A disturbing videotape has surfaced showing a police officer in riot gear heavily pepper-spraying a group of student protesters who were seated on the ground on the UC Davis campus. The demonstrators had been there to participate in the “Occupy UC Davis” campus on Friday . The video — first released by NBC’s KCRA-TV – was shot by a witness and shows numerous observers watching in horror as a campus police officer douses the students in yellow mist.
“Police came and brutalized them and tore their tents down and all that stuff. It was really scary. It felt like there was anarchy everywhere,” student Hisham Alihbob told KCRA. Police told the TV station students had had until 3 p.m. on Friday to dismantle their tents from the university’s quad. University officials told the Sacramento Bee that protesters had also received written warnings to remove their tents.
As with many Occupy protests around the country, the demonstrators refused to cede to the cops’ demands and defied officials’ orders. A little more than an hour after the deadline, police arrived and were met with approximately 50 protesters who linked arms and surrounded their tent city, a university spokeswoman told the newspaper.
After a crowd of about 200 people gathered to watch the standoff, cops decided to pepper spray to keep the protesters at bay, the spokeswoman added.
But from the video, which has gone viral, it doesn’t appear that police were threatened at all. The protesters were sitting down on the ground with their heads bowed when a single cop raised a pepper spray can in the air and then walked down the line drenching them in it. (more…)