Why is the UC Davis Chancellor near resigning for pepper spraying her students, but the San Diego Mayor is not even questioned for pepper spraying his constituents?

by on November 22, 2011 · 5 comments

in Civil Rights, San Diego

San Diego Police Officer pepper sprays peaceful demonstrator.

Calls for the resignation of UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi  have not quieted down despite her public apology on Monday for pepper spraying by campus police of  peaceful, non-violent student demonstrators last Friday, November 18th.  In fact today – this afternoon – there will be a “town hall” meeting on the campus to discuss the incident, and she has been invited.

The UC Davis Faculty Association called for her resignation, as videos of the pepper spraying went viral. These calls have resonated with student leaders, who have also called on the Chancellor to step down.  The campus police chief and two of the primary officers involved have all been placed on administrative leave with pay.

Officer Pepper Spray shakes his can for another squirt at another non-violent demonstrator.

The entire episode has caused tremendous reverberations throughout the UC system, the State University system, college campuses in general, and is resulting in a critical look at the militarization of college police across the country.

The UC Davis Chancellor is definitely nearing resigning. It could be just days – or even hours away.

Meanwhile, hundreds of miles south of UC Davis, here in San Diego, Mayor Jerry Sanders quietly goes about the business of each day, without being disturbed by our local mainstream media questioning him on his ordering of the pepper spraying of  his constituents at a Occupy San Diego encampment last month.

On October 14th, San Diego Police – in literally the shadow of City Hall and the Mayor’s office – raided the San Diego encampment at the Civic Center Plaza. Tents and personal belongings were trashed by police, there were 2 arrests that day – but significantly, several peaceful protesters were pepper sprayed by an officer. (The OB Rag called him “Officer Blondie”.)

Occupy San Diego demonstrators lock arms and prepare to non-violently resist police efforts to dismantle their tents.

Police Chief Lansdowne was present that day, afterall he is the chief. But Mayor Jerry Sanders is the top executive (and former police chief) and is presumably gave the order to use pepper spray. But nothing has happened to him since. It’s been over a month since the incident, and no local established media – except some wily blogs – have successfully raised any questions about the Mayor’s handling of the incident. We have definitely not seen on any TV station, a bevy of reporters forcing microphones in front of him, asking questions about the incident.

Not only have there been no serious attempts by local mainstream media to ask the Mayor tough questions about the incident – but nothing has been raised about the entire history of the relationship of the City to the Occupy San Diego demonstrators.  Occupy San Diego has been at the Plaza since October 8th. And the Mayor has never met with them or their representatives.

Yes, of course, a chancellor is a chancellor and a mayor is a mayor. And it’s difficult to make a comparison.

But the contrast between these two incidents is so stark, it stands out like a gust of reddish pepper spray against a background of young student faces.

On one hand, you have the chancellor of a state-run and financed institution of higher learning, a campus with 30,000 students and thousands more of faculty, staff, and other employees.  On the other hand, you have the publicly-elected mayor of a major city with 1.5 million residents.

And on one hand, you have the chancellor near resigning, and on the other, you have a mayor not even questioned.

Not only that, we have other serious questions to ask the mayor and to date – he has not responded.  How much has the Police Department spent on monitoring, harassing and arresting non-violent protesters?

And importantly, what are the police officers – the dozen to twenty who are at the Plaza on a daily basis – NOT doing while they are patrolling the occupiers? What neighborhoods are not being patrolled and what crimes are they not solving?

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Andrew Ian Murphy November 22, 2011 at 3:03 pm

I just want to reiterate what has been said by many others already; that being that this sort of police repression is not legal at all. The Plaza is a public space and is publicly owned, and so why is it that the citizens who wish to use it are barred from doing so? The first admendment guarantees our right to assemble, so why does the San Diego police get to tell us we can’t?????????????


avatar BOBOB November 22, 2011 at 3:21 pm

cops are cowards


avatar OB Dude November 22, 2011 at 7:21 pm

The cops are loving “occupy”, because they are rolling in overtime pay!!! Authorize pepper spray….. why is the chief of police taking police authorizing all these cops to monitor occupy taking them away from communities where crimes are occuring? Maybe the same reason SD police used to bomard their presence in OB when there was a Starbucks presence…just because they can!


avatar Sunshine November 23, 2011 at 8:38 am

come on folks, isn’t it apparent that Sanders allied himself with the 1% long, long ago? why act so surprised when these things happen here. until he and his henchmen are ousted by election, nothing will change in San Diego.


avatar Anna Daniels November 23, 2011 at 1:29 pm

From the IRONY department (not satire)- The US State Dept issued this statement yesterday about the violence in Egypt:

“We condemn the excessive force used by the police, and we strongly urge the Egyptian Government to exercise maximum restraint, to discipline its forces, and to protect the universal rights of all Egyptians to peacefully express themselves,” she said. “While all parties in Egypt need to remain committed to nonviolence, we believe that the Egyptian government has a particular responsibility to restrain security forces and to allow the Egyptian people to peacefully express themselves.”

Do you think that restraint might work here too???????


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