Check it out: UC Davis campus “police” pepper spray a cowering line of about a dozen students and drag them away. Check out their SWAT-team gear. I bet they’ve been waiting all year to play dressup and have some fun.
This video only confirms my already very low opinion of college and university campus “police.” My personal experience on two different campuses is that they are thugs who hassle only people who are sure to pose no threat to them whatsoever, and that they leave the real miscreants alone. I was working alone in my campus office one late Sunday afternoon at a former university when an amped up campus police officer with a billy club burst into my office without knocking and threatened me. (He assumed that only a thief would have the light on on a Sunday night. I assured him it was my own office and that I was working there legally, showing him my keys.) At another former university, I was pulled over and ordered out of my car for mistakenly driving the wrong way an exit-only parking lot egress. (There was no danger to anyone else–there were no other cars trolling around that parking lot anyway.)
But these are far from the worst stories I’ve heard. A former student of mine–a truly gentle and inquiring spirit of small- to medium build who spent several years after graduation riding his bike through Mexico, Central, and South America–told me a truly horrifying story about being stopped and arrested for drunk walking across the Baa Ram U. campus. He had gone to the bars with some friends, and being responsible young men, they walked downtown. On their way back to campus, his friends went one direction and as he continued walking quietly by himself he was stopped by campus police who accused him (rightly) of being drunk. He explained that he was 21 and just walking home, as he understood he should do when inebriated, and showed them his I.D. These campus “police” officers illegally detained him and transported him to an off-campus drunk tank.
Meanwhile, of course, I’m assuming that there were rowdy parties and all kinds of underage drinking going on, large parties where people were probably being sexually assaulted, but busting up those parties would be difficult and potentially dangerous. It was much easier to harass and detain the solo drunk guy who wasn’t doing anything illegal or any threat to anyone. I encouraged him to lawyer up and sue, but being a gentle soul I don’t think he did anything.
I saw a former colleague last night who left Baa Ram U. for the University of Chicago. He informs me reliably that the UC campus police now patrol much of Hyde Park, not just the campus within its own boundaries. This is what the modern police state looks like: private police forces, accountable to no one, not looking for trouble but rather just looking for low-risk opportunities to remind the non-criminal majority who’s really in charge.
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