Thursday, November 24, 2011

What They Said

I was going to write up something about the Occupy Wall Street movement in general and the pepper spraying incident at UC Davis last week, but Barron and Robb did it sooner and better than I could have.  Thanks for being so eloquent, gentlemen.


Suz said...

Those were good posts; big points to Robb for getting specific about the underlying principles. My problem with the UC Davis incident is that the use of pepper spray was inappropriate and probably illegal. I wrote this on Rod Dreher's blog:

***Standard police procedure for “removing” passive, non-violent protesters, is for an officer to handcuff them and physically carry them away, one at a time, with other officers watching for aggression from other protesters. UC Davis’ pepper spray policy appears to be vague at best (leaving it up to the judgement of the individual officer?) Most law enforcement agencies have policies limiting its use to actively aggressive combatants, primarily for self-defense. Using pepper spray on non-aggressive, passive protesters IS NOT standard practice among legitimate law enforcement officers. If such behavior is permitted by UC Davis’ policies, then the problem goes far far beyond “officer” Pike. I am a cop’s daughter, a cop’s sister, an inner-city EMT’s sister, and Marine’s mother. Pike’s behavior, technically allowed or not, is an act of “Only Ones” arrogance, and possible brutality, that shames and discredits every warrior of every stripe that ever took an oath to protect the US Constitution.

"The use of pepper spray on non-violent demonstrators was determined to be excessive where there were less intrusive alternatives. (Headwaters Forest Defense v. County of Humboldt (9th Cir. 2002) 276 F.3rd 1125.)"
"It has been held that squirting pepper spray randomly into a crowd of demonstrators where there was insufficient cause to believe the demonstrators posed an immediate threat to the safety of the officers or others might be excessive and expose the offending police officers to civil liability. (Lamb v. Decatur (C.D.Ill. 1996) 947 F.Supp. 1261.)"
"See also Forrester v. City of San Diego (9th Cir. 1994) 25 F.3rd 804; where the use of “pain compliance” to arrest passively resistant demonstrators was upheld as reasonable, in that it was used only after a warning, was not applied any more than necessary to gain compliance, and was something that could be ended instantaneously when the protestor submitted."*

All emotions aside, Pike was out of line, and I haven't found anything that LEGALLY justifies his actions. ("Pain compliance" comes close, but unlike hands-on techniques, pepper spray pain cannot be ended instantaneously.) His stupidity gave the Occupiers a boatload of sympathy points. Kind of ironic, isn't it? After all of their trumped up, BS whining about how the cops are oppressing them, one cop crosses the line, and nobody's listening anymore.

DaddyBear said...

I've heard a lot of talk that this is OWS's Kent State moment. Since even the Kent State story we're told isn't the whole story and no-one was shot by the police or National Guard, I think this is being overstated a bit. That being said, the UC Davis police and administration were stupid in how they executed this.

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