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Police chief placed on administrative leave

November 21, 2011

UC Davis announced today that the chief of the campus Police Department had been placed on administrative leave pending a review of officers' use of pepper spray against protesters. UC Davis Lt. Matt Carmichael will serve as interim police chief.

“As I have gathered more information about the events that took place on our Quad on Friday, it has become clear to me that this is a necessary step toward restoring trust on our campus,” said UC Davis Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi.

“I take full responsibility for the events on Friday and am extremely saddened by what occurred,” Katehi added. “I eagerly await the results of the review, and intend to act quickly to implement reforms that will safeguard the rights of our students, faculty and staff to engage in nonviolent protest.”

On Sunday, Katehi also called on the Yolo County district attorney’s office to investigate the Police Department’s use of force. The district attorney agreed to conduct a review in collaboration with the Yolo County sheriff's office.

In a letter to Police Department staff, Vice Chancellor John Meyer said that the decision to place Chief Annette Spicuzza on administrative leave was necessary to allow "a fact-based review of events, assist in calming the community environment, and allow the department to focus on its current and substantial demands."

Today, Katehi will initiate the creation of a task force to conduct the campus review. The task force will convene immediately and will be asked to issue its recommendations within 30 days.

The chancellor also plans to hold a series of meetings and forums with students, faculty and staff to listen to their concerns and hear their ideas for restoring civil discourse to the campus.

“The events last Friday do not represent the UC Davis community we all aspire to be members of,” Katehi said. “The safety of our students and their ability to express themselves are paramount as we strive to create the best possible learning environment.”

On Sunday, two police officers who were videotaped deploying pepper spray against seated protesters were also placed on administrative leave.

Ten protesters were arrested Friday in connection with an overnight encampment of about 25 tents on the campus Quad. University policy prohibits overnight camping. The protesters were cited and released on misdemeanor charges of unlawful assembly and failure to disperse.

Videotapes showed officers spraying seated protesters with pepper spray following the arrests.

Eleven protesters were treated on site for the effects of the pepper spray, including two who were taken to a nearby hospital, where they were treated and released.

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