After weeks of delay, UC Davis pepper spray report to be released Wednesday

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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OAKLAND, Calif. — A judge approved an agreement reached between attorneys representing the University of California and its police union Tuesday, clearing the path for the release of a widely anticipated report about the Nov. 18 pepper-spraying of students at UC Davis.

The report has been caught up in litigation for several weeks over two injunctions filed by attorneys for the Federated University Police Officers Association, delaying the much-anticipated release. In hearings over the course of March, Alameda County Superior Court Judge Evelio Grillo heard numerous arguments for redacting both the names of police officers involved in the incident and critique of officers’ actions in the report, said John Bakhit, an attorney representing the police union.

According to Bakhit, both parties reached an agreement after Grillo granted the redaction of names but denied the exclusion of critique of officer action, avoiding an often lengthy appellate process and allowing for the full report — minus the names of most of the officers — to be released Wednesday at noon.

Under the agreement, the UC will not appeal the decision on redactions of names as long as the campus police union does not appeal the allowance for critique of officers’ actions, Bakhit said.

“I’m hoping that when everyone sees the report, and they see a letter rather than the full name, they’re really not missing out on anything,” he said.

The report details the findings of a task force led by Cruz Reynoso, a former California Supreme Court Justice, that investigated the Nov. 18 pepper-spraying after widespread circulation of videos of the incident and condemnation by various groups and organizations.

And although most of the names of the officers identified in the incident can be redacted, those of two officers who were publicly connected with the incident — Lt. John Pike and then-Police Chief Annette Spicuzza — will be included in the report, said UC spokesperson Brooke Converse. The report is scheduled for release Wednesday at noon and will be available on the UC Davis website. A live, public webcast with members from the task force that conducted the report will follow in the afternoon, Converse said.

Bakhit said he hoped the report would be informative and will help people from various perspectives understand the incident.

“(The report) will shed a whole lot of light on how things will be done in the future,” he said. “At the end of the day, it was in the best interest of everybody (to release the report).”