Pepper spray explanation doesn't wash with UC Davis students
UC Davis chancellor says she did not order campus police to use pepper spray. Chancellor Linda Katehi told 1,000 students that police were directed not to use force.
(Page 2 of 2)
In Pictures Occupy Wall Street then and now
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
Dieter Dammeier, an Upland lawyer for the Federated University Police Officers Association, the union that represents UC Davis officers, said the operations plan issued by the department includes the use of pepper spray. Dammeier said he does not represent Pike because the lieutenant is in a management position in the department, while the union represents the rank-and-file.
"The officers were doing simply what they were instructed to do by upper management there," Dammeier said, referring to police, not university, management. "So the officers are getting beat up pretty good out there, but they were simply doing what they were instructed to do."
The administrator who oversees campus policing said the force has wide discretion in deciding how to respond to specific circumstances.
Tuesday, state lawmakers announced they would hold a hearing on the pepper-spraying incident. Assembly Speaker John Perez sent a letter to the University of California Board of Regents chairwoman Sherry Lansing and UC President Mark Yudof asking for a system-wide investigation.
"Students, parents and the public deserve to have answers to the myriad of troubling questions these incidents have raised," Perez said in a statement.
Yudof later announced he had appointed former Los Angeles Police Chief William Bratton to review the UC Davis incident and provide "an independent, unvarnished report about what happened."
He also appointed the university's general counsel and the UC Berkeley law school dean to examine police protocols and policies at all 10 UC campuses, including discussions with students, faculty and staff.
Katehi has already asked the Yolo County district attorney's office to investigate, and Chief Deputy District Attorney Jonathan Raven confirmed Tuesday that the department will look into the matter.
Attorney General Kamala Harris was deeply disturbed by the videos of the incident, spokeswoman Lynda Gledhill said Tuesday.
"She's confident they will conduct a quick and thorough investigation of the matter," Gledhill said.
On Tuesday, about 50 tents formed an encampment on the site where the pepper-spraying happened as students went about going to class. During her address during the evening town hall, Katehi said she sympathized with the feelings that are leading students to protest.
"I understand the frustration and anger students are feeling right now," she said. "Our economy is in poor shape, employment prospects are the worst in decades and tuition has been increased a number of times."
Burke reported from San Francisco.