A video of police in riot gear pepper spraying demonstrators is spreading after 10 Occupy protesters were arrested on the University of California, Davis campus Friday, Sacramento NBC station KCRA reported.
The demonstrators were protesting the dismantling of the "Occupy UC Davis" encampment that was set up in the school's quad area.
"Police came and brutalized them and tore their tents down and all that stuff. It was really scary. It felt like there was anarchy everywhere," said student Hisham Alihbob.
Police told Sacramento's KTXL TV station that the students were given until 3 p.m. Friday to remove their tents from the campus. When students refused, police arrived at the given time. Students sat down cross-legged and locked arms when cops showed up and the pepper spraying began.
Students chanted at the officers, "Shame on you, shame on you!" KTXL said.
UC Davis officials said the group is allowed to occupy the quad for as long as they want, but cannot camp, KCRA reported.
A faculty member of UC Davis, Nathan Brown, an Assistant Professor as well as well as a current Board Member of the Davis Faculty Association, issued a public letter condemning the police brutality suffered by the UC Davis students and calling for the immediate resignation of Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi.
Professor Brown also organized the student rally that was sanctioned by the Davis Faculty Association.
"Without any provocation whatsoever, other than the bodies of these students sitting where they were on the ground, with their arms linked, police pepper-sprayed students. Students remained on the ground, now writhing in pain, with their arms linked."
"What happened next?"
"Police used batons to try to push the students apart. Those they could separate, they arrested, kneeling on their bodies and pushing their heads into the ground. Those they could not separate, they pepper-sprayed directly in the face, holding these students as they did so. When students covered their eyes with their clothing, police forced open their mouths and pepper-sprayed down their throats. Several of these students were hospitalized. Others are seriously injured. One of them, forty-five minutes after being pepper-sprayed down his throat, was still coughing up blood."
I urge you to read the letter in its entirety here.
David Waldman - Contributing Editor at Daily Kos and the Editor-in-Chief of Congress Matters - also known as "KagroX" - explains that for civilians in California, using tear gas weapons except in self-defense is punishable by imprisonment in a state prison for 16 months, or by a fine not to exceed one thousand dollars ($1,000), or by both the fine and imprisonment. He also writes that the California law "exempts cops who've completed state training from restrictions on use of pepper spray by regular ppl." Further, that "The use of chem, riot-control agents is also banned under the Geneva Conventions, Rule 75 "and against US ROE." Waldman is also A non-practicing attorney, a former Capitol Hill aide and Hotline staff writer.
So the question remains what in the hell is in the state training, and were training standards violated?
From a local CBS affiliate, "UC Davis Police Chief Annette Spicuzza said officers used force out of concern for their own safety after they were surrounded by students."
As you watch the videos of the attack on the students, do you see fear or "concern for their own safety" as the students were sprayed? But then, perhaps they didn't really show the "concern" until they forced open the students mouths and sprayed down their throats.
Here is another angle of that chemical assault on peaceful student protesters at UC Davis: