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Report: UC Davis pepper-spray incident was preventable

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
    In this image made from video, a police officer uses pepper spray as he walks down a line of Occupy demonstrators sitting on the ground at the University of California, Davis on Friday, Nov. 18, 2011. The video - posted on YouTube - was shot Friday as police moved in on more than a dozen tents erected on campus and arrested 10 people, nine of them students. (AP Photo/Thomas K. Fowler)
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SAN FRANCISCO >> A University of California task force said Wednesday that UC Davis police should not have used pepper-spray on seated students in an incident that prompted national outrage and calls for the chancellor’s resignation after online videos of the confrontation went viral.

That conclusion was contained in a report released on the Nov. 18 crackdown on students who had set up an Occupy Wall Street camp on campus.

The task force said the spraying occurred due to breakdowns in the campus chain of command and communications.

The university published the document online a day after a judge approved its publication without the names of most officers involved in the clash.

Task force members were scheduled to present the report later in the day at UC Davis.

The 13-member task force was created to investigate the notorious incident, when officers shot pepper spray on the heads of protesters.

The report was originally planned for release on March 6, but the campus police officers’ union sued to keep the document under wraps. It claimed the report contained confidential personnel records that should not be publicly released under state law.

Alameda County Judge Evelio Grillo ruled last month that the university could release the entire report but must redact the names of all officers except Lt. John Pike and Chief Annette Spicuzza, whose identities became widely known during media coverage of the incident.

In February, the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit against school administrators on behalf of a group of pepper-sprayed students seeking unspecified damages and campus policies to prevent similar responses to non-violent protests.

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