YOLO COUNTY NEWS
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Bob Dunning

Long-awaited reports are no whitewash

By From page A2 | April 12, 2012

AN AVOIDABLE TRAGEDY … while there’s plenty of blame to go around in the long-awaited Reynoso pepper-spray report that was released Wednesday, the very first paragraph of the report, under the simple heading “Introduction,” said it all … noted the report: “Our overriding conclusion can be stated briefly and explicitly. The pepper spraying incident that took place on November 18, 2011, should and could have been prevented.” … I think many of us had come to the same conclusion some time ago, but the Reynoso task force was able to back up that position with some incredibly eye-opening facts and figures …

NO WHITEWASH HERE … up until the minute the Reynoso findings were released along with the Kroll report, many people were skeptical that we’d learn much of anything … I was among them … words like “whitewash” and “cover-up” became part of the skeptics’ vocabulary … however, after reading these twin reports, it’s obvious many, many stones were overturned and many questions asked … and while it’s true that some police officers refused to be questioned, the same could not be said for UC Davis administrators, several of whom came in for extreme criticism from the Reynoso group, which had particularly harsh words for Chancellor Linda Katehi and Vice Chancellors Fred Wood and John Meyer … cover-up? … protecting the campus brass? … not in this report …

COMEDY OF ERRORS … apparently, the initial plan was to remove the occupy tents at 3 a.m. when there were unlikely to be many people on the campus Quad … that plan, however, was overruled by Chancellor Katehi, who wanted it in the afternoon … notes the report: “The timing of the operation was ill-chosen and directly led to the gathering of the crowd and the encirclement of the police. A major police operation that confronts protesters and activists should be mounted during a time when the number of supporters can be minimized, not maximized.” … sounds like common sense …

“Three o’clock in the afternoon on a sunny fall day at the center of the campus Quad seems guaranteed to bring the maximum number of onlookers and protesters to the scene, and in fact that is exactly was occurred.” … in other words, what could have been a quick and easy operation — if tent removal was indeed legal — turned into a major confrontation that drew a large crowd …

“The timing of this operation was in direct contrast to the majority of operations nationwide to remove Occupy encampments: most have been conducted during early morning hours.” … hindsight is always 20-20 … foresight is what we expect of our leaders …

EVEN MORE TIMING ISSUES … the Reynoso task force spared no one when it concluded “The evidence indicates that it was Chancellor Katehi who chose this time frame, and that police leadership opposed this time frame but failed to register a strong objection to it with the Leadership Team.” … in other words, the chancellor’s logic was flawed, but Police Chief Annette Spicuzza should have challenged the chancellor’s thinking …

Added Reynoso: “The dynamics of the conversations and decision-making resulted in a flawed decision — to remove the tents at 3:00 p.m. — in a process where the police department failed to express its objections and concerns adequately, while the administration failed both to hear the police and to understand that they were ‘heard’ to be issuing an order.” … indeed, no one escaped the wrath of Reynoso …

PROMOTION IN STORE? … perhaps Channel 3 knows something the rest of us don’t … in commenting on the Reynoso report last night, one news anchor made reference to “President Linda Katehi” … would that be president of the university or are the Republicans still looking for someone to oppose President Obama? …

— Reach Bob Dunning at [email protected]

Bob Dunning

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