Note: Check back Thursday for video and more coverage.
The introduction of the Reynoso Task Force Report pretty much sums it up the pepper spray findings:
“Our overriding conclusion can be stated briefly and explicitly. The pepper spraying incident that took place on November 18, 2011 should and could have been prevented.”
Just about everything else in the report exists to prop up those 26 words. That’s probably why Former California Supreme Court Associate Justice Cruz Reynoso began Wednesday night’s presentation by reading them to the crowd.
THE LACK OF A CLEAR PLAN
“It’s very important to know who’s in charge and what’s to be done,” Reynoso said of the UC Davis incident of Nov. 18. “The process did not work on this occasion.”
He said the task force found missteps from top to bottom: From Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi and Chief Annette Spicuzza to Lt. John Pike and the entire leadership team that convened to discuss how to approach the protesters.
“They did have a plan, but that plan was inadequate,” Reynoso said. “But even that inadequate plan was not followed.”
The task force also concluded that there was no reason to use pepper spray.
“This conclusion is buttressed by the facts that the MK-9 was not an authorized weapon under UCDPD guidelines and that UCDPD officers were not trained in its use,” the report said.
RETHINKING THE IDEA OF ON-CAMPUS POLICE
There were several mentions of the need to rethink the current model for campus police. Reynoso said that it’s not right to approach campus policing the way a traditional city would. The needs on campus, he said, are quite different. The panel discussed the creation of a model that could be replicated by other schools.
He specifically named Aggie Hosts, which are non-sworn, student security officers who provide a variety of public safety services to the campus. Although one student said into the microphone that all Aggie Hosts carry pepper spray, UC Davis assured us that that is actually not true.
They mainly provide free security escorts and other security services for students, faculty, staff and campus visitors. They also work events, including Wednesday night’s presentation.
Reynoso casually described the possibility of a police force at UC Davis that consists of fewer police officers, supplemented by a larger team of well-trained Aggie Hosts. Regardless of the future model, he said that better training and a sharper understanding of the university’s law enforcement needs would be important.
REMOVAL OF POLICE ALTOGETHER?
Still, as has been the case since the very beginning, several students called for a complete removal of campus police altogether.
“It’s a simple solution,” said Edward Geoffrey Wildanger, who is being charged with a misdemeanor for protests at US Bank. “Eliminate the police.”
Reynoso and another Task Force members responded to the public comment by pointing out that many students, staff and faculty don’t want police off campus, and that those opinions need to be considered as well. They also brought up some students’ desire to have police nearby in case of rape or other violent crime.
We’ll have more on the suggestion that police should be removed tomorrow. We’ll also have stories on the following:
- Katehi's future. “Katehi's not going anywhere,” said one Task Force member.
- The future of Lt. Pike.
- Varying viewpoints on how campus protests should be handled.
- Video from Wednesday’s presentation.
- A tendency among police officers to “protect one another,” which Reynoso called a “bunker mentality.”
To follow our coverage of the pepper spray report: