Tuesday, November 29, 2011

UCI Police Interpret When to Use Force

UCIPD officers begin arresting Irvine 17 protesters outside UCI Chancellor's Office in February 2010.
Photograph copyright 2010 Daniel C. Tsang

Three hours after UCI History Prof. and a leader in the UC Council of Faculty Associations Mark Levine and I met with UC Irvine assistant police chief Jeff Hutchison and Lt. Joe Reiss, where we were given a copy of UCI Police's Use of Force policies, UCI Chancellor Michael Drake released on the web copies of the same policies.

This meeting occurred before Thanksgiving, on Monday November 21. Right before leaving the one-hour meeting, I asked Asst. Chief Hutchison if he would consider posting the policies online, given they are "not secret".

In fact, the 17 pages of various use of force policies that saw the light of day hours after our meeting were just a miniscule portion of the 434-page policy manual followed by the UC Irvine Police Department.

What was given to us and made publicly available later were policies 300 (Use of Force), 308 (Control Devices and Techniques), which includes Chemical Spray Guidelines, 309 (TASER Guidelines), and 424 (Rapid Response and Deployment Policy).

Hutchison argued the campus cops would "not use" chemical spray for
"passive resistance," although he suggested that passive resistance is no longer passive if protesters link arms and refuse to budge. That's because it may lead police to use "intermediate force" to break people apart. But if there is no urgency to act, the police would rather wait and consult with other campus authorities, we were told. Cold comfort! Campus protesters will be surprised to learn that passive resistance (locking arms) can be deemed active resistance. Despite all the campus rhetoric about Free Speech, it seems the campus cops do not consider civil disobedience to be passive resistance if the protestors link arms and refuse to budge.

Drake also released a page of UCI Police Manual Policy 352 on Outside Agency Assistance, which we were not given at the meeting nor discussed.

I'll have more on this meeting, but one big question that is left hanging: Why not release the entire policy manual, and for that matter, from each campus police department? What is there to hide?

More soon...