Saturday, November 19, 2011

Abuse of Power

Watch Campus Police at the University of California, Davis, pepper spray a completely peaceful and unarmed group of Occupy Davis protesters on the University Campus.

There's just no excuse for this type of authoritarian behavior.  It was completely unprovoked.  The campus police were never in any danger and were never threatened by these students.  The President/Chancellor (or whatever she's called) should be fired.

But what's even more absurd is the fact that if the police and University administration had just ignored these students, they would have set up their tents for a few days, had their say, gotten bored, and packed up shop.  Now, the university has to contend with a national incident.


Eric said...

Looked to me like the protesters were purposefully obstructing a public sidewalk and refused to move when ordered to do so by the authorities. I don't think the police should have forced them to disperse (did they?) but getting them off the sidewalk is part of their duty, even if pepper spray is involved.

At any rate, you can't say it was unprovoked. Those protesters had clearly assembled in such a way to block sidewalk traffic, had done so on purpose, and were refusing to move. That's a provocation. They shouldn't get shot or beaten for it, but pepper spray seems appropriate to me.

Funny how we never had these problems when those knuckle dragging, trouble making, gun toting, violence loving Tea Partiers were protesting.

Huck said...

It's not a provocation, Eric; it's a protest. A provocation is when someone comes up to someone else, gets in their face, and dares them to do something about it. If anyone was provoking these officers, it was the folks that weren't on the sidewalk; but I guess you wouldn't have supported pepper spraying these folks because they weren't sitting on the sidewalk. These were kids sitting on the ground. Obstructing a sidewalk? Hell, just walk around them or over them. It's not like they were grabbing or pushing anyone.

And I don't understand your opposition to shooting or beating these students, but accepting the use of pepper spray on them. That's a worse kind of attack because of the damage it does to eyes, skin, and respiratory system. And why was the use of pepper spray even necessary to move these kids from the sidewalk to the lawn? In the end, the pepper-sprayed kids still didn't move and still had to be forcefully dragged from the street. Why couldn't the cops have forcefully moved them without the spray?

It seems to me the spray was nothing more than a gratuitous punishment. And, as someone pointed out over at Andrew Sullivan's site, how punishment for crime is handled is laid out in the Constitution. Using pepper spray, which is a weapon, is only justified as a defense mechanism -- and not a single cop was threatened by these unarmed students.

As for the Tea Partiers, their "protests" were of a different kind. They were always short, planned meetings/gatherings/rally-type events. Liberals do this kind of protesting, too, and always without incident. What makes the current protests at UC Davis and elsewhere different is that they are of the sit-in or "occupy" type: long-term and peaceful.

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