DAVIS — Assemblymember Mariko Yamada (D-Davis) has expressed concern about the pepper-spraying of student protesters on the UC Davis campus on Friday, which has been widely seen on YouTube and in news broadcasts.
The protesters, who had been arrested in connection with an overnight encampment on the campus Quad, were sitting on the ground and offering no resistance at the time.
“The disturbing pepper-spraying of non-violent UC Davis students is now under independent investigation,” Yamada said Sunday in a Facebook post. “As fact-finding proceeds, kudos to the students and the greater campus community for showing restraint.
“Since Friday, I’ve been contacted by students, alumni and community members about the incident. My office will continue to monitor the situation closely.
“We’re all angry at the public disinvestment in higher education; kids and seniors, health, housing, transportation, and public safety have also been hard hit. With ‘trigger cuts’ looming, how we join forces to refocus our spending priorities is the biggest task ahead.”
UC Davis announced Monday that the chief of the campus Police Department, Annette Spicuzza, had been placed on administrative leave pending a review of the incident. The two police officers who appeared in the video were also placed on administrative leave on Sunday.
“As I have gathered more information about the events that took place on our Quad on Friday, it has become clear to me that this is a necessary step toward restoring trust on our campus,” said UC Davis Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi.
“I take full responsibility for the events on Friday and am extremely saddened by what occurred,” Katehi added. “I eagerly await the results of the review, and intend to act quickly to implement reforms that will safeguard the rights of our students, faculty and staff to engage in nonviolent protest.”
The Yolo County District Attorney’s Office will conduct a review in collaboration with the Yolo County Sheriff’s Department.