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Police and Pepper(spray)
April 11, 2012 3:55 PM   Subscribe

The Reynoso Task Force has released its findings (pdf) on the UCDavis pepper spray incident: "There is little factual basis supporting Lt. Pike’s belief that he was trapped by the protesters or that his officers were prevented from leaving the Quad" ... "Further, there is little evidence that any protesters attempted to use violence against the police."

The Modesto Bee writes that The report also found a "considerable lack of leadership" and "many breaches of protocol" in the way police handled the incident.

The report had been postponed in order to allow time for an appeal after the UC Davis Police union attempted to withhold portions of the report.
The video of the incident on waxy.org

[Previously]
posted by oneirodynia (79 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

 
So, Pike is being charged with assault, right?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 3:59 PM on April 11, 2012 [24 favorites]


Reynoso is currently addressing the public in Freeborn Hall (available via webcast). The event is apparently sparsely attended.

I read the report earlier this morning. It made the whole deal sound like even more of a disastrous clusterfuck than one would have thought. No one comes out looking good, although the report almost makes Chief Spicuzza look sympathetic -- if milquetoast. I also got the impression that no one -- either above her or below her -- listens to her. That's a sorry state of affairs.

People will gripe that the report doesn't call for the ouster of the officers or the chief or the Chancellor. It's important to remember, though, that the officers and the chief are unionized and thus any efforts to remove them from their assignments will be long and drawn out.
posted by mudpuppie at 4:01 PM on April 11, 2012 [3 favorites]




I hope this is but one cobblestone in the road of reigning in police nationwide. The citizenry has had enough.
posted by Catblack at 4:05 PM on April 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


mudpuppie: " It's important to remember, though, that the officers and the chief are unionized and thus any efforts to remove them from their assignments will be long and drawn out."

Leave it to law enforcement to make unions look like scumbags.
posted by mullingitover at 4:05 PM on April 11, 2012


John Pike's salary details are no longer listed, but it is worth remembering that he was paid $110,243.12 a year for his services and expertise, while the assistant professor, who put his his career on the line standing up to the powers that be at the very beginning, risked slightly more than half that.
posted by Blasdelb at 4:15 PM on April 11, 2012 [11 favorites]


Skimming through the report and its recommendations, it looks more like a "tsk force" report. They basically said: Tsk, tsk, you were all very naughty and we don't want to see this kind of behavior again.

If there is no punishment for those who overstepped their authority, there will be no incentive for them to change their behavior.
posted by Longtime Listener at 4:19 PM on April 11, 2012 [11 favorites]


John Pike's salary details are no longer listed, but it is worth remembering that he was paid $110,243.12 a year for his services and expertise, while the assistant professor, who put his his career on the line standing up to the powers that be at the very beginning, risked slightly more than half that.

Really? Why is this hired thug (and a stupid one, at that) paid more than qualified academics?
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 4:20 PM on April 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


The UC academic salary scale is notoriously low. Much lower that its competitors.

The salary scale for administrators is competitive.
posted by mudpuppie at 4:22 PM on April 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


It really doesn't make any sense to me, why would a union resist attempts to weed out bad workers? Doesn't everyone in hypothetical workplace X benefit when a bad/unproductive/counterproductive/etc person is removed?

Especially in public service where the image would seem to me to be half the effectiveness of a given institution.
posted by Slackermagee at 4:23 PM on April 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


Really? Why is this hired thug (and a stupid one, at that) paid more than qualified academics?

Are you kidding? This is the America, where qualified academics are generally viewed by half of the electorate as snooty elite librul ndoctrinators and corruptors of our children. Education is one of the first places legislators look to cut budgets and tinker with their social experimentation.
posted by darkstar at 4:25 PM on April 11, 2012 [7 favorites]


So, Pike is being charged with assault, right?

Any minute now, I'm sure.
posted by odinsdream at 4:26 PM on April 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


It really doesn't make any sense to me, why would a union resist attempts to weed out bad workers?

My guess is that the union would not be actively resisting the attempt. Rather, I suspect that the union has negotiated powerful protections for workers, including a lengthy adminitrative/performance management/appeals process that must be carried out before you can actually fire someone.

Although, when someone commits such an egregious offence, I would have thought summary dismissal would be on the table.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 4:27 PM on April 11, 2012


Having done a number of these cases, there seems little doubt, from the video, that there was no threat of any kind from the protesters. Indeed, there appears to be no order to even move the protesters out of the area based on any permitting or other issues. The officer appeared to walk up to the protesters while other police were not engaged with the crowd at all.

I would be surprised if a judge would rule that there was qualified immunity in this circumstance either.
posted by Ironmouth at 4:28 PM on April 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


Are you kidding? This is the America, where qualified academics are generally viewed by half of the electorate as snooty elite librul ndoctrinators and corruptors of our children.

Yes, yes, I get that. I'm just astonished that the market for glorified rent-a-cops is so competitive as to justify that kind of cash.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 4:30 PM on April 11, 2012


It really doesn't make any sense to me, why would a union resist attempts to weed out bad workers?

These are campus cops. Many of them got weeded out of government police forces. And you really have to be bad to get weeded out of a police force.
posted by charlie don't surf at 4:30 PM on April 11, 2012 [6 favorites]


(Sorry. As an academic, I have some baggage when it comes to the whole employment issue.)
posted by darkstar at 4:31 PM on April 11, 2012


" It's important to remember, though, that the officers and the chief are unionized and thus any efforts to remove them from their assignments will be long and drawn out."

Incorrect. Supervisors (lieutenant and above) are not unionized. They constitute management in this context.

Pike is a public employee and likely has the right to a hearing regarding a potential dismissal, as all employees should have. The Chief, on the other hand, is likely to be deemed an official with duties of a policy-making character and capable of being dismissed without a hearing.
posted by Ironmouth at 4:32 PM on April 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


Even now, this video still leaves me a bit in awe.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:35 PM on April 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


Actually, US academics are something like the fifth best paid in the world.
posted by wilful at 4:35 PM on April 11, 2012


Well, this comes as not much of a surprise. Although I guess I am surprised that they didn't manage to find a way to keep the report from being released, so there's that.
posted by rtha at 4:39 PM on April 11, 2012


I zipped ahead to the recommendations, and it's a split between the rational and the outright laughable. For example:

The Task Force recommends the Leadership Team devote itself to healing processes for
the university community, including steps to operationalize the Principles of
Community, and that the administration consider Restorative Justice among other tools
to address behavior that negatively impacts the campus climate.


Healing processes? Principles of Community? Restorative Justice? What the fuck do those terms even mean?

Note: They are not defined in the report and this section is the only place where these terms even appear.

Here's another:

The Task Force recommends the UC Davis police department should strive to be a model
of policing for a university campus and ensure best practices are followed. ... The Task Force recommends that all members of the campus community adhere to the
Principles of Community, respecting members of the campus community and acting with
civility towards others.


For fuck's sake. What, did they forget to recommend that everyone eat plenty of green, leafy vegetables?

Nowhere in this document (that I can see) does it recommend that anyone get fired or banned from the school grounds.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 4:41 PM on April 11, 2012 [14 favorites]


Is Anthony Bologna a campus cop yet?
posted by Artw at 4:42 PM on April 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


Even now, this video still leaves me a bit in awe.

I hadn't seen that before. At about 1:12 in the video, a woman walking with the chancellor says, "We've asked for it to be..." (emphasis mine).

Wait, who asked for it? Was this the students reacting, or the chancellor's office making a dramatic, grandstanding move?
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 4:44 PM on April 11, 2012


Wilful: UC, as in the University of California system. Not US.
posted by purpleclover at 4:44 PM on April 11, 2012


Principles of Community.

I'm all for the cops getting canned, and am not advocating for the Chancellor keeping her job, but the report was never intended to make recommendations. It was more of a fact-finding thing. I'm just glad that they didn't try to gloss over the facts.
posted by mudpuppie at 4:45 PM on April 11, 2012


Some people will support any idiot with a uniform and pepperspray, no matter how blatantly criminal.
posted by Artw at 4:50 PM on April 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


It really doesn't make any sense to me, why would a union resist attempts to weed out bad workers? Doesn't everyone in hypothetical workplace X benefit when a bad/unproductive/counterproductive/etc person is removed?

Especially in public service where the image would seem to me to be half the effectiveness of a given institution.


Although Pike is incredibly unlikely to be in a bargaining unit, a union owes a duty of representation to its members. It can't just refuse to represent--its an unfair labor practice. Its also morally wrong. The idea is that entities with a duty to represent do not have the luxury of deciding who is worthy of being represented. That is the duty of neutral decision-makers such as arbitrators. Think of it this way--who among us would join unions that refused to represent us despite us paying dues.

It is very important in questions of unions, as well as law, not to decide who should and who should not have rights based on our personal feelings about those exercising those rights. Too often these days, people who don't like a particular person or actions would like to toss aside rights we normally think all should have based upon the personal biases we might have towards persons or the alleged conduct they might have engaged in. There is simply no way a system of rights cabn work when popular sentiment is the deciding factor--our greatest cases affirming those rights came when the person asserting those rights was an easy target and had to rely on those rights to save them.
posted by Ironmouth at 4:55 PM on April 11, 2012 [10 favorites]


[One obnoxious comment and way too many responses to said comment removed. Flag and move on, folks. Commenter, try harder to engage substantially from comment number one if you're trying to make this place better rather than worse.]
posted by cortex at 5:04 PM on April 11, 2012


So, Pike is being charged with assault, right?

If, by "charged" you mean "drive a desk for a month with full pay", then, yeah. You bet!
posted by Thorzdad at 5:09 PM on April 11, 2012 [6 favorites]


The idea is that entities with a duty to represent do not have the luxury of deciding who is worthy of being represented.

Having spent the last 15 years supervising employees in a bargaining unit, I can tell you that the union will always make sure their members receive due process. However, they recognize a lost cause and will not expend a lot of resources when they know they've got a bad apple. This means for such cases they will ensure that the internal procedures are followed, but will not engage lawyers or high-level staff. To pursue it past these pro forma steps.
posted by Mental Wimp at 5:37 PM on April 11, 2012


Healing processes? Principles of Community? Restorative Justice? What the fuck do those terms even mean?

These hippy scumbags apparently never got the benefit of Professor Pike's course.
posted by nervousfritz at 5:45 PM on April 11, 2012


Meanwhile, the UC Davis Occupiers have moved on. They shut down the US Bank on campus and twelve protesters and headed for trial.

Full disclosure: I am acquainted with a fair number of the UCD Occupiers. There's division within the group, but from what I can tell, there's all-around solidarity in support of the "Banker's Dozen."

Part of the contract agreement between UC Davis and US Bank was that UC Davis would replace all student ID cards with student ID cards that had the US Bank logo and that could double as US Bank ATM cards. I was a UC Davis student a couple years ago when this happened. When we got the cards, they made us wait through a lecture on the *ahem* virtues of these new cards before they would give them to us.
posted by aniola at 5:46 PM on April 11, 2012 [8 favorites]


Just as a clarification, Californa Campus Police are state troopers, as are campus police in some other states. Their pay scale and regulation most likely depends on how CA governs all of their state police.

To be fair, police work should be fairly well paid. In an ideal world, you pay them well to attract the best and to offset for the likehood of being killed or injured in the line of duty. I would agree that the professor discussed in the thread is being underpaid but you can't simply compare the two positions financially, as one has a signficantly greater chance of death.
posted by Candleman at 5:47 PM on April 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


Ironmouth has a good point, and lemme emphasize that it's a point that's totally compatible with the belief that this guy is guilty as sin.

Pike deserves a fair hearing, and competent representation and defense from his union, and he deserves to lose his job, be barred from campus for life and face criminal charges for assault.
posted by nebulawindphone at 5:52 PM on April 11, 2012 [6 favorites]


Just as a clarification, Californa Campus Police are state troopers, as are campus police in some other states. Their pay scale and regulation most likely depends on how CA governs all of their state police.

Thank you. That explains a great deal.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 5:52 PM on April 11, 2012


Candleman: To be fair, police work should be fairly well paid. In an ideal world, you pay them well to attract the best and to offset for the likehood of being killed or injured in the line of duty. I would agree that the professor discussed in the thread is being underpaid but you can't simply compare the two positions financially, as one has a signficantly greater chance of death.

This is so often repeated as a justification for high police wages. It's a dangerous job but not even in the top 10 most dangerous jobs in the country, most of which receive much less pay and benefits than police officers.
posted by gilrain at 5:55 PM on April 11, 2012 [9 favorites]


Really? Why is this hired thug (and a stupid one, at that) paid more than qualified academics?

First, the cop is in a union. Second, there's a huge supply of qualified academics that would be happy to be an assistant professor in California earning $60k. In that sense, the wage is competitive. (I'm not going to touch whether that's just or fair or whatever).

posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 6:05 PM on April 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


For those of you wondering why the task force isn't campaigning for everyone to get fired, at the end of the webcast one of the members (uh...the one with the big hair, I don't know anyone's names) answered this question about Katehi by saying that Katehi is NOT going to get fired. Her job is secure unless she does something "even more illegal than this." Now, I think it's entirely plausible that this report will get Pike and Spicuzza fired, union or no, but Katehi is totally safe no matter what they said here.

The end of the webcast started to devolve into screaming and ranting. They weren't asking questions that anyone here can answer, such as why you are getting legally punished/prosecuted. Or "why is this out so late" (check the news, UCD was trying their best to hamper its publication, duh). That was getting on my nerves. Unfortunately, they can't rant at who they want to (and those people wouldn't answer anyway), so they pick the next closest target.

The point of the report was to expose the stupidity, I think, of which there was a lot of it. A lot of miscommunication is in there (not to mention that apparently you need to be more specific than "don't be like Berkeley" in your instructions). I think Castro comes off as the most knowing of the lot, but clearly she must not be high enough in the pecking order for anyone to listen to her.

What's shocking about this is that apparently nobody listens to the freaking police chief whatsoever, and Pike and "Officer P" seem to have just decided to take matters into their own hands. Also interesting that they somehow raided the Extra Large pepper spray canisters instead of the official one, and didn't bother to find out that you don't need to spray people from 2 feet away there.

I can understand that perhaps the officers were a little panicked, but I enjoyed how the report repeatedly pointed out that all of the bogeymen that were cited in the report--the "non-affiliates" (note: even townies kind of have opinions on tuition, we live here too. Also, lots of alumni), the supposed rock and bottle throwing at officers, the surrounding of the cops--just plain didn't happen. This thing does poke a lot of holes in the stories we've heard.

Regarding the 3 p.m. start time (this seems to be a biiiiig deal), why couldn't it have occurred to anyone to do a cleanout at 6 a.m.? Not too many people around campus at that time, plus it'd be daylight hours rather than 3 a.m. (which yes, is kinda dark for cleaning up your tents and crap, the quad's not that well lit). Wonder why it had to be a 3 a.m. or p.m. only situation--they don't explain that one.

I'd like to point out that when they hold events at 3:30 p.m. on a weekday, that probably means that a lot of folks who would have liked to attend are working or in class. Ahem. Plus the thing has been rescheduled so many times I figure folks gave up.
posted by jenfullmoon at 6:48 PM on April 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


On the subject of police unions protecting their members, this site, Injustice Everywhere, is a good resource for viewing police misconduct and the followup on most of the incidents. Sadly it may be shuttered soon.

Treat the information on the site with some respect, don't let it feed your outrage. Most of the incidents reported are about bad cops getting busted, which is good news. However, the reason I reference it in this thread is that there are many incidents where cops are actually relived of duty for serious misconduct - and are forced by the police union to put the offender back on the rolls. Considering how bad you have to screw up to get fired in most jurisdictions, this should really say something about the motivations of the involved unions.

Note that there will be selection bias; a union that does not force bad cops back on the force won't show up in any statistic.
posted by Xoebe at 6:51 PM on April 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


Healing processes? Principles of Community? Restorative Justice? What the fuck do those terms even mean?

Restorative Justice. It has good and bad sides, but it's definitely a worthwhile endeavour.
posted by Lemurrhea at 7:13 PM on April 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


What's shocking about this is that apparently nobody listens to the freaking police chief whatsoever, and Pike and "Officer P" seem to have just decided to take matters into their own hands. Also interesting that they somehow raided the Extra Large pepper spray canisters instead of the official one, and didn't bother to find out that you don't need to spray people from 2 feet away there.

You know if you're a bouncer at a bar and the owner asks you to ask someone to leave the establishment, and you just go over and sucker punch the guy, you go to fucking jail. If you're a veterinarian who is sometimes tasked with putting down animals, and you decide one day to go to a park and start randomly euthanizing dogs, you go to fucking jail

This "mistakes were made" attitude... No. A violent, public crime was committed and recorded and now the people responsible should be arrested and prosecuted for breaking the law

We have become a society in which those who have power have a degree of automatic, deferential trust granted to their actions strong enough to turn countless felonies into misunderstandings; and a commensurate, inverse situation for those without power

And still in this thread, people defend indefensible actions, because the man who did them wore a special magic uniform that turns an assault into an oops
posted by crayz at 7:27 PM on April 11, 2012 [15 favorites]


This thing does poke a lot of holes in the stories we've heard.

You know what, anyone with 20 minutes available can watch dozens of angles of this incident on YouTube, even one master where all of the available footage was time-synced and played simultaneously.

There's simply no reason for this to have taken more than a week to investigate. This delay is completely unacceptable, as is the fact that they even considered obviously ridiculous rumors like "the police were surrounded!"
posted by odinsdream at 7:32 PM on April 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


Restorative Justice. It has good and bad sides, but it's definitely a worthwhile endeavour.

To be anything but a naive fairy tale of justice sold to those who will never see it, this would require that those in need of justice have the power to get it. Since the victims don't have power now, maybe they'll need to go out in public and demand that power not remain so concentrated in the hands of so few, always being used to further their interests at the expense of the rest of us

Oh, wait
posted by crayz at 7:33 PM on April 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


This "mistakes were made" attitude... No. A violent, public crime was committed and recorded and now the people responsible should be arrested and prosecuted for breaking the law

YES THANK YOU. JESUS this shit gets really, really old.
posted by odinsdream at 7:34 PM on April 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


If you're a veterinarian who is sometimes tasked with putting down animals, and you decide one day to go to a park and start randomly euthanizing dogs, you go to fucking jail

Your bouncer analogy was less ridiculous. It was an abuse of power, but it wasn't random, and it's not clear if there were lasting effects on the victims.
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 8:06 PM on April 11, 2012


The idea is that entities with a duty to represent do not have the luxury of deciding who is worthy of being represented.

Having spent the last 15 years supervising employees in a bargaining unit, I can tell you that the union will always make sure their members receive due process. However, they recognize a lost cause and will not expend a lot of resources when they know they've got a bad apple. This means for such cases they will ensure that the internal procedures are followed, but will not engage lawyers or high-level staff. To pursue it past these pro forma steps.


In other words, they don't pursue arbitration. That has to be the union's call--they can't afford it in every case. They must expend resources well. Frankly, they don't pursue arbitration in a lot of good cases either--cases where supervisors are full of shit. It's a money situation, more than you guys in management can see.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:15 PM on April 11, 2012


There's simply no reason for this to have taken more than a week to investigate. This delay is completely unacceptable, as is the fact that they even considered obviously ridiculous rumors like "the police were surrounded!"

Spoken like someone whose never been a party to a use-of-force investigation. Gotta be at least 40 3 hour interviews, as well as review of law and regulation, let alone drafting the report.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:19 PM on April 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


I've only read a little so far, but does anybody else find it creepy that the police raid was justified by "concern" that "non-affiliates" (outsiders) were going to show up on campus and do shameful things to UC Davis' hot young co-eds in the dark of the night?

No matter how you dress them, what titles you give them, or how many big words you teach them, human beings are still such weird, creepy, twisted little creatures.
posted by Max Udargo at 8:22 PM on April 11, 2012 [4 favorites]


The appeal against "outside agitators" is always the last resort of an unjust power structure.

The only appropriate response is that injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.
posted by tivalasvegas at 8:29 PM on April 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


Also, yes. The 'our daughters will be raped' thing is creepy and weird and not a great justification for blasting said daughters (and sons) with pepper spray.
posted by tivalasvegas at 8:31 PM on April 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


It was an abuse of power, but it wasn't random, and it's not clear if there were lasting effects on the victims.

It's completely irrelevant whether there were 'lasting effects'. Assault is assault.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 8:32 PM on April 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


I've only read a little so far, but does anybody else find it creepy that the police raid was justified by "concern" that "non-affiliates" (outsiders) were going to show up on campus and do shameful things to UC Davis' hot young co-eds in the dark of the night?

No, come on. I'm not defending the administration, but don't act like they were afraid that there were gang-raping hordes just waiting to infiltrate campus. They were concerned that the Quad was going to become an international focus of the Occupy movement, and that its occupation would be organized from non-affiliates. (Oakland protestors, for example.) They were worried that they would lose control of the message. And they were worried about the potential for lawsuits. (Which they comically kind of screwed themselves into.)

The UC Davis campus has an internal reputation of being extremely, comically risk-averse. Within that context, it's understandable that they would worry about something like that. Within the bigger context, it's ridiculous.

But you need to keep that context in mind. They weren't worried about pillaging and plundering. Don't blow it up like that.
posted by mudpuppie at 8:33 PM on April 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


No, come on. I'm not defending the administration, but don't act like they were afraid that there were gang-raping hordes just waiting to infiltrate campus. They were concerned that the Quad was going to become an international focus of the Occupy movement, and that its occupation would be organized from non-affiliates. (Oakland protestors, for example.) They were worried that they would lose control of the message. And they were worried about the potential for lawsuits.

'Chancellor Katehi stated, “We were worried at the time about that [nonaffiliates]
because the issues from Oakland were in the news and the use of drugs and
sex and other things, and you know here we have very young students . . . we were
worried especially about having very young girls and other students with older people
who come from the outside without any knowledge of their record . . . if anything
happens to any student while we’re in violation of policy, it’s a very tough thing to
overcome.”'

'Vice Chancellor Meyer expressed similar concerns in an interview conducted on Dec. 7.
He explained, “our context at the time was seeing what’s happening in the City of
Oakland, seeing what’s happening in other municipalities across the country, and not
being able to see a scenario where [a UC Davis Occupation] ends well . . . Do we lose
control and have non-affiliates become part of an encampment? So my fear is a longterm
occupation with a number of tents where we have an undergraduate student and a
non-affiliate and there’s an incident. And then I’m reporting to a parent that a nonaffiliate
has done this unthinkable act with your daughter, and how could we let that
happen?”'

Yeah, I'll bet they were concerned about "losing control of the message" and "the potential for lawsuits." What, with all this steamy fantasies racing around in their twisted brains.

Look, I know it must be hard to be a middle-aged professional having to work on a college campus with all those hard, tight, young bodies swirling around you, pressing into you as you make your way through the crowds between classes. But for Christ's sake just fuck a willing student once in a while. Don't repress it to the point that you start sweating and panting when you're making decisions about how much pain Daddy has to inflict to keep his promiscuous daughters in line.
posted by Max Udargo at 8:47 PM on April 11, 2012 [5 favorites]


Can't have those "non-affiliates" from Oakland - you know, Oakland - fooling around with our daughters.
posted by Max Udargo at 8:49 PM on April 11, 2012 [6 favorites]


Spoken like someone whose never been a party to a use-of-force investigation. Gotta be at least 40 3 hour interviews, as well as review of law and regulation, let alone drafting the report.

I'm not claiming any such insight. I am standing by the fact that any reasonable person should be able to view this video and understand, instantly, that the officer was not surrounded and did not have bottles thrown at him. "Investigating" those claims should take no more time than "investigating" whether he was naked during the incident.
posted by odinsdream at 9:21 PM on April 11, 2012


What they were worried about was a repeat of the horrible shit that has happened on Picnic Day during the last few years. Last year, a former UCD baseball star and current coach died after falling and sustaining a head injury. Several years back, a party near the Davis police station grew too big, resulting in a huge police response, and further resulting in a riot. Neither of these events was caused by action or inaction by the university itself, but they're still very conscious of both going forward.

Campus administrators are very concerned about events even nominally affiliated with the University turning into large gatherings, with lots of alcohol. As I said, they have the reputation within the university itself of being almost too risk-averse.

The prospect of evicting a tent camp after midnight on a Friday, when students were more likely to have been out drinking, was -- in that context -- horrifying to them from a risk-aversion perspective.

Again, I'm offering this not as a defense of the administration. Their reasoning was tortured and poorly thought out. But please let's not turn it in to a mischaracterization of them claiming to HAVE to take these actions in order to prevent nameless people from showing up to do "shameful things to UC Davis' hot young co-eds in the dark of the night." That's just a useless, straw-manly derail.
posted by mudpuppie at 9:32 PM on April 11, 2012


And on preview, I realize I've been trolled. Carry on. I'll be over here in the corner ogling people's daughters.
posted by mudpuppie at 9:34 PM on April 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm obviously being facetious, mudpuppie, but you have to see that there is something a little perverse about the rationale being employed. The example you give, Picnic Day, doesn't appear to support the idea that "non-affiliates" create the problems. It sounds like drunken students and former students create the problems, and I don't see that it has anything to do with sex and nubile and naive co-eds, or political activists from "urban" America.

I understand the legitimate concerns of administrators for maintaining a safe environment, but I find their concerns that outsiders were going to pillage UCD's treasure-trove of naive young flesh to be strange and unjustified by anything outside their active imaginations. And apparently both the Kroll Report and the Reynoso Task Force agree with me.

I just think it's something worth thinking about. I don't doubt the sincere intentions of the UCD administrators, but I wonder if a tormented imagination can interfere with sound decision making.
posted by Max Udargo at 9:56 PM on April 11, 2012




I'd hope all the cops present that day get felony convictions, but certainly Pike should do time.
posted by jeffburdges at 3:17 AM on April 12, 2012


"Investigating" those claims should take no more time than "investigating" whether he was naked during the incident.

A use of force investigation is far more complex, let me assure you. You actually do have to cover the bases. Not only do you have to figure out what actions were taken and what the motivation of the officer was, you also have ti find out who else participated and whether or not others were responsible. Doing some crappy job is a huge mistake.
posted by Ironmouth at 4:26 AM on April 12, 2012


I'd agree the state imprisoning any citizen should never be trivialized, but ..

There should not however be significantly more complexity to investigating an assault by a uniformed police officer than an assault by a random homeless guy.

We know they had zero legitimate law enforcement purpose in assaulting these kids, file charges against Pike and file conspiracy charges against every other officer on the scene.
posted by jeffburdges at 5:46 AM on April 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


A use of force investigation is far more complex, let me assure you. You actually do have to cover the bases. Not only do you have to figure out what actions were taken and what the motivation of the officer was, you also have ti find out who else participated and whether or not others were responsible. Doing some crappy job is a huge mistake.

Like crayz already mentioned above, I'm not asking for them to do a crappy job on the investigation, or to just throw the guy in jail. I'm asking for at least some level of parity in how justice is applied. It's currently preposterous to assume that any officer anywhere would ever be arrested and tried in a court for even the most egregious, at least in the U.S., when you're almost assured to be arrested if you start a scuffle outside a bar, or pee on the wrong tree.

There is a blatant, obvious imbalance of power. One small thing that contributes to that imbalance is these "independent" investigations that get thrown together as a result of public outcry instead of an actual arrest and trial.
posted by odinsdream at 6:30 AM on April 12, 2012


Why is this hired thug (and a stupid one, at that) paid more than qualified academics?

Because there is an over abundance of people who are both qualified and willing to be academics and an undersupply of people who want to pull on jackboots. Both of which are good things for everyone but seems unjust.
posted by srboisvert at 7:21 AM on April 12, 2012


'Chancellor Katehi stated, “We were worried at the time about that [nonaffiliates]
because the issues from Oakland were in the news and the use of drugs and
sex and other things, and you know here we have very young students . . .


Yes, I applaud the Chancellor for keeping drugs and sex off campus. *eye roll*
posted by Mental Wimp at 8:04 AM on April 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Doing some crappy job is a huge mistake.

Where "doing some crappy job" means swiftly prosecuting a citizen for the unprovoked assault he committed against other citizens. But when the process drags out 3 years, costs taxpayers $1 million, and at the end everyone stays on the job or goes home with a full pension, that's just crossing t's and dotting i's - letting the police police the police, as they should

How about instead the DA just indicts this guy for felony assault, and then we the people look at what happened and what should be done about it using the same tools we use for all other crimes committed by all other citizens?
posted by crayz at 9:45 AM on April 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


It's completely irrelevant whether there were 'lasting effects'. Assault is assault.

Reading comprehension fail.
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 12:28 PM on April 12, 2012


Reading comprehension fail.

You were the one who brought up lasting effects. So what exactly did you mean?
posted by rtha at 12:33 PM on April 12, 2012


I meant that the situation didn't have a lot in common with a veterinarian walking around euthanizing random dogs in the park. I get that the point is that Pike illegally assaulted the students, but I think it's pissing people off so much that they're overplaying the brutality of it, and comparing it to a random attack.
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 1:23 PM on April 12, 2012


any efforts to remove them from their assignments will be long and drawn out.

That'd be acceptable. Or they could agree to sit on the ground and let themselves be pepper-sprayed. By each student. On separate days.
posted by Twang at 2:25 PM on April 12, 2012


Yeah, it was more like a vet pepper spraying dogs in the park because he didn't like the sound of their bark.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:29 PM on April 12, 2012


Where "doing some crappy job" means swiftly prosecuting a citizen for the unprovoked assault he committed against other citizens. But when the process drags out 3 years, costs taxpayers $1 million, and at the end everyone stays on the job or goes home with a full pension, that's just crossing t's and dotting i's - letting the police police the police, as they should

God forbid everyone get a chance to tell their story or exercise their rights under the law. Why is it that everyone is for workers rights except when it pisses them off that people they don't like have the chance to exercise them?
posted by Ironmouth at 3:56 PM on April 12, 2012


It probably has a lot to do with the fact that there are multiple video angles of the event that clearly show the dude was guilty of unprovoked assault.

People intuitively understand that there's a difference between "being guilty" of something (i.e., did you, in fact, do it) and "being legally found to be guilty" of something (i.e., were you determined guilty by a court of law).

When there's so much video evidence displaying the dude's factual guilt, the community can be excused for being less inclined to imagine that the truth will only come out after a multi-year investigation.

Not that it obviates the need for that due process in a civilized society. But still, human beings don't generally feel the need for a jury or a union representative to tell them what they can see plainly in front of them. It's a different case, for example, to the Trayvon Martin issue, where we don't have clear video evidence of what happened, and so most folks are urging a trial so the truth can be discerned after careful review of the evidence.

(I'm not intending to lecture someone who knows far more about the justice system, just observing that this really isn't about hypocrisy regarding worker's rights.)
posted by darkstar at 5:51 PM on April 12, 2012


God forbid everyone get a chance to tell their story or exercise their rights under the law. Why is it that everyone is for workers rights except when it pisses them off that people they don't like have the chance to exercise them?

Straw man. Nobody has asked for him to be thrown in jail without an investigation. People are repeatedly pointing out that the investigation process used in this case is starkly different than what anyone who isn't a police officer. Regular people don't get to walk free for months after assaulting someone until public outcry forces some kind of cursory investigation that results in little more than a few words of warning.

Of course, that does seem to be were headed for George Zimmerman. I'll leave it to others to examine the similarities between these two cases.
posted by odinsdream at 5:19 AM on April 13, 2012


Sometimes, When "All the Facts are In," It's Worse: The UC-Davis Pepper-Spray Report
But before it even came to that point, the student protesters had, with the help of Legal Services, gone over all the relevant state laws, city ordinances, campus ordinances, and campus regulations and concluded that no matter what the Chancellor thought, it was entirely legal for them to set up that camp. When the university's legal department found out that Chancellor Katehi was going to order the camp removed, they thought they made it clear to her that the students were right.

I kept having to stop and slap my forehead over that one repeated phrase in the report: (this person or that) was under the impression she had made it clear that (some order was given), but nobody else present had that impression. Anybody who is "under the impression that they made it clear" that some order was given who who didn't put it in writing and who hasn't had that order paraphrased back to them? Should be slapped. Or at the very least demoted. Unless you actually said it, you didn't "make it clear."

It turns out that it is illegal for anybody to lodge on the campus without permission, but the relevant law only applies to people trying to make it their permanent dwelling. The law prohibits non-students from camping on campus for any reason, but neither student affairs nor the one cop sent to look could find any non-students who were there overnight. A campus regulation says that students can't set up tents without permission, but that regulation is not enforceable by police, only by academic discipline. Campus legal "thought they made it clear" that the law was on the students' side, but according to multiple witnesses, what they actually said was "it is unclear that you have legal authority to order the police to do this" and Chancellor Katehi heard that as "well, they didn't say I don't have that authority, only that it's not clear."

Chancellor Katehi, on her part, "thought she made it clear" that when police ordered the students to leave, they were (a) not to wear riot gear into the camp, (b) not to carry weapons of any kind into the camp, (c) were not to use force of any kind against the students, and (d) were not to make any arrests. But all that anybody else on that conference call heard her say out loud was "I don't want another situation like they just had at Berkeley," and Chief Spicuzza interpreted that as "no swinging of clubs."

Chief Spicuzza "thought she made it clear" more than once that no riot gear was to be worn and no clubs or pepper sprayers were to be carried. What Lieutenant Pike said back to her, each time, was, "Well, I hear you say that you don't want us to, but we're going to." And they did, including that now-infamous Mk-9 military-grade riot-control pepper sprayer that he used. Oh, funny thing about that particular model of pepper-sprayer? It's illegal for California cops to possess or use. It turns out that the relevant law only permits the use of up to Mk-4 pepper sprayers. The consultants were unable to find out who authorized the purchase and carrying, but every cop they asked said, "So what? It's just like the Mk-4 except that it has a higher capacity." Uh, no. It's also much, much higher pressure, and specifically designed not to be sprayed directly at any one person, only at crowds, and only from at least six feet away. The manufacturer says so. The person in charge of training California police in pepper spray says that as far as he knows, no California cop has ever received training, from his office or from the manufacturer, in how to safely use a Mk-9 sprayer, presumably because it's illegal. But Officer Nameless, when he wrote the action plan for these arrests, included all pepper-spray equipment in the equipment list, both the paint-ball rifle pepper balls and the Mk-9 riot-control sprayers.
(via this Balloon Juice thread)
posted by Elementary Penguin at 12:43 PM on April 19, 2012 [2 favorites]




If you can, and are interested, please support The Banker's Dozen by donating to their Wepay. Even a small amount can help. As noted here, some of those who were peppersprayed are the same now people being charged by the DA retroactively for their participation in the bank blockade, each threatened with up to 11 years in jail and heavy fines totalling about 1 million. I don't know about you, but I certainly don't want to live in a country in which one could participate in a (successful!) protest against privatization of education or whatever, and then months or even years later, be prosecuted by State hater mail. Such a tremendous waste of the justice system, and literal insult to injury of those with the sting of past pepper spray burnt into their eyes.

Another thing you can do that I'll also be doing in addition to donating is writing a letter to the DA and/or Chancellor Katehi asking them to drop these hyperbolic charges immediately. That info is here.

Finally, a really good critique of the Chancellor's fear rhetoric and bureaucratic language is here.
posted by meowlet at 1:49 PM on April 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


The following is lifted directly from the davis wiki's feature page:

Persuade the DA to Drop Charges against the Davis Dozen?


Interested in supporting peaceful student protesters?
Want the Yolo Co. DA to not press charges on the Davis Dozen?


The Davis Dozen is a group of individuals who have been charged with being involved in the protest which culminated in the closure of the UC Davis branch of the U.S. Bank (a protest which was arranged to keep private commerce separate from publicly available education). Six of the twelve were either arrested or pepper sprayed during the November 18, 2011 student protest on the UC Davis quad.

It is the week of their arraignment. Consider calling the DA's office early and often this week to voice your opposition to these charges. You'll be referred to voicemail, so you don't have to talk anyone. It takes less than a minute! There is a sample script below.

District Attorney Jeff W. Reisig
Voice: (530) 666-8180
Fax: (530) 666-8423

Sample/suggested script:

"I'm a (student, teacher, worker, community member, etc) at UC Davis/in Davis/in Yolo County. I'm calling to oppose the use of criminal courts for political protest. I object to your office pressing charges against 12 people for conspiracy to commit a misdemeanor and for obstructing movement in a public place for protest at UC Davis. I urge you to drop the charges immediately."


***For legal purposes, please focus on the charges and refrain from discussing the actions or motives of the accused students and faculty.***
posted by aniola at 12:17 PM on April 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


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