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Video: Outrage over Police reaction to Occupy protests

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    >>> the occupy movement, whose message over uneven wealth that this country, has at times been loosely focused is increasingly bee defined by graphic images of clashes with police. the latest comes in a viral video that has taken off across the internet this week geend and is putting officials at a california campus on the defensive. anne thompson reports.

    >> reporter: this is the latest evidence police patience with the occupy movement is wearing thin. videos posted on youtube show uc davis campus police firing pepper spray at apparently peaceful protesters friday.

    >> shame on you!

    >> reporter: the police chief said this was a volatile situation, and the police were cut off from their support. the video shows this officer using the spray to clear a path. these scenes ignited an angry reaction on the web.

    >> shame on you. shame on you.

    >> reporter: some are calling for chancellor linda katehi's resignation. she's resisting, and today placed two officers seen using pepper spray on administrative leave. as the task force investigates whether the action was justified on a video that the chancellor describes as chilling.

    >> i do extend the unfortunate and really bad situation that was created for our students.

    >> reporter: across the nation, the police crackdown is causing striking images. a young man bloodied at new york's park. an 84-year-old woman pepper sprayed in seattle. and now with students at uc davis . while protesters may be losing physical space , one analyst says they are gaining impact.

    >> they really opened up a space to have the conversations which we weren't having three months ago about income inequality, about what adjusting to a moral system is like.

    >> reporter: there is also great criticism, some expressed at last night's republican presidential candidate forum in iowa.

    >> go get a job right after you take a bath.

    >> reporter: observers say the challenge for the movement now is to see if it can go from occupying parks to occupying the nation's political debate in an election year. or will it be undone in a debate over tactics by both police and protesters? anne thompson ,

Image: Police officers clear an Occupy Oakland camp
Noah Berger  /  AP
Police officers clear an Occupy Oakland camp at Telegraph Avenue and 19th Street in Oakland, Calif., on Sunday, Nov. 20. The previous night, protesters tore down a fence surrounding a vacant lot to establish the 20-tent encampment.
updated 11/20/2011 9:16:55 PM ET 2011-11-21T02:16:55

A California university placed two of its police officers on administrative leave Sunday because of their involvement in the pepper spraying of passively sitting protesters, while the school's chancellor accelerated a task force's investigation into the incident amid calls for her resignation.

The president of the 10-campus University of California system also weighed in on the growing fallout from Friday's incident at UC Davis, saying that he is "appalled" at images of students being doused with pepper spray and plans a far-reaching, urgent assessment of law enforcement procedures on all campuses.

"I implore students who wish to demonstrate to do so in a peaceful and lawful fashion. I expect campus authorities to honor that right," UC President Mark G. Yudof said. All 10 chancellors would convene soon for a discussion "about how to ensure proportional law enforcement response to non-violent protest," he said.

Story: UC Davis chancellor says she won't step down over pepper-spraying

Officials at UC Davis refused to identify the two officers who were place on administrative leave but one was a veteran of many years on the force and other "fairly new" to the department, the school's Police Chief Annette Spicuzza told The Associated Press. She would not elaborate further because of the pending probe.

Videos posted online of the incident clearly show one riot-gear clad officer dousing the line of protesters with spray as they sit in a line with their arms intertwined. Spicuzza told the AP that the second officer was identified during an intense review of several videos.

"We really wanted to be diligent in our research, and during our viewing of multiple videos we discovered the second officer," Spicuzza said. "This is the right thing to do."

Image: Police officer uses pepper spray on Occupy protesters at University of California, Davis
Thomas K. Fowler  /  AP
In this image taken from video, a police officer uses pepper spray Friday as he walks down a line of Occupy demonstrators sitting on the ground at the University of California, Davis.

Both officers were trained in the use of pepper spray as department policy dictates, and both had been sprayed with it themselves during training, the chief noted.

Meanwhile, UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi said she has been inundated with reaction from alumni, students and faculty.

"I spoke with students this weekend and I feel their outrage," Katehi said in a statement Sunday.

Katehi also set a 30-day deadline for her school's task force investigating the incident to issue its report. The task force, comprised of students, staff and faculty, will be chosen this week. She earlier had set a 90-day timetable.

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She also plans to meet with demonstrators Monday at their general assembly, said her spokeswoman, Claudia Morain.

Slideshow: Occupy Wall Street: A day of action (on this page)

On Saturday, the UC Davis faculty association called for Katehi's resignation, saying in a letter there had been a "gross failure of leadership." Katehi has resisted calls for her to quit.

"I am deeply saddened that this happened on our campus, and as chancellor, I take full responsibility for the incident," Katehi said Sunday. "However, I pledge to take the actions needed to ensure that this does not happen again. I feel very sorry for the harm our students were subjected to and I vow to work tirelessly to make the campus a more welcoming and safe place."

The incident reverberated well beyond the university, with condemnations and defenses of police from elected officials and from the wider public on Facebook and Twitter.

"On its face, this is an outrageous action for police to methodically pepper spray passive demonstrators who were exercising their right to peacefully protest at UC Davis," Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, said in a statement Sunday. "Chancellor Katehi needs to immediately investigate, publically explain how this could happen and ensure that those responsible are held accountable."

The protest Friday was held in support of the overall Occupy Wall Street movement and in solidarity with protesters at the University of California, Berkeley who were jabbed by police with batons on Nov. 9.

Nine students hit by pepper spray were treated at the scene, two were taken to hospitals and later released, university officials said. Ten people were arrested.

Lobbying firm's plan to undermine Occupy

Some defended the officers' tactics. Charles J. Kelly, a former Baltimore Police Department lieutenant who wrote the department's use of force guidelines, said pepper spray is a "compliance tool" that can be used on subjects who do not resist, and is preferable to simply lifting protesters.

Meanwhile Sunday, police in San Francisco, about 80 miles south of Davis, arrested six anti-Wall Street protesters and cleared about 12 tents erected in front of the Federal Reserve Bank.

Across the bay in Oakland, police made no arrests after protesters peacefully left a new encampment set up in defiance of city orders.

Oakland police spokeswoman Johnna Watson said about 20 tents were erected late Saturday after several hundred protesters tore down a chain-link fence surrounding a city-owned vacant lot and set up a new encampment on Telegraph Avenue.

© 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Photos: Occupy Wall Street: A day of action

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  1. An Occupy Wall Street protestor is grabbed by police as he tries to escape a scuffle in Zuccotti Park, Thursday, Nov. 17, in New York. (John Minchillo / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. Police force a protester to the ground as people watch in downtown Los Angeles, Calif. on Thursday. (Frederic J. Brown / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. Protesters burn a dollar bill and bank deposit envelopes outside a Bank of America office in Portland, Ore., Thursday. Several hundred protesters marched through downtown, stopping at banks along the way. (Don Ryan / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. Occupy Wall Street protesters and union members walk across the Brooklyn Bridge after a rally in Foley Square, Thursday night in New York. (Henny Ray Abrams / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. Occupy Wall Street supporters carry a puppet of the Statue of Liberty accross the Brooklyn Bridge during a protest march on Thursday night in New York. (Emmanuel Dunand / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. A protester is arrested by Los Angeles Police Department officers after he attempted to join a group of Occupy LA demonstrators who were in a park in front of the Bank of America building on Thursday in downtown Los Angeles, Calif. (Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. A protester battles with three Los Angeles Police Department officers as he is arrested during an Occupy LA protest on Thursday. (Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. Additional police are called to the scene as protesters march through downtown Los Angeles, Calif. on Thursday. (Frederic J. Brown / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. Members of Occupy Boston march during a demonstration in what organizers called a 'day of action' in Boston, Mass., on Thursday night. (Adam Hunger / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. Occupy Wall street demonstrators protest on the streets of lower Manhattan near the New York Stock Exchange on Nov. 17. Picture taken with a fish eye lens. (Mike Segar / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. Occupy Wall street demonstrators protest on the streets of lower Manhattan near the New York Stock Exchange. The movement against economic inequality hoped the day of protests would attract tens of thousands of people. (Mike Segar / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  12. A man who identifed himself as Brendan Watts is seen with blood on his face while surrounded by three police officers in Zuccotti Park on Nov. 17, in New York City. A fight broke out between protestors affiliated with Occupy Wall Street and police, in which Watts was injured. (Andrew Burton / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  13. Workers at a bank watch as protesters march by during a day of action by the Occupy Wall Street movement in Lower Manhattan in New York City on Nov, 17, 2011. (Justin Lane / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  14. Occupy Wall Street protesters march a few blocks away from the New York Stock Exchange on Nov. 17, 2011 in New York City. The protesters attempted to shut down the New York Stock Exchange today, blocking roads and tying up traffic in Lower Manhattan. (Mario Tama / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  15. Police use baton sticks to push Occupy Wall Street protesters back onto the sidewalk in the Financial District on Nov. 17, 2011 in New York City. (Andrew Burton / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  16. Protesters dance on top of police barricades after they took them down from around Zuccotti Park in New York City on Nov. 17, 2011. (Justin Lane / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  17. A protester with Occupy Wall Street is arrested by police a few blocks away from the New York Stock Exchange on Nov. 17, 2011 in New York City. (Mario Tama / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  18. A person holds up a broken handcuff during protests near the New York Stock Exchange and Wall Street in New York City on Nov. 17, 2011. (Justin Lane / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  19. Molly Redfield, left, of Syracuse, N.Y. and other protesters with the Occupy Wall Street movement chant slogans as they ride the E train downtown to the Wall Street station on Nov. 17, 2011 in New York. (Mary Altaffer / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  20. Teachers join an Occupy DC demonstration in Washington, DC, on Nov. 17. (Jewel Samad / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  21. Protesters march in downtown Portland, Ore. on Nov. 17, 2011, during a planned nationwide protest marking two months since the Occupy Wall Street movement began. (Rick Bowmer / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  22. A spectator takes photos as protesters march along the street during a rally in Los Angeles, on Nov. 17, 2011. Demonstrations are taking place across the country, two months after the start of the Occupy Wall Street movement. (Jae C. Hong / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  23. Tents of the Occupy London Stock Exchange encampment are seen outside St. Paul's Cathedral in London Nov. 17. Officials attached legal notices to the tents of anti-capitalist protesters in London's financial district on November 16, giving them 24 hours to end a demonstration that has shaken the Church of England and upset senior politicians. (Suzanne Plunkett / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  24. Occupy protesters hold a minute's 'silent scream' to mark the 18.00 GMT deadline for their eviction outside St.Paul's Cathedral in London on Nov. 17. Protesters have been told they had until 6 p.m. to leave their camp outside St.Paul's. But they are refusing to leave and have will now fight their battle in the courts. A City of London Corporation notice told Occupy London Stock Exchange activists to clear the 'public highway' by the evening. Protesters say they have "no intention" of leaving and many notices have been ripped off the tents. (Andy Rain / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
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