UC Davis Students Sue School Over "Pepper-Spray Cop" Incident

We all remember UC Davis' pepper-spray cop, right? (The cop who launched a thousand memes.)

This week we learned that 19 current and former UC Davis students have filed a lawsuit against the university "to determine why the University violated the demonstrators’ state and federal constitutional rights and seeks to result in better policies that will prevent repetition of such response to a non-violent protest," according to the ACLU of Northern California, which is helping the students with the suit. More details from the ACLU:

The lawsuit charges that Administration officials and the campus police department failed to properly train and supervise officers, resulting in series of constitutional violations against the demonstrators....

The lawsuit notes that the University’s response to seated student protesters amounts to unacceptable and excessive force that violates state and federal constitutional protections, including the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution....

Documents subsequently received from the University of California indicate that the pepper spray used was military grade and, based on manufacturer instructions should be used from a minimum of six feet away – much farther than the close range at which the students were sprayed.

“This was my first demonstration. So many of my friends can barely make ends meet and then another tuition hike was proposed," said one of the plaintiffs, David Buscho, who had trouble breathing after being pepper-sprayed in the face that day. "We had no idea there would be police in riot gear or that we would be pepper-sprayed because we were making our voices heard."

AlterNet / By Lauren Kelley

Posted at February 23, 2012, 6:24am

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