The University of California, Davis has put the campus police chief on administrative leave while it probes officers' use of pepper spray on students passively protesting last week that was captured on video, the university said on Monday.
The announcement came one day after the school put two police officers who were videotaped deploying pepper spray on the seated protesters on administrative leave.
UC Davis Lt. Matt Carmichael will serve as interim police chief, the school said.
As I have gathered more information about the events that took place on our Quad on Friday, it has become clear to me that this is a necessary step toward restoring trust on our campus, UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi said in a statement.
Katehi has also asked the Yolo County District Attorney's office to investigate the police department's use of force and will create a task force to conduct a campus review and report recommendations in 30 days.
Video footage that showed a riot gear-clad policeman using pepper spray on a group of about a dozen student protesters in the university's quad area spread quickly over the Internet, sparking outrage among students and some faculty members.
Student protesters set up an encampment earlier this month at Davis as part of the nationwide anti-Wall Street movement against economic inequality and excesses of the financial system.
Their demonstrations included protests against tuition increases and what they view as police brutality on University of California campuses in response to recent protests.
The students had pitched about 25 tents in a quad area, but they had been asked not to stay overnight and were told they would not be able to stay during the weekend due to a lack of university resources, school officials said.
Some protesters took their tents down voluntarily while others stayed. The pepper spray incident appeared to take place on Friday afternoon, when campus police moved in to forcibly evict the protesters.