Public release of report on Nov. 18 UC Davis pepper spray incident halted

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The public release of a report investigating the Nov. 18 pepper spray incident at UC Davis was halted Tuesday by an Alameda County Superior Court judge.

The Federated University Police Officers Association — which represents UC campus police — requested a court order to halt public disclosure of the report, concerned that releasing portions of information within the report may be in violation of the California Penal Code 832.7, according to UC spokesperson Brooke Converse. The code states that personnel records of peace officers are confidential.

The request was submitted by an attorney on behalf of one of the police officers who was placed on administrative leave as a result of the investigation. The formation of a task force to investigate the pepper-spraying of students by police officers at UC Davis was commissioned by UC President Mark Yudof in November. Yudof also initiated an ongoing systemwide review of police policies and responses to campus protest activities.

With the new ruling, only the union’s attorneys will be able to see the report in order to take precautionary measures that personnel information will not be disclosed to the public, according to Converse. The report will be held at least until a hearing scheduled for March 16.

“They were being very general with their request because neither party knows what is in the task force report,” Converse said.

The task force was originally scheduled to present findings and recommendations to the UC Davis community at 3 p.m. Tuesday. Cruz Reynoso — a former California Supreme Court justice, professor emeritus at the UC Davis School of Law and head of the task force — delayed the release of the report after receiving information from the UC Office of the President regarding the union’s plans. Reynoso, along with 12 other task force members, was supposed to present the report’s findings.

“I was very frustrated to receive the news today,” Reynoso said in a Monday press release. “However, let me assure you that I am undeterred in my commitment to release the complete and unredacted work of the task force, a view shared by President Yudof.”

In a Tuesday press release, UC General Counsel Charles Robinson expressed his disappointment that the report’s publication was not released at the expected time.

“We look forward to the next round, and we will fight vigorously in court to ensure that the task force report sees public light as soon as possible,” Robinson said in the release.

Staff writer Amy Wang contributed to this report. 

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