I propose an update on our, occupycal’s list of demands.
On Friday Nov. 18th students at UC Davis were peacefully protesting, in solidarity with UCB, at their Occupation. They were protecting their encampment on the quad by linking arms and sitting down around where their tents were. Like what happened at UCB on 11/9, UCPD brutally assaulted the students who were not threatening or provoking them; this time with obscene amounts of pepper spray, sprayed directly in their faces. There are even reports of students’ mouths’ being forced open by UCPD’s Lt. Pike and pepper spray being blasted down their throats, causing some to be still coughing up blood 45 minutes later. Others were hospitalized with chemical burns.
This is the latest of far too many examples of outrageous brutality shown by police forces nationally when cracking down on peaceful Occupation (OWS, the 99%) protests. It is clear that without immediate and severe sanctions against these offending officers and policies, they will continue their unconstitutional viciousness on the peaceful that are assembling to redress their grievances.
Therefore I am proposing an update to Occupy Cal’s list of demands, to strongly discourage further police attacks.
1. 1. ONE: In solidarity with UCD, Occupy Cal at UCB should also call for the resignation of Katehi.
2. 2. TWO: The call for the immediate arrest of Lt. John Pike and incarceration without bail for aggravated assault and possible attempted manslaughter.
3. 3. THREE: The disbanding of the UCPD by no later than Feb 1st 2012, at the start of the planned UCB sustained student strikes.
The first should be self explanatory.
The second: If we as a society do not hold our peace officers accountable for the violence they commit, we will not have a system of justice but one of vigilantism. By allowing Lt. John Pike to escape the full measure of the law for his heinous crimes, we are sending a strong message to all other violent police, or other peoples in positions of “authority” that they are free and protected to continue to violate and brutalize the public. Consider that the pepper spray abusing NYPD officer Tony Bologna, for assaulting four nonthreatening young women with that sprayed chemical agent at an OWS protest was held “accountable” internally: He lost ten vacation days. By not calling for Lt. Pike’s immediate arrest in this obvious case of sociopathic cruelty, we are not only enabling our abusers, but aiding and abetting them. We as a people, as the 99%, are better than this.
The third: The UCPD has constantly served not for the safety of the students, but at the behest of their masters in the 1%. At every chance to show humanity and a gentle touch when dealing with peaceful protesters, they have shown brutality, batons, pepper spray and an iron fist.
The correct action to take when witnessing your fellow officers beat peaceful protesters with batons or douse them with chemical agents isn’t to join in, or even to stand aside and watch. It is their duty, as peace officers, to tackle and subdue the violent, illegally acting cops and put them in handcuffs. That there hasn’t been one instance of the “good” cop protecting the 99% protesters from the violence and that no arrests of police officers have been made in these instances over the past months, proves that this isn’t merely a case of a few bad apples rising to the surface, but that it is systemic. This must be clearly addressed now. And disbanding the UCPD by Feb 1st would be a start.
Let me remind all of you that the USA is one of the few democracies in the world that allow police on campuses at all. Most foreign campuses are sanctuaries of learning in that regard.
Also, armed police on campus does not equal safety. Two examples that make this clear are that there were armed police present on the school grounds of Columbine High in 1999, and Virginia Tech in 2007: neither prevented the massacres that tragically transpired.
Let’s take these steps to make sure that school be about higher education for the 99% again, and not about sustained systemic police brutality.