The police chief of the University of California, Davis, had been placed on administrative leave, three days after two campus police officers sprayed seated protesters with pepper spray.
Referring to the temporary removal of the police chief, Annette Spicuzza, UC Chancellor Katehi said in a statement Monday, “It has become clear to me that this is a necessary step toward restoring trust on our campus.”
She named Matt Carmichael as interim police chief. Katehi also sped up an internal probe into the incident and asked the district attorney’s office to conduct an investigation into her police department’s use of force on the protesters, said a New York Times report.
On Sunday, the university said that two police officers had been placed on administrative leave with pay pending an investigation into Friday’s incident, the report said. In videos that were widely distributed over the Internet, two police officers in riot gear were seen dousing about a dozen protesters with pepper spray as they sat on a sidewalk with their arms entwined.
The use of pepper spray came after students and other protesters set up tents on campus in a show of support for the Occupy movement and in solidarity with earlier protests at the University of California, Berkeley, the report said.
In her statement on Sunday, Katehi said: “I spoke with students this weekend, and I feel their outrage. I have also heard from an overwhelming number of students, faculty, staff and alumni from around the country. I am deeply saddened that this happened on our campus, and as chancellor, I take full responsibility for the incident. However, I pledge to take the actions needed to ensure that this does not happen again.”