SD Police React to Occupy UC Davis - NBC 7 San Diego

SD Police React to Occupy UC Davis

"I don't want anything like that happening here,” said Assistant Police Chief Boyd Long

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    SD Police React to Occupy UC Davis
    The pepper-spraying incident was captured on cell phone and goes viral on YouTube.

    Occupy Wall Street continued to ignite controversy over the weekend when protesters at University of California Davis were pepper-sprayed by a campus police officer.

    The incident that went viral on YouTube forced the UC Davis police chief and the two officers involved in the incident to take a leave of administrative absence.

    What happened at UC Davis has local law enforcement talking. San Diego Police officers have said they've had the tough job of balancing the first amendment rights of Occupy San Diego protesters and enforcing the law.

    "I don't want anything like that happening here,” said Assistant Police Chief Boyd Long.

    Police React to Pepper-Spray Incident

    [DGO] 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.
    (Published Monday, Nov. 21, 2011)

    Long said his officers have had the job of balancing the first amendment rights of Occupy San Diego protesters and enforcing the law.

    Long said the basic foundation of police work is to make sure the constitution is upheld. He said they now have to make sure protesters are able to peacefully assemble and that their protest do not infringe on anyone else's rights.

    Nationwide, Occupy protesters, have had run-ins with law enforcement. It stems from protesters wanting to build some type of encampment. At UC Davis, students were asked to remove their tents. But as they sat linked by arms, campus officers pepper sprayed them.

    First amendment attorney Guylynn Cummins said the government cannot regulate the message of protesters but they can enforce time, place and manner restrictions. When it comes to UC Davis case, she's not sure why the officers used force.

    “I didn't see them moving,” she said. “I didn't see them threatening officers. I didn't see them threatening each other or another member of the public. I wasn't clear under what right law enforcement would have the right to spray them.”