Friday, November 18, 2011

UC Davis Police Go "Bull Conner" On Student Protestors

Sometimes there just aren't any words....

This news report includes a different angle, where one officer is clearly heard yelling at the seated protestors, "Move, or you're going to get it in the face! Move!"

The Davis Enterprise reports:

The confrontation took place after UCD held off on enforcing a camping ban overnight Thursday. On Friday morning, a Student Affairs representative delivered a letter from Chancellor Linda Katehi asking the protesters to take down their tents by 3 p.m.

In a second letter, sent to the campus community on Friday night, Katehi wrote that protesters “(offered) us no option but to ask the police to assist in their removal.”

The bulk of the protesters chose not to budge....

...At 3:30 p.m., about 35 officers wearing helmets and carrying batons on their hips, some with guns filled with pepper balls, crossed the quad as about 60 protesters chanted “Shame on you!”

“We’re fighting for your children’s education!” yelled one.

Shouting into the crowd noise, Lt. John Pike three times ordered them to clear out under section 409 of the California penal code. The law requires that those taking part in an unlawful assembly disperse.
By the time Pike ordered the police skirmish line forward, the crowd of onlookers had swelled to perhaps 150, many recording the slow-motion confrontation on cell phones.

Officers almost immediately drug three protesters to the ground and pinned them. Many in the ring sat down, arms locked, chanting, while supporters pulled away the tents.

Police took down more protesters, tightening plastic restraints around their wrists.
Some onlookers joined the protesters, chanting “Set them free!” They rose as a group, then, moving to surround the officers, who drew their batons.

Having at least once ordered the sidewalk cleared, so that those arrested could be dragged away, Pike later pepper-sprayed seated protesters blocking the officer’s path from point-blank range.

Some of you may be familiar with an internet axiom called "Godwin's Law", which goes something like this: "As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches."

I'd like to bring your attention to the very start of the video. The UC Davis officer -  identified as Lt. John Pike - makes a show of "presenting" the can of pepper spray to the crowd before he starts in on the protestors sitting on the grass.

He knew there were cameras. He was showing off. He was proud, defiant, taunting and thoroughly enjoying himself.

So forgive me for invoking Godwin's Law, but in all honesty, that attitude reminded me of the German prison guards one would see in WWII newsreels.

A UC Davis professor has already sent an open letter to Katehi, demanding her resignation.

These students attended the rally in response to a call for solidarity from students and faculty who were bludgeoned with batons, hospitalized, and arrested at UC Berkeley last week. In the highest tradition of non-violent civil disobedience, those protesters had linked arms and held their ground in defense of tents they set up beside Sproul Hall. In a gesture of solidarity with those students and faculty, and in solidarity with the national Occupy movement, students at UC Davis set up tents on the main quad. When you ordered police outfitted with riot helmets, brandishing batons and teargas guns to remove their tents today, those students sat down on the ground in a circle and linked arms to protect them.

Without any provocation whatsoever, other than the bodies of these students sitting where they were on the ground, with their arms linked, police pepper-sprayed students. Students remained on the ground, now writhing in pain, with their arms linked.

Fortunately for the protestors, UC Davis Police have an entire department devoted to complaints. That is, of course, if they don't mind submitting those to the Lt. Pike, who oversees the department.

Oh,  and by the way, don't expect to read about any of this in the LA Times. They're too busy building a case against the 99% with hit pieces like this.

1 comment:

  1. Oh, there are words! Like, fuck the police. (Gently.)