What Really Happened At The "Occupy" UC Davis Confrontation

By ADAM CASTLE, Davis College Republicans

December 12, 2011 - San Francisco, CA - PipeLineNews.org - On Friday, November 18, 2011 UC Davis [UCD] Police were called on campus to remove tents from the UC Davis Quad, where members of Occupy UC Davis had set up their tents in protest of tuition increases. These encampments violate UC Davis' university policies, even in the context of a peaceful protest.

The police, there at Chancellor Katehi's request, issued a warning to the protesters saying that if they did not take down their tents they would be arrested and face legal repercussions. Some of the protesters took the hint, broke down their camps and didn't have to deal with the police any further. Others however decided to defy the police request. The police had no other choice but to arrest them and break down their tents.

With the tents being torn down and with the protesters who had failed to comply with the police's requests detained, that should have been the end but, it wasn't.

The protesters instead decided to surround the police who were just about finished taking down the tents and demanded their fellow protesters be set free. The police patiently waited for the protesters to get bored, break ranks and then release them and those already detained. During this time protesters chanted "cops off campus" and "from Davis, to Greece, fuck the police!" and delivered this chilling ultimatum: "If you let them [the detained protesters] go, we will let you leave; if you let them go, we will continue to protest peacefully!" While all of this was going on the protesters - who ultimately were pepper sprayed - can be seen putting on hoods, covering their heads and putting their faces down, contradicting their later statements that they were completely surprised and unprepared when the police pepper sprayed them. These students knew exactly what was next if they persisted.

With the conflict escalating and law enforcement seemingly caught in a catch-22, Lt. Pike went over to one of the protesters in charge and spoke with him. Though the audio doesn't make clear exactly what the officer said, it can be easily inferred that he told the protester something to the effect that "if you don't move we will have to move you." This inference is based off the protester's response of "that's fine. Go ahead, go ahead." After this, Lt. Pike took a can of pepper spray out and visibly started shaking it so that the protesters could see what he was preparing to do. After shaking the can of pepper spray for about a minute he sprayed a group of protesters who were barring the police from exiting. As the mist of orange pepper spray left the nozzle of its container pandemonium erupted, thus sparking a national controversy.

In the aftermath of this event, Chancellor Katehi has been asked to resign. A petition, with well over 100,000 names has been collected calling for her resignation. The police force on campus is now hated, delegitimized for merely doing its job. The Occupy UC Davis movement gained momentum and has continued to capitalize on this - breaking the law with impunity. They have intimidated the police, stopping them from dismantling the encampment and halting their more confrontational tactics, which include going into lecture halls and disrupting classes.

The narrative the handful of protesters have presented - claiming police brutality - subverts the truth and misdirects the public's opinion in their favor.

These are not protesters; they are architects, architects of that which they protest. They, who hypocritically break the law in the name of justice, resist the police in the name of civility, and lie to advance their own selfish agenda. They take over administration buildings such as Dutton Hall and interfere with classes, all in the name of education. They are attempting to discredit our police force in the name of safety and lastly are creating general mayhem across UC Davis claiming to be my voice, to be my representative.

They are not.

What these protesters have done is defy police, ignore the law and become the beneficiaries of their misdeeds at the expense of the truth, at the expense of the Chancellor's reputation, law enforcement's requirement to maintain order and the right of the overwhelming majority of students to obtain the education for which they are paying.

Though it is important to ask questions about whether the police were right or wrong, this can only be fairly done with a full account of the events being taken into consideration. The media by and large has distorted this event in favor of the protesters to create headlines. In the main they have ignored the truth.

I find it abhorrent that this movement has stooped so low in order to garner support. So far only the Davis College Republicans have been trying to get the other side out regarding the November 18, 2011 incident. As a member of the communications committee I applaud, support, and have contributed to their efforts which have been led by chairman, Marcus Shibler, and his team. Having read this I encourage you watch the footage that the Davis College Republicans have released and decide for yourself.

Full, 30 minute unedited video of protest.

To conclude, though the iconic image of Lt. Pike spraying protesters is something no parent or student wants to see happen at a public university, the outrage toward the police and sympathy for the protesters both substantially diminish when the full account of what happened is taken into consideration.

The members of the Occupy UC Davis who were sprayed knew what they were getting themselves into and knew how to manipulate a media obsessed with shock and awe stories. They may have started out with a worthy cause, bringing attention to the defects in public education which result in seemingly ever-increasing tuition fees, but they forgot their purpose for protesting, getting side-tracked by their own personal ambitions for the spotlight. Their selfishness should not be rewarded, not with so much riding on them being the victims.

They are not the victims, they are the perpetrators.

©2011 Adam Castle. All rights reserved.