UC Davis pepper spray report may go public Wednesday minus some names
The University of California and its campus police union reached a tentative legal settlement Monday that could allow the public release Wednesday of most of UC’s much-anticipated investigative report into the pepper spraying of campus protesters at UC Davis, officials said. However, the tentative agreement calls for the names of most of the UC Davis police officers involved in the November incident or interviewed about it to be removed from the document.
Under the settlement, only the widely known names of Lt. John Pike, the officer shown spraying students in a highly viewed online video, and that of UC Davis Police Chief Annette Spicuzza would be included.
In exchange, the police union has agreed not to appeal a Superior Court decision last month that rejected most of the union’s arguments seeking to block release of portions of the report; the judge had granted the union a preliminary injunction keeping most of the names confidential temporarily and gave the union several more weeks to file an appeal to block larger chunks of the report.
A Superior Court hearing is scheduled for Tuesday in Oakland on the tentative agreement. If it is approved, the UC task force that investigated the controversial pepper spraying plans to present its findings at a UC Davis forum on Wednesday afternoon starting at 3:30 pm. at Freeborn Hall, officials said.
UC spokesman Steve Montiel said the university agreed to the settlement because UC wanted to get the substance of the report out to the public as quickly as possible and did not want that delayed by the months that a union appeal could take. He emphasized that the policy recommendations and other policy matters in the report would not be affected by cutting out those names.
John Bakhit, the attorney for the police union, could not be reached for immediate comment.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California, which is also a party to the lawsuit, said it may still proceed at a later date to seek the public release of all the officers’ names under the state public records law. But the ACLU will not block the settlement, one of its attorneys said.
Photo: In this Nov. 18, 2011 file photo, UC Davis police officer Lt. John Pike uses pepper spray on Occupy UC Davis protesters on the school's quad in Davis. Credit: Wayne Tilcock, The Enterprise / Associated Press