By now, you’ve heard that peaceful UC Davis protesters were brutally sprayed right in the face with pepper spray:

Professor Nathan Brown of UC Davis notes in open letter to Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi:

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.

James Fallows writes in the Atlantic:

Let’s stipulate that there are legitimate questions of how to balance the rights of peaceful protest against other people’s rights to go about their normal lives, and the rights of institutions to have some control over their property and public spaces. Without knowing the whole background, I’ll even assume for purposes of argument that the UC Davis authorities had legitimate reason to clear protestors from an area of campus — and that if protestors wanted to stage a civil-disobedience resistance to that effort, they should have been prepared for the consequence of civil disobedience, which is arrest.

I can’t see any legitimate basis for police action like what is shown here. Watch that first minute and think how we’d react if we saw it coming from some riot-control unit in China, or in Syria. The calm of the officer who walks up and in a leisurely way pepper-sprays unarmed and passive people right in the face? We’d think: this is what happens when authority is unaccountable and has lost any sense of human connection to a subject population. That’s what I think here.

Less than two months ago, it seemed shocking when one NYPD officer cavalierly walked up to a group of female protestors and pepper-sprayed them in the eyes. The UC Davis pepper-sprayer doesn’t slink away, as his NYPD counterpart did, but in every other way this is more coldly brutal. And by the way, when did we accept the idea that local police forces would always dress up in riot gear that used to be associated with storm troopers and dystopian sci-fi movies?

For additional details, see this, this, this, this and this.

Category: Video

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

22 Responses to “National Police Tactics Against Peaceful OWS Demonstrators”

  1. Morph says:

    This is going to explode into something very very very bad and it’s the police that are antagonizing the situation.

  2. ilsm says:

    Police state, police riots.

    The plan, man.

  3. Jojo says:

    Use the system against them. Sue baby, sue…
    Occupy Wall Street – Your Rights Under Federal Law if You are Pepper Sprayed
    by Steven D

    Non-violent protesters do not surrender their Fourth Amendment Rights to be free from excessive force by police. Specifically, non-violent protesters may sue police and the municipality of county that employs them under this Federal law, 42 United States Code Section 1983 if they have been pepper sprayed while peacefully protesting, whether or not the protesters were arrested.

    Here’s the language of the law in question:

    § 1983. Civil action for deprivation of rights

    Every person who, under color of any statute, ordinance, regulation, custom, or usage, of any State or Territory or the District of Columbia, subjects, or causes to be subjected, any citizen of the United States or other person within the jurisdiction thereof to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws, shall be liable to the party injured in an action at law, suit in equity, or other proper proceeding for redress, except that in any action brought against a judicial officer for an act or omission taken in such officer’s judicial capacity, injunctive relief shall not be granted unless a declaratory decree was violated or declaratory relief was unavailable. For the purposes of this section, any Act of Congress applicable exclusively to the District of Columbia shall be considered to be a statute of the District of Columbia.

  4. baldski says:

    Welcome to Buchenwald!

  5. Frilton Miedman says:

    Iraq vets have made the point that they were subjected to far more violent protests in the line of duty, but had no choice but to react with as little physical force as possible.

    Meanwhile, the police in Oakland have fractured one vets skull, ruptured another’s spleen for peacefully protesting.

    These protests were never intended to be against the police, nor to expose police brutality, let’s hope national police organizations recognize this and start promoting A greater sense of tolerance, specifically here the p[rotest support their own causes to begin with.

  6. rd says:

    The most firghtening thing about this is apparently these are CAMPUS police. The local municipal police forces apparently did not participate.

    My recollection of campus police forces during the late 70s was that they were generally very tolerant of students and peaceful demonstration. If they had pepper sprayed and tear gassed every sit-in while I was at school, the campus would have looked like a war zone. Instead, there was just some groups of sit-iners with the campus police wandering by occasionally to make everything was still fine and every body else went to classes. (BTW – I went to a school that had a very publicized armed takeover of a school building a few years before I went there, but the school campus police did not view that as a reason to become paramilitary)

    Keep it up kids. The UC Davis students handled themselves with great class over the last few days. Using the group “mic” to tell the police they could leave and then later had the school chanceloor leave with total silence around her was sheer brilliance. Much smarter than the idiots sending the storm troopers in.

  7. mika2k1 says:

    The local police in the US is now federalized and militarized. The fascist US corporate plantation is blossoming, and with every day that passes the US looks more and more like ancient Rome, or the more recent fascist reincarnation of the Vatican/Roman Reich — Nazi Germany.

    What the fascist US gov mafia thugs do is illegal on many levels:
    1] The fascist US gov mafia has zero democratic legitimacy. Elections in the US are a complete fraud, a pretense, a charade.
    2] The order by the fascist US gov mafia to attack the crowd clearly contravenes the US Constitution.
    3] The brutal method itself, used to carry out the illegal order was a blatant criminal act.

    So, when do you figure it will be your turn? You do understand that they plan to raid your all your bank accounts and dissolve all your savings into nothingness. What’s happening now with MF Global is a test run. Think you’ll be spared the indignity of being beaten into unconsciousness by these thugs when it’s your turn to voice a protest? Think again!

  8. theexpertisin says:

    Gotta feel sorry for the cops.

    Hate ‘em when you get a ticket.
    Hate ‘em for law enforcement and protection of property if it is not yours.

    Love ‘em when they put their lives on the line to protect us all from societies misfits and criminals.

    Let’s face it, as in the 60s, the professional agitators drooled for the moments when supposedly innocent as the driven snow protestors baited the cops to make a Kodak moment.Now that OWS is being focused in campuses, where taxpayer dollars pay the staff and subsidize the schools foster the rabble with their litany of “wants”, expect more of the same. Yawn…….

  9. Frilton Miedman says:

    rd Says:
    November 20th, 2011 at 6:03 pm
    ” The most firghtening thing about this is apparently these are CAMPUS police. The local municipal police forces apparently did not participate.

    My recollection of campus police forces during the late 70s was that they were generally very tolerant of students and peaceful demonstration. ”

    I have also noticed a strange production-line pawning of Austrian and pro-corporatist ideology in economics courses, theory is that we should pay attention to who has been making contributions to Alumni and campus funds.

  10. CTB says:

    I respect police officers and what they do. It’s unfortunate that this type of police behavior is about to make the lives of police officers across the country a lot more difficult.

    “After reviewing the video, Kelly [former Baltimore Police Department lieutenant] said he observed at least two cases of “active resistance” from protesters. In one instance, a woman pulls her arm back from an officer. In the second instance, a protester curls into a ball. Each of those actions could have warranted more force, including baton strikes and pressure-point techniques.”

  11. Marc Brazeau says:

    What I don’t get is that there seems to be no exposure to excessive force lawsuits. These incidents seem to be massive settlements waiting to happen. Aside from the obvious outrage to civil rights and liberties, this seems incredibly foolish from a fiscal perspective.

    The other through the looking glass aspect is that the brutal police response is taking what was a liberal reformist critique (couched in some radical rhetoric) regarding financial regulation, campaign and lobbying reform and top marginal tax rates and turned into a story about how organized state violence is always wielded on behalf of the capitalists class interests. You have to wonder if the cops are reading Trotsky and Emma Goldman to figure out what they are supposed to do next?

    We’ve gone from a situation where people were turning to Rawls and Keynes for answers, for better or for worse, when the cops start macing peaceful protesters, Marx, Trotsky and Gramsci are the ones who have something compelling to say on the issue. Although Joe Strummer and The Clash probably said it best:

    This is a public service announcement
    With guitar
    Know your rights all THREE of them

    Number 1
    You have the right not to be killed
    Murder is a CRIME!
    Unless it was done by a
    Policeman or aristocrat
    Know your rights

    And Number 2
    You have the right to food money
    Providing of course you don’t mind a little
    Investigation, humiliation
    And if you cross your fingers rehabilitation

    Know your rights. These are your rights
    Know these rights

    Number 3
    You have the right to free Speech as long as you’re not
    Dumb enough to actually try it.

  12. CitizenWhy says:

    The real story here is how Homeland Security trained UC Davis campus police to see themselves and to act as a military occupation force. The Davis city police refused the training because they do not see why they would need to treat citizens as terrorist threats.

    Homeland Security is out of control, and a threat to us all.

  13. meditative says:

    It looked like the cop was applying Roundup to weeds. Hope we don’t get a Kent State moment

  14. cyaker says:

    James Fallows makes an interesting point. I have some friends who say OWS. Is interfering with small business and resident’s in the community including stench from park, drumming all hours of the night. Barry are there independent none OWS sources to counter this as my friends claim direct second hand non media accounts. Nothing however justyfys military type response by police and if true Bloomberg had power to ask drumming to stop and provide portable facilities.

  15. mshapiro says:

    I thought it was funny that those people camping out for more than a week on sidewalks around the country were entirely left alone by police and ignored by media as long as they were in line for Twilight movie tickets.

  16. V says:

    Police state.

    How many millions of dollars worth of state pensions were walking around there?

  17. Raleighwood says:

    The Patriot Act signaled the beginning of the end of our Democratic Republic.

    While the citizen-consumers cowered in the government encouraged post 9/11 fear begging to be kept safe – hoarding duct-tape and plastic – our elected officials voted to undermine our legal rights.

    And as long as the economy is in the tank these “police state” jobs will have plenty of recruits.

  18. freejack says:

    ….And the self-same crowd who are the first to scream about FEMA death camps, black helicopters, government death panels and the like; applaud when “The Stupid Man’s Idea of What a Smart Person Sounds Like.” admonishes the protesters to ‘Go get a job right after you take a bath.’

    Cognitive dissonance. Not a bug, a feature of American life on the Right.

  19. freejack says:

    a simple fact of the matter…

    If securities & bank regulations had been enforced like the ‘rules’ for Zuccotti park (or any OWS protest) have been enforced, we wouldn’t be in the mess we’re in.

  20. realgm says:

    Does anyone actually believe that Barack Obama care about the so call 99% and that the democrat supports the OWS movement?

    What have they done so far other than talk?

    The Republicans don’t care either. The US gov’t turns into a big joke when talking human rights to the Chinese gov’t.

  21. Greg0658 says:

    the system must work or us humans will take/make it work
    destruction and death is a fix

    hey > another D&D

  22. V says:


    One of the truest statements I have seen.