With the news that two of the officers have been suspended, my only question is whether they were suspended for what they did or for bringing embarrassment upon the department. But for video, would these men have faced any sanction at all?
The arrogance of, Lt. John Pike, the cop who waved the cannister above his head before unloading, makes my stomach turn. None of those kids deserved to get that shit sprayed in their face. They were just sitting there blocking a sidewalk.
Were these officers just "rotten apples?" Or are they the face of the police? Are the police here to protect and serve or are they here to make sure that the have-nots don't get out of line? Is it their job to prevent chaos from breaking out or is it their job to quell dissent by whatever means necessary?
I can tell you that what happened at UC-Davis is not some isolated incident. It just happened to be performed in front of a bunch of kids armed with smart phones and an internet connection. What happens when the cameras aren't rolling? What happens when it's the word of the cop versus the word of the person he arrested for (fill-in-the-blank)?
What makes it worse is that no one stopped him from unleashing the pepper spray into the faces of those kids. Not one other officer had the guts to stand up and do the right thing. They just stood and watched.
That's the scary part.
- "The kids on your baseball team," Simple Justice (Nov. 20, 2011)
- "UC Davis: perfectly reasonable, completely wrong," Simple Justice (Nov. 20, 2011)
- "UC Davis: sauce for the gander," Defending People (Nov. 20, 2011)
- "Because the proper response to 'jump' is 'how high': The UC Davis edition," Gamso for the Defense (Nov. 20, 2011)
- "It's time for a national conversation on law enforcement," Criminal Defense Blog (Nov. 20, 2011)