Sunday, November 20, 2011

UC Davis Police Lie re: Pepper-Spray outrage; Facts and Law suggest Officer Pike is Liable

The video (in post below) of the unprovoked pepper-spray attack on peaceful protesters at UC Davis by Lt. Pike has now gone viral, being picked up even by the major news outlets that have so far offered cavalier and tepid coverage to the Occupy movement. Accordingly, the official police “spin” of the unprovoked pepper-spraying has begun.

Charles J. Kelly, a former Baltimore Police Department lieutenant who wrote the department's use of force guidelines, said pepper spray is a "compliance tool" that can be used on subjects who do not resist, and is preferable to simply lifting protesters.

"When you start picking up human bodies, you risk hurting them," Kelly said. "Bodies don't have handles on them." (How considerate of him to prefer chemical warfare as against traditional police work.)

After reviewing the video, Kelly said he observed at least two cases of "active resistance" from protesters. In one instance, a woman pulls her arm back from an officer. In the second instance, a protester curls into a ball. Each of those actions could have warranted more force, including baton strikes and pressure-point techniques.

"What I'm looking at is fairly standard police procedure,"
Kelly said.

UC Davis Police Chief Annette Spicuzza said the decision to use pepper spray was made at the scene.

"The students had encircled the officers," she said Saturday. "They needed to exit. They were looking to leave but were unable to get out." A similar statement suggested that the Officers were "cut off" from their "support."

The above statements are the Lies of a Gestapo Police State attempting to cover its collective ass.

Watch the Video.

1) The students had not ‘encircled the officers.’ At least 8 officers are clearly visible to the left of all pictures and videos. Clad in riot gear with guns, batons, and chemical agents, they had a clear path of exit behind them. They were not looking to exit.

2) Even if they needed to exit, the officer sprayed students sitting on the ground, not students standing in their way.

3) When they left, the exited in the opposite direction of where the students were seated.

4) They DID hurt people…two students ended up hospitalized for chemical burns; one was still coughing up blood 45 minutes after the attack.

5) Bodies may not “have handles,” but the Police found a way to force open the mouth of one protester and spray down his throat, in spite of manufacturers warning that pepper spray should not be used – even by law authority – less than three feet from the victim.

What IS true, as Kelly said, is that this has become “fairly standard police procedure.” Unfortunately, we don’t often pay attention, because the police are brutalizing suspected criminals, drug users, prostitutes, and individuals that “nice people” don't care too much about (unfortunately).

But now they’ve gone public. In the few weeks of the Occupy Movement, we’ve seen:

Four young women “kettled” behind orange fencing and sprayed in the face in NYC;

An 84-year old in Seattle sprayed for not moving fast enough;

A young man’s head profusely bleeding from baton brutalization (The ridiculously slanted NY Daily News had a headline blaming the victim for creating a “Bloody Nuisance.”)

Seated, peaceful students at UC Davis sprayed in the face.

Scott Olson, an Iraqi war veteran shot in the head in Oakland, with resultant fractured skull and speech difficulties, whose injuries were ignored by the police who caused them.

Kayvan Sabeghi, another Iraqi War Veteran, chased and pursued by an Oakland officer who beat him with a billyclub.

Press beaten, detained, and having their press passes confiscated by NYPD officers refusing to give names or badges.

A suspect in a parking garage brutally kicked 13 times, and now hospitalized in critical condition.

A NYC Police trial where undercover investigators admitted to routinely planting drugs on innocent suspects in order to meet an arrest quota.

This is Your Police State, Amerika….

This, in spite of clear 9th Circuit Federal Court Guidelines against such brutality:

HEADWATERS FOREST DEFENSE v. COUNTY OF HUMBOLDT

No. 98-17250. January 11, 2002
Before:  BRIGHT,PREGERSON, and W. FLETCHER, Circuit Judges.
"During three nonviolent protests against the logging of ancient redwood trees in the Headwaters Forest, plaintiffs-appellants (“protestors”) linked themselves together with self-releasing lock-down devices known as “black bears…

… Beginning in the fall of 1997, defendants began using olesoresin capsicum aerosol (“OC” or “pepper spray”) to cause the protestors to release themselves from the “black bears.” The use of pepper spray under these circumstances was entirely unprecedented:  in California, its use was “limited to controlling hostile or violent subjects” and it had never been used in Humboldt County, the State of California, or anywhere in the country against nonviolent protestors.

At issue in this case are three protests that occurred in the fall of 1997, in which defendants used pepper spray on the protestors, and then refused to give them water to wash out their eyes, in order to force the protestors to release themselves from the “black bears.”

...We...conclude that it would be clear to a reasonable officer that using pepper spray against the protestors was excessive under the circumstances. The Fourth Amendment permits law enforcement officers to use only such force to effect an arrest as is “objectively reasonable” under the circumstances.  Graham v. Connor, 490 U.S. 386, 397, 109 S.Ct. 1865, 104 L.Ed.2d 443 (1989) (citations omitted).   “[T]he essence of the Graham objective reasonableness analysis” is that “ ‘[t]he force which was applied must be balanced against the need for that force:  it is the need for force which is at the heart of the Graham factors.’ ”  Liston v. County of Riverside, 120 F.3d 965, 976 (9th Cir.1997) (quoting Alexander v. City and County of San Francisco, 29 F.3d 1355, 1367 (9th Cir.1994)) The facts reflect that:  (1) the pepper spray was unnecessary to subdue, remove, or arrest the protestors;  (2) the officers could safely and quickly remove the protestors, while in “black bears,” from protest sites;  and (3) the officers could remove the “black bears” with electric grinders in a matter of minutes and without causing pain or injury to the protestors.

Defendants asserted at trial that the protestors' use of “black bears” constituted “ ‘active’ resistance to arrest,' ” meriting the use of force.   The Eureka Police Department defines “active resistance” as occurring when the “subject is attempting to interfere with the officer's actions by inflicting pain or physical injury to the officer without the use of a weapon or object.” 240 F.3d at 1202-3.   Characterizing the protestors' activities as “active resistance” is contrary to the facts of the case, viewing them, as we must, in the light most favorable to the protestors:  the protestors were sitting peacefully, were easily moved by the police, and did not threaten or harm the officers. In sum, it would be clear to a reasonable officer that it was excessive to use pepper spray against the nonviolent protestors under these circumstances.

Defendants' repeated use of pepper spray was also clearly unreasonable.   As we recently concluded, the use of pepper spray “may be reasonable as a general policy to bring an arrestee under control, but in a situation in which an arrestee surrenders and is rendered helpless, any reasonable officer would know that a continued use of the weapon or a refusal without cause to alleviate its harmful effects constitutes excessive force.”  LaLonde v. County of Riverside, 204 F.3d 947, 961 (9th Cir.2000)… Finally, it would have been clear to any reasonable officer that defendants' refusal to wash out the protestors' eyes with water constituted excessive force under the circumstances."
The Court concluded by reaffirming its decision that in spite of Police generally being immune from lawsuits, they were, in fact, liable for such an unnecessary and egregious use of force:

"...we conclude that Philip and Lewis are not entitled to qualified immunity because the use of pepper spray on the protestors' eyes and faces was plainly in excess of the force necessary under the circumstances, and no reasonable officer could have concluded otherwise."

4 comments:

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Stan said...

I wonder how these police officers can sleep at night.

Anonymous said...

In HEADWATERS FOREST DEFENSE v. COUNTY OF HUMBOLDT, the officers used Q-Tips to deliver the OC, not a fogger. I find it incredibly misleading that you omit that fact.

Additionally, it was the courts who came up with the basis for force based on resistance, not the "Gestapo Police".

The omission of the Graham v. Connor's objectively reasonable standard is of interest as it brings to light your ideology here:

that the occupy protests are inherently legal; though you omit the crimes that the occupy protests have been involved in. You have no interest in the letter of the law but rather the interpretation of the law to put forward your agenda.

While I agree with some beliefs of the occupy movement, I believe we as a society face a much larger problem: we have lost our values in lieu of greed. Blame the corporations that we support, blame the government that we've enabled, but God forbid, we blame ourselves.

You and I both have a stake in this, yet your bias sets you aside from values that you and I could both agree on (such as integrity) to fix this.

In this legalistic society, we can enjoy a simple reality. Once we abandon our values, the words of our laws can bent anyway you want to support our true motivations.

Anonymous said...

In HEADWATERS FOREST DEFENSE v. COUNTY OF HUMBOLDT, the officers used Q-Tips to deliver the OC, not a fogger. I find it incredibly misleading that you omit that fact.

Additionally, it was the courts who came up with the basis for force based on resistance, not the "Gestapo Police".

The omission of the Graham v. Connor's objectively reasonable standard is of interest as it brings to light your ideology here:

that the occupy protests are inherently legal; though you omit the crimes that the occupy protests have been involved in. You have no interest in the letter of the law but rather the interpretation of the law to put forward your agenda.

While I agree with some beliefs of the occupy movement, I believe we as a society face a much larger problem: we have lost our values in lieu of greed. Blame the corporations that we support, blame the government that we've enabled, but God forbid, we blame ourselves.

You and I both have a stake in this, yet your bias sets you aside from values that you and I could both agree on (such as integrity) to fix this.

In this legalistic society, we can enjoy a simple reality. Once we abandon our values, the words of our laws can bent anyway you want to support our true motivations.