DAVIS (KCBS) [San Francisco] – Two UC Davis police officers have been placed on administrative leave following their use of pepper spray in Friday’s arrest of 10 protesters on campus.
“I spoke with students this weekend, and I feel their outrage. I have also heard from an overwhelming number of students, faculty, staff and alumni from around the country. I am deeply saddened that this happened on our campus, and as chancellor, I take full responsibility for the incident. However, I pledge to take the actions needed to ensure that this does not happen again.”
---said UC Davis Chancellor Linda P. B. Katehi.
Katehi placed UC Davis students in danger. Her statement today is a turnaround from her imperious written communication yesterday. Perhaps she consulted with a lawyer in the interim. The incident could have been prevented without her carelessness.
The police action is indefensible. Forcing the mouths of at least two students open so that they could take pepper spray internally, moved the incident from crowd control to premeditated assault. The courts will decide that their actions were irresponsible and incompetent and there will be big bucks involved. That's the only thing that the puppet masters care about. The almighty dollar.
It didn't have happen this way at UC Davis. Civil disobedience was handed down to Americans from Henry David Thoreau who wrote an essay on the subject. Every American should know that our forefathers left us responsible for correcting our government as needed. Civil disobedience is the only alternative when other measures aren't successful and by definition it must be non-violent.
And history shows that civil disobedience protesters are always violently attacked by the 'status quo.' We have examples from here to India and beyond.
Occupy protesters are within reason to expect and demand that police use judgment that pertains to the situation, whenever they reach a location where citizens are assembled. Upon arrival, they must first assess whether anyone is in danger, if so, how serious, and how can individuals in peril be protected? Second, they must assess whether property is being destroyed or stolen, identify its owner, if possible, and decide on appropriate intervention. Caution must override everything else. There were many other possible outcomes at UC Davis. What the police did there was the worst possible choice that they could have made. There was no immediate danger inherent in protesters actions and no need to bring about a resolution at once.
What good may come? Perhaps the police will learn to approach their work with strategy that reduces risk. Huge payouts to their victims may result in pressure that only happens when risk is quantified to a dollar amount. If they can learn, they'll know that excessive force backfires. If they continue their paramilitary approach, it propels the movement forward. The protesters know how to manage and control themselves in contrast to the police. Their behavior at UC Davis was exemplary and we owe them a debt of gratitude.
Meanwhile the discovery of an $850,000 proposal from lobbyist American Bankers Association to instigate and develop negative media reporting on OccupyWallStreet shows that the moneyed elite and business interests perceive the success of the movement as a growing threat to them.