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UC Davis police chief says she will retire; 'this chapter of my life must be closed'

Occupy Pepper Spray

Wayne Tilcock / AP

File: In this Nov. 18, 2011 file photo, University of California, Davis Police Lt. John Pike uses pepper spray to move Occupy UC Davis protesters while blocking their exit from the school's quad in Davis, Calif.

The police chief who oversaw the UC Davis Police Department during the November incident in which peaceful protesters were pepper sprayed said today that she is retiring. 

Annette Spicuzza told the Sacramento Bee today in an email statement that she does not want the incident to define her or the university and so she is stepping down "in order to start the healing process."

"My 27 years in law enforcement have been dedicated to the ethical and committed service to the departments and communities I have been proud to be a part of," the statement read. "For the past seven years, I have accomplished many good things for both the Police Department and community here at UC Davis; and am grateful to those of you who have remembered this. As the university does not want this incident to be its defining moment, nor do I wish for it to be mine. I believe in order to start the healing process, this chapter of my life must be closed."

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Task force recommends full review of UC Davis Police Department

AP Photo/The Enterprise, Wayne Tilcock

In this Friday, Nov. 18, 2011, photo University of California, Davis Police Lt. John Pike uses pepper spray to move Occupy UC Davis protesters while blocking their exit from the school's quad Friday in Davis, Calif. Two University of California, Davis police officers involved in pepper spraying seated protesters were placed on administrative leave Sunday, Nov. 20, 2011.

The task force report on the use of pepper spraying of peaceful UC Davis protesters in November included recommendations for a full review of the campus police department, including an assessment by an outside agency of its command structure, personnel numbers and use-of-force protocol.

The report also recommends a review of the police chief's job description, a review to bring the department's practices up to date, and the creation of annual competency trainings and annual performance evaluations.

The 32-page task force report was released online at noon today but the task force held a public meeting this afternoon to present the information and answer questions.

At the roughly 1.5-hour meeting, which was broadcast live from Freeborn Hall at UC Davis, students expressed concern about the lack of specificity in the recommendations and a need for a change in campus culture across the UC system to avoid such incidents. 

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Details: Task force releases report on UC Davis pepper spraying incident

Occupy UC Davis Protests Police Pepper Spray Incident

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

DAVIS, CA - NOVEMBER 21: UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi (C) is escorted to a car after she spoke to Occupy protestors during a demonstration at the UC Davis campus on November 21, 2011 in Davis, California.

The task force charged with investigating the November pepper spraying of peaceful protesters at UC Davis publicly released their report today finding the incident "should and could have been prevented" and that a breakdown in communication and leadership, plus a lack of proper protocols.

The 32-page report includes a hefty appendix with the 131-page independent inquiry by New York-based investigative firm Kroll, which details the events leading up to the pepper spraying incident on Nov. 18, and also includes interviews with campus officials and police officers, whose names have been redacted.

The 13-member task force, headed by former California Supreme Court Associate Justice Cruz Reynoso, was tasked with reviewing the Kroll findings and incorporating them into a report "assigning responsibility for these events."

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UC Davis to release pepper-spray report, but will redact officers' names

Occupy Pepper Spray

Wayne Tilcock / AP

File: In this Nov. 18, 2011 file photo, University of California, Davis Police Lt. John Pike uses pepper spray to move Occupy UC Davis protesters while blocking their exit from the school's quad in Davis, Calif.

When police at UC Davis pepper-sprayed a group of peaceful protestors, the outcry over the incident led to a formal investigation. The school is now set to release its report, but some elements — specifically the names of the police officers involved — will not be made public.

It was home video of an officer spraying a line of Occupy protestors as they knelt in a campus quad last November that led to public demand for an investigation. A task force led by a retired California Supreme Court Justice followed through, but the campus police union sued to stop the release of the report.

Attorneys for the union said officers’ names should be blacked out for their safety. The judge hearing the case noted that Lt. John Pike, identified as the one spraying protestors, said he received tens of thousands of threatening or derogatory text messages, emails and letters in the months after the incident. People also ordered magazines, products and food delivered to Lt. Pike’s home.  

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

Occupy Pepper Spray

Wayne Tilcock / AP

File: In this Nov. 18, 2011 file photo, University of California, Davis Police Lt. John Pike uses pepper spray to move Occupy UC Davis protesters while blocking their exit from the school's quad in Davis, Calif.

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.

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