Beefy, sneering guys in Blue use pepper spray on peaceful UCDavis protesters at close range

What is shown in this video — posted by TIME Magazine, here — is a very, very grave mistake, and an abuse of power and authority of the first degree. It is causing outrage locally, nationally and internationally.

Peaceful protesters are shown here being pepper sprayed at very close range by big beefy guys (and at least one little lady) in blue — official California police officers.

It happened at the end of last week on the campus of the University of California at Davis. The students were allowed to camp overnight, though there was a policy against it, then told to remove their tents by 3pm or face arrest. They decided to hold a sit-in. They were then pepper-sprayed with premeditation.

The video can also be watched on Youtube, here:

Then, these big beefy guys get nervous — two of them, at least, have their fingers on the triggers of big black automatic weapons that they are pointing at the crowd — as, outnumbered but not out-armed, they walk backward in a phalanx position to protect…themselves.

“Shame on you!”, the students chant.

Then, “You can go!”

An eyewitness description is posted in an interview published here.

Also from the same website, another view of UCDavis students being pepper-sprayed:

Photo from Boingboing.net

And, here are the guns, ready for use on an American university campus:

Another photo posted on Boingboing.net

UPDATE: An AP story on the outcry that followed circulation of this video reports that “The protest was held in support of the overall Occupy Wall Street movement and in solidarity with protesters at the University of California, Berkeley who were jabbed by police with batons on Nov. 9. Charles J. Kelly, a former Baltimore Police Department lieutenant who wrote the department’s use of force guidelines, said pepper spray is a ‘compliance tool’ that can be used on subjects who do not resist, and is preferable to simply lifting protesters. ‘When you start picking up human bodies, you risk hurting them’, Kelly said. ‘Bodies don’t have handles on them’. After reviewing the video, Kelly said he observed at least two cases of ‘active resistance’ from protesters. In one instance, a woman pulls her arm back from an officer. In the second instance, a protester curls into a ball. Each of those actions could have warranted more force, including baton strikes and pressure-point techniques. ‘What I’m looking at is fairly standard police procedure’, Kelly said. Images of police actions have served to galvanize support during the Occupy Wall Street movement … Some of the most notorious instances went viral online, including the use of pepper spray on an 84-year-old activist in Seattle and a group of women in New York. Seattle’s mayor apologized to the activist, and the New York Police Department official shown using pepper spray on the group of women lost 10 vacation days after an internal review. In the video of the UC Davis protest, the officer, a member of the university police force, displays a bottle before spraying its contents on the seated protesters in a sweeping motion while walking back and forth. Most of the protesters have their heads down, but several were hit directly in the face” This is published here.

Don’t they ever learn?

The same AP story also reported that “University of California Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi said in a statement Saturday she was forming a task force to investigate the police action and the video images she said were ‘chilling’ … As the images were circulated widely on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter on Saturday, the university’s faculty association called on Katehi to resign, saying in a letter there had been a ‘gross failure of leadership’. At a news conference, Katehi said what the video shows is, ‘sad and really very inappropriate’ but defended her leadership and said she had no plans to resign”.

An open letter of protest to UCDavis Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi, written on 18 November by Asst Professor Nathan Brown, is posted here. This letter holds Katehi responsible and demands her resignation.

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