Linda P.B. Katehi, the University of California, Davis, chancellor, defended herself Tuesday from criticism over the police pepper spraying of peaceful protesters by saying the university police disobeyed her orders.
In an interview with The Sacramento Bee, Katehi said, We told the police to remove the tents or the equipment. We told them very specifically to do it peacefully, and if there were too many of them not to do it, if the students were aggressive not to do it. And then we told them we also do not want to have another Berkeley.
In an earlier statement, Katehi justified Friday's police action and said the protesters offered her “no other options but to ask police force to help in their removal.”
But Tuesday she said she did not know who decided to use pepper spray, and that she was shocked when she saw the video footage on Friday night.
It looked horrible, horrific, I would say..., Katehi said. I can tell you that I woke up Saturday really early in the morning, like 3 a.m., and I felt like it was a disaster on our hands.
Defending herself, Katehi said that before the incident happened, she had an emergency conference call with Police Chief Annette Spicuzza, but would have never have approved police using full riot gear.
On Saturday, Katehi said that Spicuzza put the blame on Lt. John Pike, who used the pepper spray.
I believe on Saturday when I spoke with her I said, 'What happened?' Katehi said. She tried to explain that it was the decision of Lt. Pike.
The video images of Pike spraying on protesters who were sitting peacefully on the ground, viewed worldwide, led the Faculty Senate to demand Katehi's resignation. It said, The chancellor's role is to enable open and free inquiry, not to suppress it.”
Katehi has met with student groups several times since the incident. On Monday, she apologized for the police's use of pepper spray against the students.
She also said that all medical expenses incurred by the students who were pepper sprayed will be covered by UC Davis and the UC system.
At least 11 students were sprayed, of which nine were treated at the scene and two were taken to hospitals, university officials said.
Meanwhile, Spicuzza, Pike and another officer have been placed on administrative leave.