Video of peaceful protesters being pepper sprayed at U.C. Davis:
From the Democracy Now introduction of the interview with pepper spray creator/certifier Kamran Loghman:
It’s not unprecedented for an inventor to voice regrets when a creation turns out to have harmful uses. It is widely believed the Swedish industrialist, Alfred Nobel, created the Peace Prize bearing his name in response to feelings of guilt around his invention of dynamite and ballistite, both of which were used in violent acts during his lifetime. The famed physicist, Albert Einstein, was said to be greatly distressed for unintentionally advancing the development of the atomic bomb through his work. Today in the aftermath of the crackdown on Occupy Wall Street protesters nationwide, there is a new name to add to the list, Kamran Loghman.
In the 80’s Loghman was the expert responsible with the FBI in developing weapons grade pepper spray. He also collaborated with police departments to develop guidelines for pepper spray’s use. But now after seeing footage of police using pepper spray on non-violent Occupy Wall Street protesters nationwide, including students at UC Davis, protesters with the Occupy movement in New York and 84 year old protester Dora Lee Rainey in Seattle, Kamran Loghman is speaking out against what he calls the most inappropriate and improper use of chemical agents he has ever seen.
Quotes from the interview with Kamran Loghman:
“What occurred here is that in UC Davis you see a complete improper and inappropriate use. Normally pepper spray is used when there is a physical threat to the police officers or bystanders or there is a possibility of property damage and you see that things are going haywire. In that situation, police officers are justified to bring things under control by using a force that is not deadly, such as pepper spray. In the case of UC Davis, individuals are totally quiet. They are not saying anything and they are not harming anybody and they are not being aggressive to police officers. So the use was just absolutely out of ordinary and was not in accordance with any training or policy of any department that I know of. I personally certified 4000 police officers in the early 80’s and 90’s and I have never seen this before and that’s why I was shocked. That’s why I have come up and I feel it is my civic duty to explain to the public that this is not what pepper spray was developed for.”
“It is becoming more and more fashionable this day and age to use chemical on people who have an opinion and that, to me, is a complete lack of leadership both in the police department and other people who cannot really deal with the root of the problem and they want to spray people to quiet them down and it is really not supposed to be that. It is not a thing that solves any problem, nor is it something that quiets people down.”
Specifically about U.C. Davis in general:
“But in regards to the way the officer handled the situation, well it is obvious that many things went wrong. They did not use pepper spray justifiably according the use of force policy that they are trained for. They used a canister that was too large and was not meant for that kind of environment at such a close range. They did not properly decontaminate students where students were screaming and yelling for water, but what is really important is that we keep focusing on what happened at that moment. I really want to take that back because I go around the country and talk about leadership and I just finished one at US Naval Academy. I think the lack of leadership was very important because that is one of the things I train police officers. One of the most important things here was for someone to go back, bring the professor who has some affinity and wisdom to talk to the students and say listen, you made your point. Why don’t we create a group? Why don’t we go to an amphitheater? Let’s do all of us help. Let the whole college help you guys so the world can all hear your voice. I don’t think anybody was interacting with these people in the right way and they would just let them sit there and then treat them like insects. Let’s go ahead and spray them as if you are watering plants.”