With contribution from the Bay City News
The pepper spraying by campus police of student protesters at the University of California at Davis in November after the the YouTube video went viral, gaining worldwide attention.
Now a report released yesterday says the peper spraying should never have happened at all. Berkeley assemblywoman Nancy Skinner intends “to pursue legislation based on the recommendations encompassed in the report.” This seems to inlclude better training of UC Police.
The task force, chaired by former California Supreme Court Justice Cruz Reynoso, said: "Our overriding conclusion [is] the pepper spraying incident that took place on November 18, 2011, should and could have been prevented."
The report sets forth a series of errors by both campus police and the administration led by UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi.
Its release came after Alameda County Superior Court Judge Evelio Grillo in Oakland on Tuesday lifted a stay that temporarily blocked making the document public.
Katehi and other Davis officials were aware of reports of drugs and violence at the Occupy Oakland protest and reports of non-students participating in protests at UC Berkeley. They feared there were non-students at the Davis encampment who might endanger the safety of younger college students, the document said.
But they did not investigate whether non-students were in fact participating in the encampment and the assertion that many non-students were present "has not been substantiated," the task force said.
UC President Mark Yudof said, in a statement from UC's statewide headquarters in Oakland, "We can and must do better.”
Yudof added, "Free speech, including nonviolent protest, is part of the DNA of this university, and it must be protected with vigilance.
"I implore students who wish to demonstrate to do so in a peaceful fashion, and I expect campus authorities to honor that right," he said.
Katehi addressed a statement to the UC Davis community saying, "We will immediately begin to study and assess the report's recommendations and develop a detailed response and action plan.
Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, said, she plans to pursue legislation to advance some of the report's recommendations.
Skinner went on to say, in a press release:
The information that the pepper spray used was not an authorized weapon and the campus police were not properly trained in its use gives great weight to the Task Force’s recommendation that changes must be made involving the training, organization, and operation of UC Police Departments.
As the Assemblymember representing UC Berkeley, I intend to pursue legislation based on the recommendations encompassed in the report.