Video of a UC Davis campus cop, Lt. John Pike, in full riot gear confronting peaceful student demonstrators and then casually pepper-spraying them went viral on Friday. The reaction from authorities to the viral clip has been swift: two police officers and the police chief were placed on leave, and UC President Mark Yudof has called for a review of police procedures across the entire system.
Besides the damage that this has been done by this truly disturbing video, a clever Internet meme has popped up to comment on the outrage.
Pike has been placed in a number of classic paintings, shown pepper-spraying patriots, angels, and picnickers just because. The Washington Post has a number of them on its Arts blog, each clever in their own way.
“I already have taken steps to assemble experts and stakeholders to conduct a thorough, far-reaching and urgent assessment of campus police procedures involving use of force, including post-incident review processes,” Yudof said in a statement.
“…[F]ree speech is part of the DNA of this university, and non-violent protest has long been central to our history. It is a value we must protect with vigilance. I implore students who wish to demonstrate to do so in a peaceful and lawful fashion,” he continued.