UC Davis Occupy protesters pepper sprayed by police (VIDEO)



A still from a video showing a UC-Davis police officer spraying protesters with pepper spray.

SAN FRANCISCO -- Videos surfaced Saturday of seated Occupy protesters at University of California, Davis being pepper sprayed by campus police, reported the Associated Press. The videos went viral over the weekend, prompting outraged comments across traditional and social media outlets.

The UC Davis Chancellor called the video "chilling" and vowed she would set up a task force to look into the incident that occured on Friday, according to CNN.

According to the Sacramento Bee, the Davis Faculty Association has called for Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi's resignation, as well as hundreds of students and protesters who gathered outside the building where she held a press conference Saturday night. She did not leave the building for more than two hours after the press conference.

Two university police officers were put on indefinite leave Sunday, reported USA Today. University spokesperson Claudia Morain said they were the only two officers who officials recognized as using the pepper spray on students.

Katehi posted on the UC Davis website an open letter to the campus community expressing her dismay over the events:

Through this letter, I express my sadness for the events of this past Friday, and my commitment to redouble our efforts to improve our campus and the environment for our students.

She added that the task force would produce a report within 90 days. Ten students were arrested during the incident.

One of several videos posted to YouTube shows campus police spraying a line of seated protesters with pepper spray twice. The protesters covered their faces but remained sitting down and peaceful. Police then began to arrest them, as students shouted at the police to stop.

The Washington Post reported that the students were protesting in solidarity with the overall Occupy Wall Street movement and the UC Berkeley protesters who clashed with police on Nov. 9.

More from GlobalPost: Police clash with Occupy Cal protesters at UC Berkeley

The student protesters began to pitch tents on Thursday and were reportedly warned the university on Friday that they were in violation of university policies, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The Sacramento Bee reported that Annette Spicuzza, head of university police, reportedly said the police were forced to use pepper spray once the students surrounded them. The Bee added that one protester said far greater number of protesters will return to the square on Monday. 

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