Davis Faculty Association calls for Chancellor’s resignation after egregious police brutality
By End the Lie
Yesterday there was an absolutely appalling display of police brutality against University of California Davis students who were peacefully protesting.
Students were being attacked by police with pepper spray as they sat passively without fighting back in the slightest.
The show of force was truly disturbing and thankfully the video of the assault has spread across the internet like wildfire.
In reaction to the incident, faculty members that are a part of the UC Davis Faculty Association have called for the resignation of the UC Davis Chancellor, Linda P. B. Katehi.
The call includes the demand for a policy change that will end police forcibly removing non-violent student, faculty, staff and community protesters.
They aptly point out, “The University of California should be taking a leadership role in encouraging the exercise of free speech, not in suppressing it.”
Quite unfortunately, they have indeed been playing a large role in suppressing free speech, not only at UC Davis but also at UC Berkeley where police utilized brutal tactics as well against both students and faculty.
They point out that by authorizing police action; she was essentially authorizing the use of excessive force against wholly non-violent student protesters.
They called Katehi’s move “a gross failure of leadership” and indeed that is the case, and I fully support the push for the resignation of Katehi.
The Davis Faculty Association is not alone, indeed an assistant professor in the department of English at UC Davis, Nathan Brown, wrote an open letter to Katehi also calling for her resignation.
Brown says that not only is Katehi unable to ensure the safety of the UC Davis students, but in fact she is “the primary threat to the safety of students at UC Davis.”
Brown writes that without any provocation whatsoever on the part of the student protesters, of course other than the incredibly provocative action of sitting on the ground with arms linked, police began attacking them with pepper spray.
The non-violent student protesters then began struggling with the intense pain while reaming seated, which apparently is still a provocative action according to the thuggish UC police.
Soon after they began using batons to attempt to pry the students apart and those they could separate they arrested while kneeling on the students and pushing their heads into the ground with wholly excessive force.
Then, in an act that was nothing short of unsettling in its viciousness, the police began pepper spraying students in the face, even going as far as to hold the students while they assaulted them with high-pressure pepper spray.
Quite surprisingly, it indeed got worse after this point.
When the students began to attempt to cover their eyes and face with clothing, the police actually forced their mouths open and then sprayed the caustic chemicals down their throats.
This resulted in the hospitalization of several students and the serious injuries of others.
Brown writes that one student, a whopping forty-five minutes after the all-out assault began, was still coughing up blood after having pepper spray forced down his throat.
Brown writes, “The fact is: the administration of UC campuses systematically uses police brutality to terrorize students and faculty, to crush political dissent on our campuses, and to suppress free speech and peaceful assembly.”
Indeed this is hardly arguable at this point, the brutality at UC Berkeley and the newer attacks at UC Davis are not only shocking in their ferocity but disturbing in the fact that some in the administration actually supported the assault.
The following video shows how the events unfolded, highlighting the absurdity of the police’s actions, especially when it comes to pepper spraying students who were sitting cross-legged with linked arms in the least provocative way humanly possible.
The police claim that the students were unlawfully assembled, which is the typical excuse used by police as of late in an attempt to justify their actions.
The entire notion of an “unlawful assembly” in the United States is an oxymoron. There are no conditions in the Constitution when it comes to our free speech.
There is nothing in the Constitution that says, “If students set up tents and link arms, their right to freely speak and assemble is null and void.”
Contrary to what these ignorant police and those who enable them believe, rules and regulations do not trump the Constitution.
Watching these videos is deeply troubling. I would never think that such horrors could occur in the United States, especially on college campuses in what is arguably the most liberal state in the union.
Clearly, heartless police goons do not care what state they’re in or who they are attacking, even if it is young people who are completely defenseless.
The officer in the following video responsible for spraying the wholly unprotected, non-violent activists in the face has been identified as UC Davis Police Lieutenant John Pike.
Joshua Holland (of Alternet) published the direct contact information for that thug cop is as follows:
Lt. John Pike
The face of this truly disgusting individual can be seen below:
Chancellor Kotehi justified the brutality by saying, “The group did not respond to requests from administration and campus police to comply with campus rules that exist to protect the health and safety of our campus community.”
Again, your campus rules do not in any way trump the Constitution and I can’t believe that anyone would be so imbecilic as to imply such.
Kotehi claims that they “will be reviewing the details of the incident” and that they are “saddened to report that during the activity, 10 protesters were arrested and pepper spray was used.”
If Kotehi was really saddened by it, she wouldn’t have authorized the use of such chemical agents in the first place, but of course she did no such thing and her claims are nothing short of false.
Hilariously, she wrote in the official statement, “We appreciate and strongly defend the rights of all our students, faculty and staff to robust and respectful dialogue as a fundamental tenet of our great academic institution.”
She also said that because some of those participating in the demonstrations were not UC Davis students, “this required us to be even more vigilant about the safety of our students, faculty and staff.”
The only dangerous individuals who need to be vigilantly scrutinized are the police which have proven this without any shadow of a doubt, time and time again.
Regardless of what you think about the Occupy movement and the wave of protests that are sweeping the nation with no sign of slowing down, you must realize that the escalation of violence has been marked and thus is a matter of serious concern.
The assault on free speech, the right to assembly and our Constitutionally protected rights is one that cannot be ignored.
I’m sure police and those who are behind them realize this but I must emphasize the fact that these tactics will only serve to galvanize activists and could very well lead to an ugly reaction if they continue.
What do the police and administrators think they’re going to gain from these attacks? Surely they do not think they are actually going to stop the protests by utilizing such thuggery?
If they do, I weep for their ignorance and shortsightedness.
Here you can see Chancellor Kotehi’s dead silent walk of shame back to her car after authorizing the police brutality that has now spread across the entire internet for the world to see:
Kotehi’s full statement regarding the assault is apparently located here although the link is timing out for me at the time of writing.