The actual incident.
First of all, the people who were sprayed were expecting to be arrested, not sprayed. As with previous protests that I had been present for on the UCD campus, there would have been people keeping watch and letting those who did not want to be arrested know when the police were coming. The police could have easily arrested those students. No pepper spray was needed. That is what happened in the past and that is what was expected on "Spray Day"
The second bit that isn't being said is that the UCD police have always overreacted to everything. I will cite a personal experience. I had forgotten my bike light one night while on my way to meeting someone. This is a big no-no in Davis. But I was on a well lit part of campus, which is closed off from traffic other than police, maintenance, and the occasional pizza guy. One of the campus police stopped me. I offered to walk my bike. At this point he accused me of being drunk. I wasn't. Then he accused me of being stopped before. He told me, "I remember you. I've stopped you before." I was horrified. I'd never actually talked to an officer in Davis before and here I was, being accused of being a repeat offender. And for what? Not having a bike light? I ended up telling him in a strong, loud voice, "That is untrue!" At which point he told me that I could just walk my bike. You know, like I had offered to do at the beginning. I'd never felt so threatened in my life.
The rally on Monday. It happened at that same spot the Pepper Spray incident happened.
The big uproar at UC Davis isn't just because protesters were sprayed with pepper spray. It's that everyone in power has supported the excessive police action. At least until now. Now the outside world is telling the administration at Davis that this isn't ok. It isn't fine to bully students. Because that what that incident was. It was the police abusing their power any bullying the powerless.
Professor Nathan Brown spoke at the rally on Monday.
Now the police chief and two officers have been put on leave. But I'm going to bet that they are just waiting for everything to blow over before reinstating them. And that would be the worst thing we could do: letting this blow over.
I could go on, but there have been some excellent articles written by people who were there that day.
- An article by Bob Ostertag, a professor of technocultural studies at UCD talks about Militarization of Campus Police and how even prisoners are not allowed to be pepper sprayed if they are seated.
- Professor Nathan Brown wrote an open letter to Chancellor Katehi on why she should resign.
- And an article about how hot pepper spray really is.
- I couldn't help but share the one dumb thing that has come of this. It's a little funny though. There is now a tumblr dedicated to the Pepper Spraying Cop.