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By Jim Kirwan
Rarely is something so aggressively clear as what happened to sitting-protestors at UC Davis. If ever there was a clear case of brutality and excessive force; this was it. Please bear in mind if the protestors had sprayed the police with pepper spray, by way of self-defense they would have been charged with attempted murder.
In this Friday, Nov. 18, 2011, photo University of California, Davis Police Lt. John Pike uses pepper spray to move Occupy UC Davis protesters while blocking their exit from the school's quad Friday in Davis, Calif. Two University of California, Davis police officers involved in pepper spraying seated protesters were placed on administrative leave Sunday, Nov. 20, 2011, as the chancellor of the school accelerates the investigation into the incident. Photo by Wayne Tilcock / AP
"A tearful UC Davis chancellor apologized Monday to thousands of students rallying in fury over last week's pepper-spraying of nonviolent protesters, then fled as many chased her down a street demanding she resign.
It was a scene more reminiscent of UC Berkeley than this normally placid Central Valley campus, which became a national rallying cry for the Occupy movement when campus police pepper-sprayed a dozen protesters Friday who were seated on a pathway, arms linked, protecting a handful of tents.
The demonstrators were among a few hundred people protesting tuition increases and state cuts in higher education. At first, Chancellor Linda Katehi said police had been surrounded and had to fight their way out with pepper spray - a claim cast into doubt when videos went viral showing an officer calmly walking back and forth, spraying the chemical irritant in the faces of protesters who appeared to pose no threat.
By Monday, two officers and the campus police chief had been put on leave, UC President Mark Yudof had joined a chorus denouncing the police response, and Katehi found herself waiting in a long line of speakers at a rally on the campus quad to plead her case.
The chancellor waited about an hour for her turn, listening while speaker after speaker railed to a crowd of as many as 5,000 about her and the police force. Some glared straight at her and called for her to be fired.
One, assistant English Professor Nathan Brown, called Katehi an "authoritarian administrator" and said protests "must continue until the chancellor resigns."
Finally, Katehi got her one minute on stage, the time allotted to each speaker. The crowd fell mostly silent.
"I'm here to apologize," she said, tears in her eyes. "I feel horrible for what happened last Friday.
"Our university has to be better," she said. "We need to work together. I know that you may not believe anything I say right now, but it is my responsibility to earn your trust."
"Yes, it is!" many in the crowd replied.
Slow exit
Then, as she left, an angry murmur built. Hundreds blocked her way and began yelling, pressing in on the handful of staffers who accompanied her away from the quad.
As the noise and crush grew, Katehi looked frightened.
"Resign!" several people yelled. "What's your excuse?" and "Not enough!" others said. Some screamed a few feet from her face.
Katehi said nothing for two blocks, slowly struggling forward, until finally one female student caught her attention. "Chancellor!" the young woman yelled, "I just wanted you to know not everyone thinks you should resign."
Katehi stopped, her eyes filled with gratitude, and the student was swallowed back up by the crowd. A minute later, the chancellor was hustled into a black sedan and driven away.
"It was an empty speech," senior Billy Guardino said. "She had a clear place to address more details, and she didn't do it."" (1)
Whether this had been done in Berkeley, in Oakland or New York, or in any of the hundreds of other places where people are under attack by police that are defending so-called-private-property rights from those that made that these formerly public places into possible targets for corporate-privatization: There is only one issue-does "property" take precedence over human life?
If this UC chancellor does not resign she needs to be FIRED, IMMEDIATELY! Just as the police-chiefs and mayors from every city where this has happened; must face a public review of all their actions in regard to these very public demonstrations against current government polices, nationwide. These investigations must happen, NOT in 90 days, but because of what is happening in Egypt now:
"Nov. 21 After three days of increasingly violent demonstrations, Egypt's interim civilian government submitted its resignation to the country's ruling military council, bowing to the demands of the protesters and marking a crisis of legitimacy for the military-led government. The step was reported by Egyptian television, and it remained to be seen whether the military would accept or reject the offer of the resignation. The same day, the Health Ministry said that at least 23 people were killed in protests. Since Nov. 19, more than 1,500 people had been wounded, the ministry said." (2)
The investigations here need to begin immediately, in order to forestall the next step as we can clearly see by looking at what is now unfolding once again in Egypt.
The issues at issue here and around the planet are about who gets to rule absolutely; without allowing the public any voice at all, in what is being shoved down the throats of populations all over the world. This 'chancellor, the Mayors & police-chiefs of Oakland and NYC; need to be called to answer for what they have been routinely doing to ordinary people for the last two months-and there is absolutely no need to wait three months to launch such investigations-as all of the video-tape is already available.
All that is missing is the suspensions without pay of every uniform and official "IN-CHARGE" that has been responsible for this shift from lawful public demonstrations to protest government actions; to police-over-reactions, blatant-brutality, and clearly anti-social and excessive-physical-force against peaceful demonstrators that have no other recourse except to take their legitimate-complaints into the streets.
"Resignations" would be the civil and responsible way to end these careers. But if the individuals involved fail to own up to what they've done (and presumably shall continue to do) then they must be very publicly-FIRED.
It would help greatly if we disinterred the LAWS we once had against police-brutality and over-reaction with deadly-force against ordinary and peaceful citizens. If this cannot be done; then just watch what will happen next in Egypt, because Egypt is about to have their second REVOLUTION because the first one failed to accomplish what it was intended to do. Amerika will be able to skip our first failure; because we have been unsuccessful in causing anyone here to ever step down. Consequently we might just as well move on to the 2nd REVOLUTION-the one where people take back their power from those that have been stealing it (with our permission now) for hundreds of years! (3)
1) UC Davis protestors confront chancellor http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2011/11/22/MNK71M2548.DTL
2) Egypt News Revolution and Aftermath http://topics.nytimes.com/top/news/international/countriesandterritories/egypt/index.html
3) Thought-Crime Trials are Coming! http://www.kirwanesque.com/politics/articles/2011/art254.htm
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