The news in the past couple of days has been awash with the announcement of the California Supreme Court task force’s report on the infamous UC Davis pepper spraying incident. The report had been delayed by lawsuits citing privacy and safety concerns for the police officers involved, but was finally release yesterday after a settlement allowed its publication sans said officers names. The Chicago Tribune offers a good summary of the 190-page report, but I’ll do you one better: the pepper spray attack was a joint effort between UC Davis’s moronic decision making and overzealous policemen.
While this was happening, though, a smaller settlement was announced that seems to have slipped through the cracks of mainstream news.
UC Davis police were involved in another incident involving protesters and undue and unconstitutional police force. In 2008, UC Davis police and FBI agents invaded the office of Long Haul Inc. and East Bay Prisoner Support to seize a computer allegedly used to send threatening emails to Berkeley College animal researchers. Long Haul is a library and East Bay is an advocacy group. While police did have a warrant to seize the public computer used to make threatening emails, they went a little overboard, seizing non-public computers and knocking down locked office doors to do so. What’s worse, being publishing organizations in part, the groups were protected from search and seizure due to the Privacy Protection Act. So, to summarize: police had no warrant to seize the computers, did so anyway, and neglected to check whether they were allowed to seize anything in the first place. Smashing job, UC Davis police.
Someone needs to give that police force a lesson in law enforcement. They clearly dislike protesters and activist groups, but don’t seem to realize that stomping all over rights is not an effective way to voice that dislike. They’re wasting time and money on foolishness while committing human rights violations that make UC Davis and California police look bad. I’m on the edge of my seat waiting for them to screw up again and bring about another $100,000 settlement. With a track record like this, it’s only a matter of time.