Occupy Sacramento lawyers urge prosecution of UC Davis police

Lt. John “Pepper Spray” Pike, assaulting peaceful UC Davis protesters

by Dan Bacher

Occupy Sacramento lawyers announced Friday afternoon they were “not surprised” UC Davis students arrested in the infamous “pepper spraying incident” in November were not charged by the Yolo County District Attorney – and they emphasized that it’s time the police officers at UC Davis are prosecuted.

District Attorney Jeff Reisig announced today that there was “insufficient information” contained within the police reports submitted by the UC Davis Police Department to justify the filing of criminal charges against those individuals arrested during the November 18, 2011, confrontation with UC Davis Police during the “Occupy UC Davis” protest.

“Based on this determination the District Attorney will not be filing charges against the protesters,” according to Reisig. “The District Attorney’s examination into the pepper spraying of the protesters is ongoing.”

Jeff Kravitz, one of the many pro bono/volunteer lawyers working with Occupy Sacramento, said today’s announcement by the Yolo County District Attorney follows a pattern of county DAs refusing to prosecute after arrests by police at Occupy events, including those in Sacramento.

“I am not surprised at all,” said Kravitz. “These are peaceful, nonviolent demonstrators. In Sacramento, we have veterans, workers and students defending the First Amendment and being arrested. None of them should be prosecuted.”

“Now is the time to prosecute the real lawbreakers – the police officers at UC Davis who violated the students’ rights,” said Kravitz.

There have been 110 arrests at Occupy Sacramento since October at Cesar Chavez Park, according to Cres Vellucci of Occupy Sacramento. The Sacramento District Attorney refused to file charges in any of them. The City of Sacramento filed some charges, but has not successfully prosecuted any of them. Twenty-two cases remain of the 110 arrests.

A video of the police pepper spraying and arrests of the students became viral and spread throughout the world, becoming an international symbol of police abuse and brutality against the Occupy movement. The video, has been viewed 2,451,074 times to date.

The still photo of Lt. John Pike pepper spraying students has now become an iconic image of the Occupy Wall Street movement. During the protest at UC Davis, Pike was filmed walking in front of seated student protesters, blasting pepper spray into their faces. The students had interlocked arms to prevent officers from taking them away.

For more information, contact Cres Vellucci, 916-996-9170, news0058 [at] comcast.net

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