Michael D'Antuono's Art And Response

Rising above the spray

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California Campus Police Pepper-Spray Students

The University of California at Davis has placed two police officers on administrative leave after video of them pepper-spraying non-violent protesters at point-blank range sparked outrage at school officials. Friday’s incident has led to calls for the resignation of UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi, who announced the action in a written statement Sunday. Katehi said she shares the “outrage” of students and was “deeply saddened” by the use of the chemical irritant by campus police.

“I am deeply saddened that this happened on our campus, and as chancellor, I take full responsibility for the incident,” she said. “However, I pledge to take the actions needed to ensure that this does not happen again.”

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Call me a bleeding heart liberal, but as far as I’m concerned, using pepper spray like weed killer on peaceful protesters should be considered use of excessive force. Officer John Pike, who can be seen on YouTube casually spraying the non-violent Davis students with vast amounts of pain inducing chemicals is not the only one who should be held accountable for his heinous actions. Considering that he and his fellow officers have been equipped with Kosco amounts of spray when the were sent implies that they were probably given permission to use it by their “superiors”. I heard a police spokeswoman saying that the protesters were sprayed for their own safety. As Sarah Palin says, “Thanks, but no thanks.”

While the horrifying video image of the cop spraying the Davis kids rivals the tape of the Rodney King beating or the protests of 1989 in Tiananmen Square, itis by no means the only example of police brutality against OWS protesters captured on film. Here are a just few more examples.

We are supposed to be the land of the free not, Communist China. I can understand authorities not wanting people camping out, using public parks as their rent free living space, but in this country we are supposed to have a right to assemble in peaceful protester without being tortured by the officers who are supposed to protect us. The authorities use all kinds of excuses to keep the protesters out of the parks like unsanitary conditions. Isn’t it nicer and more American to install a few porta-potties than beat the shit out of peaceful citizens? Oh, and next time, hold the pepper.

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