Our overriding conclusion can be stated briefly and explicitly. The pepper spraying incident that took place on Nov. 18, 2011 should and could have been prevented, declared the lengthy report written by a university-appointed task force chaired by retired state Supreme Court Justice Cruz Reynoso.
The study strongly refutes campus police assertions the band of Occupy demonstrators posed a violent threat and it also says administrators wrongly assumed that many off-campus troublemakers were part of the tent-city protest that officials wanted evicted. It details a chain of miscommunication and poorly timed efforts to remove the protesters, leading to the incident that gripped the nation via an online video showing campus Police Lt. John Pike spraying a line of seated students at close range.
On balance, there is little factual basis supporting Lt. Pikes belief that he was trapped by the protesters or that his officers were prevented from leaving the quad. Further, there is little evidence that any protesters attempted to use violence against the police, the report stated.