The interesting thing about this video is not that police are going after anybody with a camera at the University of California, Davis. On the contrary, they really don’t seem to mind the fact that everybody has a camera.

At 2:50, one cop can be seen smiling and chatting with a cameraman.

The interesting part is that despite all the cameras, one cop blatantly pepper sprays a group of sitting UC Davis students who apparently were refusing to move.

The incident took place Friday afternoon as police were breaking up an Occupy encampment.

One woman was rushed to the hospital with chemical burns.

The university chancellor said police were called in “to protect the health and safety of our campus community,” according to her statement below.

The name of the officer spraying the students as if they were cornered roaches is Lt. John Pike, according to the following tweet:

@mtracey: Lieutenant John Pike pepper-sprayed UC Davis students today, phone number and email: 530-752-3989 #OWS

Ten people, including nine students, were arrested for defying the campus ban on camping.

It was only a little over a month ago where police using pepper spray on protesters had to be extremely coy about it, as Tony Baloney showed us.

But now police around the country are shamelessly pepper spraying anybody from an 84-year-old woman in Seattle to a woman appearing to be in her teens in Portland.

UPDATE: Here is another video providing a different angle.


Now there is a petition circulating demanding the resignation of UC Davis Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi. I just signed it.

Also, UC Davis faculty member Nathan Brown is calling for the resignation of Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi.

1) to express my outrage at the police brutality which occurred against students engaged in peaceful protest on the UC Davis campus today

2) to hold you accountable for this police brutality

3) to demand your immediate resignation

Katehi took the reigns of the university in 2009 under questionable circumstances because she was linked to an admissions scandal at the University of Illinois that favored students with political clout.

According to the Chronicle of Higher Education:

The difference in today’s news is that the episode appears to tie the university’s former provost, Linda P.B. Katehi, to the leg up given to the priest’s family friend. Ms. Katehi, formerly the engineering dean at Purdue University, supervised the admissions office as provost at Illinois but has insisted she was kept in the dark about the special treatment accorded certain applicants.

She was named in May as the new chancellor of the University of California at Davis and is scheduled to take office next month, but since the Tribune started its series of articles on the alleged admissions abuses, one California lawmaker has questioned her appointment. The University of California’s president, Mark G. Yudof, told the San Francisco Chronicle two weeks ago, however, that “I have 100-percent confidence in her.”

Meanwhile, Katehi, who makes more than $400,000 a year, issued the following statement:

To UC Davis Campus Community,

I am writing to tell you about events that occurred Friday afternoon at UC Davis relating to a group of protestors who chose to set up an encampment on the quad Thursday as part of a week of peaceful demonstrations on our campus that coincided with many other occupy movements at universities throughout the country.

The group did not respond to requests from administration and campus police to comply with campus rules that exist to protect the health and safety of our campus community. The group was informed in writing this morning that the encampment violated regulations designed to protect the health and safety of students, staff and faculty. The group was further informed that if they did not dismantle the encampment, it would have to be removed.

Following our requests, several of the group chose to dismantle their tents this afternoon and we are grateful for their actions. However a number of protestors refused our warning, offering us no option but to ask the police to assist in their removal. We are saddened to report that during this activity, 10 protestors were arrested and pepper spray was used. We will be reviewing the details of the incident.

We appreciate and strongly defend the rights of all our students, faculty and staff to robust and respectful dialogue as a fundamental tenet of our great academic institution. At the same time, we have a responsibility to our entire campus community, including the parents who have entrusted their students to us, to ensure that all can live, learn and work in a safe and secure environment. We were aware that some of those involved in the recent demonstrations on campus were not members of the UC Davis community and this required us to be even more vigilant about the safety of our students, faculty and staff. We take this responsibility very seriously.

While we have appreciated the peaceful and respectful tone of the demonstrations during the week, the encampment raised serious health and safety concerns, and the resources required to supervise this encampment could not be sustained, especially in these very tight economic times when our resources must support our core academic mission.

We deeply regret that many of the protestors today chose not to work with our campus staff and police to remove the encampment as requested. We are even more saddened by the events that subsequently transpired to facilitate their removal.

We appreciate the substantive dialogue the students have begun here on campus as part of this week.s activities, and we want to offer appropriate opportunities to express opinions, advance the discussion and suggest solutions as part of the time-honored university tradition. We invite our entire campus community to consider the topics related to the occupy movement you would like to discuss and we pledge to work with you to develop a series of discussion forums throughout our campus.

I ask all members of the campus community for their support in ensuring a safe environment for all members of our campus community. We hope you will actively support us in accomplishing this objective.

Linda P.B. Katehi

Pepper spray has a history of controversy itself, according to Wikipedia:

The US Army concluded in a 1993 Aberdeen Proving Ground study that pepper spray could cause “[m]utagenic effects, carcinogenic effects, sensitization, cardiovascular and pulmonary toxicity, neurotoxicity, as well as possible human fatalities. There is a risk in using this product on a large and varied population”.[9] However, the pepper spray was widely approved in the US despite the reservations of the US military scientists after it passed FBI tests in 1991. As of 1999, it was in use by more than 2000 public safety agencies.[10]

The head of the FBI’s Less-Than-Lethal Weapons Program at the time of the 1991 study, Special Agent Thomas W. W. Ward, was fired by the FBI and was sentenced to two months in prison for receiving payments from a peppergas manufacturer while conducting and authoring the FBI study that eventually approved pepper spray for FBI use.[8][11][12] Prosecutors said that from December 1989 through 1990, Ward received about $5,000 a month for a total of $57,500, from Luckey Police Products, a Fort Lauderdale, Florida-based company that was a major producer and supplier of pepper spray. The payments were paid through a Florida company owned by Ward’s wife.[13]

Pepper spray has been associated with positional asphyxiation of individuals in police custody. There is much debate over the actual “cause” of death in these cases. There have been few controlled clinical studies of the human health effects of pepper spray marketed for police use, and those studies are contradictory. Some studies have found no harmful effects beyond the effects described above.[14]

Direct close-range spray can cause more serious eye irritation by attacking the cornea with a concentrated stream of liquid (the so-called “hydraulic needle” effect). Some brands have addressed this problem by means of an elliptically cone shaped spray pattern.

UPDATE II: A 2002 appeal from a California court determined that recklessly using pepper spray on non-violent protesters constitutes “excessive force” and would not provide police with qualified immunity.

So this should be a quick and easy lawsuit.

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