UC Davis Police Chief On Administrative Leave Over Pepper Spray Incident

This morning it was announced that the Chief of the UC Davis Police Department is the latest member of the force to be put on administrative leave while this weekend’s pepper spraying incident is investigated:

The University of California, Davis campus police chief along with two officers have been placed on administrative leave amid growing controversy over students being pepper sprayed in the face during a peaceful “Occupy” protest on campus.

As the fallout continues from this incident, a lot of people are demanding accountability from more than just the officers who sprayed the protestors.

The president of the University of California system said he plans to assess the law enforcement procedures on all 10 campuses after this incident.

“Free speech is part of the DNA of this university, and non-violent protest has long been central to our history,” UC President Mark G. Yudof said in a statement Sunday in response to the spraying of students sitting passively at UC Davis. “It is a value we must protect with vigilance.”

Footage of the incident shows officers dressed in riot gear in front of a crowd of protesters. You can very clearly see one of the officers dousing a line of students with pepper spray at close range.

The students sitting peacefully with their arms intertwined were protesting in support of the overall Occupy Wall Street movement on Friday.

Two officers were put on administrative leave over the weekend. Monday, UC Davis said in a new release that the campus police Chief Annette Spicuzza, who apparently was on scene during this incident, has also been put on administrative leave.

One gets the impression that this isn’t the last head to roll over this incident.

FILED UNDER: Education, US Politics, , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. epador says:

    Doug, just two questions.

    How come there were more observers with cameras than protestors?

    And how do YOU recommend dealing with illegal demonstrations?

  2. One gets the impression that this isn’t the last head to roll over this incident.

    Hopefully not. The Chancellor absolutely needs to go.

  3. 11B40 says:


    I live in the San Francisco Bay area, a couple of soviets south of what the locals like to refer to as “The City”. Over the last couple of decades, I have had a kind of catbird seat on the local apparat’s administration of all things demonstrable and there is a identifiable trend that all demonstrators are not treated equal, in fact, some are not treated at all. The foreseeable result is that the citizenry’s right to freely travel and do its commerce is sacrificed to the hysterias of demonstrators from the leftist end of the political spectrum.

    Rarely are there any arrests. And when there are, a simple citation is the preferred level of effort regardless of the level of disruption. The local prosecutors have little interest in exacting much of a penalty from the malfeasant and the local media even less in publicizing the results of any legal action. The outcome, in the tradition of B.F. Skinner’s “rewarded behavior tends to be repeated”, is an organized coterie of demonstrators whose favorite pastime seems to be a non-video game of “cops and demonstrators” and tough luck on the citizenry who make their living elsewise.

    What the OWS demonstrations clearly show is that there is, in fact, a political Jim Crow system under which, leftist demonstrators are consistently allowed to wreak their havoc on the public and its spaces while ideologically aligned administrations wring their hands and allow these disruptions to continue. Like the proverbial right to throw a left hook that must end before the beginning of my fine nose, our current crop of public officials have now decided that some contact is acceptable. All demonstrators are equal; some demonstrators are more equal.

    We are in an era when the rule of law has morphed into the ruler’s law. It doesn’t seem to me that it’s the demonstrators rights that need to be protected with vigilance.

  4. mattatat says:

    @11B40: I’ve lost count how many times you’ve copy pasted that post….

  5. @epador:

    I would say that Rule No. 1 is that spraying people who not being violent in the face with pepper spray is not an acceptable means of crowd control

  6. Neil Hudelson says:


    Where are all those right-wing demonstrations that are being broken up regularly by cops? If left-wing demonstrators get a pass, that must mean that right wing demonstrators don’t get a pass, correct?

    So…where are the right wing demonstrations getting pepper sprayed.

    Evidence please.

    Or else you’re just making sh!t up.

  7. Rick Almeida says:


    So, the violent dispersal of OWS protests is somehow evidence of left-wing bias?


  8. jd says:

    One gets the impression that this isn’t the last head to roll over this incident.

    Well, really, no heads have in fact rolled yet, and I’ll bet none will. Investigations will be started and after the public forgets (3 months?) there will be a statement that mistakes were made and everyone will still be comfortable in their chairs.

  9. tomcj says:

    A few things:

    first, as a liberal who has cop friends, why does this officer have to be so fat, so complacent-looking, and so clearly a fascist? The only stereotype his being does not endorse is eating doughnuts while he is doing this.

    second, a woman Chancellor ordered this paramilitary chemical attack on peaceful protestors, and an asinine woman Chief of Police, Annette Spicuzza, specifically praised these fascists and claimed they were trapped and had no other escape, so anyone who thinks the world would be a better place simply by having women in positions of authority is crazy.

    third, a police officer on Washington Monthly said that police are trained to carry protestors out when the protestors sit in peacefully.

    fourth, is there any act of brutality that police officers will not resort to? Do police officers have so much pent up anger that they have no shame? Remember Annette Spicuzza was “Proud” of the way her men handled this, and insisted that white was black and up was down and ‘nothing to see here folks, just brave officers putting everything they had into a complex and tense situation”, when the facts show nothing was going on accept police officers disgracing themselves by barbarian acts of violence using a form of Saddam Hussein’s favorite chemical weapons.