Release of UC Davis pepper spray investigation findings delayed

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The public release of the findings of a task force investigating the controversial Nov. 18 pepper spray incident at UC Davis was postponed due to opposition from a university police union.

The task force was originally scheduled to present findings and recommendations to the UC Davis community at 3 p.m. Tuesday, but the Federated University Police Officers Association, which represents UC campus police, and a police officer at the center of the UC Davis incident announced intent Monday afternoon to request a court order halting public disclosure of the report, according to a Monday press release from the UC Office of the President.

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 president’s office regarding the union’s plans. Reynoso, along with 12 other task force members, was supposed to present the report’s findings.

The 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.

“I was very frustrated to receive the news today,” Reynoso said in the 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.”

The request to halt public disclosure — which will be submitted by an attorney on behalf of one of the police officers who was placed on administrative leave as a result of the investigation on Nov. 18 actions — is scheduled to be presented Tuesday morning to the Alameda County Supreme Court, according to the release.

“We were told there was going to be this legal move — to avoid complications, we are not releasing (the report) tomorrow, but we remain committed and we are going to fight in court,” said UC spokesperson Dianne Klein.

Klein said the university’s next move will depend on Tuesday’s decision.

“I can only speculate that these attorneys think (the release of the report) would harm their clients,” she said.