When USLaw.com brought to the World’s attention the first deployment of pepper spray against Occupy Wall Street participants on September 24th, the use was quick, covert, and swept under the rug by the New York Police Department. Nearly two months later the weapon has become a preferred tactic of police departments nationwide. Yesterday, the a University of California police department, under the direction of University Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi, deployed personal spray canisters openly, notoriously, and directly at close quarters on over two dozen passive demonstrators in full view of hundreds. Many observers noted how John Pike, the police lieutenant seen in the photo above, used the weapon in as casual a manner as one might spray their lawn.
UC Davis English Professor Nathan Brown describes the deployment and resulting injuries:
Police used batons to try to push the students apart. Those they could separate, they arrested, kneeling on their bodies and pushing their heads into the ground. Those they could not separate, they pepper-sprayed directly in the face, holding these students as they did so. When students covered their eyes with their clothing, police forced open their mouths and pepper-sprayed down their throats. Several of these students were hospitalized. Others are seriously injured. One of them, forty-five minutes after being pepper-sprayed down his throat, was still coughing up blood.
While traditionally pepper spray was only authorized for use by most police forces on resisting subjects and/or to thwart imminent harm, mounting evidence suggests Close Quarter Pepper Spray Deployment (CQPSD) has become a deliberate and favored tactic of police departments seeking to arrest passive demonstrators and intimidate would-be demonstrators.