State Panel Investigates Pepper Spray, Protests on Campus

California colleges' response to non-violent protest will take center stage Wednesday

By R. Stickney
|  Wednesday, Dec 14, 2011  |  Updated 7:06 AM PDT
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Images: Occupy San Diego

Spraying captured on cell phone and goes viral on YouTube.

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Police React to Pepper-Spray Incident

After students were pepper-sprayed over the weekend at Occupy UC Davis, the incident prompted discussion from local law enforcement.
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Top officials from the UC system and California State University system will testify at a hearing concerning recent interactions with non-violent protesters including the pepper-spraying incident at the University of California, Davis.

Assemblyman Marty Block, a San Diego Democrat and chairman of the Assembly Higher Education Committee, says universities have a responsibility to provide a safe environment and foster a climate for free expression.

Among those expected to testify is UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi, who came under fire after a campus officer used pepper-spray on a crowd of students on Nov. 18.

The protesters flinch and cover their faces but remain passive with their arms interlocked as onlookers shriek and scream out for the officer to stop.

The protest was held in support of the overall Occupy Wall Street movement and in solidarity with protesters at the University of California, Berkeley who were jabbed by police with batons on Nov. 9.

The panel will also hear from police oversight experts and student representatives.

Two University of California, Davis police officers involved in the Nov. 18 incident were placed on administrative leave.

Nine students hit by pepper spray were treated at the scene, two were taken to hospitals and later released, university officials said. 

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