lt. john pike – OWS recruiter

Brother Pike, the neanderthal campus cop from UC Davis, is now a household meme, and has undoubtedly done more to popularize the OWS movement among young and old than any single individual that springs to mind at the moment.

And deservedly so too. In his case it’s not just the pepper spraying, it’s the sheer gob-smacking nonchalance of his demeanor while doing so. Here’s a University Campus Police Officer casually spraying military-grade pepper spray directly into the faces of students under the protection of the University System that employs him. In the original post here on this topic, I suggested his demeanor was that of someone spraying weed killer on their lawn, and I have yet to see a more apt description anywhere.

Artists have jumped into the fray, as here. This numbnuts may well end up being a pivotal figure in this movement, and one thing for sure, the blowback has barely even begun;

 

 

8 Responses to lt. john pike – OWS recruiter

  1. Expat says:

    Humor helps to relieve tension

  2. gryff says:

    This numbnuts may well end up being a pivotal figure in this movement, and one thing for sure, the blowback has barely even begun;

    Hope you are right gunny. But it has happened before and nothing changed.

    Here is video taken during the “Battle for Seattle” on 1999.

    Seattle Police Footage

    Note particularly at 1.20 into the video the police are using many of the same weapons that Pike and his crew were using – some kind of modified paintball gun and CS spray. At 1.28 of the video a cop with a large can of CS spray walks along a line of sitting protestors – almost identical to Pike’s behaviour.

    Since 1999 we have seen police abuse in Italy, London, and today I was watching footage from the events in Cairo. So will Pike’s actions change anything – or will he just be a local fall guy to accompany lot of platitudes about “unfortunate events“?

    gryff :)

  3. gunnison says:

    So will Pike’s actions change anything – or will he just be a local fall guy to accompany lot of platitudes about “unfortunate events“?

    Good question, and I don’t know the answer. Couple of things about this case are a little different;
    1. These were UC campus police acting on UC property, on UC students, not metro police in a public space. Not sure I can articulate the lawyerly difference, but there is one.
    2. I got this from an AP wirefeed;

    The federal courts have ruled on such cases. At the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which covers courts in nine western states, the cases have centered on whether or not the protesters were involved in what is called “active resistance.”

    The court used the term in considering a case about another highly circulated video of a group of passive demonstrators being swabbed with pepper spray in 1997. The protesters had linked arms on the floor of a California congressman’s office to protest the logging of old-growth redwood trees on California’s North Coast.

    Because demonstrators were using a metal sleeve to prevent the county sheriff’s office from separating them, attorneys argued the protestors’ “active resistance” left officers no other way to disperse them than dabbing their eyelids with Q-tips soaked in pepper spray, said Jim Wheaton, an attorney who assisted in the prosecution of the civil case.

    The 9th Circuit ruled that the protesters weren’t in “active resistance,” and because they were sitting peacefully, the use of pepper spray was excessive.

    These kids at UC Davis were using no such devices to link themselves together, nor could they be accused of trespass on private property.

    All this is absurd, of course. By any objective standard the police conduct was at a minimum reprehensible and ought to have been, but probably was not, illegal.
    Nevertheless, the civil suits that will undoubtedly follow may make some Police Departments re-evaluate their policies, if only at the insistence of the bean counters among the municipalities etc who employ them, worrying more now than before about civil liability.

    In a larger sense, I don’t think anything will change anytime soon, but I do think that this event, a standout for the sheer nonchalance of the officer’s conduct amid what was really quite a peaceful scene, has become an iconic image, and will be a indelible part of the overall narrative of OWS. The beating of the veteran that ninemilerancher links to on the “Beat Poets” thread will be another possibly, as will the photo of the octogenarian woman with pepperspray on her face.

    At some point all these kinds of images can assemble to critical mass, which was unlikely with a “one-off” kind of protest that was the Battle for Seattle.
    The longer OWS keeps running, the more sustained the peaceful resistance, the more of them there will be. No one single event, unless godhelpus it’s something like a repeat of Kent State, will tip the scales, but a steady accumulation of such events is a different thing.

    And the more the political process remains logjammed and preposterous, the more the message resonates too. Both the police (not everywhere) and the nation’s political leadership are playing a game that strengthens the OWS cause. I think it’s a safe bet that more people have been energized by Lieutenant Pike than have been scared away.

  4. gryff says:

    All this is absurd, of course. By any objective standard the police conduct was at a minimum reprehensible and ought to have been, but probably was not, illegal.

    Actually gunny he seems to be following a formal procedure. This video clip shows Pike going down the line giving individual students a verbal warning. The way he fiddles around his jaw it maybe that these warnings are being recorded and/or other people knew of his intentions

    “you will be subject to force” (clearest audio at 28 secs into video)

    gryff :)

  5. mikedow says:

    dabbing their eyelids with Q-tips soaked in pepper spray

    No wonder the authorities were bemused about waterboarding complaints.

  6. KevinNevada says:

    I remember that incident with the Q-tips and the pepper spray. They aimed at eyes and the deliberate infliction of pain.

    This Lt. Pike was “just following orders”, IOW there was no pressing emergency that forced them to resort to force. The motivation here, as I see is, is the modern police mania of forcing people to submit to orders, regardless of alternatives.

    We see it on the reality cop shows too. Once an order is given, it must be obeyed. Passive resistance is active resistance, you see.

    But Gunnison is right, the difference here is, it’s a university cop force that must deal with the students tomorrow, and next week, and beyond. No police force can function without the cooperation of its population and in a university that is a smart population that communicates amongst themselves quite well. Davis has always been a quiet place. No more.

  7. gryff says:

    This Lt. Pike was “just following orders”, IOW there was no pressing emergency that forced them to resort to force.

    Agreed Kevin. Initially, I thought it was just some campus cop who had “lost his bottle“, but after watching a lot of the video that has come out of UC it looks more co-ordinated.

    You know UC Davis – but there was also some violent reaction at Berkley too – which Robert Hass describes in gunny’sBeat Poets, not beat poets” post.

    Will be interesting to see how far up the chain of command it goes.

    gryff :)

  8. KevinNevada says:

    gryff:

    I think we already know, from the campus cops at UC Berkeley and their reaction to that “active resistance” thing, e.g. people lying on the ground doing nothing.

    This is most likely a ten-campus policy, written up by a suit at the UC headquarters, now conveniently located many miles away from the Berkeley campus. (Until about ten years ago, it was a building at the west end of the campus.)

    I also think, they will find they cannot move far enough to escape their responsibility for this brutal conduct.

    I thought things could not be worse, with the vile John Yoo, “torture memo guy” now teaching at the UCB law school. I was wrong. It is worse.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


two × 6 =

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>