DAVIS, CA - Former UC Davis Lt. John Pike should not have been fired, claims the UC Davis Police Officers Association in an open letter to the University of California Regents.
The police union, which represents UC Davis police officers, claims newly appointed police Chief Matthew Carmichael disregarded internal affairs investigations that said Pike should not be disciplined for using pepper spray on student protestors and fired him in early August.
RELATED STORY: UC Davis officer accused of using pepper spray on students no longer with force
On Nov. 18, 2011, 11 students were hit with pepper spray by Pike and another police officer while protesting higher tuition. The incident was caught on camera and posted online.
Three different reports produced in January and February 2012 after internal investigations recommended discipline and policy changes to prevent further instances of force. The reports stated that Pike should not be disciplined, but administrators, like Chancellor Linda Katehi, should face some consequences because the incident happened under the administrators' leadership.
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"The decisions made by Katehi's leadership team during the days leading up to and on November 18th have caused long-term damage to the University of California and the UC Davis Police Department," union board members said in the letter sent out Tuesday. "To this day, not one University Administrator has been demoted or terminated due to their decisions, which placed our police officers and the students of this university into an unnecessary and foreseeable confrontation."
Read the entire letter below:
August 21st, 2012
The Regents of the University of California
1111 Franklin St., 12th floor
Oakland, CA 94607
To The Regents of the University of California:
The Executive Board of the University of California Davis Police Officers Association submits this letter to declare our position regarding the events surrounding the termination of Lieutenant John Pike for his actions on November 18th, 2011.
While the Board fully supports the appointment of Police Chief Carmichael and the positive changes he is implementing, we do not approve of the decision to disregard the findings of the internal affairs investigation and the sufficiency review board as it relates to Lieutenant Pike's termination.
According to The Sacramento Bee's reveal of the internal affairs investigation (Sam Stanton, Aug 2, 2012), the investigation found that Lieutenant Pike was justified with his use of pepper spray under the circumstances. The internal affairs investigation did not recommend discipline for Lieutenant Pike due to the use of force issue, rather other aspects of the events that day. Additionally, the discipline recommendations did not include termination, but rather demotion or suspension. He should not have been terminated from The UC Davis Police Department.
We, the Board, agree with the Reynoso report; the KROLL Report and the Edley Robinson Report, as it relates to findings concerning Chancellor Katehi and her leadership team's decisions surrounding the events of November 18th, 2011. There were indeed, "substantive mistakes at the administrative level". The decisions made by Katehi's leadership team during the days leading up to and on November 18th have caused long-term damage to the University of California and the UC Davis Police Department.
To this day, not one University Administrator has been demoted or terminated due to their decisions, which placed our police officers and the students of this university into an unnecessary and foreseeable confrontation.
What is troubling and ironic is that Lieutenant Pike had tried harder than anyone to prevent this confrontation from occurring, as evidenced from the investigations.
The Executive Board also finds it ironic that President Yudof had publicly condemned the actions of the UC Davis Police Officers until he himself was surrounded by protestors at a Regents Meeting on January 19th, 2012 at UC Riverside. President Yudof eloquently described (in an open letter to Professor Charles Thorpe from UC San Diego):
"The old adage, there are two sides to every story, holds true, and the videos you saw may not have told the entire story. In my view, it was far less than the peaceful protest you have characterized and the actions of some of the demonstrators provoked the response from the police".
President Yudof was now speaking from the perspective of a man who had been at an event surrounded by a large angry mob, and experienced firsthand the potential perils therein. Trapped by heated protestors, the Regents and their staff were in fear for their safety and required police escort to be freed. Yet, Yudof and other University Administrators still stand in judgment of Lieutenant Pike who was faced with a similar situation, trying to protect and remove his officers (and arrestees) from the quad at UC Davis on November 18th, 2011.
This Board looks forward to intelligent, productive change as we all learn from what occurred on November 18th 2011 and the events in its wake. Addressing the injustices associated with the events that day would be an excellent start towards not letting this portion of history repeat itself.
The Executive Board of the UC Davis Police Officer Association
/s/ David Kidd___________________
Officer David Kidd, President
_/s/ Robert A. Sotelo______________
Officer Robert A. Sotelo, Vice President