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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."


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. 


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."


LA Unified to collect suspension data down to classroom, teacher level

Tami Abdollah / KPCC

L.A. Unified plans to begin collecting data on suspension rates at the individual classroom and teacher level starting this summer as part of its effort to improve its schools, a district official said today.

"It starts at the classroom level," said Isabel Villalobos, coordinator of student discipline and expulsion support for L.A. Unified. "We're building systems where we can determine is [the suspension rate because of] a particular student, a particular teacher, or is it a combination of both."

The district has worked to detail its suspension rates over the last year, tracking more details including who is suspended and for how many days, but now it will be "drilling down into the classroom" and collecting data relevant to each teacher, Villalobos said. She said the plan is to have the system up and going in July.


Report: A black male disabled student is most likely to be suspended

Mercer 4587

Robyn Beck/Getty Images

A student on his way to school walks past a Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) school, in Los Angeles, California on February 13, 2009.

If you're a black male student who is disabled, you are more likely to be suspended from the classroom in California's largest districts than any other student, according to a report released today by UCLA's The Civil Rights Project.

The report, and its spreadsheet, covers 500 districts statewide and are based on 2009-10 data from the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights. It shows significant disparities in suspension rates based on gender and race as well as disability status in statewide and district specific data.

"In too many districts we're no longer saving out-of-school suspension for to be a measure of last resort," said Daniel Losen, co-author of the report and director of the Center for Civil Rights Remedies at UCLA's Civil Rights Project.

In 2009-10 more than 400,000 students were suspended and sent out of the classroom at least once, according to the data. The California Department of Education has reported more than 750,000 total suspensions in 2009-10, which means some of the 400,000 students were suspended multiple times that year.