The task force report on the controversial pepper-spraying of student protesters at the University of California, Davis concluded the campus police and administration made "critically flawed" decisions.
The report, released Wednesday, said Lt. John Pike's decision to use pepper spray on seated protesters was "not authorized by policy." They also said there were multiple instances of other campus police officers, who were unnamed in the report, that were able to calmly walk arrestees through the crowd to a patrol car without the use of force.
The 190-page report was the result of a task force put in place to investigate the pepper-spraying of seated protesters at UC Davis on Nov. 18, 2011. UC President Mark Yudof and UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi called for the task force and appointed Cruz Reynoso, the chair of the UC Davis School of Law, to lead it. Reynoso is also a former Associate Justice of the California Supreme Court.
"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," the report stated. "Further, there is little evidence that any protesters attempted to use violence against the police."
They added that the administration, including Katehi, "share responsibility for many of the decisions discussed and criticized in this report."
The task force also revealed that the type of pepper spray used was not an "authorized weapon of use" by UCPD.
In addition, the report concluded a number of errors on the part of the UCPD and the administration, including:
- A Failure to Investigate Whether or Not “Non-Affiliates” in the UC Davis Occupy Encampment Were Present
- The Administration Decided to Deploy Police to Remove the Tents on Nov. 18 before Considering Other Reasonable Alternatives
- The Scope of the Police Operation to Remove the Tents Was Ineffectively Communicated, Not Clearly Understood by Key Decision-Makers, and, Accordingly, Could Not Be Adequately Evaluated as to Its Costs and Consequences
- There Were No Clear Lines Delineating the Responsibility for Decision-Making between Civilian Administrators and Police
- There Was Confusion as to the Legal Basis for the Police Operation
The UC Davis campus police officers' union tried to halt the public disclosure of the report, citing privacy concerns. A judge ordered that some names could be withheld, but the report should be released to the public.
Officials plan to discuss their findings in the report Wednesday afternoon during a town hall event at UC Davis.
This is a developing story, more to come.
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