My fellow Readers, I need to get your thoughts on something. I have been having a tough time understanding the events of the UC Davis pepper spray incident that occurred to our horror several days ago.
The backlash has been loud and passionate. From the liberal quads of the progressive Californian University, UC Davis, to the airwaves, twitter feeds and blogs, people have reviewed the video of the pepper spray incident that has gone viral.
From what I can tell, an Occupy protest peacefully protesting on campus at UC Davis caused, at some point and for some reason (which I have been unable to find), the UC Davis Chancellor to order campus police to disburse the Occupy Protestors.
The video of students being pepper sprayed shows a line of protestors sitting in the middle of a road apparently refusing to disburse. While there was no apparent threat to the Police, one peace officer walked the line of protesters and sprayed a constant stream of the neurotoxin right into the faces of the seated people.
Screaming and chaos broke out and the protestors disbursed. Mission accomplished, right? Well, maybe not. The backlash from students was geometrically larger than the original Occupiers. The school and Chancellor Linda P. B. Katehi are in real trouble.
The immediate student response was semi-violent (rather, did not seem peaceful) throngs of students outside Chancellor Katehi’s office calling for her resignation. The standoff ended with a negotiation between students and the Chancellor that allowed for her to leave peacefully by walking from her office through the throngs of protesters who ubiquitously remained seated and silent to show how ‘peaceful’ they really could be.
The following is graphic:
I am really scratching my head over this one. The backlash and response to the violent use of authority by the campus police has been so profound that I cannot find details regarding why the Chancellor found it necessary to break up the protest in the first place.
Does that matter? Well, I think it could. Depending on if the protestors were putting other students at risk or were impeding the academic institution from its primary mission—educating students, then the Chancellor would be within her right to order that the protest be broken-up. When the school administration ordered the protest to be broken up, no specific instructions regarding the use of force were provided to the campus police. And they should not have had to. The campus police should be left to their own judgment and devices to determine how to do their job, right?
Please share your feedback; I look forward to flushing this issue out.