Pepper Spray at UC Davis

Saturday, November 19th, 2011

I can’t think of a scenario in which what you see in this video would be justified. Even if the students were ordered to move, there are other ways to move them. And the cop’s nonchalant body language is chilling. It’s egregious brutality, and he looks to be enjoying it.

Here’s the story.

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97 Responses to “Pepper Spray at UC Davis”

  1. #1 |  Anthony | 

    At :05, on the right, an officer tries to stop someone from filming, draws his baton and threatens him.

  2. #2 |  Mantooth | 

    These kids should occupy a space a the top of a flight of stairs, none of those cops look like they could reach them without inducing a heart attack.

  3. #3 |  Len | 

    Going to disagree here. Frankly it’s a property rights issue, and these students do not own the property they are occupying and have no rights. Were it my property I would be doing far more than pepper spraying them.

    It’s time to get rid of this ridiculous distortion of the right to express oneself. One has a right to express himself or speak, or communicate with others when it is not an act of aggression, and no one has a right to stop that. Forcing oneself on others or on property is not free speech or even expression. This being true and those punks not moving, then I’m ok with the other punks pepper spraying them.

  4. #4 |  Andrew | 

    Yes Len, clearly those students were engaged in an act of aggression there.

  5. #5 |  Radley Balko | 

    UC-Davis is a public school. So this was on public property.

  6. #6 |  B | 

    As a UC system alumnus and California resident, I wrote to the chancellor.
    http://chancellor.ucdavis.edu/contact.php

    Either she tacitly supports this violence. Or her spokesperson is correct that the officers felt trapped. In which case the Chancellor’s incompetence lead to a UC Davis Police force that was unprepared to safely disperse a crowd.

    College students have been doing immature and unsafe protests for decades. These kind of confrontations are predictable and her campus police failed to respond appropriately

  7. #7 |  CSD | 

    Len,

    What? This was on the campus quad of a public university and the majority of those pepper sprayed were students. If you are a resident of California the quad at UC Davis is your property and if you are an out of state student you are paying a lot of money to use that quad.

    Undergrad Tuition:
    California residents – $13,079.91
    Nonresidents – $35,958.91

  8. #8 |  Noel St. John | 

    The officer seen spraying the students, Lt. John Pike is being repeatedly d0xed on Twitter.

  9. #9 |  Les | 

    @3, even if your “property rights” argument wasn’t ridiculous, even if they were on private property, what if, wait for it, what if the cops walked up to the protesters, cuffed them, arrested them, and took them to jail?

    Pepper spray, like a baton, a taser, or a gun, is supposed to be used to control violent suspects. It’s not meant to be used to assault sitting suspects.

  10. #10 |  CSD | 

    The police claim that they felt that they feel threatened by a circle of people. Some of those threatening people were seated around them in a circle looking the other way. None of those people were moving closer to them, throwing anything not verbally yelling threats of assault at them in any way. Really can the police just just say anything they want and get away with it? At some point does some logic come into the discussion? If this situation is threatening apparently giving a policeman a mean look would clearly be grounds for a forceful arrest with whatever force is deemed necessary.

  11. #11 |  albatross | 

    Were I a policeman inclined toward brutality, these videos would scare the hell out of me. Right now, this sort of thing is almost never prosecuted, even though it is a crime, because of an unspoken arrangement between prosecutors and policemen, agreements between cities and police unions, and broad media and public blind spots. I’d hate to bet my continued ability to make a living, or even my freedom, on those arrangements continuing for the next ten or twenty years. If they break down, some prosecutor may well go trolling through old Youtube videos of police brutality looking for easy convictions a decade from now.

  12. #12 |  Helmut O' Hooligan | 

    All in a days work, right boys?

    It seems like many of the police working these OWS protests are trying to emulate the crowd control methods used during the 1960’s. Maybe they idolize the “old school” officers who beat people senseless in Chicago or Madison or you name it. Maybe they are just waiting for the chance to have their own Kent State. Cop kill a creep, pow pow pow (Thank you Mr. Zappa). Am I being too harsh here? What kind of use of force continuum justifies using chemical agents on people who are just sitting on the ground?

    Jesus Christ, we’ve all seen this kind of protest before. It is nearly a ritual dance in the U.S.. The protesters are passively resisting. It is civil disobedience, and they expect to be arrested. If they must move, ask them to leave, give people time to leave if they want to, and then just pick people up and give them their notices to appear in court. There is no reason to terrorize people like this, and that is exactly what are seeing too often during these protests: state terrorism.

  13. #13 |  SOD | 

    “is being repeatedly d0xed on Twitter.”

    wtf does that mean?

  14. #14 |  Nick T. | 

    I imagine we’re going to hear even dumber arguments in defense of this behavior than the one offered by Len @#3. You’re gonna hear a lot of “what else can they do?” and “well, they were warned” defenses which are the most immoral, depraved and monstrous-acts enabling sort of reasoning out there. The banality of evil indeed. The bottom line is that the police officer is in control of his actions and in that moment he attacked passive individuals who were no threat to anyone. End of story.

  15. #15 |  shecky | 

    Is pepper spraying non resisting protesters even considered a bad thing anymore? It goes on with enough regularity that I have to conclude police officers are not meaningfully punished for employing such tactics.

    It’s silly to argue that the cops felt threatened or even worse, trapped. Especially since the cop stepped over the protest line without incident in order to get a good vantage point for spraying.

    It’s simply ridiculous that this method is employed in such a case. I presume the cops didn’t want to break a sweat dragging each protester individually away. So they pepper sprayed them. And still got to drag each individual protester away, this time writhing in pain. I guess it just serves them fucking hippies right, huh?

  16. #16 |  Ted S. | 

    #13:

    Urban Dictionary is your friend:

    http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=d0x

  17. #17 |  derfel cadarn | 

    I do not agree with what the morons ay OWS propose,these childish and selfish whiners still have rights. The jackbooted taxfeeders are thugs of the first water. It would appear that if Americans are expecting jusdtice to be delivered they will have to take in their own hands. No honor no ethics and no integrity left in America there is no hope. On one side whining communist morons on the other facist murderous assholes. America what a country.

  18. #18 |  SOD | 

    #16

    The Urban Dictionary is helpful. I still hate this leet(no i won’t spell it with a seven and whatever)/twitter bullshit language and people that use it.

  19. #19 |  Michael Chaney | 

    I might be wrong, but I’m pretty sure they’re not supposed to be spraying that pepper spray that close to somebody. It looks to me like that’s a defensive weapon to be used on a crowd, not something to spray right in somebody’s face. Does anybody have more information?

  20. #20 |  Dan Z | 

    This man is a coward. There is nothing more to be said about this, the actiosn we are seeing out of law enforcement in this day and age are purely those of petty cowards. They are protecting no one and in most cases are the initiators of violence. Im sure a guy like this will say its just part of a job and outside of work hes a stand up guy who really cares about people. News flash, you cant turn that type of mindset off and the mindset of law enforcement in this country is “us” vs “them”, they are no longer serving the public, they are fighting the public.

  21. #21 |  EH | 

    Michael@19: Doesn’t matter if there are no repercussions.

  22. #22 |  EH | 

    Plus, this guy, and the Bologna guy from the NYPD who made himself famous a month or so ago? Lieutenants. What does that tell you?

  23. #23 |  Joe | 

    I hope this isn’t a stupid question..

    When news breaks about someone or a unit in the military screwing up or doing something horrible, other members of the military and veterans are typically a large voice in speaking out against it. For example, with Abu Ghraib, I remember some of the strongest condemnation coming from veterans. They have pride, honor, they’re professionals, ect. So my question is, how come it doesn’t seem to work the same way with cops? Aren’t other cops (the ones who aren’t psychopaths) embarrassed by this kind of thing? For all the talk about the militarization of police, this seems to be one aspect they haven’t picked up on.

  24. #24 |  Nick | 

    Every day it becomes harder for me to stand up for those who are supposed to serve and protect. There will always be bad cops, but when nothing is heard against them by the good ones, who are we to trust.

  25. #25 |  Leon Wolfeson | 

    @23 – Are there?

    Maybe, but in the wake of the actions, it’s impossible to tell. It’s almost like a universal set of standards and training are not only desirable, but essential.

  26. #26 |  Just Plain Brian | 

    It’s almost like a universal set of standards and training are not only desirable, but essential.

    Before any agitatortots attack Leon for being a naive moron from across the pond without the slightest clue, I’d like to remind them that due to budget cuts, police have had to eliminate the “don’t be brutal and corrupt” classes from the training curriculum.

    See, it’s really just a training issue.

  27. #27 |  Scott L | 

    After watching one of the longer videos, it appears the police were trying clear the sidewalk that the protesters were intentionally blocking. The right to peacefully assemble does not include the right to block the flow of traffic. If you have to clear a lane for traffic and people are sitting, interlocked together refusing to move how do you get them to move without the use of force?

  28. #28 |  claude | 

    How vile.

  29. #29 |  lykorian | 

    “The right to peacefully assemble does not include the right to block the flow of traffic.”

    Do you have functional legs, Scott? Walk around them.

  30. #30 |  greenback | 

    I know we’re supposed to focus on the fat cop here, but those kids show some mind-boggling restraint. That level of self-discipline should scare the hell out of some people.

  31. #31 |  JOR | 

    “It’s almost like a universal set of standards and training are not only desirable, but essential.”

    One of the central conceits of the centralist is that they assume that the universal set of standards to be imposed will be exactly the set of standards that they think best.

    No, the problem with America’s police is not that standards aren’t ‘universal’ enough. It’s that they’re universally corrupt and evil.

  32. #32 |  skunky | 

    for anyone who justifies the use of pepper spray in this case (or any of the similar incidents documented against PEACEFUL protest), ask yourself, would it be ok if they stuck bamboo under their fingernails before arresting them? it’s about the same level of punishment, I’d say.

    9th circuit has ruled in the past that pepper spraying protesters as a punitive measure is illegal. this cop and, unfortunately, the university, will be paying a price if our justice system is worth anything.

  33. #33 |  Matt | 

    “This man is a coward.”

    Pfft.

    John Pike is clearly the worst kind of sadist and a chancrous data point demonstrating that tax-financed cop jobs attract genuine monsters.

  34. #34 |  Scott L | 

    “Do you have functional legs, Scott? Walk around them.”

    See there’s the problem right there, it was a public sidewalk, they could have protested off the sidewalk, but instead chose to be assholes to anyone else that was walking, bike riding, skating, or in a wheel chair that wasn’t a part of their protest. What if an emergency vehicle needed to get by and that was the quickest route? I don’t know if you’ve been to the campus but many of the “sidewalks” there are designed for emergency access because street access is rather limited. I don’t have a problem at all with protests, until they begin to infringe on the rights of others. Unfortunately it resulted in force to get them to move, excessive force, but force never would have been required if they would have just been courteous and stopped blocking a public sidewalk when asked.

  35. #35 |  skunky | 

    @Scott
    so arrest them. don’t arbitrarily torture them. you’re a complete douche to think that they wouldn’t move if an emergency vehicle needed to get through. force wasn’t required at all. it’s now the norm for cops to taser/club/pepper spray citizens who don’t threaten them in any way other than disobeying them. #occupydunkindonuts

  36. #36 |  StrongStyle81 | 

    The pepper spraying was clearly an intimidation tactic by a sadist. If you watch the full eight minute video, it is clear that tactic failed miserably as the protesters weren’t intimidated by that thug at all. The chants of “shame on you” and “you can go” was amazing. The level of restraint and control the crowd showed as they literally chanted the police into retreat. The power of their unified voice was both inspiring and a little terrifying at the same time. The thuggish police responded to the protesters the only way they know how, with violence. The protesters responded with their voice and the power of their words and ideas. Lt. Pike should be thrown out of the job and there was no excuse for his actions, but there was a victory here. You can almost say that this was the day that violence failed.

  37. #37 |  Ed Dunkle | 

    According to the database maintained by the Sacramento Bee, Lt. John Pike earned $110, 243 in 2010. Nice work if you can get it.

    http://www.sacbee.com/statepay/?name=john+pike&agency=&salarylevel=

  38. #38 |  Leon Wolfeson | 

    @31 – Nope, because I know what I’d *want* from the Police is quite incompatible with keeping order. I’d be prepared to *accept* honesty, integrity and fairness, however.

    The answer remains training to a uniform standard, a deacent standard. You get people who know what the flip they’re talking about together, and write it. You provide for periodic revision, by experts. None of this rubbish about handing a badge to undertrained, sometimes unscreened men (and the odd woman). That simply perpetuates the current situation.

    Otherwise, you’re either going to continue the current situation, or return to communities providing their own defence, balkanising areas. It’s not pretty (it’s happening in London, right now)

    Oh, and uniform screening criteria as well. Try “wants to protect and serve”, not “closet sadist”. No, good screening isn’t cheap. But the alternative, again…

  39. #39 |  Leon Wolfeson | 

    @27 – Right. So what you do is get six police men. Four grab the protester and bundle him off to be arrested. Two stand there with batons to prevent interference. Do this one by one.

    That’s the better way of doing it, which doesn’t involve torture. Of course, it’s still dumb, but hey, one step at a time for thugs in uniform.

  40. #40 |  NAME REDACTED | 

    This is what our founders where reffering to when they used the term “standing army.”

    Police are a standing army that is now occupying our country.

  41. #41 |  JOR | 

    “Nope, because I know what I’d *want* from the Police is quite incompatible with keeping order.”

    Whatever floats your boat.

    “The answer remains training to a uniform standard, a deacent standard.”

    They are trained to a uniform standard. It just happens to be one of self-serving tribalism that is perfectly content with a fuck load of corruption* and the occasional application of wanton violence.

    The claim that the police would be better behaved towards mundanes if only they were better trained begs the question. They’re perfectly trained to do exactly what they’re there to do. An even more unified, technocratic approach would likely involve summary executions for protestors like these. The system itself is the abuse.

    *”Corruption” has connotations of in-group disapproval, so it’s really the wrong word, given that the practices are taken for granted (drop guns, asset forfeiture “abuse”, bullshit excuses and coverups, etc.) and in some cases celebrated and demanded (“professional courtesy”).

  42. #42 |  jim | 

    Did anyone notice that Lt. John Pike appears to be second in command of the “Support Services Division”, including the Professional Standards, Recruiting & Hiring, and Training units.

    The type of mindset this officer has is no doubt being encouraged through the recruiting and training process, and then of course ignored/supported by his own professional standards unit.

    We are so screwed.

    http://police.ucdavis.edu/campus-services/support-services-division

  43. #43 |  Jamessir Bensonmum | 

    Yes, this is fun for the policeman. It is trouble for the rest of us.

    Ban pepper spray and tasers. No one should have these things. They are constantly abused in America. It just makes it too easy for one person to cause so much pain to others.

    We live in a sick, sick country.

  44. #44 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    Ban pepper spray and tasers.

    You cannot ban everything that a cop will use as a weapon.

    Remember two things:

    1. This is all standard procedure…and that is the problem.
    2. This is over peaceful protests. Imagine when the shit really hits the fan and the people demand change. Cops WILL kill you and still have their jobs post-revolution when one state is replaced with another state.

  45. #45 |  Noel St. John | 

    Here’s an interview with one of the students: http://boingboing.net/2011/11/20/ucdeyetwitness.html.

  46. #46 |  Jamie Niles | 

    UPDATE: Two officers put on leave for this incident.

    http://news.yahoo.com/officers-pepper-spray-incident-placed-leave-182151195.html

  47. #47 |  MN LEO | 

    There’s a lot of armchair policing going on in these comments. Let’s clear some things up.

    First of all, interlocking arms and pulling an arm back from an officer trying to execute a lawful order (to remove the subjects from the sidewalk and clear the flow of traffic) both qualify as “active resistance”.

    Active resistance is below assaultive behavior on the use-of-force continuum(where batons or tasers would be an acceptable response), but more severe than passive resistance (in which pressure points and come-along holds are warranted), which would be applicable if the subjects were not interlocking their arms or pulling back from officers trying to move them. My use-of-force continuum lists chemical irritants as a proper resonse to someone who is actively resisting.

    Then one must consider the alternative: playing games of strength prying people’s arms apart and risking injury to both officers and subjects. Sure they would have been justified in attempting to move them by physical force, but they are also justified in using chemical irritants to compel the same result, or to lessen resistance to physical force.

    The spray was justifiable, end of story.

  48. #48 |  TomPaine4 | 

    You are out of your league, MN LEO. Where specific tactics are listed in your manual doesn’t put an end to any story other than the short one in your head.

  49. #49 |  CyniCAl | 

    I’ll just say it for everyone … go fuck yourself MN LEO. I hope you die of pancreatic cancer … slowly…..

  50. #50 |  Les | 

    MN LEO, if you can’t easily unlink the linked arms of college students who are peacefully protesting, and especially if you think students linking arms while sitting peacefully require force, you are either very poorly trained, unintelligent, a bad cop, or a combination of all three.

    End of story.

  51. #51 |  Keith | 

    To those defending the police action. If you truly, honestly think that this is about keeping the sidewalks clean and safe and NOT about suppressing the message of the protesters. Then I say you are even more ignorant than you pretend to be.

  52. #52 |  StrangeOne | 

    …risking injury to both officers and subjects

    your words, my emphasis. It may have been a freudian slip, except you used the word three seperate times. These aren’t subjects, they are citizens, they are taxpayers, they are the people that allow this government and its goons to exist. But don’t worry, that job might not last much longer if this preformance continues.

    This was a peaceful protest, about as peaceful as it can be without being completely unseen. Protests are supposed to take up public space, the whole point is to force others to pay attention to your cause. Im sure the state loves to pretend that any and all non-approved protests, like the orwellian “free speech zones”, should be met with violence. But all it does is paint the state as the aggressor, which is one of the goals of protest in the first place.

    Its nice to know that your idea of a “good cop” is one that would rather use a can of instant pain and walk away. Heaven forbid they do their actual job and physically move and arrest and each one of the protestors. They might break a sweat. Why should someone making 110k have to go through ardous task of acting like a peace officer?

  53. #53 |  Ron | 

    #52: “… the whole point is to *force* others to pay attention to your cause”

    your words, my emphasis.

    I am not defending the police brutality clearly in evidence at UC Davis, but when you try to “force” others to listen to you, then you are making others your *subjects*.

  54. #54 |  Boyd Durkinb | 

    Bull Connor…er, I mean MN LEO,

    There’s a lot of armchair policing going on in these comments. Let’s clear some things up.

    I doubt this will happen. I mean we should really get an expert…someone from the state…because only they have the authority to define things.

    First of all, interlocking arms and pulling an arm back from an officer trying to execute a lawful order (to remove the subjects from the sidewalk and clear the flow of traffic) both qualify as “active resistance”.

    Like my buddy Larry who has a rule at his house that if you fart, he fucks your wife. Seems a bit self-serving, but so be it. Larry’s rule is that if he farts in YOUR house he also gets to fuck your wife. Larry is a cop and often says “Hey, it’s a rule.”

    Active resistance is below assaultive behavior on the use-of-force continuum(where batons or tasers would be an acceptable response), but more severe than passive resistance (in which pressure points and come-along holds are warranted), which would be applicable if the subjects were not interlocking their arms or pulling back from officers trying to move them. My use-of-force continuum lists chemical irritants as a proper resonse to someone who is actively resisting.

    Let’s remember that if any of the rules for escalation of force are broken by a police officer…nothing happens. Just more “training” (wink wink…meet you at Hooters!).

    Each generation faces the challenge of the police state. Remember the fire hoses on all those African Americans (1)? Cops and firefighters were at the end of those hoses…they had escalation procedures and were fully justified. Remember Rodney King…justified…regardless of what the courts said. I got a couple thousand other examples and cops are at the end of the hose, noose, gun, dogs (2), baton, tazer, fists, etc…all justified because “we got ourselves a procedure!”

    Then one must consider the alternative: playing games of strength prying people’s arms apart and risking injury to both officers and subjects. Sure they would have been justified in attempting to move them by physical force, but they are also justified in using chemical irritants to compel the same result, or to lessen resistance to physical force.

    Fuck me. Is there any alternative? Let’s see…how about letting the protest continue? How about negotiating with the protesters? I came up with two dozen better options than “spray people in the face”.

    The spray was justifiable, end of story.

    No. Terms like “justifiable” are subjective and used by the state to continue oppression. “We got procedures” doesn’t save you or end the discussion. You are failing massively at every level. Luckily, more and more people have had enough and alternatives are coming online.

    Don’t worry, copper. There will always be plenty of people that will line up to get beat upside the head. So you have that to look forward to.

    To understand what MN LEO is supporting:
    1. http://www.milkintheclock.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/11/passive_resistance_fire_hose.jpg
    2. http://cdn.dipity.com/uploads/events/39d5fbe3d58c49a6bc833474e2155b41_1M.png

  55. #55 |  John C. Randolph | 

    The spray was justifiable, end of story.

    Leo,

    Are you a tax-feeding thug yourself, or just an amateur boot-licker?

    Punishment is not the cops’ job.

    -jcr

  56. #56 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    @ Ron,

    when you try to “force” others to listen to you, then you are making others your *subjects*.

    I am a subject of Apple? Also, of LiveJasmin?

    Might be a good thing.

  57. #57 |  SQLCowboy | 

    Some info for those who still say pepper spray was justified, from the standpoint of the actual rules and situation in place:

    http://studentactivism.net/2011/11/20/ten-things-you-should-know-about-fridays-uc-davis-police-violence/

  58. #58 |  albatross | 

    MN:

    I don’t claim to know the law or local LEO policy. Here’s what I do know:

    a. I watch footage of protests being broken up by police in other countries, where the police are plainly thugs trying to silence dissent. Then I watch footage of protests being broken up by police here. Perhaps it is my lack of understanding of the situation or the law, but the footage looks uncomfortably similar.

    b. I am a middle class white guy with a wife, kids, a mortgage, and a job. I am the definition of the kind of person who broadly likes and supports the police. The footage of abuse, both at protests and in individual arrests, and the frankly thuggish attempts to prevent anyone videotaping it, are turning me against the police–not in the sense of wanting to throw rocks at them, but in the sense that my first instinct on hearing about a police brutality case is now to assume the accusation is true. That wasn’t true ten years ago.

    If I am an indicator of the future attitude of people like me, I suspect it’s going to be a far worse country to be a policeman in, ten years from now. Imagine what your job will be like, when middle-class whites view the police the way, say, poor blacks in Baltimore do today.

    When people are peacefully protesting, and you spray them with pepper spray, shoot at them with tear gas, or start busting heads with clubs, you aren’t just enforcing an order right there and then. You’re also sending a signal to the rest of the citizens. If we come to think that signal is “we will silence protests we don’t like,” it is hard to imagine that working out well either for the police or for the rest of the society.

  59. #59 |  StrangeOne | 

    @Ron,

    The difference being that “forcing” someone to listen only means that they are momentarily aware of you being there, and can choose to walk away without even knowing why you are doing it. No one can be forced to listen to anything. All you can do, all these protesters did, is put an opinion in the public space, either in print or physically, and hope someone listens.

    The police “forcing” involved pepper spray and in more general terms can be expected include tazers, beatings, and getting shot. While you’re not “defending the police brutality”, you’re certainly doing a fine job of creating a morally relative stance that puts peaceful protesters on the same level as violent thugs. So yeah you kind of are defending police brutality. Or at least trying to imply that the protesters deserved something for the crime of ‘possibly inconveniencing someone else’s walk across the quad’.

  60. #60 |  Len | 

    For the people who continue to claim that the university is public property, they are ignoring the fact that the students enrolling do not do so under some “free to do anything” provision. If a certain area has been designated for certain purposes, those students do not possess a unilateral right to rewrite the agreement under which they enrolled. By violating the terms under which they enrolled, they then become aggressors.

    Nice to see all the faux libertarians responses.

    Balko, stick with the actual police misconduct, this scenario is not one.

  61. #61 |  Ron | 

    #59: If “no one can be forced to listen to anything”, why use the word? Especially now, in light of the rhetorical retreat you just made?

    Plus, I don’t think putting an honest question to you is tantamount to me endorsing the police tactics at UC Davis.

  62. #62 |  Rob Lyman | 

    On the one hand, I do want to agree with Radley and many commenters here that this doesn’t seem justified.

    On the other hand, it seems to me that many people (and Radley?) don’t think any action would have been justified.

    If the cops had started yanking on people’s arms and somebody had gotten a rotator cuff injury, we’d be hearing shouts of brutality. If the cops had used a pain compliance hold and caused visible pain (but no injury) on video, we’d be hearing shouts of brutality. If the cops had grabbed someone and started to drag him away, only to have some friends grab onto the cops to resist, resulting in a baton-flailing melee as the cops are suddenly surrounded by a hostile crowd, we’d be hearing shouts of brutality.

    So while I don’t condone the nonchalant pepper spraying of people sitting there (I’ve been sprayed, and it really, really sucks), I don’t believe most police critics are actually being honest here. I don’t think most of you (including you, Radley) would condone any police action at all. And I can’t get on board with that.

  63. #63 |  Keith | 

    Len, you say “Balko, stick with the actual police misconduct, this scenario is not one”. But Balko also pushes for “supporting dissent”. This seems like a pretty good case of dissent. Why do you only stand up for part of what Balko stands for? It is typical for a hypocrite to pick and choose the parts they like.

  64. #64 |  Les | 

    Len, if someone claims that the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics disproves the theory of evolution, it’s fair to conclude that person doesn’t understand physics or biology.

    From your comment @60, it’s fair to conclude you don’t understand things like “unnecessary force.” You shouldn’t speak so confidently about things you obviously know nothing about.

  65. #65 |  Les | 

    Ron, what kind of police action was necessary? The kids were blocking a sidewalk, true. So what to do? First, obviously, is to make sure no one is in danger. Once that’s done, maybe a conversation with some of them, almost like they were people. And finally, if it’s determined that, by sitting on the sidewalk, a very important law is being broken and people must be arrested (a dubious claim, at best), then proper training would mean that handcuffs could be applied without harm to passively resisting suspects.

    But proper training, training that respects citizens and has as its goal conflict resolution, doesn’t exist in most police departments. If it existed in this case, the cops would have just made a pathway around the protesters for people to pass by, kept an eye out for unsafe behavior, and that would have been the extent of it.

  66. #66 |  Rob Lyman | 

    then proper training would mean that handcuffs could be applied without harm to passively resisting suspects.

    And my point is that, if things escalate to the point of harm because the sitters decide to resist, then everyone here will start complaining about brutality. (Granted, that’s still the right approach).

    I’m a low-discretion, rules-oriented guy. If we don’t allow homeless people to sit around on sidewalks, then we don’t allow protesters, either, because it’s not right for the police to apply laws differently to favored groups (well-off college students with lefty political causes) than to disfavored groups (homeless people, less-well off “youths” of perhaps a different ethnic group, students right-wing political causes). So while I don’t think the sidewalk sitting rule is an “important” one, I do think it very important that it be evenly applied, even to low-threat, picturesque protesters.

  67. #67 |  Mark Z. | 

    So Linda Katehi claims today that she’s not going to resign. This is proof that she’s delusional. The faculty are in open revolt at this point. Davis tends to be apolitical (the activist-inclined folks mostly go to Berkeley), so when associate professors and grad students circulate open letters calling out the chancellor, that’s a torches-and-pitchforks response. Which is part of the reason the cops freaked out and started pepper-spraying people–they’re not used to the sight of free speech. Look at the last two minutes of the video, where the cops nervously back away while pointing their silly paintball guns at the crowd. They react like they’ve just walked in on space aliens mutilating a cow.

    Katehi is delusional in precisely the way Robert Shea described for someone at the top of a wide and deep hierarchy: whatever information she receives is so heavily processed and filtered by the underlings that she’s completely unable to see the system she manages. Her first statement about the incident was a masterpiece of mush-mouthed bureaucratic bullshit, containing statements like “pepper spray was used.” Used by whom? By the police? By Lt. John Pike of the UC Davis Police? She really can’t say. It’s not like she was there–even though, as the executive officer for the administration, that’s exactly where she should have been. Katehi says that they had “no option” but to disperse the protesters by force. (How about leaving them alone? Is that on the table? No, that is not on the table, because it is not an option.) How about leaving her office, walking two hundred yards from Mrak Hall to the quad, and talking to them?

    John Pike is going to lose his job also, because he’s the obvious scapegoat (which is not to say he doesn’t deserve it, but the reason he’ll be fired is not quite the same as the reason he deserves it). Now that he’s attracted the notice of both the district attorney* and Anonymous, he’ll be lucky if getting fired is the worst thing that happens to him. (John, if you’re reading this, the best way to disguise yourself would be to lose fifty pounds.)

    But, you know, Pontius Pilate also got fired for police brutality, and the Empire lived on. That’s how empires operate: when a minion steps way over the line, and they can’t cover it up, they punish the minion as a sop to the crowd. (See the Abu Ghraib torture scandal, where the blame was mostly pinned on Charles Graner and Sabrina Harman, just because their faces were in the pictures.) What’s important is that punishment is handed down, never handed up. That’s why there’s always an “investigation” first: so that punishment can clearly come from within the system, and nobody gets the idea that citizens can take down their masters, whether by force or law or politics.

    So: Fire John Pike, yes. Fire Katehi. But also fire Mark Yudof. Fire Jerry Brown. Impeach everyone who helped sustain this culture of paranoia and brutality.

    * Qualified immunity most likely doesn’t apply. See Headwaters Forest Defense v. Humboldt County, dealing with this exact situation.

  68. #68 |  StrangeOne | 

    Ron its not an honest question, you mad a direct comparison between the violent force used by the police, and an esoteric understanding of force that the protestors were using to make people aware of their cause. In all honesty the ‘force’ used by the protestors is no different than advertising on buses and billboards, a public display that others are free to look at or ignore at their own discretion. I had to walk around a placard that advertised a local shops lunch specials today, was I made a “subject” of the sandwich shops “force”?

    And I don’t usually argue semantics, but in my first post one could easily replace the word force in “the whole point is to force others to pay attention” with influence, or any other synonym, and the context is the same. It’s not rhetorical to say that you took one meaning of the word and implied something that wasn’t there. The only reason someone would make such a leap is to; a) try to create an equivalency between the protestors and the cops, b) a deliberatly obtuse reading of the comment, or c) to troll the original poster.

    Which is why I’m not contining this discusion further.

  69. #69 |  Ron | 

    #65, I agreee with you completely.

    #67, if force is not the right word, then don’t use it. Using it only undermines your argument.

  70. #70 |  johnl | 

    I thank MN LEO for providing the reductio ad absurdum for Leon Wolfeson’s wacky idea. Please visit again.

  71. #71 |  JdL | 

    @38 Otherwise, you’re either going to continue the current situation, or return to communities providing their own defence, balkanising areas. It’s not pretty…

    I can’t imagine anything “not prettier” than what the U.S. has now, with thug cops rampaging without any checks whatsoever, answering to no one but political insiders.

    I’ll take communities providing their own defense any day. Ultimately, the responsibility for self-defense belongs to each one of us. If we designate it to another, we’d better be damned sure we’re in control of that person or service. Citizens are not in control of police today, and elections offer only the illusion of change. Fire them all, I say, and let each locality figure out what to do next!

  72. #72 |  Les | 

    And my point is that, if things escalate to the point of harm because the sitters decide to resist, then everyone here will start complaining about brutality.

    This point is based on a false assumption. If there is violent resistance, cops are justified in using force to arrest a suspect. If one chooses to violently resist, he has to take responsibility for that choice.

    But no cop can legitimately say, “I used force on the non-violent suspect because they could have violently resisted if I simply arrested them without first using force against them.”

    So, no, “everyone here” will not complain about police brutality when police use force to arrest violently resisting subjects. We will, however, complain about police brutality when force is used against non-violent suspects.

  73. #73 |  Rob Lyman | 

    But no cop can legitimately say, “I used force on the non-violent suspect because they could have violently resisted if I simply arrested them without first using force against them.”

    I agree with this as written. But…the protesters had arms linked. Force was going to be required to separate them them. And with force comes both video of protesters in pain and, inevitably, injuries of some kind. I’m fine with that; in my view, if the police place you under arrest and you passively resist, they can use some degree of force (obviously limited) to overcome your passive resistance.

    I do not agree with you that Radley or most others here would have accepted the video of protesters in pain, scraped knees from dragging, twisted shoulders from separating the linked arms, etc. without condemning it.

  74. #74 |  Mark Z. | 

    Rob Lyman: The basic error you make is assuming that the police had a duty to remove them.

    And therefore that when the police said “Disperse now” and they didn’t disperse, they were breaking the law, and had to be arrested; and when they wouldn’t all stand up and handcuff themselves, the police had to use violence, because you can’t just have people not disperse, can you?

    Well, can you? What if we did? The police always have another option, which is to not order peaceful assemblies to disperse.

    What are they afraid of? That the administration would fire them for failing to remove the protesters? Well, now they’re going to get fired.

    That they’d lose the respect of the public? Again, I think we all see how well that worked.

    That the students would eventually get worked up and become violent? Okay, then. Leave two officers there to drink coffee and rack up overtime and keep an eye on these dangerous radicals so they don’t harass people or steal anything. They can call for backup if things get rowdy.

    Of course, if there are only two officers on a long shift, they’re eventually going to start talking with the protesters, and in time even start listening to the protesters and seeing them as human beings, and then earthquakes, volcanoes, the dead rising from the grave, cats and dogs living together, mass hysteria.

  75. #75 |  Rob Lyman | 

    Rob Lyman: The basic error you make is assuming that the police had a duty to remove them.

    Well, yes. Because, as I said above, I favor rigorously evenhanded application of the law with limited police/government discretion. If there is a law against doing whatever they were doing, and if that law has been enforced previously against others and will be enforced in the future against still others, then it should be enforced against these people, here, now. Because their actual reasons for breaking the law are irrelevant, or should be. I don’t want the police deciding certain people can break the law and others can’t, based on the politics of the violators. I would think that your average libertarian would be on board with this radical notion of equality.

    Now, if there is not law forbidding this, then obviously the police were not just wrong, but grossly and utterly wrong. And if the law is unnecessary, or if it is routinely ignored without consequences, then it should be repealed. And if we decide that what happened here was worse than having people sitting here more or less 24/7, then the law should also be repealed.

    But if you don’t like legislation from the bench (and I don’t), then you should be more appalled by legislation from the badge, in which police decide who gets to do what based on how they feel at that particular moment in time.

  76. #76 |  Les | 

    Rob, It seems that you’re arguing that force was the only way to deal with a bunch of college kids sitting on a sidewalk that’s surrounded by grass. Think about that.

    There are lots of ways to deal with protesters, depending on the situation. This particular situation, where protesters were blocking a sidewalk that could easily be walked around, was ripe for a variety of conflict resolutions that didn’t involve having to be arrested, and certainly didn’t require force to be used.

    But even if, for some reason, they had to be arrested, the point we’re making is that the cops didn’t even try to deal with this situation without force. Saying, “Leave or we will assault you with pepper spray,” simply doesn’t count as making an effort to avoid violence.

    Your argument that cops shouldn’t have discretion as to when they arrest people is extremely problematic. It means that if a cop charges a car thief with marijuana possession, he has to charge everyone he contacts who has marijuana with possession. With as many arcane, ridiculous, and just plain bad laws on the books, I think cops need to have discretion as to when and who they arrest. Cops shouldn’t be robots, unable to adapt to different circumstances.

  77. #77 |  Rob Lyman | 

    the point we’re making is that the cops didn’t even try to deal with this situation without force.

    There is no way to arrest protesters with interlinked arms without force. Their arms must be un-linked somehow, which will require force. There are ways to do this without pepper spray, certainly, but not without force.

    Even picking up a limp person and dragging him away is a (minimal) form of force that requires legal and moral justification.

    I agree that cops have, and should have, some degree of discretion. But with discretion comes the possibility of abuse in the form of political favoritism (from which OWS protesters benefited) and arbitrary and selective enforcement (as are alleged by people who claim to have been stopped for “driving while black.”) As far as threats to liberty go, arbitrary and/or politically motivated law enforcement is worse than robot law enforcement.

  78. #78 |  Rob Lyman | 

    I should add that we don’t really know who made the arrest decision here. It’s quite possible that the cops on the scene were thinking “Who cares about this sidewalk? You can just walk around them!” but that the chief or the president of the university or some other administrator was insisting on arrest.

  79. #79 |  StrangeOne | 

    Rob, even if there is a law against sitting on the sidewalk (which I don’t doubt since vagrancy/loitering laws tend to be written so broadly that selective enforcement becomes a necessity) the real question is this type of enfrocement necessary?

    What are the protestors options? File a form to make a civil demonstration? I’m sure they would get approval for like 2 hours on a tuesday afternoon. But lets be real, if you want to form an ongoing and noticible protest, the authorities won’t allow you to. Neither the university nor the state would have allowed the protesters the right to peacefully assemble for extended periods of time, whether they were on the grass or the sidewalk or behind a concrete wall, they simply wouldn’t get permission.

    I would love to live in a world, or at least a country, where the laws were fairly enforceable and the right of people to peacefully assemble in public was respected by them. But thats not the way it is. Our laws are written to give the greatest possible discretionary power to the state. How many people that speed on highways or jaywalk actually get ticketed for the offense? I doubt its a thousandth of a percent, but since “contempt of cop” isn’t an actual crime, yet, we see these and other rules selectively enforced all the time. Or worse yet they are used as an indirect tax, a literal extortion of the general public.

    The “law’s the law” approach is principly undermined by unjust laws. Choosing to always opperate within the confines of the beuracracy just serves to empower the beuracracy, it does nothing to garauntee your rights or that justice is served. Its nice to have the right to peacefully assemble enumerated on paper, but the de facto stance of authorities in this country is that it doesn’t exist. It hasn’t existed for a while. This whole incident is indicitave of that.

  80. #80 |  Rob Lyman | 

    StrangeOne, where have I said the protesters did anything wrong? They deliberately broke the law to draw attention to themselves. They were then arrested on video, achieving their goals. Everything played out according to a well worn script, except for the spraying, which I’ve already said was wrong under the circumstances.

    However, to the extent that you would endorse enforcement of vagrancy laws against actual vagrants, but not against student protesters, you are recommending a non-content-neutral approach to law enforcement, which strikes me as a lot more dangerous than pepper spray.

  81. #81 |  MDGuy | 

    Rob Lyman: They weren’t vagrants by any stretch of the imagination; they were engaged in political protest. The fact that you would invoke such a law, which is completely and utterly dependent on an officer’s discretion as to who constitutes a “vagrant” (and I might add, without even knowing if that is in fact that law the student protesters supposedly broke) strikes me as ironic, given your fear of a “non-content-neutral” approach to law enforcement. Furthermore, the idea that these police took a “content-neutral” approach to this situation is laughable. The police hate the protesters and their message and use any and every excuse they can to inflict violence.

  82. #82 |  Rob Lyman | 

    The fact that you would invoke such a law, which is completely and utterly dependent on an officer’s discretion as to who constitutes a “vagrant” strikes me as ironic

    Um, well, yes, my whole point is that whatever law the protesters broke should be enforced neutrally. If it is typically not enforced, then it should not have been enforced here (and indeed, should be repealed). If it is enforced against vagrants, pro-life protesters, or drunken frat boys, then it should be enforced against these protesters, too. The law, and its enforcement, should be based on conduct, not thoughts or speech.

    Many commenters here have argued that there should have been no enforcement action at all. It seems to me the main reason for that is the view that the protesters are engaged in some kind of noble enterprise of speaking truth to power. If this were a bunch of homeless people with no place to go, most people would agree they should be removed so that students can freely use the sidewalk. And my point is that their nobility and their message do not, and must not matter.

    The police hate the protesters and their message and use any and every excuse they can to inflict violence.

    You have absolutely no way of knowing if this is true.

  83. #83 |  StrangeOne | 

    I never said anything about using vagrancy laws against vagrants.

    I’m pointing out that if such a law includes people who are peacefully assembled on public property, then a non-content-neutral approach to law enforcement would by to arrest everyone on public property at all times. Since that’s impossible, it leaves everyone subject to the whims of law enforcement, i.e. a police state.

    You want a content-neutral approach, but haven’t recognized that the broadness of laws *as written* combined with *police discretion* results in nothing less than a content censoring approach. Thats the practical reality of the situation.

    A peace officer would have requested the protesters make way for use of the land IF, and only if, some dire need of the space was required by others, say emergency vehicles. Beyond that they have no obligation other than to sit and watch in case the protesters or possible detractors attempt to escalate a peaceful situation into a violent one. Instead they escalated the situation and did a fine job of making themselves look like incompetent thugs.

  84. #84 |  Rob Lyman | 

    A peace officer would have requested the protesters make way for use of the land IF, and only if, some dire need of the space was required by others

    I disagree rather strongly with the “dire need” criterion as a broad general rule. In the case of a sidewalk on campus that can be easily walked around, that probably makes good sense, as long as it is evenly applied to protesters and apolitical sidewalk-sitters alike. In the case of an ordinary street which is normally open to vehicles but is blocked by protesters, get the hell out of the street, you idiots, I’m trying to get to my kid’s daycare.

    You want a content-neutral approach, but haven’t recognized that the broadness of laws *as written* combined with *police discretion* results in nothing less than a content censoring approach.

    So rewrite the law.

  85. #85 |  Les | 

    There is no way to arrest protesters with interlinked arms without force.

    My point is that no attempt was made to talk with, to humanize the protesters. Sit down next to them and have a talk. Explain the situation. That’s all the effort that’s needed.

    But again, you’re not making your case that it was necessary to remove these particular protesters at that time. You can’t treat protesters as if they were vagrants. And using force to remove people who don’t need to be removed can only escalate a non-violent situation into a violent one.

  86. #86 |  Les | 

    So rewrite the law.

    This implies that all laws require the respect of equal application at all times. Defending the enforcement of a bad law with this phrase is how people have defended the enforcement of terrible laws for hundreds of years.

  87. #87 |  Mark Z. | 

    Um, well, yes, my whole point is that whatever law the protesters broke should be enforced neutrally.

    They broke NO LAW, Rob. That’s NO LAW, as in “Congress shall make NO LAW”.

    Many commenters here have argued that there should have been no enforcement action at all. It seems to me the main reason for that is the view that the protesters are engaged in some kind of noble enterprise of speaking truth to power.

    That’s one reason, sure.

    The more basic reason is that they weren’t causing harm to anyone by being there. They weren’t threatening people or destroying property or setting shit on fire or otherwise endangering the safety of the community. They were SITTING and TALKING.

    Thanks to StrangeOne for more precisely laying out the problem with “vagrancy” (i.e. standing on public property) laws. I would try to make that argument but I’m sick of arguing with someone who can’t even pass the Turing test.

  88. #88 |  Rob Lyman | 

    My point is that no attempt was made to talk with, to humanize the protesters.

    How do you know this?

    And are you saying that if an effort to talk was made, but the protesters steadfastly refused to leave voluntarily (as seems rather likely), that force would then be OK with you?

    But again, you’re not making your case that it was necessary to remove these particular protesters at that time.

    That’s because I reject the notion of “necessary” here. Rare is the law enforcement action which cannot be criticized on the grounds that it is “unnecessary” at some particular place and time. There is almost nothing that truly can’t wait. Yet if no action is ever taken, the result is anarchy. I understand that sounds like a good idea to some people, but not to me.

    The rules should be clear, fair, and swiftly enforced. And hey, if you’re into civil disobedience and getting arrested to make a point, I don’t see why you would object to…getting arrested.

    You can’t treat protesters as if they were vagrants.

    On the contrary, if the protesters are doing the sorts of things that get call vagrants to the attention of the law, then you must treat protesters like vagrants.

    Look, Portland (where I live) has been hassling homeless tent cities for a long time. Then a tent city of non-homeless people springs up downtown, and suddenly the mayor is all hands-off and supportive–until the homeless people started showing up in large numbers at the non-homeless camp (gee, who could have seen that coming?), causing the city to crack down on it.

    That behavior, which took place a couple of blocks from my office, offends my notion of fairness and equality. Either camping out is OK or camping out is not OK.

    Defending the enforcement of a bad law with this phrase…

    I don’t see anything wrong with a law that says “don’t block access to campus buildings during business hours” or “don’t block the roads.” A law that says “don’t sit on campus sidewalks” is probably a bad law.

  89. #89 |  Rob Lyman | 

    They broke NO LAW, Rob.

    If that’s the case, then the police should be up on assault and false imprisonment charges. My suspicion, however, is that they did break a law, just not a law you approve of. Which is quite a different matter.

    The more basic reason is that they weren’t causing harm to anyone by being there.

    To the extent that they were hindering access to a building, they were causing harm. I don’t know if they were really stopping anyone from getting in (which merits police action), or just blocking one entrance when others were available (which is harmless), or maybe not blocking access at all. The fact that they were just sitting there doesn’t really matter; nobody should have to step over a potentially hostile crowd to go about their legitimate business (although stepping around is no big deal).

  90. #90 |  MDGuy | 

    The police hate the protesters and their message and use any and every excuse they can to inflict violence.

    You have absolutely no way of knowing if this is true.

    If the cops there didn’t hate the protesters and their message, they would be defending their right to assemble peaceably and petition the government for redress of grievances, instead of deliberately and individually spraying them in the face with a chemical agent. That kind of violence against a seated and immobilized target says “hate” to me. Or maybe you’re right, police are just robots who can deal out dehumanizing violence without batting an eye or giving a damn what their victims are protesting.

    A few weeks ago Radley posted about the ticket fixing going on at the NYPD and posted about how the other officers all showed up in support of the officers on trial. (http://www.theagitator.com/2011/10/29/nypd-cops-demand-the-right-to-be-corrupt/)

    “As the defendants emerged from their morning court appearance, a swarm of officers formed a cordon in the hallway and clapped as they picked their way to the elevators. Members of the news media were prevented by court officers from walking down the hallway where more than 100 off-duty police officers had gathered outside the courtroom.

    The assembled police officers blocked cameras from filming their colleagues, in one instance grabbing lenses and shoving television camera operators backward.”

    The police sure don’t mind gathering and obstructing other people’s access to public spaces when it’s their public protest. Violently, I might add.

  91. #91 |  Rob Lyman | 

    I absolutely will not defend police who fix tickets or who hassle photographers for no reason. That is crap. But on the other hand, I do not believe that intentional obstruction of others’ access to public buildings (or public parks, or public roads) can truly be called “peaceable.”

    I also don’t think that there is a magic First Amendment bubble that protects someone with a camera (or a political message) while they do things that someone without a camera/message would be forbidden to do. Burn flag in front yard: lawful. Burn flag in gas station: unlawful.

  92. #92 |  StrangeOne | 

    I would love to just change the laws, I guess if I keep off the grass and kindly petition again things will change. But voting doesn’t seem to work and the only attention I can get from the legitimate powers is a can of mace. If we keep doing the same things that haven’t yet worked, over and over, they’ll eventually start working, right?

    I’ve said my peace, I’m checking out with Mark Z. I really don’t know what more I can say to inumerate the vast difference between the declared intent of law and “keeping the peace” and what it actually amounts to.

  93. #93 |  Medicine Man | 

    On the other hand, this incident did generate the pepper spray company some reviews:

    http://www.amazon.com/Defense-Technology-56895-Stream-Pepper/product-reviews/B0058EOAUE/ref=cm_cr_dp_all_helpful?ie=UTF8&showViewpoints=1&sortBy=bySubmissionDateDescending&tag=theagitator-20

  94. #94 |  Fritz | 

    I wonder if the left still thinks the Oath Keepers are off their rockers?

  95. #95 |  Elliot | 

    Richard Nikoley posted a cite of his mother characterizing a cop’s apparent enjoyment of inflicting pain on a “perp” with a “non-lethal” weapon as the mentality of a rapist.

    This cop’s attitude was similiarly despicable.

  96. #96 |  Les | 

    And are you saying that if an effort to talk was made, but the protesters steadfastly refused to leave voluntarily (as seems rather likely), that force would then be OK with you?

    Not necessarily. Everything depends on the circumstance. If the protesters were preventing people from getting where they needed to go, if they were causing a disturbance and people were complaining, then, sure arrest them. But they cops only received (unless you have information to the contrary) one complaint, and that was from the Chancellor.

    Finally, there are different kinds and levels of force depending on the amount and type of training. There are elementary techniques derived from arts like jiu jitstu and aikido that, with but a second of discomfort, can be used to relatively gently manipulate joints. But those techniques require not just training, but a desire to not injure, both of which are in short supply at your average police department.

    You’re right that if the technique was misused and someone was injured, there would be complaints. But, like I said, if the arrest was based less on legal technicalities and actual necessity (including simple squatting on private property, which this wasn’t), and if the cops had shown any interest in treating the protesters humanely (there’s no evidence that they did), those complaints would have little to no weight.

    Finally, the fact that the Police Chief Annette Spicuzza lied about the police being in danger indicates that they know there was no excuse for what they did, and their only way out is to make things up, as if there were no cameras around to record the reality of the situation.

    And finally, finally, it’s Thanksgiving and so I’m leaving this thread for food shopping and prep. Rob, it’s been a pleasure disagreeing with you as you’ve been very thought provoking and endlessly polite. I suspect we agree on more than we disagree. Have a great holiday!

  97. #97 |  cobaco | 

    [quote Rob Lyman]But if you don’t like legislation from the bench (and I don’t), then you should be more appalled by legislation from the badge, in which police decide who gets to do what based on how they feel at that particular moment in time.[/quote]

    police are just as reponsible for their own actions as anyone else. your action, your choice, your responsibility.

    and no having their be a law, or an order by a superior officer (and a law is just an order by proxy) does NOT absolve you of that responsibility. The responsibility is not shared or re-directed it’s doubled, both the person acting and the person ordering is equally and fully responsible.

    Their is no conceivable moral basis for initiating physical harm when your own physical safety is not direct danger. You can still initiate physical force, but you do not get to claim the moral highground.

    Next there’s the simple fact that when you initiate physical force you cannot legitimately complain when the person you’re attacking responds in kind.

    Translated that means that whenever an enforcement officer is causing physical harm he is risking his live BY CHOICE. I have no idea why so many enforcement officers are willing to risk their live to stop people peacefully sitting on a sidewalk, how much of an idiot, sadist or bought goon do you need to be to consider that a worthwile risk?

    A rotten apple spoils the bunch (the first part is always used as excuse, and you the second part always conveniently forgotten). What (L)EO’s reactions on stories like this make abundantly clear is that that is that the current bunch of cops is spoiled completely.

    Sooner or later the dam is going to burst, and the American public is armed.
    That means that when the dam bursts we’re gonna have a shooting war on enforcement officer’s, and given the realities of urban live it’s impossible to avoid an ambush by a determined citizen on an enforcement officer.

    I keep hoping (L)EO’s will clean up their act and go back to being peace officers instead, but at this point that hope is very very slim, and getting slimmer. If (L)EO’s as a group keep going the way they are their life isn’t gonna be worth a nickle, and they’ll have brought it on themselves.

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