If a population becomes bullied or intimidated out of exercising rights offered on paper, those rights effectively cease to exist.
If it's ok for police to torture people with pepper spray given the circumstances at UC Davis, it's basically always ok for police to torture people with pepper spray.
Charles J. Kelly, a former Baltimore Police Department lieutenant who wrote the department's use of force guidelines, said pepper spray is a "compliance tool" that can be used on subjects who do not resist, and is preferable to simply lifting protesters.
"When you start picking up human bodies, you risk hurting them," Kelly said. "Bodies don't have handles on them."
After reviewing the video, Kelly said he observed at least two cases of "active resistance" from protesters. In one instance, a woman pulls her arm back from an officer. In the second instance, a protester curls into a ball. Each of those actions could have warranted more force, including baton strikes and pressure-point techniques.
"What I'm looking at is fairly standard police procedure," Kelly said.
Note that: the police would have been fully justified in going even further.
Let's face it, it would be much easier to keep order if quaint legalisms didn't prevent our peace officers from simply putting bullets into the backs of heads belonging to miscreants and ne'er-do-wells.
UC Davis chancellor Linda Katehi has promised to appoint a task force to investigate Friday's police torture of students. It goes without saying, blue ribbon panels of every sort make everything better.
ADDED: Drama Queen