Including pretty much anybody wearing a helmet in this video from UC-Davis:

That’s just disgraceful, all the way around (with the possible exception of the chubby hatless cop in the first part of the video, who appears to be behaving in a more reasonable manner than his armored colleagues). I feel a tiny bit bad for the fact that the pepper-spray-wielding officer now has his name and contact information splashed all over the Internet, and the resulting world of shit that will crash down upon him. After all, as Alexis Madrgial notes, he’s the product of a terrible system. But then again, terrible systems survive only because of the people who carry out their orders, and if this is a step toward breaking that down, then that’s what has to happen.

On a more positive note, this video is kind of awesome: Linda Katehi, the university chancellor who ordered in the cops, walking out to her car surrounded by a silent student vigil (more details here):

That doesn’t look like the face of someone who will have her job for very much longer before resigning to spend time with her family. As she should. Because as disgraceful as the police behavior was, it all started with the order sending them in. And the person who gave that order doesn’t deserve to be running a university, any more than those skittish riot cops deserve their badges.

Comments

  1. #1 Katharine
    November 20, 2011

    They don’t exactly get police people from the top echelons of society.

  2. #2 Raorao
    November 20, 2011

    @katharine, They don’t exactly pay police officers enough to recruit from the top echelons of society.

    Police brutality happens because the system recruits trainees drawn to the violent aspect of the job. Why? Because those are the only people who will do the job for less than a middle class wage. So maybe sneering classism isnt the answer.

  3. #3 Vince Whirlwind
    November 20, 2011

    Good call, Raorao – it’s also notable that none of the limp-lefties who so strongly advocate tolerance for crime and criminals sign up to demonstrate their tolerance on-the-job as cops, dealing with the crackheads, the drunks, the violent and the insane. Cops have a tough job, and I wouldn’t like to do it in this day and age when your every move is scrutinised for later criticism.
    Of course, this means they end up with a large amount of dicks in uniform.

  4. #4 Paulino
    November 20, 2011

    Thank Jobs for the all seeing ubiquitous cellphone camera, especially in order to expose police dickyness. And seeing historical footage of policemen at work I don’t believe the percentage of dicks in the police have changed much. And I also believe that the failure to distinguish “the crackheads, the drunks, the violent and the insane” from a peaceful student demonstration, is what Prof. Orzel sees as disqualifying these cops as cops.

  5. #5 Sh
    November 20, 2011

    The pepper spraying lieutenant made ~$110K last year. I’d call that more than a middle class wage. A starting salary for a police officer at UC Davis is around $60K/year. That’s for a job that does not require a college degree.

  6. #6 Jim C
    November 21, 2011

    Of course a college degree is an infallible sign of a superior being. So please feel free to sneer at the men and women in uniform who try to protect you. While I do not know the officers in question, in most police agencies a degree in criminal justice is preferred or even required.

    If the protesters want to avoid pepper spray all they had to do was follow the law and stand aside. They chose not to.

    Also stop acting like pepper spray is something horrible and before you ask I have been exposed many times to tear gas which far more potent then pepper spray. It was part of the annual chemical warfare training we did in the USAF. of course now that I had stated I was in the military, most of the readers will automatically dismiss my views due to their own prejudices.

    Personally I would like to see the entire university police force turn in their badges in protest. Everyone seems to support anarchy, then let them have anarchy. It is obvious that the university, which ordered the police to enforce the law, will not back up their employees.

    As a post script I have far more compassion for the crackheads, drunks, and mentally ill, then I do for “occupiers”.

  7. #7 Sammi
    November 21, 2011

    Wow Jim C, you really do want to stamp the jackboot of authority on any protest, don’t you?

    “The men and women in uniform who try to protect you” – in what way is spraying, shooting, beating up people protecting them?

    I don’t believe the law is that a police officer may attack anyone he feels like attacking, without any consideration of proportionality.

    Many of us who are not from the USA are repeatedly horrified by the persistently violent nature of your society, and the general worship of violence as a means of addressing problems. The cops in New Orleans shooting people trying to survive in the floods is an absolute classic. The rivers of blood that flow each day as you slaughter each other with your beloved guns.

    But from a country that went to war against Iraq as revenge for an attack by Saudi Arabia with not one iota of Iraqi involvement, what can you expect?

    Ignorance, stupidity and violence make an unattractive combination. There are many good Americans, but there are far too many who are ignorant, stupid and violent and also very opinionated, as their small brains are obsessed with how God tells them that behaving like morons is the way it should be.

    And yes Jim C, you are ignorant, stupid and violent. All three. You’re a shit, please don’t leave the USA.

  8. #8 NJ
    November 21, 2011

    Jim C @ 7:

    most of the readers will automatically dismiss my views due to their own prejudices.

    followed by:

    Everyone seems to support anarchy, then let them have anarchy.

    Irony impairment. U haz it.

  9. #9 JIM
    November 21, 2011

    It is obvious to me that the “rent-a-cops” employed by UC Davis do not have the training nor the orders from someone in law enforcement who knows what they are doing. The “Chancellor” has taken her title too seriously……she should resign for allowing this to happen.

  10. #10 Paulino
    November 21, 2011

    Protests outside the US: freedom fighters, dawn of liberty, military action…

    Protest in the US: anarchy, communist threat, pepper spray and police brutality…

  11. #11 Sherri
    November 21, 2011

    “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

  12. #12 S&F
    November 21, 2011

    As an LEO myself, when the police tell you to move, you should probably move.

  13. #13 S&F
    November 21, 2011

    Ever see a three year old throwing a tantrum at the gorcery store? What do you do when adults act like that?

  14. #14 JasonTD
    November 21, 2011

    Sherri,

    Being able to “peaceably assemble” does not mean that you get to demonstrate anywhere you want at any time you want. That is why anti-abortion protesters are not allowed within a certain distance of a clinic, to physically harass patients (such as barring their way in), or to otherwise disrupt the normal business of that clinic.

    The whole point of a protest like the various Occupy events is to be disruptive of ordinary business. That brings more attention to their movement that what they would achieve by standing in designated places at designated times. The price of that extra attention is that they have to be prepared to be arrested for violating whatever laws are in place that govern access to those areas.

    Using pepper spray does seem excessive when talking about arresting people that aren’t otherwise being violent. But then again, it looked like some had their arms locked, and we don’t see what other attempts to get them to disperse were used prior to the pepper spray. Simply picking them up and handcuffing them might not have been a viable option either.

  15. #15 Sherri
    November 21, 2011

    What does being able to “peaceably assemble” mean? Is protesting meaningful if it isn’t somewhat disruptive? The students were occupying their own quad, not disrupting the city of Davis, businesses, banks, etc. The “sanitation” argument on tents is pretty weak; students camp out on campuses for football tickets all over America.

  16. #16 Chad Orzel
    November 21, 2011

    Ever see a three year old throwing a tantrum at the gorcery store?

    Yeah, but a little pepper spray takes care of that problem real quick.

  17. #17 Jud
    November 21, 2011

    Jim C writes: As a post script I have far more compassion for the crackheads, drunks, and mentally ill, then I do for “occupiers”.

    Quelle surprise.

  18. #18 JasonTD
    November 21, 2011

    Sherri,

    Freedom of Assembly has been held to be subject to “reasonable” “time, place, and manner” restrictions. Those restrictions must be content-neutral and still permit the free expression of ideas, but shutting down a port or highway as some of the Occupy events have done or tried to do would not be protected by the 1st Amendment. If the Davis demonstration wasn’t at a time, place, and manner that had a history of being reasonably restricted, then it probably would be protected. It’s hard to say with the information in the articles I’ve read. If it really was in an area where students frequently gather for a variety of activities, then you’d be correct to bring up the Freedom of Assembly for this case. Then there wouldn’t seem to be any reasonableness to a decision to remove the protesters.

    “Is protesting meaningful if it isn’t somewhat disruptive?”

    I think the key is in the “somewhat”. While people have a right to free expression, other people also have a right to go about their business. Put another way, one person’s Freedom of Speech doesn’t mean that anyone (other than the government itself, via the Right of Petition) can be forced to listen.

  19. #19 TTT
    November 22, 2011

    Simply picking them up and handcuffing them might not have been a viable option either

    Yeah–the lazy crooked cop might have scuffed his manicure.

  20. #20 JasonTD
    November 22, 2011

    Yeah–the lazy crooked cop might have scuffed his manicure.

    No, the point is that trying to wrestle someone that is resisting into handcuffs can be dangerous to both the officer and the person being arrested. Watching the video, you see some of the protesters resisting by curling up into a ball, holding their arms in tight. It isn’t inconceivable for the officer to end up breaking the protester’s arm trying to pry it loose to put him in cuffs.