Occupy the Law Enforcement-UC Davis's English Dept. Proposes Disbanding UC Davis Police Dept.


Never since the days of the 1960’s has revolution spread so visibly across the United States.  The Occupy Wall Street movement has sparked a dialogue about issues that are rocking the accepted values of our society.    Last weekend when UC Davis Police sprayed pepper spray into the faces of seated students has become a moment which has shocked the nation and sparked an internet meme.  And now it is rocking the academic world.  Today’s UC Davis English Dept.’s homepage is a banner plastering a cry for university changes and societal changes. The page states:

The faculty of the UC Davis English Department supports the Board of the Davis Faculty Association in calling for Chancellor Katehi’s immediate resignation and for “a policy that will end the practice of forcibly removing non-violent student, faculty, staff, and community protesters by police on the UC Davis campus.” Further, given the demonstrable threat posed by the University of California Police Department and other law enforcement agencies to the safety of students, faculty, staff, and community members on our campus and others in the UC system, we propose that such a policy include the disbanding of the UCPD and the institution of an ordinance against the presence of police forces on the UC Davis campus, unless their presence is specifically requested by a member of the campus community. This will initiate a genuinely collective effort to determine how best to ensure the health and safety of the campus community at UC Davis.

Can society disband or reduce its authoritarian arm without negative consequences? Will reducing police presence really increase student safety?



Image from here.



  • To answer your last questions…YES! However, I do not believe that reducing the number of police is the answer. It is changing their focus from “law enforcement” to “peace keeping.” All the police all over the world, and all the military, too.

    Their new job is simply to keep the peace, wherever they find it. That helps keep all peaceful people safe.

    Please help this happen. It is simple and logical. In fact, police used to be called “Peace Officers.”

  • Volunteers could organize a “campus watch” to report criminal activity to the Berkeley police department, That’s all it would take.
    This reminds me of the pepper spray (dousing of eyes) incident in Eureka years ago. The one that led to a civil rights lawsuit and judgment against the HumCo Sheriffs dept.

    • That’s a good idea. I’m sure there would be people who would like to do that. But I also hope that the focus of the police turns from law enforcement to peace keeping. I’d like that we pay people to keep the peace instead enforce the laws.

  • The photo you chose to headline your post is abhorrent and certainly lacking in any journalistic integrity you may have had. Perpetuating falsely crafted versions of events is simply irresponsible.

    • What happened is certainly abhorrent, but is the picture inaccurate?

      • The picture is inaccurate, the demonstrators agreed to be sprayed before hand, they even had a conversation with police saying they wanted it. The left wing press did not report this angle as it does not fit their agenda. here is the You Tube Video.

        • Scob, I’ve seen that piece multiple times before (from the Occupy movement and other media.) Most people interpret differently. Something more like “we are doing what we feel is right. We can’t stop you from spraying so go ahead and do what you think is right and we’ll do what we think is right.” I don’t think they “wanted” it. But rather that they accepted it as a price they were willing to pay.

  • Wow…. That photo offends me in so many ways that I don’t even know where to start. As many people already know, That is an iconic photo of Mary Vecchio, kneeling over the body of a student killed at Kent State May 4th, 1970. The Pulitzer prize winning photo was taken by John Filo.

    Now, the first thing that offends me is that they would take and iconic photo of the Kent State Viet Nam war protest and photo shop a cop pepper spraying Mary Vecchio. It just seems like a desecration to me.

    Second, the fact that cops are pepper spraying non-violent protesters is also deeply offensive. What would happen if we all joined together and declared our love of America, apple pie, hot dogs and baseball? Should we be pepper sprayed? Americans have the right to peaceful assembly. The fact that they were pepper sprayed should be a civil rights crime by each and every person involved with it. It is the equivalent of dumping somebody out of a wheelchair because somebody disagreed with them.

    These young cops need to read some history. They should start with the Declaration of Independence, The Constitution, and The Bill of Rights. They should read a little about the history of civil rights for blacks, the sufferage movement, and the Viet Nan war protests. We’ve been there done that!!! To not know history is to repeat it.

    Last why not just show the photo of the Idiot cops spraying the protesters at Davis? Does everything have to be photo shopped???? We live in a photo shop, sound bite world, and that also offends me.

    The First Amendment (Amendment I) to the United States Constitution is part of the Bill of Rights. The amendment prohibits the making of any law respecting an establishment of religion, impeding the free exercise of religion, abridging the freedom of speech, infringing on the freedom of the press, interfering with the right to peaceably assemble or prohibiting the petitioning for a governmental redress of grievances.

    Suggested link: Kent state killing


    • Thanks for letting me know about the photo and I do agree with your views about harming peacfully protesting people.

      • This statement by the photographer is an important reflection. Compare what happened at Kent State to what you hear being said today:
        “That all changed a few minutes later, when Filo heard the gunshots and saw Vecchio kneeling over Miller.

        ”That was a reaction shot,” Filo said.

        Filo said he received hate mail after the picture was published. And he was told by an uncle who had served in the armed forces, ”If you were out there, you should have been shot.”

        ”The thing I remember the most is the feeling of total helplessness,” Filo said. ”It’s the same helplessness I feel at times now later in life.

        ”Sometimes, there is no help, just friendship and an attempt to understand what’s going on. That’s the way we all felt that day, a day that will be with us all until the end.”


        • The powerful original by Filo will last an eternity whereas the tacky photochop imagery is forgotten in a few minutes.

    • How about the implication that the tragedy at Kent State and the silliness at U.C. Davis are on par with each other. Ridiculous.

    • Ernie, that photo collage is part of a phenomenal worldwide outpouring of sentiment over the pepper spraying of the students; an internet meme. Officer John Pike and his pepper spray canister image is now a cultural icon, whether we like it or not. Computer artists have combined it with other iconic images to make a statement about the abhorrent act of Pike’s chemical torture of the students. I have seen him spraying the Declaration of Independence in Trumbull’s painting of the signers of the DoI, spraying Jesus at the Last Supper, spraying Christina in Andrew Wyethe’s classic image, spraying the anonymous man in front of the tanks in Tiananmen Square, spraying Mother Teresa and spraying in a number of other classic paintings. Usually the resulting images are obviously a mixture of media, but this image has a different effect on me because it combines two photographs and unless a person knows the famous Filo Kent State image, they may not realize at first what’s going on. I knew it, of course, since it was indelibly burned into my psyche at age 18, when I too, was just learning to find my voice and express my views on what was happening at the time. If anyone feels like the imagery is a desecration then it was 100% effective, because the creator is making a statement that the pepper spraying incident is a desecration of those student’s right to exercise their freedom of speech, even if it was non-violent passive resistance in the middle of the UC Davis Quad. It’s a reminder to me that we are just another trigger pull from the horrors of the murders of the Kent State students by the Ohio National Guard troops. If we don’t want another Kent State then we must act now to make some serious changes to the campus police forces who are there to protect students, staff and the campus property, not to judge and punish.

    • Ernie , here is a video for you. the protestors agreed before hand to be sprayed, they wanted it for whatever reason.This is not Kent State. here is the video…

      • Scob Do, let me repeat what I wrote moments ago especially for you:

        Every member of the UC Davis Police Department demonstrated they are ready and willing to commit or passively witness attrocious acts of violence commited by eachother against the very students they’re supposed to be protecting.

        The following video is essential to your learning, Scob Do: http://tinyurl.com/yreykn

      • Scob Do, let me repeat what I just wrote especially for you: Every member of the UC Davis Police Department demonstrated they are ready and willing to commit or passively witness attrocious acts of violence commited by eachother against the very students they’re supposed to be protecting.

        Scob Do, the following video is essential to your learning: http://tinyurl.com/yreykn

      • And here is another internet meme in which reviews are not taken strictly seriously…

        I laughed because I was tired of feeling so sad.

  • G Dog (AKA occupy everything)

    Good image. Glad you put it up.

  • I think perhaps those of you upset by the photo are not clear that it is a piece of art. Did those of you protesting the image go to the links in the piece? The photo is from a meme that is sweeping the internet. Memes mean many things to many people but the basic idea of this meme is that what happened at UC Davis is so horrific that it trampled on our cultural ideals and it typifies the ugliest moments in our history. A meme is a form of art that often takes pop symbols to convey ideas. In this case the pepper spraying officer from the UC Davis protest is inserted into a moment of horror in our history when students who were protesting at Kent State were killed.

    Laurel Krause, sister of Allison Krause one of the students killed at Kent State is a friend of mine. We have discussed this use of the iconic Kent State photo. She welcomes that image as a symbol of the horror that happened then and as a symbol of what happened at UC Davis.

    • I wasn’t born just yesterday, I recognized the photo instantly. I also recognized the photo-shopped cop. My point being that, I like my history pure. Some people were born just yesterday, they didn’t recognized the connection, nor the horrible implications. The photo sticks in their mind and nothing else rings a bell. To those people it probably would have been more important to see BOTH photos in their complete historical context. I’m sick to death with “Artists” that think that they can prostitute history. It makes about as much sense as the guy that put Jesus in a jar and pissed on him.

      If Ms. Krause is happy with that juxtaposition, then more power to her. I respect her sister, and history, more than that….

      Sorry if I sound bitchy, I’m really much nicer in person. It’s just, how does a person make a point in this sound-bite world.

      • Ernie, Should I not use images that other people may not understand their context? Just in case anyone didn’t grasp the connection, I linked to information about the meme.

        Of course, in all art and history, context is everything. But how can you, my favorite blogger who celebrates bulshistory (as do I) not appreciate the value of people reinterpreting history through their own lenses?

    • Yes, I know what a meme is and yes, I understand where the photo in question originated from. To one person it’s a piece of “art”, to another (myself included) I’d be more inclined to call it a piece of something else.
      It absolutely is irresponsible to promote this “art” for the sake of journalism. I don’t know which is worse: those who create this crap, or the fact there are those who can’t distinguish it from the reality of actual events.
      Ernie’s comment below is very well put. I’m just so unbelievably sickened by this I’m having difficulty expressing my thoughts in polite terms.

      • Welcome to the world your generation helped pave!


      • Ohmy, I’m truly sorry that I offended you but I really don’t understand why. I’m not presenting it as an actual photo of an event, which would indeed damage my journalistic credibility. I’m presenting it as something that has been birthed because of the UC Davis pepper spray incident.

        I didn’t even initially take the stand that it has value (though I do believe it does). I merely pointed to its existence, i.e. “Last weekend when UC Davis Police sprayed pepper spray into the faces of seated students has become a moment which has shocked the nation and sparked an internet meme.”

        A perusal of the internet will show that the LA Times, SF Gate and other media are referencing this meme. It has taken the internet by storm. Should media including myself ignore popular movements?

  • Thank you Kym for posting this profound political image, connecting the dots between the horrible events of May 1970 where SIX STUDENTS were murdered (four at Kent State University, two at Jackson State University) with the current pepper-spraying of peacefully protesting students at UC Davis.

    Similar to the #OccupyUCDavis students, Allison, Jeff, Sandy, Bill, Phillip and James were unarmed and protesting, yet slaughtered in the military response on their campus. In 2010 we have learned these efforts were crafted, fully orchestrated at the request of President Nixon by the covert teams of J. Edgar Hoover and local law enforcement.

    As Allison’s sister, I find the original photo of Jeffrey Miller most offensive yet welcome anyone remembering Kent State and Jackson State (yes, even Ann Coulter) because I know when we fail to remember the past, we are doomed to repeat it. And that right now is my biggest fear.

    RESPECT & STOP TARGETING #OccupyStudents, #OccupyWallStreet & #OccupyActions in America! No more Kent & Jackson States! No more protest deaths in America!


  • As much as I detest the actions of the police, equating being pepper sprayed with being shot to death is absurd. Quit with the hysterics, it will help the cause.

  • I thought the meme got tedious quick–until I saw this one. This is what the meme came for, thanks for getting this out, Kym! It’s spot-on.

    btw I don’t think this is is Photoshop reality-editing, because we know the independent images. It’s good old agit-prop (agitation propaganda) and no revolution gets up steam without it. Compu-nerds, start your Macintoshes . . .

  • I appreciated hearing that 84-year-old Portland activist Dorli Rainey say on national TV, “Being pepper-sprayed in the face is quite invigorating, actually.”

  • Nothing might be better than something. Seeing how something terrible is going on and seems to be getting worse. Government is like a bad wound, sometimes you have to cut off the rotten meat to get healthy.

    11/22 the day Kennedy was ambushed by the federal reserve…

  • PTown P: The IMAGE equates Kent State student protester killing with #OccupyUCDavis student protester pepper-spraying. My comments are not hysterical. Wide-eyed, I am noticing the same folks that are perpetrating this military action against #OccupyActions across America, are the one that brought the war home in May 1970.

    Wake up & smell the coffee. The feds are already using fully-armed CIA, FBI, Homeland Security & truck loads of local law enforcement against unarmed protesters now. Specifically noting what happened at #OccupyOakland with brutal violence, use of provocateurs & flash grenading folks aiding injured Iraqi vet Scott Olsen (a war crime!).

    How much more does the picture have to resemble Kent or Jackson State for Americans to realize the US government does not allow or condone peaceful protest & assembly in America. Even more importantly, that they will stop at nothing to silence us!

  • I was commenting on the image, not your comments. None of what you say is news to me. I have a feeling there are as many plain old trouble makers out there as there are provocateurs, but I suppose we’ll never know, the hazards of anarchy I suppose. The crackdown so far has not reached the magnitude of Kent or Jackson State, and to suggest it has causes reasonable people to scoff. If a person were to say “I lost my husband in a car accident” and another responded with “Oh, I know how you feel, I was rear ended once” would that not seem inappropriate?

    “They will stop at nothing to silence us”….. a twinge of hysteria

  • Sure death is worse than pepper spray, Duh. But the mentality of indoctrination and duality is the same whether its the national guardsman who pulled the trigger at Kent State, or this fat fart with his can of pepper spray. He has been brainwashed into thinking he is better than the people who pay his salary. This is the problem, supremacy. All you have to do is tell yourself that they are dirty hippies or homeless fucks or niggers or chinks or fags, and then once you have denigrated them to the point that your conscience wont object, you can rationalize doing anything at all to them. The culture of law enforcement in this country is out of control.

    • He has been brainwashed into thinking he is better than the people who pay his salary.

      Well, the kids are brainwashed drones themselves. i guess that proves that everybody is equal.

  • Appreciating the different opinions brought to the fore, Ernie’s take, and LK Blog, I’m outraged over the UC Pepper and Assault fiasco for a number of reasons– and surprised a full scale riot didn’t happen as a result. The 3-4 way video swatch here is one of the better ones for viewing that I’ve seen.

    For those who don’t like photoshopped meme, certainly don’t look here. Mr. Pike has made it into popular culture and history whether we like it or not.

  • If you really want to get your head around the issue of non-lethal crowd control in the brave new world, there was an article in the March 2010 Harper’s magazine called “The Soft-Kill Solution: New Frontiers in Pain Compliance.” Ando Arike is the author and he will do a much better (and certainly more thorough) job exploring the implications of this switch to what the powers-that-be think of as a more media-friendly (than killing) means of repression than i ever could.

    However, you must be a Harper’s subscriber to read the article on the site. I put a copy of it up as a Facebook Note, but you must be my Facebook friend to read it. And i did find a copy of it online, but its blocking is weird and it will be annoying to read… however here it is http://grendelreport.posterous.com/the-soft-kill-solution and i notice it’s not the entire article.

    Sigh, i do think it’s worth reading and substitute its recommendation for my own uninformed opinion. I would post it on here but it’s mighty long.

  • One more thing LK, This statement…I am noticing the same folks that are perpetrating this military action against #OccupyActions across America, are the one that brought the war home in May 1970.

    Are you now equating the tens of thousands dead in Vietnam to post war America?

    Hope not

  • nice read-that famous photo of that 16 yr old,should be unto itself-yet as art,to convey a message okay-it is a social engineering item-Scooter & Ernie as so often,had some depth,hope some one is watching them-on bla bla’s need of lyric-burns,churns,milk,ilk,nay,hey,apathy,slappy-

    • -wow great inspuration. “ilk”, why didnt Suzy thing of that myself?

      this autumn we here the drumming
      20 ppl sprayed in sacremento
      by thier “ilk”
      and it wasnt with milk, ta ta ta …

      its not perfect but its getting there

      i hope Earnie doesnt mind me rearranging hisstory a little
      but Davis doesnt rhyme with Ohio,
      see what i mean?

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  • PTown P: You miss every one of my points entirely & judge them to boot. Gee, thanks. Peace, Laurel Krause

  • I’m old school but what happened to the good ole fire hose? Spraying damaging chemicals into a peaceful demonstrators face is disturbing on so many levels.

  • That this meme has power is obvious in the fact that most of the comments here address it rather than the real subject of the piece which is the outstanding response of the UC Davis English Dept.

    • I love it Kym. It stirred people’s emotions up and like most humans we most often react to the immediate stimulus from the fight or flight part of our beings, rather than respond the bigger picture.

  • Every member of the UC Davis Police Department demonstrated they are ready and willing to commit or passively witness attrocious acts of violence commited by eachother against the very students they’re supposed to be protecting.

  • my daughter went to uc davis to summer school one year and i would be outraged if she would have been pepper sprayed. i’m still paying my part of her education via a plus loan. i don’t care what she did. since when did they start having uc police. we had student police at my school and i’ve seen students handling security at ucla as a student job that’s part of their means to get an education. we pay for police already. there is no need for a campus police force. get rid of the campus police, cut the salaries of the administrators and lower tuition. this is all just part of the plot of the new world order. dividing americans into separate camps creating conflict by demonizing each other. watch the movie on thrive.com. if you want to live the american dream, you will have to move to denmark, it ain;t happening here.

    • “since when did they start having uc police.”

      I wondered the same thing, let alone a complete swat team ready to bust skulls at the drop of a hat. Several friends of mine went to davis throughout the 90’s, there was nothing of the sort, let alone a reason for it. How much you wanna bet “the events of nine-eleven” were used by police departments all over the country to spread their own power and influence? There are cops permanently stationed at the middle school and highschool I attended as well. Absolutely ridiculous. How much money does HSU waste paying a bunch of officers to spend all day tracking down the smell of weed smoke that happened an hour before? I’ve spent time on campuses from san diego to here, the only thing UPD’s accomplish is intimidation and financial hassles.

  • This pepper spray thing is blown out of proportion, Young people see being pepper sprayed as a soilder sees getting a medal. It is a sign of honor for the college crowd.
    They were not at Woodstock but I got sprayed at UC Davis, Cool Man.
    here is a video that I put up before showing the students agreed to be sprayed.they even had a conversation with police beforehand.
    here it is if your open enough. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WO4406KJQMc&feature=player_embedded

    • Police pepper spray is 10 times hotter than habanero and can and has caused death, according to an article posted on the web.

      • Kvryce, if you watch the video of the students getting sprayed, it was a good thick spray
        One kid held out his head and took a big blast, wiped his eyes and kept on keeping on. That spray was watered down, it was all a political action to show the powers that be, Hay were doing something. Watch the video again and you will see. Hotter than Habanero , I do not think so.

            • There have been punk rock riots back in the 1980’s where gas was used and women would have blue periods afterwards. The darkest pits of evil can only imagine the gas the occupation would deploy these days. My guess would be nano-tech to allow for RFID tracking from the sky, on a base of birth control, with live cancer virus- oh wait, that’s in their vaccines….
              Government has no right to own property or attack it’s citizens, once it’s discredited where do things go? Let’s think back to what went in Soviet Union- (err sorry The Day After movie doesn’t seem that long ago) how did things ger “back on track” in Russia when overnight the currency failed and government lost it’s control. How did life change for someone who was living under the wing of a government that was no longer there? How did they adapt? Did they?
              Those are some things to think about before we can begin to correct the wrongs of the world. The only thing to remember: BEWARE FALSE PROPHETS.

              Happy Turkey Day!

    • -ain’t it amazing what a little pepper spray can do to increase ego growth.

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  • I wouldn’t want to be sprayed, medal or not.

    And the UC Davis Physics department is also asking for Chancellor Katehi’s resignation, too.

    A little bit more of the recent UC Davis news is at The Sentinel for interested folks. From what I can surmise, the civil problems, investigations, and perhaps litigation may be following this Pepper and Assault fiasco as numerous agencies get involved.

    (A hat tip goes to Kym for her video footage find here)

  • I have yet to hear any plausible justification for why the student protesters “needed” to be removed in the first place. They were seated, peacefully, on the grass. They did not appear to be blocking any road or interfering with anyone else’s rights in any way.

    The use of pepper spray against non-violent protesters was found to be “excessive force” in the local pepper spray case in the 90’s. And in that case, there was at least some kind of legal justification for why the protesters were ordered removed in the first place — they were trespassing on private property. But in this case at U.C. Davis, these student protesters were just sitting there on the grass on their own campus. So what justification was there for removing them, rather than allowing them to continue to sit there?

    So it seems to me that in the U.C. Davis case, the authorities screwed up twice: First, by making the decision to remove protesters when there didn’t seem to be any urgent need to do so, and second, by employing excessive force with their use of pepper spray.

  • Disband the gang!
    Nobody likes cops, they are not welcome these days , not here and not anywhere else.
    Especially with the typical all American To o cop mindset.
    Like we don’t know they are average humans beneath the uniform? Get these clowns off all up campuses!

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