Names of officers involved in UC Davis pepper spray incident will be released

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

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Following months of controversy surrounding the identities of the police officers who were involved in the Nov. 18 pepper spray incident at UC Davis, it has been determined that the names of these police officers will be released to the public.

On Tuesday, Alameda County Superior Court Judge Evelio Grillo ruled in favor of the Sacramento Bee and the Los Angeles Times by mandating the UC Board of Regents release the complete report of the incident, including the names of every police officer involved.

A task force headed by former California Supreme Court Justice Cruz Reynoso released a report in March chronicling the events surrounding the pepper spray incident. The report acknowledges that the pepper spray incident was uncalled for, explicitly stating that “the pepper spraying incident … should and could have been prevented.”

However, the report censors the names of numerous police officers, only including the names of two of the officers involved in the incident.

Lt. John Pike and former UC Davis Police Chief Annette Spicuzza were the only two officers named in the report. It describes Spicuzza’s unsuccessful attempts to prevent the police officers at UC Davis from using batons and carrying pepper spray. Pike is the only officer mentioned to have chosen to use pepper spray on the UC Davis protesters.

The names of officers were censored following an April agreement between the UC and the Federated University Police Officers Association. The association requested the names of the police officers involved not be included in the report, with the exception of Pike and Spicuzza, for their personal safety. The UC complied with the association’s request after Grillo ruled that the full report could be released only with the names redacted.

On May 23, the Los Angeles Times and the Sacramento Bee sued the UC Regents for withholding the officers’ names despite a California Public Records Act request. According to the lawsuit, the regents “failed to represent the interests of the press and public.”

UC spokesperson Brooke Converse said that UC officials support the judge’s ruling to release the names of the police officers involved.

“The University of California has always been in favor of the release of the full report and will abide by the court’s ruling on this matter,” Converse said.