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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

UC Davis Chancellor: Police Defied Orders by Pepper-Spraying Occupy Protesters

Posted By and on Wed, Nov 23, 2011 at 11:45 AM

UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi is apparently sorry -- really, really sorry -- for the pepper-spraying of peaceful Occupy student protesters that set off a public-relations catastrophe last week.

In an interview with the Sacramento Bee yesterday, Katehi said she had ordered campus police to interact peacefully with protesters and called the cops' actions a "disaster." She also said the university will pay medical expenses for the pepper-sprayed students.

From the Bee:

"We told them very specifically to do it peacefully, and if there were too many of them, not to do it, if the students were aggressive, not to do it. And then we told them we also do not want to have another Berkeley."

In her most expansive comments since Friday's attempt to remove the tents spiraled into the pepper-spraying of students, Katehi said she still does not know who decided to use pepper spray and was stunned when she first saw video clips of it Friday night.

"It looked horrible, horrific, I would say, " Katehi said. "I can tell you that I woke up Saturday really early in the morning, like 3 a.m., and I felt like it was a disaster on our hands."

Along with other over-aggressive police actions, the UC Davis incident has helped revive what appeared to be flagging Occupy movements across the country.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has entered the fray on the protesters' behalf, appealing to Democrats in a fundraising e-mail for money to combat a PR war in the works against Occupy from GOP-connected lobbyists.

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