Sunday, March 18, 2012

Does Brian Williams Hate The Police?

Recently Brian Williams of the NBC Nightly News attacked the police at UC Davis on his broadcast.   He said the demonstrators were just “sitting on a sidewalk peacefully protesting” when they were pepper sprayed.  Inviting members of his viewing audience to take the side of the protesters, he said, “imagine those are your kids sitting on the sidewalk.”  In reality some of the “kids” were not even students at UC Davis at all, some were non-campus agitators.  The protesters were locked arm-in-arm and refused to move after repeated requests to move.  They wanted a confrontation and got it.  What makes it worse is they got it on film and made sure it portrayed the police in a negative light. 

Doesn’t Brian Williams have the ability to get his facts right before making wild allegations against the police?  The truth is, Williams ignored the facts that Linda P.B. Katehi, the Chancellor of UC Davis presented.   Katehi noted that a group of protesters including UC Davis students and non-UC Davis students were involved.  They established an encampment of about 25 tents on the Quad.  While the university provides the students to participate in rallies and express their concerns and such, university policy does not allow such encampments on the university grounds.   The encampment was in violation of university policy and so were the non-campus agitators.  Some of the students who were protesting took down their tents and left, but some students and non-campus agitators decided to stay.  The university had the right to call in the campus police to break up what was left of the encampment.  The events of what happened next have been well documented on videotaped and showing in various videos, the police used pepper spray on the students and non-campus agitators.

 Clearly Brian Williams is misleading his viewers about what the “kids” as he calls them were really doing, violating university policy.  To make the police going beyond their duty and authority, Brian Williams said "the police were methodically spraying students with debilitating law enforcement grade thick pepper spray that’s meant to cover like spray paint."  Williams uses inflammatory language designed to incite public sentiment against the police, who were being encircled by the demonstrators as the police tried to move the offenders.   After the entire media circus the campus police chief and two of his officers were put on administrative leave. 

Chancellor Katehi is doing damage control and apologizes to the protestors and now the tents are back on the Quad which is clearly a violation of university policy.   Kathehi needs to grow a backbone and take a strong stance on this incident in favor of the law and reinstate the campus chief and the two officers.  Also Brian Williams needs to get his facts right before voicing his own opinion.  Once again this shows that the media is a broken system.  They only report to try and mislead their viewers with their opinions and facts that aren’t even true.  Let the police do their jobs and if the protesters are breaking the law, not willing to leave, and to trying to start a configuration with the police.  A result of their actions might lead to them being pepper sprayed, which in their case happened.


  1. Could not agree more. The police were sure to give the protestors plenty of warning as to their actions before they carried them out. It was clear the police intended to pepper spray the protestors so I am not sure why the crowd was so upset. When police give orders, the law says they are to be followed. It is well within the rights of students, non-students, faculty, and all observers to challenge police decisions if they do not agree with them and that is clearly what happened. Hopefully, the officers on leave will be back to work soon performing their duty. Brian Williams certainly attacked the police which is something I do not agree with. I do not have children so it is hard to tell what exactly I would say, but I can imagine I would say "careful what you wish for" if he or she was sitting in that uncooperative protest line.

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  3. I completely agree. These young adults were breaking university law and were told to leave and didn't. They were causing problems and since they would not obey they got pepper sprayed. What annoys me is probably half the people did not really know what they were protesting for they just wanted to protest about something. We all know if you break the law there are consequences and if you fight with the police they are going to take action to get you to comply. I am pretty sure most people know that. They deserved what they got and I do not feel sorry for them.

  4. It is amazing how quickly news reporters will skew the facts of a given situation to make a headline, especially in those which involve police. I don't feel sorry for these idiots at all. The problem with the news in America is that no one would be interested in hearing about "UC Davis students break University policy and refuse to disband, Police use non-lethal pepper spray to remove them". Granted all of us in this class might have a slightly biased tendency of automatically backing criminal justice agencies, I know it is something I've caught myself getting heated over multiple times, you just can't ignore the facts. I guess we should all just take news reports like this as a warning for our future careers, stuff like this is out there and people are always looking for someone else to hold accountable.

  5. I find it interesting that you would allege that Brian Williams hates the police for what is, at best, strong language about a police officer basically crop-dusting a crowd of sitting people with pepper spray. Have you seen that video? It's cruelty, pure and simple. What kind of positive effect could that action have had? None. If you really want to disband protesters, you know what you do? Do what ISU did! Support their right to be there! If a social movement goes unopposed the people will eventually go away on their own. This is just an example of police using heavy-handed tactics and it blowing up in their faces. I don't care what you think about Occupy or protesters in general. We have a right to assemble and protest. It is a freedom that seems all but forgotten. I've always liked Brian Williams even when I was more conservative. Him simply defining the narrative as something other than, "the police acted correctly, the police always act correctly" is refreshing. News media outlets SHOULD scrutinize and question police action. Public scrutiny increase accountability and quality of interactions with the police.