The UC Davis pepper spray incident has sparked national outrage and resulted in consequences for the university police officers and administrators responsible.
UD Davis police chief Annette Spicuzza, who witnessed the pepper spray incident and defended it, has been put on administrative leave.
Two UC Davis police officers under Spicuzza have also been put on administrative leave. UC Davis did not identify the two officers. However, one of them is presumably Lt. John Pike, the now-infamous officer who did most of the initial pepper spraying.
Ever since Pike was identified by protesters who saw his name on his badge, he has become the face of the UC Davis pepper spray incident. Netizens have set up an “Arrest Lt. John Pike” Facebook page and Pike’s casual dousing of pepper spray has become an Internet meme.
UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi has also received her share of backlash.
President Mark G. Yudof of the University of California (UC Davis is a part of the University of California system) said he was “appalled by images of University of California students being doused with pepper spray and jabbed with police batons.”
Katechi herself has called for a task force to give her a thorough report and recommendations regarding the pepper spray incident. She said she was “saddened by what occurred” and takes “full responsibility” for it as the UC Davis chancellor.
Katechi, however, did not initially adopt this apologetic tone.
Her first statement regarding the incident emphasized the protesters’ refusal to remove their camping equipment. This refusal offered her “no option but to ask the police to assist in their removal,” she stated.
She emphasized that her decision was motivated by her desire to protect the “health and safety” of the protesters and other students. However, many netizens argue that the protesters’ “health and safety” have been more compromised by the UC Davis police’s pepper spray more than by their camping equipment.
After protesters were doused with pepper spray, eleven of them had to be treated by UC Davis paramedics. Two of them had to go to the hospital. One of them was hit with so much pepper spray down his throat that he was still coughing up blood 45 minutes later, according to Brown.
Brown also claimed that “when students covered their eyes with their clothing, police forced open their mouths and pepper-sprayed down their throats.”