Comments:California campus pepper spray police suspended

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Thread titleRepliesLast modified
Pepper spray vs. physical force1712:21, 1 February 2012
Comments from feedback form - "Seems heavily biased towards t..."101:31, 31 January 2012
Headline change401:40, 27 November 2011
Shoot first022:32, 22 November 2011

Pepper spray vs. physical force

Charles J. Kelly, who used to work as a lieutenant for Baltimore Police Department, defended the actions of the police officers as-seen in the video, calling it to be "fairly standard police procedure". Kelly explained that the use of pepper spray is preferable to physical force in such situations – as-opposed to attempting to lift up protesters. "When you start picking up human bodies, you risk hurting them," explained Kelly. "Bodies don't have handles on them."

I would like to see evidence showing it is "standard police procedure" to pepper-spray unarmed, peaceful demonstrators. It isn't and it never has been. Further, the claim that pepper spray is preferable to lifting up the protesters makes no sense at all and should win an award for the most dubious, absurd statement of the year. As the video clearly shows, not only did the officer pepper-spray the demonstrators, he then followed this up by dragging them away on the pavement and arresting them. These students were in need of medical attention and were injured by the pepper-spray. The police literature shows that in the United States during the 1990s alone, "70 fatalities linked to pepper-spray use" were cited by the U.S. Department of Justice.[1] To the best of my knowledge, there have been zero deaths due to "picking up human bodies". Kelly's argument doesn't hold water, and the writer who put this report together didn't do their homework.

Viriditas (talk)10:03, 22 November 2011

Then start picking on the sources they cite - which are the origin of the information you feel is incorrect.

Oh, and you can comment from the cheap seats, or you could contribute. If you engaged in the latter, you might learn why the headline choice I made is reasonable.

Brian McNeil / talk10:27, 22 November 2011

It is entirely unreasonable to change the topic of a news story by manipulating the headline. The change effectively undermined and downplayed the story by changing the subject. The news story is about the pepper spraying of demonstrators by police and the consequences of the police action. Your headline removed that fact. Dis-informing people is not reasonable, but I admit, it is what the media does best.

Viriditas (talk)10:43, 22 November 2011

The title reflects the first sentence of the lede, so I dispute your characterisation of the change. The consequence of pepper-spraying non-violent protesters is that the police officers have been suspended.

That these police officers have been suspended is certainly news. Many of the other heavy-handed tactics relating to "Occupy" protests have seen no sanctions whatsoever against police, or authorities ordering such 'brutal' tactics.

Now, please demonstrate your superior news-production skills by contributing an article? There's an awful lot of news relating to the Occupy movement, and tactics similar to this pepper spraying incident. Alternately, you might want to back up your assertions relating to "standard police procedures" on the talk page of the article, then point the original author at them. Either action would be more productive and lead to longer-term improvements in Wikinews articles.

Brian McNeil / talk11:32, 22 November 2011

Well, if you had bothered to do the slightest bit of research on this subject before dis-informing the reader and altering the title so that nobody knows what the subject is about, you would have discovered that The San Jose Mercury News substantiated my assertions about standard police procedures[1] as have the majority of reliable sources on this subject:

There is near universal agreement on this: Pepper spray is a tool to preserve peace, not break up peaceful protests...A half-dozen law enforcement officials interviewed for this story agreed that the use of pepper spray at UC Davis did not appear to be appropriate or reasonable. All agreed that the incident would not likely have happened at their agencies. "Our policy is that we do not use pepper spray or Tasers or batons against passively resisting people," said Peter Rode, Santa Clara County assistant sheriff. "It's a public safety issue. If they are blocking an intersection, then of course you have to move them." San Jose police Sgt. Jason Dwyer said he has only used pepper spray once in his 13-year career -- to break up a fight between two women who were kicking in stiletto heels. "On some people -- sometimes intoxicated or angry -- it can tick them off even more," he said.

Is it too much to ask you to research a subject before writing about it? Your change of the title from "Police officers put on leave after pepper spraying protesters" to "California campus pepper spray police suspended" has no rational basis other than to confuse readers and to deliberately downplay the main subject of the story.

Viriditas (talk)20:50, 26 November 2011

I didn't write the article; I copyedited it, chose a title that was more appropriate on the basis of the submitted content, verified it tallied with the used sources, and published it.

If you think you can do better, please feel free to prove it by contributing rather than simply being a news "consumer".

Brian McNeil / talk22:38, 26 November 2011

Comments from feedback form - "Seems heavily biased towards t..."

Seems heavily biased towards the actions of the police. No quote from bystanders. (talk)03:19, 4 December 2011

Bingo. Like the most of the so-called "news" on this site, it has to represent the status quo in order to get published. It's a systemic bias. That means all citizens are guilty of something and authorities are always right. Viriditas (talk) 01:31, 31 January 2012 (UTC)

Viriditas (talk)01:31, 31 January 2012

Headline change

22:11, 21 November 2011‎ Brian McNeil (Talk | contribs)‎ m (4,253 bytes) (moved Police officers put on leave after pepper spraying protesters to California campus pepper spray police suspended: alliteration, location)

Brian McNeil's move of the perfectly appropriate and accurate title "Police officers put on leave after pepper spraying protesters" to "California campus pepper spray police suspended" makes no sense and is one of the worst title moves I've ever seen. The subject of this article primarily concerns the pepper spraying of students by police. It is not about the suspension of police. The title should not have been changed, and the change distorted the topic, giving the illusion that this controversy was about the suspension of police rather than the actions taken by police and their subsequent fallout.

Viriditas (talk)10:16, 22 November 2011

I disagree...I think that the pepper spraying incident should have been its own story, and the consequences a second (or as an addendum to the first). Delaying news stories for that long just to include the suspensions would have delayed the major news item for too long, and although I'm not certain, I think the suspensions were announced at least three or four days since the pepper spraying incident occurred.

In this case I believe the headline accurately reflects the new story of what the consequences are. If the first version of this article was actually written during the time that the pepper spraying incident occurred, then the former title would have been appropriate at the time.

Also since the title still makes reference to the pepper spraying incident it contains all the relevant information, so its not hiding any focus; but rather making reference to something which should be obvious at this point. As with any news story, as it evolves over time, the focus is continually placed on new information or updates on what is occurring. (talk)14:55, 23 November 2011

Thank you!

The issue is that, as a volunteer-run project with people contributing in their spare time, we can't always cover every up-to-the-minute piece of news. So, stories generally tend to bring in one story a little on the late side, with a good deal of background.

I don't know what your thoughts on the news are, but I'd prefer a delay in reporting that led to more comprehensive coverage, more depth, and less knee-jerk nonsense that turns out to be fake.

Brian McNeil / talk15:33, 23 November 2011

I am the original author of this article and I think Brian McNeil was right to change its title. In retrospect, my original title was a bit vague as "Police officers put on leave after pepper spraying protesters" gives you no information about where the incident took place, or that students were being pepper sprayed. "California campus pepper spray police suspended" is a better title because it includes the two things I forgot to put in and it makes a pretty neat use of alliteration. So thank you for the improved title, Brian.

Viriditas, I totally disagree with all of your allegations. The headline change has not distorted the information at all. If anything, it has actually made the information more precise.

Rayboy8 (my talk) (my contributions)22:40, 26 November 2011

Then I must take serious exception to your uncritical repeating of two false claims in the report without so much as a single rebuttal, which virtually every reliable secondary sources has criticized as unfounded and absurd. First, you repeated a claim from Charles J. Kelly who called the pepper spraying "fairly standard police procedure". In point of fact, there is no evidence that this is standard police procedure, and The San Jose Mercury News as well as many other sources have made this point many times. Strangely, except for this Kelly character, there is almost no defense of the actions of the officer at all in reliable publications, so it appears that you were repeating a fringe claim without any justification. Research shows that police officers do not pepper spray non-violent demonstrators as standard practice.

Second, you repeated Spicuzza's claim that the students had surrounded the officers and the officers were unable to leave. Virtually every independent, reliable secondary source has disputed that claim and found it to be unfounded.

Viriditas (talk)01:40, 27 November 2011

Shoot first

The cops should have SHOT them first and then picked the bodies up...MUCH EASIER. (talk)22:32, 22 November 2011