UC Davis Police Chief Suspended

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The chancellor of the University of California, Davis, said Monday that its police chief had been placed on administrative leave, three days after two campus police officers sprayed seated protesters with pepper spray during a demonstration aligned with Occupy Wall Street.

The university's chancellor, Linda P.B. Katehi, indicated that she was trying to calm the campus community amid widespread outrage at the police tactics. Referring to the temporary removal of the police chief, Annette Spicuzza, Ms. Katehi said in a statement Monday, "It has become clear to me that this is a necessary step toward restoring trust on our campus." 

She named Matt Carmichael as interim police chief. Ms. Katehi also sped up an internal probe into the incident and asked the district attorney's office to conduct an investigation into her police department's use of force on the protesters. 

 On Sunday, the university said that two police officers had been placed on administrative leave with pay pending an investigation into Friday's incident. In videos that were widely distributed over the Internet, two police officers in riot gear were seen dousing about a dozen protesters with pepper spray as they sat on a sidewalk with their arms entwined. 

The announcement about Ms. Spicuzza came hours before a planned protest by students affiliated with the Occupy U.C. Davis movement.

I suspect that part of the problem here is that the campus police dynamic with students, is very different than the dynamic with cities. Students have parents who pay tuition. 

My hope is that the deeper issue doesn't get lost. Back at Howard, it used to be annual ritual to take over the Administration building in protest of something. No one ever got pepper-sprayed. There needs to be some thinking about the militarization of police departments. See Jim with more here, and Garance here.
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Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle.

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