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Pepper spray report sharply criticizes UC Davis leaders, police

The Nov. 18. incident 'should and could have been prevented,' a task force says, citing poor police judgment and administrators' mishandling of the Occupy protest.

April 12, 2012|By Larry Gordon and Chris Megerian, Los Angeles Times

The report did not make any specific personnel recommendations but called on UC and UC Davis to review its police rules and training and for the campus to set up a better system for making decisions about protests. The document used interviews, logs, videos, emails and other evidence to create a minute-by-minute account of the confrontation.

Reynoso, a former UC Davis law professor, told reporters he expects policies to change. "We need to do a lot of work on this campus. Frankly, our report is pretty blunt about these things," he said.

Pike, Spicuzza and an unidentified officer have been on paid administrative leave, and they and others still face a departmental investigation that could lead to disciplinary action.

Katehi, chancellor since 2009, faced calls this winter for her resignation, but she has apologized and beat back an attempt by some faculty to pass a no-confidence vote against her.

UC system President Mark G. Yudof made it clear Wednesday that he wanted Katehi to keep her job.

"Friday, Nov. 18 was a bad day for the UC Davis community and for the entire UC system. We can and must do better," Yudof said in a statement. "I look forward to working with Chancellor Katehi to repair the damage caused by this incident and to move this great campus forward."

In a statement, Katehi thanked the Reynoso panel and said the university will work to "ensure that students' safety and free-speech rights are paramount."

The UC regents and some state legislators, however, may push for additional, tougher changes.

Ten protesters were arrested in the November incident, but the Yolo County district attorney subsequently said no charges would be filed against them because of a lack of evidence. In February, 19 students and alumni who were sprayed or arrested filed a federal lawsuit claiming violations of their free speech and assembly rights.

Meanwhile, a separate committee headed by UC Berkeley law school Dean Christopher Edley is looking at wider issues about how campuses should react to future student protests. That group's recommendations are expected to be released in the next month or two, officials said.

Gordon reported from Los Angeles and Megerian from Sacramento.

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