Two Police Officers On Administrative Leave After Friday's Pepper Spray Incident
November 20, 2011 - 3:39pm
Two Police Officers are on adiminstrative leave after the pepper spraying of non-violent protestors on the UC Davis Quad Friday afternoon. A press conference was held yesterday to address the events and was announced early Sunday afternoon. Hundreds of protestors used SMS, twitter, and facebook to gather with only an hour's or so notice.
Yesterday, Chancellor Linda Katehi and UC Davis Police Chief Annette Spicuzza held a press conference to announce their response to Friday's events. At the press conference, Chancellor Katehi issued a statement before answering questions with Chief Spicuzza. Meanwhile, protestors gathered outside of the building after being denied entrance to the small room in which the press conference took place.
From inside the press conference, protestors could be heard banging on the building and chanting. 20 minutes into the press conference, protestors entered the building and the press conference ended early. After demanding that the conference move to the SciLec so that that students could participate, the protestors moved out of the building and surrounded Surge II, where the conference was held.
Administrators refused to leave the building, citing safety concerns regarding the number of protestors outside the exits and surrounding Chancellor Katehi's automobile. Protetors responded by forming a coordidor of arm-linked students through which they requested she leave. Protestors then agreed to participate in a moment of silence during the duration of Katehi's exit.
Late in the evening, Chancellor Katehi and the protestors negotiated for protestors to sit on one side of the parking lot and street while she exited. 6:50pm, a full two hours and a half hours after the press conference ended, Katehi left the building, staring into the eyes of students who had been pepper sprayed on friday who were joined my hundreds of their peers and colleagues. After a staff member moved Katehi's vehicle to the end of the driveway outside of the building, Katehi emerged and walked down the line of students before entering her car and driving off slowly.
Video from KDVS of the evening's events.
Shortly after she left, protestors gathered in the street to celebrate the successful negotiation to face Katehi after the press conference without police involvement. Many supporters of the demonstrators claimed that the events that night were evidence to the power of peaceful protest and the merit of direct communication.