Madeline Perez, our ace correspondent who reported the UC-Davis pepper spraying story from her tent on campus, flashed the word that the long awaited and much delayed investigation report would be released Wednesday (4/11/2012).
The Louis Dunn cartoon, featured on this blog, summed up eloquently the pepper spraying incident then and the report now. The cop, in full riot gear, holding the spray can at the ready, with the caption: "UC-Davis, Where real education begins." Some educational points:
The Chronicle front page head: "Pepper spraying is called improper."
Subhead: "UC-Davis police conduct faulted in panel's report."
The lead on the excellent Nanette Asimov story: "The infamous pepper spraying of UC Davis student protestors by University of California police in November 'should and could have been prevented,' says a new report that strongly criticized campus and police handling of the incident."
Second paragraph: "The decision to use the chemical irritant was neither justified by events on campus nor authorized by policy, says the long-awaited report, released Wednesday."
Significantly, the story pointed out that the investigators were unable to interview the key pepper sprayer, Lt. John Pike, who was seen on videos shown around the world spraying orange pepper spray on students for about 15 seconds. Campus police had sued to keep the report secret and court hearings delayed the release of the report for more than a month. The university agreed to remove the names of most policers from the report. No UC police officers participated at the hearing.
Chancellor Linda Katchi, who was strongly criticized in the report, has apologized for the pepper spraying. But she was not present at the hearing and provided only a written statement that she and campus leaders would study the report"s recommendations "and develop a detailed response and action plan."
Sophia Kamran, a philosophy major who was pepper sprayed, was quoted by the Chronicle as saying, "She's not even here today! What's going on?"
Asimov's story ended with an appropriate quote from Alan Brownstein, a UC-Davis law professor on the task force. "Some have asked us if we thought it would be better to use pepper spray than batons. We want to develop a community where the police don't use either."
Everyone applauded, the story noted. B3
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