominous threat to the community! Beware of students protesting in the quad instead of throwing a kegger party in a dorm!
The police had already removed the tents. All that remained of Occupy Davis was a banner hanging from a tree that read "Save Public Education." How dare they call for such a radical agenda on a campus in the California University system? The students sitting across the campus walkway chanted the subversive line: "Don't shoot students." How is this a threat to riot-clad police?
Perhaps the really subversive, supposedly "threatening," act was in the simple interlocking of their arms.
Last week The San Francisco Chronicle quoted UC Berkley Police Capt. Margo Bennett: "The individuals who linked arms and actively resisted, that in itself is an act of violence. I understand that many students may not think that, but linking arms in a human chain when ordered to step aside is not a nonviolent protest."
In fact, Captain Bennett thought that it was okay to use batons to push back the Berkeley crowd, so we shouldn't be surprised that the UC Davis police took it one step further and used pepper-spray to pry apart those threatening arms.
In Berkeley and in Davis, the goal was to break up Occupy encampments. In Berkeley, the police were trying to get to tents. In Davis, the tents were already gone. In both cases one wonders what exactly is so threatening about students camping on the quad? What is so "violent" about sitting with arms joined together?
Wait … they might just learn something! But it's a lesson plan not approved by the Board of Regents.
Apparently, it would be better to force them back into their frat houses and sorority houses so they can get drunk before returning to their corporate-funded classrooms on Monday morning. We can't have them learning about the effects of corporate greed all weekend, out in the open air of the campus commons. That must be why they moved in at 5pm on a Friday afternoon. What would the town pubs do if the students were camping on the quad instead of doing shots 'til they passed out?
All kidding aside, the scary thing is some of my sarcasm is probably not far from the truth. But the real effect of Friday's police action at UC Davis is that this coming Monday at noon the students will be back, likely in much larger numbers. The pepper-spray fired by the police on Friday further fanned the flames of the revolution. When will they learn the relationship between cause and effect?
Watch the end of this video if you have any doubts about the outcome.
Scott Galindez is the Political Director of Reader Supported News, and the co-founder of Truthout.
D0X: UC Davis Pepper Spraying officer, Lt. John Pike.
(Please be respectful in your condemnation of this act of brutality.)
Lieutenant John Pike
Records Unit Manager
Phone: [Deleted by EAW]
Cell: [Deleted by EAW]
email [Deleted by EAW]
Address: [Deleted by EAW]
Skype: [Deleted by EAW]
John A. Pike, POLICE LIEUTENANT – MSP, UC Davis
2010: POLICE LIEUTENANT - MSP 2010 Pay
Base pay: $116,454.00, Overtime: $0.00, Other:$0.00
Total pay: $110,243.12 2009 Pay
Base pay: $110,727.00, Overtime: $0.00, Other:$0.00
Total pay: $107,792.20 2008 Pay
Base pay: N/A, Overtime: $0.00, Other:$0.00
Total pay: $105,000.00
Pike has received 2 Meritorious Service Awards from UC Davis
File formal complaint against UC Davis police officer here:
UC Davis Support Services Division
Captain Joyce Souza
Monday - Friday
8:00 AM to 5:00 PM
Reporting a Crime or Accident
UC Davis Police Non-Emergency Service
UC Office of the President
Mark G. Yudof
University of California
1111 Franklin St., 12th Floor
Oakland, CA 94607
Professor at the university, Nathan Brown, wrote an “open letter” calling on Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi to resign. The entire letter boldly condemns the Chancellor for permitting riot police to handle students as police did. (source)
UC Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi
Offices of the Chancellor and Provost
Fifth floor, Mrak Hall
University of California, Davis
One Shields Avenue
Davis, CA 95616
UC Davis FB Page:
His boss, UCD Police Chief Annette Spicuzza, told the Davis Enterprise that she’s “very proud” of her officers. “I don’t believe any of our officers were hurt,” she says, “and I hope none of the students were injured.” (source)
UC Davis Police Department
One Shields Ave.
Davis, CA 95616
FAX: (530) 752-3216
John Pike’s Education
California State University-Hayward (BS)
Activities and Societies: Theta Chi Fraternity
International Headquarters: 317-824-1881
Theta Chi UC Davis Chapter: Zeta XI
Posted by email@example.com at 9:07 PM http://www.blogger.com/email-post.g?blogID=2039650298276806223&postID=5611352103276515045 Open Letter to UC Davis Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi An Open Letter From UC DAVIS Professor Demanding Resignation After "Police Brutality"
DAVIS, CA. (November 18, 2011) -- I am a junior faculty member at UC Davis. I am an Assistant Professor in the Department of English, and I teach in the Program in Critical Theory and in Science & Technology Studies. I have a strong record of research, teaching, and service. I am currently a Board Member of the Davis Faculty Association. I have also taken an active role in supporting the student movement to defend public education on our campus and throughout the UC system. In a word: I am the sort of young faculty member, like many of my colleagues, this campus needs. I am an asset to the University of California at Davis.
You are not.
I write to you and to my colleagues for three reasons:
1) to express my outrage at the police brutality which occurred against students engaged in peaceful protest on the UC Davis campus today
2) to hold you accountable for this police brutality
3) to demand your immediate resignation
Today you ordered police onto our campus to clear student protesters from the quad. These were protesters who participated in a rally speaking out against tuition increases and police brutality on UC campuses on Tuesday -- a rally that I organized, and which was endorsed by the Davis Faculty Association.
These students attended that rally in response to a call for solidarity from students and faculty who were bludgeoned with batons, hospitalized, and arrested at UC Berkeley last week. In the highest tradition of non-violent civil disobedience, those protesters had linked arms and held their ground in defense of tents they set up beside Sproul Hall.
In a gesture of solidarity with those students and faculty, and in solidarity with the national Occupy movement, students at UC Davis set up tents on the main quad. When you ordered police outfitted with riot helmets, brandishing batons and teargas guns to remove their tents today, those students sat down on the ground in a circle and linked arms to protect them.
What happened next?
Without any provocation whatsoever, other than the bodies of these students sitting where they were on the ground, with their arms linked, police pepper-sprayed students. Students remained on the ground, now writhing in pain, with their arms linked.
What happened next?
Police used batons to try to push the students apart. Those they could separate, they arrested, kneeling on their bodies and pushing their heads into the ground. Those they could not separate, they pepper-sprayed directly in the face, holding these students as they did so. When students covered their eyes with their clothing, police forced open their mouths and pepper-sprayed down their throats.
Several of these students were hospitalized. Others are seriously injured. One of them, forty-five minutes after being pepper-sprayed down his throat, was still coughing up blood.
This is what happened. You are responsible for it.
You are responsible for it because this is what happens when UC Chancellors order police onto our campuses to disperse peaceful protesters through the use of force: students get hurt. Faculty get hurt.
One of the most inspiring things (inspiring for those of us who care about students who assert their rights to free speech and peaceful assembly) about the demonstration in Berkeley on November 9 is that UC Berkeley faculty stood together with students, their arms linked together. Associate Professor of English Celeste Langan was grabbed by her hair, thrown on the ground, and arrested. Associate Professor Geoffrey O’Brien was injured by baton blows. Professor Robert Hass, former Poet Laureate of the United States, National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize winner, was also struck with a baton.
These faculty stood together with students in solidarity, and they too were beaten and arrested by the police. In writing this letter, I stand together with those faculty and with the students they supported.
One week after this happened at UC Berkeley, you ordered police to clear tents from the quad at UC Davis. When students responded in the same way -- linking arms and holding their ground -- police also responded in the same way: with violent force.
The fact is: the administration of UC campuses systematically uses police brutality to terrorize students and faculty, to crush political dissent on our campuses, and to suppress free speech and peaceful assembly. Many people know this. Many more people are learning it very quickly.
You are responsible for the police violence directed against students on the UC Davis quad on November 18, 2011. As I said, I am writing to hold you responsible and to demand your immediate resignation on these grounds.
On Wednesday November 16, you issued a letter by email to the campus community. In this letter, you discussed a hate crime which occurred at UC Davis on Sunday November 13. In this letter, you express concern about the safety of our students. You write, “it is particularly disturbing that such an act of intolerance should occur at a time when the campus community is working to create a safe and inviting space for all our students.”
You write, “while these are turbulent economic times, as a campus community, we must all be committed to a safe, welcoming environment that advances our efforts to diversity and excellence at UC Davis.”
I will leave it to my colleagues and every reader of this letter to decide what poses a greater threat to “a safe and inviting space for all our students” or “a safe, welcoming environment” at UC Davis:
1) Setting up tents on the quad in solidarity with faculty and students brutalized by police at UC Berkeley? or
2) Sending in riot police to disperse students with batons, pepper-spray, and tear-gas guns, while those students sit peacefully on the ground with their arms linked?
Is this what you have in mind when you refer to creating “a safe and inviting space?” Is this what you have in mind when you express commitment to “a safe, welcoming environment?”
I am writing to tell you in no uncertain terms that there must be space for protest on our campus. There must be space for political dissent on our campus. There must be space for civil disobedience on our campus. There must be space for students to assert their right to decide on the form of their protest, their dissent, and their civil disobedience -- including the simple act of setting up tents in solidarity with other students who have done so.
There must be space for protest and dissent, especially, when the object of protest and dissent is police brutality itself. You may not order police to forcefully disperse student protesters peacefully protesting police brutality. You may not do so. It is not an option available to you as the Chancellor of a UC campus. That is why I am calling for your immediate resignation.
Your words express concern for the safety of our students. Your actions express no concern whatsoever for the safety of our students.
I deduce from this discrepancy that you are not, in fact, concerned about the safety of our students. Your actions directly threaten the safety of our students. And I want you to know that this is clear. It is clear to anyone who reads your campus emails concerning our “Principles of Community” and who also takes the time to inform themselves about your actions. You should bear in mind that when you send emails to the UC Davis community, you address a body of faculty and students who are well trained to see through rhetoric that evinces care for students while implicitly threatening them. I see through your rhetoric very clearly. You also write to a campus community that knows how to speak truth to power. That is what I am doing.
I call for your resignation because you are unfit to do your job. You are unfit to ensure the safety of students at UC Davis. In fact: you are the primary threat to the safety of students at UC Davis. As such, I call upon you to resign immediately.
Sincerely, Nathan Brown
Department of English
Program in Critical Theory
University of California at Davis