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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California
Southern California

UC Davis Police Chief on Leave After Pepper Spraying

Three police officials were placed on administrative leave after protestors at UC Davis were pepper sprayed.

Photo courtesy of YouTube user terrydatiger
Photo courtesy of YouTube user terrydatiger
Two police officers and the police chief have been placed on administrative leave after a viral video showed at least one officer dousing student protesters with pepper spray.

UC Davis said in a news release early Monday that it was necessary to place police Chief Annette Spicuzza on administrative leave to restore trust and calm tensions. The school refused to identify the two officers placed on leave, but one was a veteran of many years on the force while the other was "fairly new" to the department, Spicuzza later told the Associated Press. She would not elaborate further due to the impending probe.

UC Board of Regents chair Sherry Lansing released a video statement Monday, saying she was "shocked and appalled" by images of police actions during the protest.

"We regents share your passion and your conviction for the University of California," Lansing said. "We want all of you to know that we fully and unequivocally support your right to protest peacefully."

The president of the University of California system also said he was "appalled" at images of the spraying of protesters at UC Davis and says he plans an assessment of law enforcement procedures at all 10 campuses.

"Free speech is part of the DNA of this university, and non-violent protest has long been central to our history," UC president Mark G. Yudof said in a statement Sunday. "It is a value we must protect with vigilance."

Public outcry was sparked after a YouTube video posted by user terrydatiger showed one riot-clad officer clearly spraying a line of protesters sitting with their arms interlocked. Condemnations and defenses of police from elected officials and from the wider public inundated Facebook and Twitter.

The protest Friday was held in support of the overall Occupy Wall Street movement and in solidarity with protesters at the University of California, Berkeley who were jabbed by police with batons on Nov. 9.

Nine students hit by pepper spray were treated at the scene, two were taken to hospitals and later released, university officials said. 10 people were arrested.

Current UC Davis landscape architecture student Emily Johnson posted as her Facebook status, "UC Davis...this is hardly what I expected to jump into my first year here."

 

The Associated Press contributed reporting to this story.

 

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Occupy LA Has No Plans to Leave

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Students Protest Occupy USC

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