SAN FRANCISCO — Campus police should not have pepper-sprayed student demonstrators at the University of California, Davis, in an incident that generated national outrage when video was posted online, investigators said Wednesday in a report that assigned blame to all levels of the school administration.
The decision by officers to douse a line of seated Occupy protesters with the eye-stinging chemical was "objectively unreasonable" and not authorized by campus policy, according to the report by a UC Davis task force created to investigate the incident.
"The pepper-spraying incident that took place on Nov. 18, 2011, should and could have been prevented," the task force concluded in the long-awaited report.
The chemical crackdown prompted campus protests and calls for the resignation of Chancellor Linda Katehi after videos shot by witnesses went viral. Images of an officer casually spraying orange pepper-spray in the faces of nonviolent protesters became a rallying point for the Occupy Wall Street movement.
In a statement Wednesday, Katehi said school administrators would study the report's recommendations and develop a detailed response and action plan "that will ensure that students' safety and free speech rights are paramount."