Saturday, November 19, 2011

Police officer pepper-sprays seated, non-violent students at UC Davis

By  at 8:35 pm Friday, Nov 18

At the University of California at Davis this afternoon, police tore down down the tents of students inspired by the Occupy Wall Street movement, and arrested those who stood in their way. Others peacefully demanded that police release the arrested.
In the video above, you see a police officer [UpdateUC Davis Police Lt. John Pike] walk down a line of those young people seated quietly on the ground in an act of nonviolent civil disobedience, and spray them all with pepper spray at very close range. He is clearing a path for fellow officers to walk through and arrest more students, but it's as if he's dousing a row of bugs with insecticide.
Wayne Tilcock of the Davis-Enterprise newspaper has a gallery of photographs from the incident, including the image thumbnailed above (larger size at Ten people in this scene were arrested, nine of whom were current UC Davis students. At least one woman is reported to have been taken away in an ambulance with chemical burns.
This 8-minute video was uploaded just a few hours ago, and has already become something of an iconic, viral emblem accross the web. We're flooded with eyewitness footage from OWS protests right now, but this one certainly feels like an important one, in part because of what the crowd does after the kids are pepper-sprayed. Watch the whole thing.
There's a related post on the Occupy Cal blog.
Thanks to the numerous Boing Boing readers who @'ed or emailed this one in. It's hard to come up with an alternate narrative that explains away the impression one gets from watching this, which is "pure awful brutality."
[Photo: Wayne Tilcock/, Davis-Enterprise ]

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