UC's pick of Bratton to investigate pepper spray incident isn't reassuring

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The video images are already iconic, a line of young students sit cross legged, arms linked, at the front edge of an Occupy UC Davis protest, nonviolently protesting the impacts of the economic crisis on the University of California and beyond. As police step forward students begin to chant “the whole world is watching,” and officers disperse fire extinguisher size canisters of pepper spray into the faces of the seated students.

As is turns out the students were right, the whole world was watching, leaving UC Davis with a public relations nightmare that has left the campus police chief and two officers on administrative leave. In the wake of the incident, UC President Mark G. Yudof established an independent review to be conducted within the next 30 days, naming former Los Angeles Police Chief, Bill Bratton, now chairman of Kroll Security, to lead the investigation.

“My intent,” Yudof said, “is to provide the chancellor and the entire University of California community with an independent, unvarnished report about what happened at Davis.”

While UC Davis touts Bratton as “a renowned expert in progressive community policing,” deep questions surround the choice of Bratton. The Council of University of California Faculty Associations (CUCFA) was quick to question the independence of the investigation of police violence at UC Davis, pointing out that Bratton, through Kroll, already holds contracts with the UC system.

“We already know that Kroll has provided security services to at least three UC campuses for the past several years. This in itself would disqualify Mr. Bratton from participating in the investigation,”said CUCFA president Robert Meister. “You would be illustrating the kinds of connection between public higher education and Wall Street that the Occupy UC movement is protesting.”

Bratton also served as president of the Police Executive Research Forum, the police non-profit that facilitated controversial phone discussions between major metropolitan police chiefs in the lead up to the crackdown on the Occupy movement across the nation, raising questions about his ability to lead the UC Davis investigation.

Bratton's offical bio from the LAPD shows the depth of his involvement in PERF when it states, “He is also the only chief executive to serve two terms as the elected President of the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF).” Bratton was instrumental in the creation of PERF's hardline 2006 report Police Management of Mass Demonstrations http://www.policeforum.org/library/critical-issues-in-policing-series/MassDemonstrations.pdf for which he receives special recognition in the acknowledgments section of.

“PERF gathered more than 100 invited practitioners and stakeholders at an international forum in San Diego in December 2004 to highlight issues related to mass demonstrations and use-of-force. At this event, Los Angeles Police Chief William J. Bratton set the scene for a lively interaction as he discussed the changing nature of protests and mass demonstration events. He recalled that in the 1960s the issues leading to demonstration events tended to be more community-centered and that the police focus was largely tactical. He noted that today, demonstrations are sometimes orchestrated by far-reaching national and international organizations, coalitions and informal groups subscribing to anarchistic methods,” reads the report.

The manual pays special attention to managing media messaging, devoting a section to media in the wake of a major demonstration: “An integrated media strategy seeks to manage and harness the media attention in order to help achieve the overall policing objectives. By partnering with the media, the potential increases for all parties to win, public confidence to be maintained and the reputation of the law enforcement agencies to be enhanced.”

Though Bratton has moved on as PERF's president, he keeps close ties with the organization. In April , Bratton was the keynote speaker at a PERF conference on technology and policing held in Washington, DC, a subject Bratton is an expert on due to his role in developing the controversial CompStat system used to “predicatively model” crime in some metropolitan areas.

Bratton is widely recognized as the leading proponent of the “broken windows theory” of policing, which advocates a zero tolerance approach to petty crime. Speaking to the Telegraph(UK) this summer about the historically large youth riots in the UK, he said youth were “emboldened” by over-cautious policing.

“To be effective, a police force should have 'a lot of arrows in the quiver,' said Mr Bratton, advocating a doctrine of 'escalating force' where weapons including rubber bullets, Tasers, pepper spray and water cannon were all available to commanders,” the paper wrote on August, 12 2011.

 

Comments

Worrisome, indeed. I think police should not be allowed to carry NON-LETHAL weapons. Police(wo)men are trained so as to make judgements in the field that are quick and judicious -- sometimes under very trying circumstances. They are trained to mediate (talk to all parties involved) to get the facts and to defuse potentially violent situations -- as well as to react to situations dangerous to themselves and others.

The use of TASERS, PEPPER SPRAYS and PLASTIC BULLETS, I think, allows an emotionally-charge officer to forgo his "public defender" duties and become a punisher. If only lethal weapons were allowed on the beat, it would force officers to be more judicious in using them.

Posted by Vicki Olds on Dec. 02, 2011 @ 5:35 pm

Hello to miss olds and to the community.
As I write this "comment" I lie here in my bed. In my home. Next to my beautiful wife to be and my un born child.
I love them more than life itself and I thank god for a country and a constitution that allows them there freedom and rights.
And on most days and most nights I too am allowed the freedom to come home to them. You see I am just a lowly solder a United States Marine to be exact and I have been one for many years. You see I joined just before the start of operation Iraqi freedom. But enough about me.
As I ly here in bed next to ky beautiful family to be I think about the amazing rights of this country has given me and I thank god ever night that I am lucky enough to come home to my family. As I watched the footage of the pepper spray incident I couldn't help but notice that the officers on sprayed the non compliant protesters that were blocking the walking path. And I couldn't help but think to myself ... what part of the.constitution gives them the right to protest there? Because should any other citizens want or NEED TO USE THAT PATH than their constitutional rights are being taken away from them for the rights of others and that is unconstitutional in itself. Is it not? And as for the police officers dealing with obstructive noncompliant protesters who refused to move on verbal warning were sprayed. And I think they did what was right. Because for those poor souls charged with trying to enforce a balance where the rights of all parties are at stake. Including their own. They sprayed mace in the eyes of the unruly protesters because for them they were out numbered group who they did not know may or may not have had weapons and chose non lethal force and got to go home to their families.
I believe there is way to much gray in society these days and it allows both the left and right wing crazies to adapt the very black and white constitution to their own needs and agenda's.

As a two tour combat veteran and active duty server member I would do anything and everything with in my rights to make sure I get to return to my family to be and keep my own rights and die for yours. But at no time.will yours be more.valueable than nine.
God bless you. And the USA.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 02, 2011 @ 9:38 pm

". . . [W]hat part of the.constitution gives them the right to protest there? Because should any other citizens want or NEED TO USE THAT PATH than their constitutional rights are being taken away from them for the rights of others and that is unconstitutional in itself. Is it not?"

In a word: no. We have constitutional rights to life, liberty, and property, but that doesn't make homicide, kidnapping, and theft unconstitutional. There's a difference between criminal law and constitutional law.

Posted by x_ile on Dec. 03, 2011 @ 8:46 pm

And every, single, day, the rights of different people, all over the country, come into conflict in myriad ways that must be resolved by a judgement call, because two people cannot occupy the same space, take up the same airwaves, etc.

In those myriad cases, a judgement is made about who has the more compelling interest.

In this case we have to decide whether students protesting for more economic democracy and to stop tuition hikes, have a more compelling interest in occupying the space, than people who want to walk through the small area where they are protesting instead of walking around them.

Seems like a pretty easy question to answer to me...

Posted by Eric Brooks on Dec. 03, 2011 @ 9:05 pm

No.

If someone is non-compliant but not a threat to anyone, you arrest them.

You don't mace them.

If you look at videos of the incident, you will see that protestors were around the officers, but not completely surrounding them and not directly threatening them.

And if the officers did feel threatened, they why were they attacking students who were just sitting there? Was that someone supposed to ensure the safety of the officers or diffuse the situation?

No. It was a punitive measure. To punish students who were peacefully protesting the fact that their tuition continues to rise astronomically in a university system that was designed to provide free education for state residents.

The Constitution is "black and white" in the sense that it is clear that free speech is to be protected, whether that be by "the left and right wing crazies" or whomever else.

I think you're putting yourself in the place of this officer, who is a CAMPUS POLICE OFFICER WHO'S MAIN FUNCTION IS TO PROTECT THE SAFETY OF STUDENTS, BY THE WAY, and imagining what you might do when facing enemy combatants.

But this is America, and military force should never be used on United States citizens exercising their rights.

A large part of the Occupy movement has to do with the cracked down on protest with military-style force when it is unwarranted. Homeland Security measures are now being used not to protect us against foreign invasion, but to enforce policies of government agencies, companies and other entities on our own people.

Posted by onray on Dec. 04, 2011 @ 7:30 pm

UC Berkeley Chancellor Birgeneau’s campus police report to the chancellor and the campus police take direction from the chancellor. University of California (UC) campus chancellors vet their campus police protocols. Birgeneau allowed pepper spray and use of batons to be included in his campus police protocols.

Chancellor Birgeneau’s campus police use brutal baton jabs on students protesting increases in tuition. UC Berkeley Chancellor Birgeneau and UC Davis Chancellor Katehi are in dereliction of their duties.

Birgeneau and UC Davis Chancellor need to quit or be fired for permitting the brutal outrages on students protesting tuition increases.

Opinions? Email the UC Board of Regents marsha.kelman@ucop.edu

Posted by Milan Moravec on Dec. 03, 2011 @ 2:09 pm

Uc Berkeley Chancellor Birgeneau the problem NOT the campus police. UC Berkeley Chancellor Birgeneau’s campus police report to the chancellor and the campus police take direction from the chancellor. University of California (UC) campus chancellors vet their campus police protocols. Birgeneau allowed pepper spray and use of batons to be included in his campus police protocols.

Chancellor Birgeneau’s campus police use brutal baton jabs on students protesting increases in tuition. UC Berkeley Chancellor Birgeneau and UC Davis Chancellor Katehi are in dereliction of their duties.

Birgeneau and UC Davis Chancellor need to quit or be fired for permitting the brutal outrages on students protesting tuition increases.

Opinions? Email the UC Board of Regents marsha.kelman@ucop.edu

Posted by Milan Moravec on Dec. 03, 2011 @ 2:14 pm

When they lose their jobs it will send an important message to the remaining public servants:
If you abuse your power against the public you are supposed to serve, or if you are so incompetent as to allow abuse of the public under your leadership, you will lose your job.

This will lead to better public service, which, with our tax dollars, we pay an incredible amount for.

Force them out now.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 03, 2011 @ 3:49 pm

Watch the whole video. They weren't peacefully protesting. The crowd surrounded the police and their detainees with chants if "let them go and we'll let you go.". The police were trying to exit the scene but were being blocked from doing so. Each individual student was warned that if they didn't let the police past, he or she would be subject to "use of force." Were the police supposed to give in to the demands of the mob and release those arrested?

Posted by Guest on Dec. 11, 2011 @ 10:02 am

30 day for the biased findings, OK were at Dec 29th where's the beef?

Posted by Tic Toc on Dec. 29, 2011 @ 1:02 am

30 day for the biased findings, OK were at Dec 29th where's the beef?

Posted by Tic Toc on Dec. 29, 2011 @ 1:04 am

well i am totally agree with him and i really like his concept its nice great.

Posted by Skokie Locksmith on Apr. 24, 2013 @ 1:14 am

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