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Task force report on pepper-spraying of peaceful UC Davis protesters delayed

Occupy UC Davis Protests Police Pepper Spray Incident

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

DAVIS, CA - NOVEMBER 21: Occupy protestor hold signs during a demonstration at the UC Davis campus on November 21, 2011 in Davis, California. Thousands of Occupy protestors staged a demonstration on the UC Davis campus to protest the UC Davis police who pepper sprayed students who sat passively with their arms locked during an Occupy Wall Street demonstration on November 18. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

The highly anticipated release of a task force report investigating the use of pepper spray by UC Davis police on peaceful protesters in November is being postponed after the union representing UC campus police requested a court order to halt the public release of the document, UC officials said today.

The task force report, ordered by UC President Mark Yudof at the request of UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi, was to be released at noon Tuesday. The details were to be discussed at a public meeting later that afternoon.

Task force chair, former California Supreme Court Associate Justice Cruz Reynoso, decided to postpone the release today after an attorney for the Federated University Police Officers Association informed the UC Office of the General Counsel that it will request a temporary restraining order in Alameda County Superior Court Tuesday, according to a UC statement.

"Due to the uncertainty created by this legal development, general counsel has advised that any information relating to the task force report or Kroll should not be released publicly by the university or individual members of the task force," Reynoso wrote to task force members.

"I was very frustrated to recieve this news today," he continued in his note. "However, let me assure you that I am undeterred in my commitment to release the complete and unredacted work fo the task force, a view shared by President Yudof."

A representative with the union could not be immediately reached for comment. An officer who answered the phone with UC Davis' campus police Tuesday afternoon said they expected significant amounts of media coverage and had not yet heard of the delay.

In a statement, Yudof said he was disappointed and said he would ask the general counsel's office to "do everything in its power in court to turn back this attempt to stifle these reports."

The task force's work has also been supplemented by an independent inquiry into the incident by Kroll, a New York-based investigative firm chaired by former LAPD chief William Bratton.

Yudof ordered a review of the use-of-force policy on all 10 UC campuses after the November pepper spraying incident at UC Davis and another incident where peaceful protesters were hit by campus police wielding batons at UC Berkeley. Both incidents were caught on video, which went viral online.

Representatives for UC and the UC campus police union will meet in Alameda County Superior Court at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday.

*An earlier version of this story said the meetings would be held on Wednesday. In fact, they are being held on Tuesday.

Tami Abdollah can be reached via email and on Twitter (@latams).

 

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