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Reynoso Task Force Report on UC Davis pigs run amok

Bloged in America, Good cop/Bad cop by Gutter Grunt Thursday April 12, 2012 at about 8:35 am

Now from our stupid-malicious-criminally-negligent-perps-that-need-to-be-disciplined-sued-and-excoriated department, comes this special LogoPhere First Amendment opinion piece.

The perps
The dirt has now come down on the idiot cops pepper spraying unresisting, peaceful students at UC Davis on Nov18.2011.  The dirt is in the form of the Reynoso Task Force Report that was commissioned to investigate the Occupy incident at Davis.  And it ain’t pretty.

There are three levels of UC Davis perps here.

First, there’s the wildly misnamed “Leadership Team,” the academics at the top end of the chain of command: Chancellor Linda Katehi, Fred Wood, John Meyer, Ralph Hexter, Karl Engelbach, Michael Sweeney, Steven Drown, Cynthia Barbera, adn Claudia Morain. Assistant Vice Chancellor Griselda Castro is also a part of the LT but she cannot be classified with the rest as a perp because she tried to do the right thing and the rest of them told her to piss-off.  See below.

   Katehi

Second level is Campus Police Chief Annette Spicuzza, who is also listed as part of the LT, so she has a foot in two levels.

    Spicuzza

Third level are the actual the cops in jack-boots and riot gear wielding the clubs and the mace canisters.  Hang on, Spicuzza has a foot in this level, too.  Man, she’s a triple-level perp in this mess.  No wonder the Task Force was all over her.  The other major domos on the ground were one anonymous coward Lt. who the union has prevented from being identified (named “Officer O” in the report) and, most famously, master-pig Lt. John Pike.

   Pike

One not very surprising fact we now know about Pike is that he’s an ex-Marine sergeant.  And as one ex-Marine to another I’d just like to have a private word with Sgt. Pike: (You’re a frickin’ disgrace, dude.).  This is not the first time Pike has dragged UC Davis into a losing lawsuit.  We also have information that Pike made a homophobic slur against an fellow cop Calvin Chang, which ended up costing Davis a $240,000 settlement.

The Davis Vanguard has named one of the anonymous cowardly cops as Alexander Lee from photos of the attack, although it’s not clear whether Lee is Officer “O”, but photos of “A. Lee” macing kids are certainly suggestive.

  A. Lee

The screw-ups, spin, and cat-fights
The report, the first screw up was Spicuzza’s in that she was either lied or negligently passed on unconfirmed lies she got from her cops that “80% of the protesters protesting in the encampment on the Quad were not students.”  That misinformation alone is enough to justify demands that Spicuzza be shit-canned.  This “outside agitators” bunk is a flash-back to the campus riots of the 1970’s and was obviously meant to get blood-pressures up.  Castro, at least, had the guts to challenge Spicuzza, at which point Spicuzza responded: “I didn’t ask for IDs.  It’s just from my sense of what I know.”  WTF does “from my sense of what I know” mean??  My best guess is that it means: “I’m lying through my teeth and don’t know how else to put it.”

To this date the assertion that outside agitators were involved has never been proven, and it certainly wasn’t proven on the basis of who got busted.  Nevertheless, from what I see in the Report, Katehi took absolutely no steps to try and verify or even questoin Spicuzza’s false assertion.

Katehi now claims that she did not envision that any force would be used. At a town hall meeting a few days after the pig-attack, Katehi was reported to have said: “I explicitly directed the chief of police that violence should be avoided at all costs.” Sure, baby, you sic the cops on a bunch of students and you later say you didn’t expect any force would be used.  Not even a bubble-headed academic like Katehi could be naive enough to think anyone would believe that line.  The Task Force said Katehi gave no instructions to avoid use force, which sounds to me like a back-door allegation that she lied.

Spicuzza, as is typical for coward pigs who know they are in trouble and are advised by counsel, refused to be interviewed by the Task Force.  But the story they are putting out is that she initially tried to “dissuade” her officers from using batons and pepper spray or from wearing riot gear.  But the Task Force places heavy blame on Katehi for not clearly communicating to the cops or Spicuzza that this was not to be a head-buster.

Now hold it a minute.  So you’ve got this woman honcho, Katehi, who doesn’t know how to give clear orders to her cop-chief to keep the pigs under control.  And you’ve got the woman cop-chief who thinks she has to try and dissuade her inferiors from beating up on the kids.  What is this – feely good leadership in action?  “Please, if you don’t mind, I mean if it’s all the same to you, please don’t use unreasonable force or mace or whack anyone.  Of course, you can do whatever you want, like I tell my spoiled kids, but I just wanted to sort of communicate to you my preference in the matter.”  Any competent leader and any competent chief would have given their orders and then fired or prosecuted anyone who disobeyed them.

Then there was the bone-headed decision to remove the OWS tents in the middle of the afternoon when there were maximal people to confront rather than in the middle of the night.  Whose decision do you think that was – you’re right: she-said-she-said.  Spicuzza later claimed she tried to talk sense into Katehi and the other mental midgets on the LT and wait until midnight, but neither Katehi nor any of the other MM’s back that story up.  So someone is lying again – either Katehi or Spicuzza.  Looks like a cat-fight in the making.

But here’s the funny part: these cops were basing their head-beating and mace-spraying on their authority to enforce a law against camping overnight.  But it was in the middle of the afternoon of the day the tents were erected.  There had been no violation of any law against camping overnight.   Apparently, the cops had no legal right or authority whatsoever to screw with these kids, and that would make their use of mace illegal under Calif. law 12403.7.

Any person who uses tear gas or tear gas weapons except in self-defense is guilty of a public offense and is punishable by imprisonment in a state prison for 16 months, or two or three years or in a county jail not to exceed one year or by a fine not to exceed one thousand dollars ($1,000), or by both the fine and imprisonment, except that if the use is against a peace officer, as defined in Chapter 4.5 (commencing with Section 830) of Title 3 of Part 2, engaged in the performance of his or her official duties and the person committing the offense knows or reasonably should know that the victim is a peace officer, the offense is punishable by imprisonment in a state prison for 16 months or two or three years or by a fine of one thousand dollars ($1,000), or by both the fine and imprisonment.

OK, so once the cops waded in illegally and started busting heads and spraying faces, how effective a leader was Spicuzza and what did she do to be sure her guys were under control?  Here’s what the report says:

“The actions of the Chief of Police caused confusion during this operation. She was not present at the pre-event briefing and is not listed in any form on the operations plan. Her role in the field, where she was present on the Quad but not with the police, and was calling in directions via the command post, was problematic and added to the confusion already present in the operation. Indeed, at least one officer stated in his interview that during the most turbulent minutes of this operation, he observed the chief standing opposite him in the crowd filming the police actions with her cell phone.”

If I were to summarize that in just two words they would be: “You’re fired, bitch.”

At any rate the cops claimed, of course, that they were in danger from the violent mob and needed to mace face and beat head to protect themselves.  The Task Force, essentially, called them liars.

“On balance, there is little factual basis supporting Lt. Pike’s belief that he was trapped by the protesters or that his officers were prevented from leaving the Quad. Further, there is little evidence that any protesters attempted to use violence against the police.”

But perhaps the biggest spin of all in this mess came from a lawyer, predictably.   Dieter Dammeier, a lawyer for the Federated University Police Officers Association said: “So the officers are getting beat up pretty good out there, and they were simply doing what they were instructed to do.”  I have looked at all the videos I can find and I have yet to see a single cop getting beat up or even pushed by a demonstrator.   Lawyers who lie in public, even if trying to protect their clients, ought to face ethical charges.  They are just trying to win the jury before the jury is even selected by spinning lies they would never get away with in court.

Problematic Pike
Well, let’s look at the guys on the line.  How did they do?  I mean, they were just takin’ orders, weren’t they.  You know, Lt. Calley sort of thing.  Just to show you I have no gender bias in all of this, it is clear to me that the pricks with the mace ought to get their pants sued off and sit in a jail cell

Of course, the whole world remembers the videos of 245-pound, pot-bellied, Pike and his cowardly, unnamed partner, A. Lee, wading through a crowd of sitting demonstrators spraying them directly in the face with mace.  The Task Force makes that point that not only was the use of any mace not reasonable, these pigs were not authorized or trained to use the large MK-9 canisters they emptied on the hapless students.  The MK-9 goop is under a lot higher pressure than the MK-4 canisters these campus pigs are permitted to use, the point being that MK-9 can seriously injure some one when you put it right in their face the way Pike is doing in the video.  It is not supposed to be used any closer than 6 feet.  The pigs were less than 2 feet away in some cases.  Video.  Another video.

After it was all over, Spicuzza beamed to her officers that they “did an outstanding job”  and that she was “proud of how we handled the situation.”  Does this sound like a woman who tried to dissuade her employees from using mace and then they absolutely disobey her order?  It sounds like a woman who’s about to get suspended, fired, and sued to me.

Well, we all know how these things end . . . in a lawsuit, which is why Dammeier is trying to spin the thing.  Nineteen of the students, represented by the ACLU, have sued Katehi, Spicuzza, Pike, etc., etc.  My guess is that ole’ ex-jarhead, problematic Pike is going to cost Davis a lot more than $240,000 this time.  When the jury sees that video, it’s gonna’ be a $20M verdict.  Here’s the complaint.

It is most interesting that Ass’t Vice Chancellor Castro is about the only UC Davis heavy that is not named in the suit.  She is the only Davis employ who comes out smelling sweet in this mess.  Too bad the others were too dense to listen to her; none of this would have happened.

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