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California Governor Jerry Brown has ordered the state agency that trains police officers to review their guidelines concerning the use of pepper spray against peaceful protesters. His basic message is, "You know that Bill of Rights thing, the foundation of our entire legal system? Do you remember how it begins?"

Brown wrote to Paul Cappitelli, the Executive Director of the Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training, which is responsible for training all police officers in California, including those on college campuses. I found the text of Brown's letter here, and the 2003 guidelines that he cites are here [pdf].

Dear Mr. Cappitelli:

As I indicated to you in our conversation today, I am seriously concerned that the rules governing the use of force, in particular the use of pepper spray, are not well understood in the context of civil disobedience and various forms of public protest. The recent "occupation" protests in cities throughout California and on campuses of the University of California underscore the urgency of articulating guidelines that are crystal clear and comport with constitutional requirements.

In view of widespread public concern, I am requesting that POST carefully review it's 2003 Crowd Management and Civil Disobedience Guidelines and, without delay, make whatever changes are necessary to ensure compliance with First and Fourth Amendment protections against excessive force.

Edmund G. Brown Jr.

In other words, if your job is to enforce the law then you have to follow it yourself even if you don't want to.

Thanks, Governor Brown.  Mr. President?  We're still waiting to hear from you.

Originally posted to Lost and Found on Tue Nov 29, 2011 at 10:33 AM PST.

Also republished by Occupy Wall Street, California politics, Progressive Hippie, and DFH Local No 420.

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