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Occupy Wall Street: UC Davis Officers Suspended In Pepper Spray Attacks
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Occupy Wall Street: UC Davis Officers Suspended In Pepper Spray Attacks

Two police officers are on indefinite administrative leave following a pepper spray attack on Occupy protesters on the campus of the University of California-Davis according to the Campus Chancellor Linda Katehi and the Police Chief Annette Spicuzza. Katehi also announced that a task force will be formed by the university to look into the incident with a report expected within thirty days.

Spicuzza defended the actions of the two police officers, the only two to be identified as using pepper spray during the stand off with the protesters, saying that a decision was made because they had been "surrounded" by protesters and were unable to walk away. The video of the incident, which has been seen repeatedly on various media outlets, is a direct challenge to the officers' assertions to what happened.

Although Spicuzza said the officers were surrounded and unable to move away, the video clearly shows the two, walking over top of a row of seated protesters, walking back and forth in front of them before spraying the still sitting students, getting to the end of the row and then going back for a second pass. Other officers were on the scene and had not been acting in a menacing way, nor were any of them reacting as if they or any of their fellow officers were in any kind of danger. Before the pepper spray is actually sprayed on the students, the can is displayed by one officer, who can be seen on the video shaking it repeatedly. A voice off camera is heard telling the protesters to both protect themselves and to close their eyes just before the pepper spray is deployed.

After being sprayed, several of the protesters are seen being jerked to the ground by the same officers. One man is roughly turned over and is visibly complying with the officer's directions but is still being brutalized. The same off camera voice is heard shouting at the officer that the man is not resisting. The protesters chant "shame on you" during the video following the pepper spray and the subsequent arrests.

Chancellor Katehi said that after viewing the video for herself, she was deeply disturbed. The Occupy Protests in other cities have also turned violent in recent days. Occupy Wall Street has taken to court action to continue the right to occupy Zuccotti Park. Arrests in most of the major cities have also increased in the last few weeks, leading many to question whether the movement is falling apart under its own weight.


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