In an incisive analysis of UC Davis’ investigation into the infamous pepper-spraying incident , titled “Sometimes, When “All the Facts are In,” It’s Worse: The UC-Davis Pepper-Spray Report” by J Brad Hicks (whom I don’t know) provides a textbook example of organizational dysfunction leading to bad policing. The story involves people speaking vaguely and being misinterpreted, higher-ups refusing to listen when they are told that what they want is illegal or impossible, police using a form of pepper spray that is illegal for them to use, and the officer responsible for the pepper spray overtly complaining that the order to clear the crowd was illegal and impossible to enforce before going ahead and trying to enforce it the way he did. The interpretation I drew from Hicks’s description is that the flagrant way Pike acted was perhaps driven as much or more as a protest against the impossible order he was given as hostility to the protesters. In any event, Hicks’s analysis makes for fascinating reading a probably a good classroom example. I have not read the Davis report itself yet, I’ll put that on my agenda for later.
Edit: David Meyer has already blogged about this and reaches similar conclusions.
Here are copies of the URLs for my links http://reynosoreport.ucdavis.edu/reynoso-report.pdf and http://bradhicks.livejournal.com/459368.html