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Pepper Spray Incident at UCD Unnecessary, Report Cites the Role of Berkeley Occupy Protests

The UC Berkeley Occupy demonstrations were featured in a report about UC Davis' misuse of pepper spray.

A University of California task force found that pepper-spraying student protesters shouldn't have happened, says the Associated Press.

The video you can see here went viral, bringing national attention to the UC Davis pepper spray incident.

The November 9 Occupy protests on the UC Berkeley campus was referenced in conversations UC Davis police and administrators had as to whether to use pepper spray to subdue the Occupy protesters on the UC Davis campus. (You can read more about the so-called Reynoso report on this NPR blog.)

The Reynoso report states that the UC Berkeley Occupy demonstrations on November 9 were “a pivotal event” because there was increased concern from “UC administration and police leadership about potential conflicts and potential violence.” The report also says “the use of batons by police against activists that day brought the issue of ‘police brutality’ to equal footing with tuition increases and budget cuts.”

Here are further excerpts from the report, which can be downloaded at the bottom of this article:

The Occupy movement could be said to have arrived at UC Berkeley on November 9, as students prepared for walkouts and demonstrations…The central issue of the walkouts and demonstrations held on November 9—tuition increases for students attending public universities in California—had been the cause of rallies and civil disobedience by student activists on University of California campuses for several years.

According to Contra Costa Times article, “some say the Occupy movement was born at UC Berkeley last year, when students and others repeatedly staged sit-ins at campus buildings” and numerous activists were arrested.

UC Davis campus administrators identified the security risks created by non-affiliates participating in the Occupy encampment as a critical factor influencing their decision to remove the tents erected in the Occupy UC Davis encampment. One source for their concern was the information reported by news media regarding drug use and violence at municipal encampments, particularly the Occupy Oakland encampment, and the presence of non-affiliates at protests and encampments at other universities, such as UC Berkeley.

During a conference call on Nov. 17, Provost and Vice Chancellor Hexter stated that “We don’t want it [the police operation] to be like Berkeley.” Chancellor Katehi immediately agreed with that comment.

The Chief’s experience, “the recent events involving encampments at UC Berkeley and Oakland,” Lieutenant Pike and Officer P insistence on wearing riot gear despite her contrary instructions, and the information in the related operations plans, all “suggested that the use of force would be difficult to avoid.” Notably, the Department’s Nov. 15, 2011, operation plan expressly stated that use of force was “highly likely” in a situation where police are removing tents from the quad.

In short, the Chief should have been well aware of the risk and made that risk clear to the policymakers to whom she reported.


Brandt Hardin April 11, 2012 at 11:42 PM
When will we start holding officers accountable for their brutality and excessive use of force? The handling of protesters is Unconstitutional and endangers the basic rights of EVERY last American. Is this the country we were raised in, were men and women are beaten, gassed, pepper-sprayed and arrested for their disapproval of the government? We have to be careful to protect our Constitutional Rights! Raise awareness and do your part with these free posters I designed for the movement on my artist’s blog at http://dregstudiosart.blogspot.com/2011/11/propaganda-for-occupy-movement.html
Tanya Jo Miller April 11, 2012 at 11:49 PM
Hey Brandt, thanks for the comment and the art.
Milan Moravec April 12, 2012 at 07:56 PM
Remember. UC Berkeley Provost Breslauer, Chancellor Birgeneau use their campus police to silence - with baton jabs - students protesting doubling of instate tuition.
Adam Smith April 12, 2012 at 11:21 PM
And now they've moved beyond visible violence in the form of batons and pepper-spray to quiet violence in the form of DA letters and stay-away orders. Solidarity with the Sproul 13 and the Davis Dozen!
Milan Moravec April 12, 2012 at 11:31 PM
Cal Chancellor Birgeneau and in his absence Provost Bresleur is in charge. Campus police report to the person in charge. In this case it was Provost Breslaur. Provost Bresleur is accountable for the actions of his campus police. Bergeneau resignation is a necessity, but not sufficient, fire, sack, honorable retire Bresleau now

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