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Outcry after pepper spraying of UC Davis protesters

DAVIS — Protesters sitting on the ground supporting the Occupy Wall Street movement on the campus of the University of California, Davis took a face full of pepper spray at close range from an officer in riot gear in an incident that was captured on cellphone video and spread virally across the Internet Saturday.

UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi described the video images as "chilling" and said she was forming a task force to investigate even as a faculty group called for her resignation because of the Friday police action.

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

In the video, an officer dispassionately pepper-sprays a line of several sitting protesters who flinch and cover their faces but remain passive with their arms interlocked as onlookers shriek and scream out for the officer to stop.

"The use of the pepper spray as shown on the video is chilling to us all and raises many questions about how best to handle situations like this," Chancellor Linda Katehi said in a message posted on the school's website Saturday.


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