Scathing Pepper Spray Report Calls UC Davis PD ‘Dysfunctional’

Highly critical report puts blame on campus chancellor,"dysfunctional" police force


Lack of communication from UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi, and lack of planning by the campus police department are to blame for last November's infamous pepper spraying of students, a long-awaited investigative report found Wednesday.

The report, chaired by former state Supreme Court Justice Cruz Reynoso, is scathing in its criticism of the campus response on November 18, 2011.

On that day, campus police attempting to remove a series of tents associated with the Occupy movement from the campus quad ended up using pepper spray on a series of non-resisting students seated on the ground.

The resulting video quickly went viral, resulting in outrage and a huge public relations black eye for UC Davis. Lt. John Pike, seen using the spray in the video, was sharply criticized in the report.

"The deployment of pepper spray does not appear to have been a reasonable use of force," investigators concluded.

An accompanying report from Kroll, a private security firm, echoed that, saying, "The actual deployment of pepper spray by Lieutenant Pike and by Officer O at Pike's direction was flawed and unnecessary."

Names of some of the officers involved in the disturbance were withheld due to security concerns. Chancellor Katehi also came under fire.

Although she said she thought the police operation would be limited, the report found, "the chancellor did not effectively communicate this expectation to other members of the leadership team."

Investigators found that the police department failed to plan properly for the operation and questioned the assertion that police felt threatened by a crowd that failed to disperse.

The department's behavior, the report said, reflected a structure that is "very dysfunctional."

The UC Davis findings will have a broad impact on all of the UC campuses.

The report not only recommends development of a specific plan for civil disobedience and specialized training for police at Davis, it also says the entire UC system should develop a policy for use of force and the behavior of campus police.

Read the report for yourself here (pdf).

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