A harrowing video of UC Davis students being pepper sprayed has gone viral.
The students were seated, arms linked, in a circle. Their heads were bowed. A crowd that gathered around the seated students and police were loudly yelling.
The seated students, however, seemed to pose no physical threat to the police officers.
Then, one police officer raised his pepper spray high in the air as he circled in front of them. He proceeded to douse them liberally with the orange liquid.
One student was hit with so much pepper spray that he was still coughing up blood 45 minutes after the incident, according to UC Davis Assistant Professor Nathan Brown.
The students were eventually dispersed by the police amid chants of “shame on you” from the crowd. Ten students were arrested, according to Linda Katechi, chancellor of UC Davis. Some of the arrested students were hospitalized while others were “seriously injured,” according to Brown.
The police officer who doused the protesters with pepper spray was identified as US Davis Police LT. John Pike, according to the Davis Enterprise.
The seated protesters, mostly undergraduate UC Davis students, were forming a human wall to prevent the police from removing their “Occupy UC Davis” tents.
Katechi justified the use of police force on these students because they defied her and the police’s request to remove their tents.
She had “no option but to ask the police to assist in their removal,” she said. She added that the university will review “the details of the” pepper spray incident.
Not all UC Davis faculties agree with Katechi’s assessment of the situation.
Brown wrote this open letter to Katechi to:
1) to express his outrage at the police brutality which occurred against students engaged in peaceful protest on the UC Davis campus today
2) to hold Katechi accountable for this police brutality
3) to demand Katechi’s immediate resignation
“You are responsible for the police violence directed against students on the UC Davis quad on November 18, 2011. As I said, I am writing to hold you responsible and to demand your immediate resignation on these grounds,” wrote Brown.
“The administration of UC campuses systematically uses police brutality to terrorize students and faculty, to crush political dissent on our campuses, and to suppress free speech and peaceful assembly,” he added.
Brown was referring to an earlier incident in which UC Berkeley students and faculty were “bludgeoned with batons, hospitalized, and arrested.”