John Pike: UC-Davis pepper spray cop suspended without pay (UPDATED)
The University of California, Davis said it would launch an investigation over video footage that appeared to show campus police using pepper spray against seated student protesters at close range.
YouTube video footage of a policeman in riot gear using pepper spray on a group of roughly a dozen student protesters in the university’s quad area spread quickly over the Internet, sparking outrage among some university faculty members.
“Yesterday was not a day that would make anyone on our campus proud,” UC Davis Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi wrote. “As indicated in various videos, the police used pepper spray against the students who were blocking the way. The use of pepper spray as shown on the video is chilling to us all and raises many questions.”
UPDATE: The Guardian is reporting that two of the officers seen in the video, one of whom is thought to be Lt. John Pike, have been placed on administrative leave.
West Coast chaos
Previous unrest surrounding protests in Oakland has helped rally support nationwide for the Occupy Wall Street movement that protests economic inequality. Police said they wouldn’t allow another encampment.
Oakland police said they had a “non-confrontational strategy.”
Anti-Wall Street protesters took over a vacant lot and adjacent park in downtown Oakland over the weekend and erected a tent camp to replace one torn down by police, setting the stage for a potential showdown.