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Task force plans to release findings on UC Davis pepper spray incident (again)

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The task force investigating the pepper spraying of peaceful protesters at UC Davis in November has tentatively scheduled the public release of its report and recommendations for Wednesday.

The release of the report was delayed for weeks as attorneys for the UC and the police union wrangled over whether the release would constitute a disclosure of confidential information.

After an initial court hold was placed on the release, there were more hearings and Alameda County Superior Court Judge Evelio Grillo ruled the report could be unveiled without the names of some campus police officers.

The two parties have agreed that only the names of UC Davis Police Lt. John Pike and Chief Annette Spicuzza will remain in the report, and all other names are to be redacted, said UC spokeswoman Dianne Klein.

"Any investigation that's on peace officers based on complaints and the investigation of complaints is protected under the penal code as confidential, and can't be released to the public," said attorney Mike McGill, who represents officers involved in the case and is general counsel for the Federated University Police Officers Association.

"We've reached a happy medium, which is that the names will remain confidential but the balance will come out..." McGill said. "It gives the public information that they want and that they need."

UC officials agree.

"It allows us to get the report out sooner rather than later...under the circumstances this is the best possible outcome," Klein said.

Both parties are scheduled to be in Alameda County Superior Court in Oakland one last time Tuesday to put their agreement before the judge and have Grillo sign off and lift the stay.

The report provides details from an investigation into the November incident by a task force headed by former California Supreme Court Associate Justice Cruz Reynoso. It will also include results from an independent inquiry into the incident by Kroll, a New York-based investigative firm chaired by former LAPD chief William Bratton.

UC President Mark 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.

The report will be released online at noon and also at a community meeting at UC Davis from 3:30 to 4:45 p.m. in Freeborn Hall. The task force members will be present and the public will be able to ask questions, Klein said. There will also be a live webcast of the meeting available on the UC Davis homepage.

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

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