Judge grants delay in release of UC Davis pepper spray report R
SBy Hudson Sangree and Sam Stanton
A judge in Oakland agreed today to halt release of the UC Davis pepper spray report until a hearing March 16 to decide whether it violates the rights of police officers interviewed about the November incident on campus.
Alameda Superior Court Judge Evelio M. Grillo agreed to a request from the union representing campus police to hold off on the release of the report.
University officials had planned to unveil it today, but held back after John Bakhit, an attorney for the union, made it clear he would seek legal intervention to stop it.
The judge said he would review the report -- the product of an investigation by Kroll, a security and investigations firm, and a task force chaired by former state Supreme Court Associate Justice Cruz Reynoso.
He scheduled a March 16 hearing to hear arguments on whether it should be released.
Wayne Tilcock / Davis Enterprise
UC Davis Police Lt. John Pike uses pepper spray against protesters on Nov. 18, 2011, in an image that went viral on the Internet. Several of the protesters have filed a lawsuit against Pike and other campus police and Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi and her staff.
University attorneys and a lawyer from the American Civil Liberties Union made it clear that they want the report released.
The union and Bakhit have said they do not object to the report's release, but contend that state law forbids the release of information involving officers personnel matters or disciplinary backgrounds.
Charles Robinson, general counsel for the office of the UC president, said the law the union is citing does not apply to the report, and Sacramento attorney Nancy Sheehan, arguing on behalf of UC Davis, said, "I want to be clear that the university is opposing this" (TRO).
The judge agreed to have a copy of the report turned over to Bakhit for review with the provision that he keep it secret for now.
Three police officials were suspended with pay after the incident on the university quad, which has spawned a lawsuit by 19 former and current students who say they were pepper-sprayed.
The names of two of the officers -- Lt. John Pike, who is seen on video spraying students, and Chief Annette Spicuzza -- are widely known.
But lawyers said there also is concern that the names of other officers interviewed during the probe would be released and could be detrimental to them.