UC Davis Pepper-Spraying: Police Chief Put On Leave, Chancellor To Speak
Originally published on Wed August 1, 2012 9:56 am
One of the most-talked-about stories of the weekend — the pepper-spraying of Occupy protesters by University of California Davis campus police — continues to grab attention today.
The school announced this morning that the chief of the campus police department "has been placed on administrative leave pending a review" of the incident. It also said that the local district attorney has agreed to join the county sheriff in a review of what happened.
And university Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi, who came under fire for initially defending the officers' actions, is going to be much in the news today and tomorrow as she tries to tamp down the outrage at her school.
The Davis Enterprise reports that Katehi plans to meet with Occupy UC Davis protesters today at noon PT (3 p.m ET). This afternoon, she's due to speak with members of the school's faculty (some of whom have called for her resignation).
At 10 a.m. PT (1 p.m. ET), Katehi is due to discuss the pepper-spraying incident on KQED's Forum with Michael Krasny. The show is streamed here and we're hoping we'll be able to embed the recorded audio later today.
Tuesday, according to the Daily Enterprise, Katehi plans to "hold a student forum."
In case you're just catching up with this story, there was an Occupy demonstration on the Davis campus Friday. A small group of protesters sat down across a walkway and linked arms. Police ordered them to move. When the protesters refused, an officer shot pepper spray into their faces. Video of what happened has gone viral and been played and replayed over and over on cable news networks.
Spokesmen for the police said the officers had been surrounded by other protesters and felt threatened. Critics say the officers' reaction was out of proportion. Two officers, as well as Chief Annette Spicuzza, have been put on administrative leave. A student-faculty-staff task force is investigating.
A second video, of Katehi walking past a silent group of protesters on Saturday, has also attracted hundreds of thousands of views.
Update at 4:10 p.m. ET. Chancellor: Spraying Is 'Unacceptable,' 'Horrible':
In an interview with KQED, UC Davis Chancellor Katehi reiterated that she would not step down, but she called the spraying of students "unacceptable" and "horrible." She said the police were called to peacefully dismantle the Occupy encampment.
"They were not supposed to use force," said Katehi.
Here's audio of the interview:
Also, KQED's Ian Hill has used Storify to collect some of the student reaction to Katehi's comments.