LOS ANGELES (LALATE) – The Lt John Pike UC Davis Pepper Spray attack from Friday is prompting a historic civil rights lawsuit. Did Lt John Pike act alone in the UC Davis Pepper Spray 2011 attack, or was Pike acting pursuant to instructions by UC Davis and City of Davis officials? That will ultimately be the issue at stake when the victims of the Occupy UC Davis pepper spray attack file suit in the coming days. The victims have not been identified, all of the possible defendants have not been detailed. But the news comes as widespread critics claim that Linda P.B. Katehi, UC Davis’s Chancellor, allegedly has condoned police violence against her students. The allegations, moreover, assert that Katehi is not the only UC Chancellor to allegedly use violence against their own students.
For months, Occupy protesters worldwide have been depicted as being dragged, shoved, carried, and pushed by responding officers. But on Friday, a handful of peaceful, non moving, protesters, sat in quiet civil demonstrations. Lt John Pike, a UC Davis officer, was in position during the dispute. Pike was not the only officer surrounding the students.
In what appeared to be a slow, gradual buildup, Pike had created no urgency between him and the protesters. Dozens of amateur spectators and news reporters stood in position inches from Pike, recording video and photographs.
Pike walked behind the protesters. All of them were seated, clustered together, not speaking mostly with their faces down and their hats or hoods over the head. Pike then in grandstanding motion pulled out a pepper spray can. He waved it at the crowd in a threatening gesture. The motioning was slow. There was no urgency.
And then, he positioned himself close to the first protester and began to spray into their eyes. He moved to the next, and then the next. He deliberately insured that pepper spray hit each and every protester, the YouTube video depicts.
Nathan Brown, an Assistant Professor in the UC Davis English department, claims that the conduct didn’t end there. He claims that protesters saw the motioning of the pepper spray can coming, and covered their eyes, but that Pike allegedly grabbed the protesters’ mouths, “forced open their mouths”, and insured that he was able to “spray down their throats”.
Brown says that UC Davis officials have no tolerance for student dissent. He claims a UC Davis November 13 email stated “it is particularly disturbing that such an act of intolerance should occur at a time when the campus community is working to create a safe and inviting space for all our students.”
Brown says that students have a right to “political dissent on our campus”. Brown claims that Pike was ordered by UC Davis officials to prevent expression of speech by students. “You may not order police to forcefully disperse student protesters peacefully protesting police brutality. You may not do so. It is not an option available to you as the Chancellor of a UC campus. That is why I am calling for your immediate resignation.”
Pike has yet to comment about the matter. His email, address, Skype, and even annual salary (paid by students) have been posted online. Pike reportedly is paid more than $100,000 from State of California annually with more than 40% of his salary from student fees, claims Occupy UC Davis. Katehi has yet to agree to resign. Occupy UC Davis confirms “Protesters will be engaging civil rights attorneys to pursue legal action against the University and City of Davis for excessive force and for violating their civil and constitutional rights.”