Rather than being victims of police brutality, a new video shows that Occupiers at UC Davis knew they were going to be pepper sprayed and didn’t mind it. Indeed, the new video evidence indicates that the entire confrontation with the police was staged for the benefit of the media, which took the bait and ran with it, making police out to be cruel and heartless villains. The new video evidence demonstrates that the police had not only warned the protesters in advance about what was going to happen but one demonstrator says to the police, “You’re shooting us?” and, after getting an affirmative answer, replies, “That’s fine.” Another tells her comrades, “Keep your eyes closed.” Several are seen covering their faces.
Despite misleading stories about the “peaceful protest” at UC Davis, the campus police had been ordered by Chancellor Linda Katehi to remove the protesters using pepper spray, determined to be the best way to do so without causing long-lasting physical injuries, because they had erected an illegal tent city on campus and were blocking a sidewalk. The police could have used batons, like they did during an earlier confrontation at UC Berkeley, but that was ruled out by the UC Davis campus police chief. The video shows the police holding and shaking the pepper spray canisters during a time period of several minutes. They gave the protesters more than enough time to disperse.
On his NBC Nightly News broadcast, NBC’s Brian Williams had called the lawbreakers “kids” and implied that parents should be outraged over their treatment. There is no evidence, however, that these “kids” being sprayed on the sidewalk were all students. Chancellor Katehi said in a statement that non-students had been active on campus and part of the protests. Indeed, these non-students were undoubtedly the organizers of the affair.
As Brian Williams should know, since he claims to be so concerned about parents and their “kids” on campus, safety is a top priority because of the ability of outsiders to enter the grounds and threaten or assault students. Crime on campus is a major issue for parents and young people looking for a safe educational environment. Under these circumstances, it would have been utter dereliction of duty for any college or university president to condone what the Occupiers were doing at UC Davis. That is why Katehi ordered the tent city dismantled and the protesters evicted.
Despite the numerous stories about alleged police brutality, which have led to putting the campus police chief and two officers on leave, there is no evidence the police did anything wrong. The operations plan used by UC Davis included the use of pepper spray. The police followed acceptable procedures.
The public should be quickly educated by the media about what is really going on here. The so-called Occupy movement, underway for several months now, is based on seizing public and private property. Since the public has demanded that the protesters be evicted from these spaces, and many mayors are ordering the police to do so, the leaders have decided to move on to college campuses. UC Berkeley and UC Davis were some of the first targets.
The effort to discredit the police is an old Marxist tactic, designed to lay the groundwork for larger mob actions. Congressional investigations were held in the 1960s into how communists foment riots and disturbances. The aim is to demonize and then paralyze the police. Since members of the Democratic Socialists of America have discussed plans to take over city halls and state capitals in the next several months, we can see that the stakes are rising as the Occupy movement gets more violent and confrontational over time. This is the time to support the police, not undermine their ability to preserve law and order.
Ominously, writer and analyst Tina Trent notes that some people at the Occupy Oakland encampment erected signs in honor of cop-killer Lovelle Mixon. One website in defense of the occupiers is called “Targeting the cops” and calls officers “pigs” and “gestapo.”
Part of this effort involves making sure the media follow the story line that the police are at fault. In a new publicity stunt, the Occupiers and their media allies have been attacking Megyn Kelly of Fox News for discussing the incident at UC Davis and supposedly calling pepper spray a “food product” and playing down its effects. A much-publicized petition was launched to get Kelly to “eat or drink a full dose of pepper spray on national television.”
It doesn’t take a visit to the campus library to determine that pepper spray is a non-lethal agent derived from peppers, as the name implies. What Kelly actually said was that it was a “derivative of actual pepper and a food product essentially.” She went on to say that the nature of the substance was “beside the point” because of its potential impact and that it was “abrasive and intrusive” to those getting exposed to it. So there was no effort to play down the nature of what happened. She pointed out that some of those exposed to the spray went to the hospital, although any injuries they may have suffered are a matter of dispute. The effects of pepper spray are usually temporary and can be washed away with water.
The point of the pepper spray was to get the demonstrators, who had erected an illegal tent city on campus, to leave. They were interfering with the rights of students on campus to get an education and be safe while doing so.
What the leftists really find offensive about Megyn Kelly’s comments is the fact that she defended the police, who used the pepper spray for the purpose of making it easier to remove the protesters. She noted that, from a legal standpoint, the cops can argue that they acted appropriately and did not use excessive force. Pepper spray was used to avoid a more physical confrontation with the people locked arm-in-arm on the sidewalk. Pepper spray is considered a more humanitarian way of dealing with lawbreakers. Batons could have been used as well.
Kelly is being singled out because she defended the police, not because she noted the organic roots of pepper spray. In this regard, it is fascinating that so many modern-day “progressives” are on the side of the lawbreakers and not the police, many of whom are members of a public sector union. The police should take note of this.
Kelly, who has her own program on Fox News, can defend and speak for herself. But one of the UC Davis police offers placed on leave for his entirely appropriate role in the incident now finds himself under attack, including by the online hacker group called Anonymous. This group, which is under FBI investigation for illegal cyber-attacks on various private and governmental Internet sites, posted a video publicizing the officer’s home address, e-mail address and home and cellphone numbers. The video has since been removed by YouTube “as a violation of YouTube’s policy prohibiting hate speech.”
This should serve as a reminder that the police are the ones being victimized.
According to press reports, the officer under attack in this case is a former Marine sergeant who defended his country and was defending the UC Davis campus from outside agitators. Our media like to pretend they sympathize with those who defend our country, but those defending college campuses from unruly mobs are being sacrificed for a story line that justifies lawlessness and the takeover of institutions of higher learning. It is time for the facts to be told.
Cliff Kincaid is the Director of the AIM Center for Investigative Journalism, and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org