Friday at Cal Davis
photo: Louise Macabitas
Angus Johnston at Studentactivism.net has a detailed narrative of the pepper spray incident at Cal Davis from Friday.
via Lili Loofbourow, who writes:
Even against an institutional backdrop that’s becoming more and more famous for meting out unnecessary violence to peaceful people, his behavior must be understood as somewhat exceptional. Look at his face as he sprays them (as best you can–he’s partially hidden behind a mask). Then fast-forward to the end of the clip (around 6:15), when the students announce to the officers that they are offering them “a moment of peace,” that is, the option of leaving without further escalating a truly horrible situation. They cry (in one of the most moving instances of the human mic I’ve ever seen) “You can go! You can go!”
It’s transcendently brilliant, this tactic–the students offer an alternative in a high-pressure situation, a situation that no one wants, but which seems inevitable in the heat of the moment. It’s an act of mercy which, like all acts of mercy, is entirely undeserved. Watch the other officers’ surprise at this turn in the students’ rhetoric, after they had (rightfully) been chanting “Shame on you!” Watch the officers seriously consider (and eventually accept) the students’ offer.
At around 6:15-6:30 they say "you may take your weapons and our friends, and go." What is "winning" in this instance? Letting them leave, but without the people they arrested? That was probably unrealistic. Getting Pike investigated, and possibly suspended or fired? I assume he was following orders issued, formally or not, from much more powerful people, although that is by no means a justification. If the Cal Davis chancellor(see below) is made to resign, big deal, she'll just go be a chancellor or university president somewhere else. People who hold such offices tend to be careerists who jump from one city and one gig to the next every 5 or 6 years anyway. But that doesn't mean they shouldn't be made to resign or be fired. Ian Welsh recently described the OWS movement as necessary but insufficient. Maybe disciplining cops who do things like this falls under the same category.
I also wonder how many regular people are even all that aware of these kinds of things, or buy the spin they are likely to hear from establishment news sources about how the cops had no choice, etc. (I'm reminded of the bumper sticker I still see from time to time that says "I don't believe the liberal media." Which of course could mean more than one thing these days, including the traditional reactionary stance, but also a mistrust of faux progressives, or an ironic or nihilist stance.)
But I still wonder, why did they do this? I tend to assume the cops, and by extension UCD, want the students to react violently, so they may look bad, and to do this the made themselves look bad, at least to people who are open to holding such a view, and don't automatically give authority figures a pass.
But of course many do give authorities a pass, and assume they mean well in practically all instances, apart from the usual few bad apples, etc. So I wonder to what degree the Occupy movement serves as a sort of Rorschach for people, whether they're "low-information voters" or troglodytes who want to know what their favorite talk radio blowhard thinks before they decide, people who want NPR to tell them what to think, people who'd rather watch Dancing With the Stars, and so forth.
More from Johnston:
UC Davis chancellor Linda Katehi released a statement last night in which she said she “deeply regretted” students’ actions yesterday, actions that “offer[ed] us no option but to ask the police to assist in their removal.” But of course you can’t regret something that someone else did, something you had no control over.
For the actions she did have control over, and will have control over in the future — the violence of her police — Katehi expressed no regret. She was, she said, “saddened.” She was “saddened to report that during this activity, 10 protestors were arrested and pepper spray was used,” and “saddened by the events that subsequently transpired to facilitate their removal.” No regret. Not even an active voice.
Lt. Pike has received a salary in excess of $100,000 from the people of California each of the last three years. More than 40% of his 2010 salary came from student fees.
Gawker:"Here's a cop, just casually pepper-spraying peaceful protesters"
2.Keiser Report: Vampire Banker Hunter (E212)
Uploaded by RussiaToday on Nov 19, 2011
Every week Max Keiser looks at all the scandal behind the financial news headlines. This week Max Keiser and co-host Stacy Herbert discuss the tiny rule changes and the Zombies behind the collapse of MF Global. Meanwhile, in Pennsylvania, a Keiser-Celente 2012 bumper sticker spotted! In the second half of the show, Max Keiser interviews Barry Ritholtz about the big lie that bankers did not cause the crisis and what MF Global means to the markets.