Officers in pepper spray incident put on leave

CBS News

Two University of California, Davis police officers involved in pepper-spraying seated protesters are being placed on administrative leave as the chancellor of the school accelerates the investigation into the incident.

UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi on Sunday said she has been inundated with reaction over the incident, in which an officer dispassionately fires pepper spray on a line of sitting demonstrators.

Video of the incident was circulated widely on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter on Saturday, in which protesters flinch and cover their faces but remain passive with their arms interlocked, as onlookers shriek and scream out for the officer to stop.

The university’s faculty association called on Katehi to resign, saying in a letter there had been a “gross failure of leadership.”

Katehi said she takes “full responsibility for the incident” but has resisted calls for her resignation, instead pledging to take actions to make sure “that this does not happen again.”

At a news conference Saturday, Katehi said what the video shows is, “sad and really very inappropriate.”

“I do not think that I have violated the policies of the institution,” she said. “I have worked personally very hard to make this campus a safe campus for all.”

However, a law enforcement official who watched the clip called the use of force “fairly standard police procedure.”

Katehi remained in a media room for more than two hours after the news conference Saturday, eventually walking to an SUV past a group of students nearly three blocks long who, in a coordinated effort, remained completely silent. The Sacramento Bee said.

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