Police Force Peaceful UC Davis Students to Open Their Mouths … and Then Shoot Pepper Spray DOWN THEIR THROATS

By now, you’ve heard that peaceful UC Davis protesters were brutally sprayed right in the face with pepper spray:

Professor Nathan Brown of UC Davis notes in open letter to Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi:

When students covered their eyes with their clothing, police forced open their mouths and pepper-sprayed down their throats. Several of these students were hospitalized. Others are seriously injured. One of them, forty-five minutes after being pepper-sprayed down his throat, was still coughing up blood.

James Fallows writes in the Atlantic:

Let’s stipulate that there are legitimate questions of how to balance the rights of peaceful protest against other people’s rights to go about their normal lives, and the rights of institutions to have some control over their property and public spaces. Without knowing the whole background, I’ll even assume for purposes of argument that the UC Davis authorities had legitimate reason to clear protestors from an area of campus — and that if protestors wanted to stage a civil-disobedience resistance to that effort, they should have been prepared for the consequence of civil disobedience, which is arrest.

I can’t see any legitimate basis for police action like what is shown here. Watch that first minute and think how we’d react if we saw it coming from some riot-control unit in China, or in Syria. The calm of the officer who walks up and in a leisurely way pepper-sprays unarmed and passive people right in the face? We’d think: this is what happens when authority is unaccountable and has lost any sense of human connection to a subject population. That’s what I think here.

Less than two months ago, it seemed shocking when one NYPD officer cavalierly walked up to a group of female protestors and pepper-sprayed them in the eyes. The UC Davis pepper-sprayer doesn’t slink away, as his NYPD counterpart did, but in every other way this is more coldly brutal. And by the way, when did we accept the idea that local police forces would always dress up in riot gear that used to be associated with storm troopers and dystopian sci-fi movies?

For additional details, see this, this, this, this and this.

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  • amy

    Oh my god what have we become? I am destroyed.

    • ann

      me too…i’ve felt sick to death all weekend over this, amy…

    • Chad Goller-Sojourner

      Perfectly Said

  • Alex

    I hear resisting arrest is ok, right?

    • John

      I don’t see any one resisting anything. I see students practicing civil disobedience. None were violent, none were abusive. The police could have hand cuffed them and taken them to jail and it would have been over with. Instead the police used excessive force to take a passive group in to custody.

    • Jake

      Don’t feed the troll guys.

    • michael

      To Alex…

      Its unfortunate that you don’t see the clear degradation of authority. Some people will defend the rights of an authoritarian regime, right up until it begins to affect them personally…and, IT WILL.

      There’s really no more room to be a fence sitter, and scoff from the outside, because eventually, the black hole will pull you right into it. Be careful what you choose to defend, because, your very survival may one day depend on the very people whom you scoff at now.

      Good day to you, and Eternal LOVE…

    • Chad Goller-Sojourner

      Resistng arrest in the concept you are talking about is a criminal charge leveled by the DA. if a cop tell protesters to leave a space and they refuse the police put them in handcuffs and cart them off. If the protester “resists” when the officer is putting their hands behind their back the officer can apply more for to accomplish this. If the protester goes limp attentional police are to be called in, many a protester have been carted off to the bus with an officer carrying each limb. Again this may constitue resisting arrest as it relates to criminal charges. No where in any legal statues, criminal codes or Univ. policy handbooks does it say pepper spray and other “non-lethal” methods can be used because the cops are anger, being insulted or want to get off in time for the game.

    • Robert

      The flip side of that is the arrest has to be actually legitimate. If the arrest is illegal, you are legally defending yourself not resisting arrest. The words you are looking for are ‘resisting lawful arrest.
      The law applies similarly when a police officer threatens to arrest you, they are committing a crime of threat to commit physical violence, their own legally standing is to threaten to charge you with a crime define that crime and the use absolute minimum force to arrest you (forget administrative policy of make police safe by abusing the public but actual laws).
      So lets see the police charged and prosecuted for assault with weapons, kidnapping, illegal detention and infringement of civil rights each and every time anyone of the falsely ‘arrests’ a person.

  • Was that really necessary, given that the police were already there for the purposes of clearing out those who refused to vacate? If I were an officer tasked with removing people who refused to move, I’d do what was done later in the video –remove them. Leave the tear-gas where it belongs: holstered and for use as a self-defense mechanism.

  • Bob

    Thats some quality Josef Mengele stuff going on there. Maybe the nice kind law enforcement professionals can start injecting acid or pathogens into people next. You know, because they are concerned for the safety of people engaging in constitutionally-protected conduct while the documented multi-trillion dollar crimes of wall street are being ignored.

    • Herp Derp

      This is a far fucking cry from Joseph Mengele, you fucking retard. Jesus CHRIST, think about what you fucking said, moron.

  • Don’t they realize that there are 100 million OWS who are watching, or that they are increasing that number?

  • Jared


    I didn’t hear Miranda rights being read, nor any indication they were under arrest.

  • amy

    They were not “resisting arrest”.

  • Jacqui Causey

    This is a terrifying precedent we’re setting. And I remain stunned by how our foreign policy appears to have been reduced to this: If we abuse American citizens enough, the world will know they aren’t evil… it’s the GOVERNMENT that is the problem. The hypocrisy is mind-numbing.

  • Nan C

    The trouble is, this report states that the police tore down the camp, yet we do know the students had already taken all the tents down. That’s one reason why they were surprised at the pepper spray; they’d done what had been asked. This report doesn’t seem to have all the facts, or has some of it incorrect. This is also the ONLY place I have seen any reference to “forcing mouths open. There has been NO evidence, no video (and we know there were plenty of cameras there) nothing to show mouths were forced open and more pepper sprayed down anyone’s throat as the headline states.

    The thing is, what we know happened without a doubt is dreadful enough as it is. It reminds me of the civil rights protests of the 60s, simply replacing the fire hoses with mace and pepper spray. No excuse for it.

  • Gordon Thomson

    These PIGS need to be water boarded.

  • Roy

    Are these assholes trying to start a civil war? WTF?

  • Ella

    Authority is a lie.

  • Ross

    Contact info for the employers of UC Davis Chancellor Katehi http://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/regents/contact.html

  • Evan

    I hereby revoke my American citizenship and label myself an “enemy combatant”. As such, I am now subject to arrest, torture, and murder……come get me punk bitches.

  • kenzbeard

    You should see the ending of the video. All the other students start shouting “Shame On You.” The shouts change to “Go Away.” The police start to feel scared, form a tight circle, and slowly back away from the crowd still shouting “Go Away.”

  • Matt

    How is this any different other than the weapon used. Watch this and then watch the video above. This cop is sick.


  • Officer Piggily

    If yuh ast me the Lt. wuz easy on em. Oink.

  • Janaka

    You don’t have a right to be nuisance on public property. The cops did the right thing. Pepper spray can be washed off after a few hours.

    • Stang

      Really? You can just wash off pepper spray down the throat? Weren’t some of them coughing up blood?

      So you don’t have a problem with people getting pepper spray down the throat?

  • Gene

    These are classic gestapo techniques designed to brutalize/scare people who are defending a legitimate cause; not to mention exercising their right to protest. This is outrageous especially since Congress doesn’t seem to be able to represent our mutual or citizen interests in the least. Why wouldn’t we turn to protest? Why wouldn’t we be responsible citizens and try to take things into our own hands?

  • Doyle Terrell

    This country with it’s institutions, belongs to the people that inhabit it. Whenever they shall grow weary of the existing government, they can exercise their constitutional of amending it, or their revolutionary right to dismember or overthrow it.
    Abraham Lincoln’s First Inaugural Address

  • Jeannie nash

    Disgusting! Havent seen anything like this since I was a child in the 60s. Were shpuld all be in the streets.

  • Not a sheep

    First off this video is bullshit. Not that it didn’t happen but there was a lot more that happened on that campus that day than you are shown in this 2 minute video. The kids forced the cops into several situations that the police tolerated before they threatened to spray them. And their mouths were NOT FORCED OPEN while police pepper sprayed them down their throat. That is just ridiculous! This is the raw footage of what happened that day feel free to educate yourselves http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oH5Y6SNZc9k watch it and stop whining. This is a culture of fear and now the liberals are becoming worse than the far right. STOP THE LIES!

  • jackson

    i recently graduated from davis. as a student there, i worked closely with the uc davis police at on-campus concerts, sporting events, and other general functions as part of my employment. I am also paying back student loans as a result of the tuition which these students are protesting. I am very familiar with having the police called on me and my housemates by our neighbors at 10pm at night (as is almost every student who lives off campus in davis). I am also very familiar with going to campus and having to dodge protesters on the way to class, read their big signs that would block the entrances, and put up with fire alarms being pulled when in a review class for an important midterm in order for the protesters to, ironically, protest the tuition hikes which were preventing future generations to be able to study and have the education that i did. and given the history of the UC system, I am willing to bet they will have to put up with protesters as well. and maybe they will get to contribute money that will eventually be paid out as a settlement to people protesting the waste of money intended for education. what I’m trying to say is that this incident isn’t everything it seems. most people have only seen the short clip of the protesters being sprayed on the news over and over again. or perhaps the many memes of officer pike spraying various and sundry objects. very few have seen the longer, 15 minute video which puts things in a little better perspective. and much fewer have had to experience student mobs having sit-ins in the administration building or marching down to the interstate-80 in order to block traffic “in the name of education.” perhaps that gives you some perspective into what these police officers have had to put up with. I was frustrated with them and they weren’t even provoking me every chance they got when I was just trying to do my job, unlike the officers. now, don’t get me wrong, i have had my frustrations with police before. as the average college student, I have taken part in my share of “average college situations” which have led to confrontations with authority. after all, I was in a fraternity. yet, I believe that if you take part in an activity which you know will have consequences, dont be surprised by the result. i knew when i had a party at my house there was the possibility of my neighbors calling the police on me. i accepted that. and i knew that i must abide by the rules and regulations which keep much of this world civilized. I know that if i am to pull fire alarms, interrupt classes, obstruct administration buildings, march onto the highway, or stand in a circle with my buddies shouting “fuck the police” as violently as i can, then that would most likely produce some sort of authoritative reaction. i especially know (like the students in the video) that if an officer of the law tells me that if my public disturbance does not end that i will be sprayed with pepper spray, that i will most likely be sprayed by pepper spray if i do not stop. perhaps the actions were a bit too much. i am willing to admit that. perhaps there were better options. but perhaps many of you who think this action was 100% the officers’ fault will spend a little more time thinking this incident out. i can understand these protesters’ concerns. i am living them. but i also understand that the uc davis police department did not have much to do with the billions of dollars of debt the state of california is in which thus cut funds to all public educations systems within the state. i can understand be frustrated. but i dont understand taking this frustration out on fellow students, faculty, and police. here is the longer version of the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K8Uj1cV97XQ

    • Faith in you

      WOW! I am sorry could not make it through this dribble. First off punctuation and capitalization were invented for a reason. Second if after receiving your degree this is the best attempt at written communication you could come up with you have seriously wasted both your time and money attending this University.

      You will be expected to communicate in written form, your above example is unbelievably bad for a college graduate. I believe UC Davis may help you with paying back some of your tuition if you promise to never mention you attended much less received a diploma from their institution.

    • Truth Teller

      One would think a university student would know about using paragraphs. But maybe not. Unless, of course, this poster is lying about that and everything else, too.

  • Truth Teller

    It isn’t as if any rational person still believes the USA is a free country.

    Think about it. No-warrant wire taps, indefinite detention of citizens without charges, approval of rendition of prisoners and torture, stop and frisk without probable cause, search and seizure without a warrant, no-knock entry, confiscation and destruction of cameras that might have been used to film police acting illegally, police brutality, police shootings that go without investigation, managed news, and the civil-rights destroying “Patriot” Act.

    Acts of police behaving illegally, with shootings, Tasers, and unwarranted violence now appear almost daily. Rarely are these offenses punished. Most often “an investigation” is claimed, but soon forgotten.


In addition, the USA, with 5% of the world population, has 25% of all of the prisoners in the world. That means the USA has the most people in prison of any nation in history. Even by percentage of residents incarcerated, not just sheer numbers, USA is # 1

    Does any of that sound like a free country?

    As Dwight D. Eisenhower said about communism, “It’s like slicing sausage. First they out off a small slice. That isn’t worth fighting over. Then they take another small slice that isn’t worth fighting over. Then another and another. Finally, all you have left is the string and that isn’t worth fighting over, either.