When is Pepper Spray the Only Option?

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Among the many shocking images to emerge from the clashes between police and Occupy Wall Street protesters across the country, perhaps none is as striking as the photograph of an elderly woman after being hit with pepper spray in Seattle. Eighty-four-year old activist Dorli Rainey has since become something of an icon to the Occupy movement. The incident preceded another controversial use of pepper spray by police, this time at the University of California Davis, where student protesters, sitting with their arms locked together, were sprayed by campus cops.

Dorli Rainey has not let the pepper spray incident slow her down. She discusses her ongoing activism and the experience that made her famous. For a look at the Constitutional and legal implications of institutional use of pepper spray The Takeaway speaks to John Sims, professor of law at The University of the Pacific’s McGeorge School of Law.

Comments [3]

Frank from Saratoga Springs, NY

Government has no brain or heart or feelings - its not human; which expresses itself through its hirilings. This same kind of ruthlessness goes on everywhere. And they call it civilization - really.

Nov. 23 2011 09:54 PM

Oh please. Are The Takeaway's producers even trying anymore? Instead of talking to witnesses about UC-Davis, you hunt down an old lady ("activist," whatever that means) who will naturally serve as the most sympathetic face of the "Occupy" movement. Then, you get law professor who is a former Naderite associate and something of an "activist" himself, since he was a litigant against the CIA among other career milestones.

So to cover this story, we get to hear a pro-occupy activist, a left-wing law professor, and two left-leaning jounalists. Where was Caitlin Curran when we really needed her?

Here's what I would have liked to have learned about the UC-Davis incident; what happened before the pepper-spraying? The viral videos don't show it. Were the occupiers blocking a roadway or a pathway? Were they warned to move or the police would move them? Were they clearly warned that pepper spray would be utilized to disable them so that the police and the protestors would not be injured by fighting, resisting, protestors?

I think the answer to all of those questions woujld be in the affirmative. But we won't know, because that story, potentially unfavorable to the Occupy movement that The Takeaway wants so much to promote, wasn't told.

Nov. 23 2011 09:48 AM
Barbara from New York City

Who are the police and security guards representing? All that military garb, faces hidden, badges covered, like some movie we're watching of another planet. Police are supposedly a part of service to the people in our communities. That role is now in question from attacking unarmed protestors, destroying personal properties including cartons of library books, and barring the media. Something is wrong here, as we lose America to the corporate will that is now our government. We need our government back, from Mayors to Congress, where people are the first concern.
And we need the Fourth Estate to leave the corporate fold and to perform its duties for the people.

Nov. 23 2011 09:44 AM

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