More than one million people have viewed the You Tube video showing UC Davis police officers pepper-spraying peaceful students on the UC Davis campus last November. Any eight-year old who views that video can tell you that the police used unnecessary force against university students who were peaceful protesting economic conditions as part of the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations.
But apparently UC Davis does not have the capacity to respond quickly and decisively when their own employees assault students in broad daylight on the University’s own campus. Almost five months after its students were attacked, the University issued a 190-page report prepared by a 13-member committee and chaired by a former California Supreme Court justice. Evidently, the committee thought the incident was too complicated to be investigated by laypeople, so it hired an outside consulting firm to find out what happened. To no one’s surprise, the report concluded that University officials made lots of mistakes.
Almost immediately after the Boston killings, all the soldiers who participated in the shootings were arrested, along with their commanding officer; and they were tried for murder. Captain Preston, the officer in command, was acquitted. The jury believed Captain Preston’s testimony that he gave his soldiers no order to fire on the crowd. In a separate trial, most of the soldiers were acquitted as well, although two were convicted of manslaughter. The soldiers were pinned into a corner by a threatening mob when they fired their guns and probably feared for their lives.
The point of my comparison is this. After the Boston Massacre, local officials responded quickly and forthrightly. British soldiers who participated in the incident were arrested and tried in a criminal court. In contrast, all UC Davis has done in response to the pepper-spray outrage is issue press releases, suspend some of the employees who were involved in the incident, and write a 190-page report.
If you disagree, look again at the You Tube video. Shouldn’t someone be punished?