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Legislators to hold hearing on UC protests, police response

November 22, 2011 |  3:45 pm

Photo: Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles). Credit: Rich Pedroncelli / Associated PressState legislators have scheduled a Dec. 14 hearing in Sacramento to look into the controversial use of pepper spray by UC Davis police against nonviolent student protesters last week and other recent instances of force used by UC Berkeley police against demonstrators, Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles) announced Tuesday.

“Like most Californians, I have been absolutely appalled at some of the incidents that have taken place in recent days against peaceful protestors,” Pérez said in a statement released by his office.

The hearing will be held jointly by the Assembly Higher Education Committee and the Senate Education Committee at the state Capitol. A specific time has not yet been scheduled, according to John Vigna, a spokesman for Perez. Leaders of the UC system, including UC President Mark G. Yudof and UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi, are expected to be invited to testify but a list of witnesses has not been set, he added.  

The Assembly Higher Education Committee Chairman Marty Block (D-San Diego) said he wanted the hearing to review excessive use of police force at UC and “to examine proper procedures for handling peaceful protests so that our students can exercise their 1st Amendment right to free speech with safety and dignity.”


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Photo: Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles). Credit: Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press