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UC Davis student: Pepper spray like 'hot glass was entering my eyes'

November 22, 2011 |  9:05 am

Several students who were doused with pepper spray by UC Davis police Friday during an Occupy rally are speaking out.

“It felt like hot glass was entering my eyes. I couldn’t see anything, I wanted to open my eyes but every time I did, the pain got worse,” David Buscho said during a rally Monday on campus. "I wanted to breathe, but I couldn’t because my face was covered in pepper spray.”

Their comments came the same day UC Davis' Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi tried to quell criticism over the incident, as well as how university officials handled the aftermath.

"I am here to apologize," an emotional Katehi said after struggling through the crowd to a small stage where some of the students sprayed by campus police had just described their ordeal. "I feel horrible for what happened."

The Friday incident, captured in videos that quickly went viral on the Internet, has triggered nationwide controversy about the forceful response by police to student protesters.

The Occupy Wall Street movement in recent weeks has spread to college campuses, combining with student anger over rising tuition and cuts to higher education to inspire protests and sit-ins.

“Should I talk about the fear that I felt when I saw my friends thrown to the ground by brutal police officers for standing, linking arms peacefully?” said student Deanna Johnson, according to UC Davis' Daily Aggie newspaper. “Should I talk about the fear that I felt when I heard the crowd scream before the pepper spray hit my face? But what I decided to speak about today is not the horrible violence that I experienced, but the community that I felt when I stood in solidarity with my fellow students, supporting our university."


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-- Shelby Grad