UC Davis administration should have prevented pepper spray incident, report finds

UC Davis Police Lt. John Pike pepper sprays demonstrators who had linked arms and were preventing attempts by the police to remove arrested protesters.
Jasna Hodzic/Courtesy
UC Davis Police Lt. John Pike pepper sprays demonstrators who had linked arms and were preventing attempts by the police to remove arrested protesters.

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A UC Davis task force assigned to review police action during the Nov. 18 pepper spray incident released its 190-page report on the UC Davis website at noon Wednesday, following weeks of delay and litigation.

The task force, led by former California Supreme Court Justice Cruz Reynoso, concludes “the pepper spraying incident that took place on Nov. 18, 2011 should have and could have been avoided.” The report critiques administrative decision-making, places individual responsibility upon UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi and faults campus police for failing to properly plan for the “intended action” of the protestors.

According to the report, Lt. John Pike, who pepper sprayed the students, “bears primary responsibility for the objectively unreasonable decision to use pepper spray.”

In a statement released Wednesday, UC President Mark Yudof said the report “confirms what we have known from the start” and “represents a significant step in the right direction.”

“We can and must do better,” Yudof said in the statement. “I look forward to working with Chancellor Katehi to repair the damage caused by this incident and to move this great campus forward.”

The report was released after an agreement was struck between the university police officers’ union and UC attorneys Tuesday, in which Judge Evelio Grillo ruled that police officers’ names — except for those of Pike and then-Police Chief Annette Spicuzza — could be redacted from the report. He also ruled that a critique of the officers’ actions should remain in the report, despite the union’s objections.

A town hall meeting will take place at UC Davis at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday to discuss the report and will be webcasted on the campus’ website.

Read the full report below.


UCD Pepper Spray Report (Text)