Gov. Brown requests review of police use of force guidelines

Lt. John Pike uses pepper spray on demonstrators protesting at UC Davis.
Jasna Hodzic/California Aggie/Courtesy
Lt. John Pike uses pepper spray on demonstrators protesting at UC Davis.

Spurred by graphic images from recent police uses of force at UC campuses, Gov. Jerry Brown has requested that state police officers review their policies for using force and make changes to their guidelines accordingly.

In a Monday letter to the state Commission on Police Officer Standards and Training, Brown wrote that he was “seriously concerned that the rules governing use of force … are not well understood in the context of civil disobedience and various forms of public protest,” citing police use of pepper spray and other forms of force at recent “occupation” protests at UC campuses.

The protests at UC Berkeley and UC Davis, in which protesters were hit with batons and sprayed with pepper spray, respectively, have drawn widespread condemnation. The university has pledged a review of its police policy while both campuses are undertaking reviews of their own.

Brown has spoken with both UC President Mark Yudof and former Los Angeles Police Department Chief William Bratton — who Yudof charged with leading the UC’s police policy review — about police use of force, according to Brown spokesperson Elizabeth Ashford.

Read the full letter below.



Damian Ortellado covers higher education.