DAVIS (CBS13) – Law enforcement officials defended the tactics used Friday to dismantle an encampment set up by “Occupy Wall Street” sympathizers on the UC Davis quad, a raid that drew accusations of excessive force from students after sitting protesters were subjected to pepper spray at point-blank range.

UC Davis Police officers in riot gear warned “Occupy UC Davis” demonstrators to pack up their tents and leave the field located between the Memorial Union and Shields Library at about 3:00 p.m., and then moved in to take down the protesters’ tents a half hour later.

University officials had warned students several times since Thursday that camping would not be allowed on the quad.

A growing crowd filled the field as officers hauled away tents and a number of protesters linked arms and sat down on the path in the middle of the field, defying orders to leave. Shortly before 4:00 p.m., an officer used a can of pepper spray to coat the sitting demonstrators in the chemical dispersant before officers began taking students into custody one by one.

The watching crowd began shouting chants of “Shame on you” and “Let them go,” while dozens of students recorded the encounter on cell phone cameras.

“I don’t think that was warranted,” one protester told CBS13. “It was non-violent protests, we were sitting, linking arms.”

UC Davis Police Chief Annette Spicuzza said officers used force out of concern for their own safety after they were surrounded by students.

“If you look at the video you are going to see that there were 200 people in that quad,” said Chief Spicuzza. “Hindsight is 20-20 and based on the situation we were sitting in, ultimately that was the decision that was made.”

Authorities are still reviewing video of the incident, Spicuzza added.

Officers left the quad after making 10 arrests, nine of which were UC Davis students. Law enforcement retreated out of the field in a direction that was not obstructed by sitting protesters.

Protesters vowed to remain in the quad and reestablish their camp Friday evening, but as of 10:00 p.m. Friday, no demonstrators or tents were visible in the area.

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Comments (223)
  1. Phil says:

    The only thing the Republicans apparently got correct is that we should get rid of the excessive number of cops we have in this country. If they act like that send em packing

  2. lduket says:

    If they decide to participate in acts of civil disobedience, they must be prepared for the consequences.

  3. Maggie Orion says:

    Whether you agree with the Occupiers or not, I think it’s very important to ask yourself, “Do I support police brutality in response to civil disobedience?”. If your answer is, no, you join the ranks of those who wrote our constitution and identify with the core beliefs of American democracy. If you answer “yes” step right over to the group of Americans intent on sacrificing civilian rights and the First Amendment in favor of a militarized police state. No matter what the issue, Tea Party or Green party or the politically Independent group of Occupiers, this type of police response is unwarranted and disturbing.

    1. PG says:

      Pepper spray is NOT police brutality. Just because someone may not LIKE pepper spray because it burns and stings and smarts and makes you cry DOESN’T MAKE IT BRUTAL. I can’t believe all the fools here who think that you can strip law enforcement of all their tools to enforce the law and think that you are going to have crime free communities. Take a look around….as law enforcement have backed off over the years because of “public outcry” when they use force to remove people that won’t be removed any other way……crime has increased on all levels from petty theft to violent crime. No different that raising children. If you don’t discipline when they flop their big hairy toe over the line they will keep pushing the line back. Eventually you have a child that is out of control and has contempt for every form of authority from parents, school, employer and government. Now people cry that law enforcement isn’t doing enough to “protect the citizens from all the crime” and when they take a zero tolerance attitude, you all scream police brutality. CAN’T HAVE IT BOTH WAYS FOLKS.

      1. RobK1967 says:

        At least you are consistent in your support for police brutality, and once again I must pity you for your sorry lot in life

  4. Jeff says:

    Notice that cops never feared for their lives when the Tea Party rallied while armed to the teeth with automatic weapons, stating that they were not afraid to use them.

  5. NoLove4Swine says:


  6. willy wonka says:

    Are the police so wimpy these days that they can’t just man handle these people and pick up and carry them away? Police from long ago didn’t have tasers or pepper spray and never had these issues. IMHO this is just abuse of power on the part of the UCD Police. I’m suprised they didn’t shoot anyone!

  7. WWJD says:

    WWJD? He’d OWS!!!

  8. Keith Draws says:

    Of course the police could have just waited until each student needed to leave for the toilet and then just not allow them to return. But because they are mindless thugs they would rather use violence and I see some comments actually approving of this brutality. I can only assume they are police too.

  9. crazy says:

    You would think that no one likes to see 19-20 year old kids pepper sprayed like that. It is one thing to disagree with people its another thing to approve their beating, especially when the opponent consists of kids.

    1. SW says:

      kids are under 18, welcome to the real world of self accountability

      1. RobK1967 says:

        More like welcome to fascism

    2. newie68 says:

      19-20 year olds are NOT kids!! They are full grown adults!! And for the record, they were pepper sprayed not BEATEN! I have looked at the Constitution and while I see a right to protest, I’ll be damned if I can find a constitutional right to occupy SH!T!!

      1. RobK1967 says:

        But you do have the right to be a complete idiot, and my don’t you take full advantage of that

  10. daarcyzzz says:

    the students were told to leave. If they are not smart enough to follow directions they should not be in college. If a teacher assigned a project to pass a class and the student did not complete that project, the student would not pass that class. Well this is a lesson in life. Listen to the people in authority. If you work for a company and they tell you to do a job then do it. If you refuse they will fire you.

    1. mm says:

      cops to do not have the “authority” to infringe upon our constitutional rights. there are no enforceable laws above the bill of rights. this is the “life lesson.”

  11. SaraB1956 says:

    How is it “peaceful” when students disobey a lawful order to disperse? If police don’t have the right to enforce their lawful orders, then why do we have them?

    1. deets says:

      Non-violent civil disobedience is generally considered “peaceful” in that it involves no violence.

      The entire point is that they are breaking a law in a peaceful manner as a form of protest. This was an important strategy of the civil rights movement, one championed by Martin Luther King, Jr. who was arrested about 30 times while performing non-violent civil disobedience.

      1. BM says:

        Try reading the First Amendment – the highest law of them all – the right to assembly peacefully.

      2. deets says:


        The 1st Amendment as interpreted by the Supreme Court does NOT provide for the right to assemble unconditionally and without any limits. For example, higher courts have repeatedly upheld laws requiring permitting for large assemblies and similar laws, usually in the name of public safety.

    2. mm says:

      constitutional rights supersede any other “laws.”

      1. scott says:

        Not on private property …….

      2. Wrong Again says:

        UC Davis is a state school. So NOT private property.

    3. Jeff says:

      Sitting quietly=peaceful

      Pepper spraying those people=not peaceful

      Glad I could clear that up.

    4. RobK1967 says:

      There is your problem then, it was not a lawful order. Just because the police order something does not make it lawful

  12. My2Cents says:

    UC Davis Police Chief Annette Spicuzza said officers used force out of concern for their own safety after they were surrounded by students. What? So let me get this straight……instead of the police leaving once the tents were taken down, Lt. Pike and Chief Police Spicuzza thought is safer for the police officers to pepper spray peacefully seated protesters, manhandle protesters to disengage them and arrest ten of them, and then cowardly band together, with rifles raised against the students, and back their way out of the park. Someone needs to take a class in critical thinking skills….and it is not the protesters!

  13. National says:

    The police weren’t threatened. by the students sitting down. So use of the pepper spray was not needed. The lt should be fired and brought up on charges. Afterward, the kids remained and shouted Shame on You to the cops and You can go.. And the cops left. The students remained

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