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UC Davis Police Chief Put on Leave, Chancellor Apologizes

David McAlpine |
November 21, 2011 | 5:33 p.m. PST

Executive Producer

UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi. (Photo courtesy UC Davis Chancellor's Office)
UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi. (Photo courtesy UC Davis Chancellor's Office)
The University of California at Davis has put its campus police chief on administrative leave after she defended the actions of UC Davis police officers who used pepper-spray on nonviolent student protesters.

The video of the officers spraying the huddled students circled the Internet over the weekend and drew criticism towards the police force and the university. Over the weekend, Chief Annette Spicuzza said the students had encircled the officers, forcing them to use weapons.

However, the video shows an officer showing a can of pepper-spray to the crowd, then spraying it over students passively sitting on the ground, before a flock of officers comes in to arrest them.

The protests on campus were related to the Occupy Wall Street movement. Police say they were trying to move tents built on campus.

From the Wall Street Journal:

Police "were not supposed to use force. It was never called for. They were not supposed to move the students," [UC Davis Chancellor Linda] Katehi said on the public radio station, KQED. "I was filled with outrage and sadness," she added.

The U.C. Davis Faculty Association has called for Ms. Katehi's resignation over the issue. Ms. Katehi has said in statements that she doesn't intend to resign. A U.C. Davis spokesman didn't return a call seeking comment.

Over the weekend, hundreds of UC Davis students protested the chancellor's lack of action by silently forming a tunnel of people as she walked to her car. The video has also gone viral on the Internet, and has put the administrator under heavy fire. She spoke at a student assembly Monday afternoon.

From Reuters:

Katehi, made to wait in line behind a parade of speakers openly criticizing her, took to the stage herself about an hour into the rally, telling the crowd: "I'm here to apologize. I really feel horrible for what happened on Friday."

"You may not believe anything I say today. It's my responsibility to earn your trust," she said, drawing scattered boos and jeers. When she added, "I don't want to be the chancellor of the university we had on Friday," she was answered by cries of "Resign!"

She left the stage after about a minute, looking shaken, and was hustled by security personnel to a waiting car, followed by a throng of media and a cluster of students yelling, "Don't come back!"

Katehi also said she will create task force to conduct a campus review of their security systems in place. UC President Mark Yudof also announced a review of police procedures on all 10 University of California campuses.

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