Fox News commentator Megyn Kelly appeared on The O'Reilly Factor to discuss the use of police force at this weekend's Occupy Wall Street protest at University of California Davis. A video of a police officer spraying a group of huddled protestors with pepper spray quickly made its way around the Internet and news media outlets on Saturday.
UC Davis police Chief Annette Spicuzza and two campus police officers have been placed on administrative leave since the pepper spray incident, which sent two student protestors to the hospital.
Police use of pepper spray in OWS encampments throughout the U.S. has been a target of widespread criticism, with many believing that pepper spray is far too harsh a measure to be used against nonviolent protestors.
On Monday's show, host Bill O'Reilly and Megyn Kelly both defended the police use of pepper spray against UC Davis protestors, though Kelly appeared to have more questions about the incident than her host.
First of all, pepper spray, O'Reilly said to Kelly. That just burns your eyes, right?
Right, Kelly replied. I mean it's like a derivative of actual pepper. It's a food product, essentially.
Reviewing the footage of a police officer pepper spraying a group of students at close range, O'Reilly indicated the pepper spray didn't seem to be very potent.
They should have more of a reaction, O'Reilly said about protestors huddled, cowering and facing downward, as a police officer sprays them at close range.
Kelly gently reminded O'Reilly that protestors went to the hospital.
They wanted people to get off the campus but they didn't want to lay hands on them, O' Reilly said.
Kelly reminded O'Reilly that police then did lay hands on them...to effect the arrest.
When O'Reilly began to argue again that you don't want to lay hands on someone, Kelly interrupted, reinforcing her point.
The police would respond by saying, 'You pepper spray first to allow that hands-on part to be less confrontational.' You're going to get less resistance when you've got somebody who just got pepper sprayed.
Listen, I know the tape looks bad, Kelly continued. All I know is that from a legal standpoint, I don't know if the cops did anything wrong.
We're going to have to learn more about the facts, but the cops are allowed to use reasonable force to affect compliance with an arrest...It looks like these cops have room to argue it was not excessive force.
I don't think we have the right to Monday morning quarterback police, O'Reilly commented.
Kelly later conceded that the police officers doing the pepper spraying did not appear to be under any real threat.
Does this guy look like he feels threatened? I don't know.
On Monday, a UC Davis professor offered the first official public apology to students.
I'm sorry we didn't protect you. And I'm sorry we left the wrong people in charge, Cynthia Carter Ching said in a statement on her blog.
UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi has so far resisted pressure from the faculty association to step down.
I am deeply saddened that this happened on our campus, and as chancellor, I take full responsibility for the incident, Katehi said in a statement Sunday. However, I pledge to take the actions needed to ensure that this does not happen again. I feel very sorry for the harm our students were subjected to and I vow to work tirelessly to make the campus a more welcoming and safe place.