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Video: Police pepper-spray passive students

Discussion in 'Society and Culture' started by Greg, Nov 19, 2011.

  1. Greg

    Greg Full Member

    source article: CBS/AP, Nov. 19, 2011

    I think this is an inappropriate use of the tactic of pepper spray, using it on passive subjects. The officers spraying the demonstrators look like some homeowner spraying pesky insects.

    I'm not in favor of the demonstrators or their message but this just doesn't seem right to me. If the officers want to move the demonstrators they should declare an illegal assembly and then arrest protesters who do not disperse.
    1 person likes this.
  2. cmhbob

    cmhbob Did...did I do that? Staff Member

    We don't see what happened just prior to the pepper spray. I suspect based on what I know of police crowd control tactics that the protestors were indeed told they needed to move on, and that they refused.

    It's very convenient that the video starts right as the spray does. Doesn't show anything the protestors might have done.

    Pepper spray is an acceptable way to gain compliance from people who refuse to cooperate with lawful direction of police officers.

    What should the cops have done to gain control?
  3. Arc

    Arc Full Member

    I not know the fact or details of the scene picture you posted and have no opinion. I neither condemn or support any action that wast taken. Speaking about cops in general and not referring to any members of Global Affairs it is an absolute fact set in stone as sure as the sun rises and set that if you give cops a certain tool of any kind but specifically a weapon they will use or at times misuse it. (Just read the non-biased studies on police use of Taser weapons.) If you gave cops nukes they would use them. Unfortunately, not to say that all the weapons given to cops were a bad decision, just some of them, the main point for me is the lack of thought that goes into deciding whether or not to give police officers various tools or weapons. Then problems are sometimes created by lack of proper training and use of the tool and failure to discipline on willful misuse.

    When I did security supervision for AEG I had to talk management out of giving security officers and public safety officers pepper spray. To their credit once it was explained to them why it was a bad idea they concurred.
  4. Biker

    Biker Administrator Staff Member

    Amazing what happens when you get the full story.


    They were told to disperse and they refused. I see nothing wrong with the use of OC spray.
  5. Greg

    Greg Full Member

    I disagree. IMO the pepper spray would have been appropriate in the case of violent, active protesters, not passive protesters. Also, I think it's almost a sure thing the demonstrators were ordered to disperse. Let's assume for the sake of the argument that they were informed.

    Instead of spraying the demonstrators they should have been arrested. It seems reasonable to me to start arresting people and let the rest get out of the way if they didn't want to be arrested.

    I disagree that you have to use weapons (even non-lethal weapons) to control people, particularly in the case of non-violent people. Threat of arrest or arrest is all that should be needed to control them. If the demonstrators want to go to jail then it's fine with me to let them be taken in.
    1 person likes this.
  6. SixofNine

    SixofNine Jedi Sage Staff Member

    The whole world isn't watching.
  7. ethics

    ethics Pomp-Dumpster Staff Member

    So what would you do different? Remember you can't assign every cop in the force to move these guys.


    Edit: For the record I agree with you.

    PS. That's campus cops.
  8. cmhbob

    cmhbob Did...did I do that? Staff Member

    And what does "campus cops" have to do with it?
  9. ethics

    ethics Pomp-Dumpster Staff Member

    Nothing, just stating it.
  10. Greg

    Greg Full Member

    Bob I don't know what to say. If it were all about convenience then you and I and everybody knows the relative expense of .38 wad cutters. Remember, you and I do not disagree about the worthlessness of these protesters' ideas. Any disagreement we have is only about the means of police tactics.

    Maybe that's the point, that we don't have a sufficient quantity of police presence to simply overpower social protests. The protesters are exercising their First Amendment rights, and it would be chilling for the freedom of all if we just pepper spray them or just shoot them and bury them. I believe that is the whole point of social protests, to show the government that there is significant public resistance that the government has to recognize the validity of their right to expression.

    That does not mean we have to accept the validity of their cause, only that we recognize that the basis of our society is to recognize they have the right to express their dissent.

    My own opinion is that I don't agree with any of the messages the protesters are sending. I just don't like the idea of police spraying pepper spray into the eyes of people who are otherwise non-violent. I think they should get out the plastic cuffs and cart them all off to jail. Let the legal system sort it all out. That's what the legal system is for.
  11. Arc

    Arc Full Member

    Really supplies one with all the information you need to know:

    Crowd is passive. Police initiate force. Force escalates passivity to reaction, and reaction escalates to a level of violence or threat causing the police to retreat. Non protestors are hit by pepper spray. Dumb move.

    The boilerplate justification excuse that they had no choice made by the police chief:

    The police were “surrounded?” The students “were cutting the officers off from their support. It’s a very volatile situation.”

    Either she is talking about a different event raised by the OP or she is misinformed or she is a liar.
    1 person likes this.
  12. cmhbob

    cmhbob Did...did I do that? Staff Member

    The students were obstructing people from lawfully enjoying a public place.

    The police began with the lowest level of force possible: their presence.

    The students chose to continue to violate the law.

    Law enforcement then escalated to voice commands ("This is an illegal assembly. you need to leave" or words to that effect.)

    The students chose to continue to violate the law.

    Law enforcement then escalated to applying a chemical agent to make the students disperse. Their next step would have been impact weapons. You know: hitting people with hard things.

    What's the problem? This was a pretty textbook case of the use-of-force continuum.

    I don't want a "sufficient quantity of police presence to simply overpower social protests." That's a buttload of cops that California can't afford. Cali is broke, remember? How is a state school going to pay for "a sufficient quantity of police presence to simply overpower social protests?" How many cops comprise "a sufficient quantity of police presence to simply overpower social protests?" Where will they come from? Other departments? How many departments? How far away are they?

    Greg, you said, "Threat of arrest or arrest is all that should be needed to control them." What are cops supposed to do when "Threat of arrest or arrest" isn't enough to control them? Aren't cops then allowed to use the minimum force necessary to effect that arrest?

    And Leon, typically when people say "That's campus cops," or something along those lines, they're suggesting that campus cops aren't as good as "regular" cops. That's generally not true, and it's a sensitive point for me, because I was a campus cop. I trained to the same state standards as every other cop in Ohio.
  13. Copzilla

    Copzilla dangerous animal Staff Member

    Ready for it?

    "OMG, look at Officer Greg twisting this guy's arm behind his back, the guy is screaming in pain. He was just passively protesting interlocked with his fellow protesters, and Officer Greg moved in and utilizing extreme physical force twisted his arm, the guy is going to need doctor's treatment now. And the flex cuffs are too tight and bit into his wrists, look at that red mark!"

    Greg, you're advocating using force that is more probably going to cause injury than pepper spray.

    Now what? What do you do?
    1 person likes this.
  14. Greg

    Greg Full Member

    Jeez! You arrest them and place their hands in plastic cuffs and walk them or carry them off to the B wagon, and on to jail. I don't accept that you need to spray noxious chemicals into their faces.

    I do accept that violent protesters who are rioting need pepper spray, gas canisters or rubber bullets. These protesters weren't violent--they were passive as you can see in the video. If they were violent before the video started and then settled down to passiveness then the need for police aggressiveness already passed, and they should have been dealt with by less aggressive measures (cuffing and transporting).

    We disagree in that IMO the pepper spray was not necessary and was not an appropriate response.

    STFU before I pepper spray you! :) ;) ;) :D
  15. Copzilla

    Copzilla dangerous animal Staff Member

    Also, I want to point out what pepper spray is. It is absolutely nothing but an irritant. It is non-lethal; don't make it out to be some horrible horrible thing that is horrible, and maims people for life. Those students are just fine, after what is probably a much needed shower.

    What are the students doing? An irritant. How did the cops respond? With an irritant. Big deal.
  16. Greg

    Greg Full Member

    Useless conjecture, unless you're considering having sex with them. How about sticking to the topic?

    I don't know that even your assumption that they were students is reality based. Unless you know otherwise all we know is that they were protesters, nothing more than that, and no indication about their state of bodily cleanliness.
  17. Copzilla

    Copzilla dangerous animal Staff Member

    Well, Leon did say CAMPUS COPS, but okay, whatever. I don't know who else would be protesting on a CAMPUS.

    Can't argue against the point, eh Greg?

    Shall I ask the question again? What now, Officer Greg, who twisted and injured a passive protester, put his flex cuffs on too tight? What now? Why didn't you use a non-lethal irritant to make them give up, instead of going straight into a physical altercation?
  18. Greg

    Greg Full Member

    Evidently you have problems arguing the point too. Just like Hitler dehumanizing the Jews, once your opponents aren't human then you can do whatever you want with them. (Addressing your comment "unwashed.")

    Please let me know what verification measures were used to ensure that only students could have access to the protest. Leon can say whatever he likes. Please let me know if he becomes an authoritative source. :)

    How is spraying pepper into the faces of people not a physical altercation? I think they should have tried plastic cuffs first, and then nobody could reasonably object to the use of pepper spray if the "students" became physically confrontational.

    Maybe they should have Tased the students. That's non-lethal, right? Or just shoot them in unimportant bodily parts.

    The argument is about what constitutes reasonable force. IMO the pepper spray was not, not in this instance.
  19. cmhbob

    cmhbob Did...did I do that? Staff Member

    Good freaking grief Greg. Did it occur to that after having a chemical irritant sprayed into your face and on your clothes, YOU MIGHT WANT TO WASH THAT CONTAMINATION OFF?

    If the protesters resist the plastic cuffs, what do you do next?
  20. mikeky

    mikeky Member

    I'm wondering if those that think pepper spraying these protesters was ok think about the treatment of the civil rights protesters in the 60s. I'm sure many officers and their leaders, even the public, back then thought it was perfectly acceptable to use water canons and dogs on the protesters, but looking back, how does that play now?

    In other words, is it the cause that makes it ok or not ok to use force to stop protesters?

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