DAVIS (CBS13) — Video showing UC Davis police officer Lt. John Pike dousing peaceful Occupy UC Davis protesters with pepper spray last week has been viewed by millions worldwide and has sparked widespread criticism of the officers and school administrators.
But, a second video clip of the officer warning protesters of what was coming shows that at least some of the protesters may have known what they were getting themselves into.
Last Friday 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 p.m., and then moved in to take down the protesters’ tents a half hour later. When they refused to leave, protesters were warned that they would be physically removed. When they refused, they were sprayed with pepper spray by Pike and a second officer and arrested.
Public outrage exploded quickly when CBS13’s Checkey Beckford reported the pepper spraying and witnesses who recorded the incident posted clips of it to the Internet. One clip, which was posted to YouTube by student-run TV studio Aggie TV, has been seen over 1 million times.
The incident lead to more student rallies that called for the school’s chancellor, Linda Katehi, to resign. She condemned the attack, calling it a “horrible mistake” and claims she ordered police to not use force before the clash with students.
While clip of the pepper spraying has received widespread notoriety, a relatively obscure second video clip showing Lt. Pike warning protesters has not. The clip, which has been seen 19,000 times and was uploaded the same day as the viral video, shows Pike talking to and motioning to the line of seated protesters one-by-one. As he nears the camera, the microphone records what he’s saying.
“If you stay here (inaudible) you are subject to force. Pepper ball guns will be deployed,” said Pike. “Do you understand that if you stay here when the police squad comes, you are going to be subject to the use of force?” he asks another protester who then nods.
The clip shows the only evidence that students were given what’s called a dispersal order. That’s a warning to leave or face the use of force and arrest.