Former Los Angeles Police Chief William Bratton will head a University of California investigation into the controversial pepper-spraying of student protesters last week at the university’s Davis campus, the Los Angeles Times reports. Bratton is to lead an independent review and report his findings within a month, UC President Mark Yudof said. Bratton is chairman of the New York-based Kroll security consulting firm.
The Friday incident, in which campus police sprayed the chemical irritant in the faces of nonviolent, seated protesters, has sparked national outrage. Bratton said in Los Angeles, where he was chief for seven years until 2009, provided “no shortage of controversial incidents.” He held up as a model investigation the Los Angeles police inquiry into a 2007 May Day confrontation at MacArthur Park in which police officers were caught on videotape as they wielded batons and fired rubber bullets to disperse a mostly peaceful crowd, after a small group of protesters confronted police. Dozens of demonstrators and journalists were injured. A series of police disciplinary steps resulted.