Pepper spray: no criminal charges
NEWS-LEDGER ONLINE — SEPT 19, 2012 —
The office of Yolo County District Attorney Jeff Reisig has just released a statement saying that it will not press charges against the UC Davis police officers involved in a notorious use of pepper spray against peaceful protesters last November.
The statement doesn’t condone the officers’ actions (and makes no judgment on whether they would win if sued in civil court) but it concludes that criminal guilt probably wouldn’t be easy to prove. The D.A. report relies on information from the “Kroll Report,” commissioned earlier by the University of California.
Here’s the D.A.’s statement in its entirety:
No criminal charges will be filed against University of California, Davis officers involved in the November 18, 2011, pepper spraying of students on the University Quad. A 13 page District Attorney report outlines the reasons for the determination. The report concludes “viewing the incident through the totality of the circumstances, there is insufficient evidence to establish proof beyond a reasonable doubt that the use of force involved in the November 18, 2011, pepper spraying was unlawful and therefore warrants the filing of criminal charges.”
The report defines the legal role of a prosecutor in investigating officer involved misconduct, “The review by Yolo County District Attorney’s Office does not involve an evaluation of administrative, civil or Internal Affairs liability for the participants and it does not involve a review of whether policies and procedures were appropriately followed. In addition, our review does not encompass recommendations concerning how policies and procedures might be altered to minimize potential future risks. The scope of the District Attorney’s review is solely an evaluation of whether the filing of criminal charges is warranted by the events of November 18, 2011.”
The report relies heavily on the factual determinations of the Kroll Report and cites numerous facts and evidence contained within the Kroll Report. Although the Kroll Report concluded that the conduct of Lieutenant Pike was not objectively reasonable, the report acknowledges that the officers in general, “and Lieutenant Pike specifically, believed that they and their prisoners were surrounded by a hostile ‘mob,’ and that the pepper spraying was necessary to clear the pathway so that the officers and their prisoners could leave the Quad safely” and that “a detailed review of the events provides some support for their [the officers] position.” The District Attorney’s report concludes that in light of these conclusions from the Kroll Report and the additional evidence obtained during the District Attorney’s review of the evidence that there is insufficient evidence to warrant the filing of criminal charges.
— END OF YOLO COUNTY D.A. STATEMENT —
Copyright News-Ledger 2012