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UC Davis Occupy Wall Street Update & Recap

DAVIS, Calif.—The University of California, Davis has placed its police chief and two officers on administrative leave, after campus officers pepper-sprayed students at a Friday demonstration supporting Occupy Wall Street.

Administrators said they placed Chief Annette Spicuzza on leave as “a necessary step toward restoring trust on our campus,” UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi, said in a statement.

The school has also placed two unidentified officers involved in the incident on paid leave. Lt. Matt Carmichael has been named interim chief. 

At the Friday protest, video shows officers in riot gear spraying seated protesters at close range. The protesters were seated and had locked arms so that police could not get through to the Occupy Wall Street encampment. Ten individuals were arrested after they refused to take down their tents.

The encampment was erected again on Monday. A university spokeswoman said the school was monitoring the protest but didn’t say if the students would be allowed to camp overnight, reports the Associated Press.

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. Katehi also formed a task force Monday to conduct a campus review.

Higher up the chain of command, UC President Mark G. Yudof called for a system-wide review of campus law enforcement, saying he was appalled by the incident.

“As I have said before, free speech is part of the DNA of this university, and non-violent protest has long been central to our history,” Yudof said. “It is a value we must protect with vigilance. I implore students who wish to demonstrate to do so in a peaceful and lawful fashion. I expect campus authorities to honor that right.”

Read Yudof’s statement.

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