Earlier tonight, I spoke to one UC Davis undergrad who was pepper sprayed in the face by police. The young student told me that she was unarmed, never posed a risk to the officer, and did not understand why he attacked her even after the tents on the quad were taken down. Moreover, after pepper spray entered deep into her lungs, and later got onto her eyes when she accidentally touched her face, no one from the police or the UC Davis administration helped her. At the time of our interview, no one from the admin or police even apologized or made sure she got the right medical treatment. Coughing at times during our discussion, the student said she was also disappointed that the chancellor refused to address the students massed outside of the building for the press conference this afternoon; Katehi should resign, the student added.
Watch the interview here.
NPR just posted a story about the UC Davis controversy. A police expert from Baltimore, with experience writing use of force guidelines, reviewed the tape and said the officers acted appropriately:
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.
NPR has more here.