Cop's Pepper-Spraying Antics Go Viral Online

2 Oct 2006
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United Kingdom
I hadn't realised the Village People had such a big following (read 'fat' doughnut munchers), within the American police force! It's that or they've signed up to the 'Movember' thing.

I have no allegiance either way on this but I fail to see why they wanted to move on a bunch of kids sitting on the ground. Setting up a camp site's a bit different but sitting on the ground? Police the world over seem over zealous when it comes to using their weapons... oops, I mean personal protection/crowd control kit.

A "chilling" video showing a police officer pepper-spraying Occupy Wall Street protesters as they sat calmly on the ground at a US university has gone viral on the internet.

The footage, which was circulated on YouTube, captured the policeman walking up and down the line of protesters and spraying into their faces at close range.

The officer's reaction prompted immediate outrage among faculty and students.

Onlookers screamed out for the officer to stop before chanting "shame on you" as the protesters on the ground were handcuffed and led away.

The incident happened at the University of California campus in Davis, about 80 miles (130km) north of San Francisco, on Friday.

The university's chancellor, Linda Katehi, described the video as "chilling" and said she was forming a task force to investigate - despite calls for her to step down.

In a message posted on the school's website she added that it "raises many questions about how best to handle situations like this".

Many Twitter and Facebook comments supported the students and criticised the response. Actress Mia Farrow tweeted that it was a "stomach-churning" video.

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

University spokeswoman Karen Nikos said nine people hit by pepper spray were treated at the scene, while another two were taken to hospitals and later released. Ten people were arrested.

Police actions have been in the spotlight as officers clash with the thousands of people who have been holding protests and marches in cities across the world as part of the Occupy Wall Street movement for the past two months.

So much so, in the days after the forcible Oakland protest eviction in the US last month, police chiefs and mayors held conference calls to discuss containment strategies.

It was decided that police departments would turn to pepper spray to try to quell large crowds as opposed to rubber bullets and tear gas.

Supporters of the Occupy Wall Street movement say they are upset that billions of dollars in bailouts given to banks during the recession allowed them to make huge profits again, while average Americans have suffered from high unemployment and rising costs as the economy struggles to recover.
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