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Pepper-spray report can be released without names

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POSTED March 28, 2012 7:14 p.m.

 

 

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The University of California can release a report on the pepper-spraying of student demonstrators by UC Davis police last fall, but must first remove the names of most officers, a judge ruled Wednesday.

Alameda County Superior Court Judge Evelio Grillo said the task force report does not contain confidential personnel records of police officers who were interviewed during an investigation into the Nov. 18 crackdown on Occupy Wall Street protesters.

Still, Grillo said he wants the university to redact the names of officers other than Police Chief Annette Spicuzza and Lt. John Pike, whose names became public during media coverage of the confrontation.

The judge said the document cannot be released for at least 21 days to give officers a chance to appeal the ruling.

UC spokesman Steve Montiel said the university was pleased with the ruling even though UC wanted the entire report released with the officers' names.

John Bakhit, an attorney for the campus police officers union that sought to block portions of the report, said the officers will meet soon to decide whether to appeal.

"I'm disappointed that the judge didn't see it our way, but I'm happy we're able to protect our officers from the risk of danger," Bakhit said.

The report was produced by a task force created to investigate the incident, when UC Davis police officers doused students who refused to dismantle an Occupy encampment.

Widely circulated video of the close-range pepper-spraying fueled campus protests, prompted calls for Chancellor Linda Katehi's resignation and became a rallying point for the Occupy movement.

The task force, headed by retired California Supreme Court Justice Cruz Reynoso, planned to publish the report online on March 6.

But the judge blocked its release after the police officers' union requested a preliminary injunction, claiming the report contained the officers' names and confidential personnel information that should not be made public under state law.

 

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