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University to pay medical bills of pepper spray victims

By the CNN Wire Staff
updated 5:47 AM EST, Wed November 23, 2011
  • Former police chief to head panel looking into pepper spray incident
  • Police will drop charges for 10 people arrested
  • The video of police pepper-spraying demonstrators has sparked widespread criticism
  • The school has placed the police chief and two officers on administrative leave

Read more about this story from CNN affiliate KXTV. Are you there? Send photos to Open Story

(CNN) -- University of California officials said Tuesday they will pay the medical expenses of students who were pepper sprayed during an Occupy Davis protest last week.

Authorities have also decided to drop charges against 10 people who were arrested during the Friday protest on the campus of UC Davis. The university system has also created an advisory panel to look into the incident, University of California President Mark Yudof said.

Bill Bratton, who has led police departments in Los Angeles, Boston and New York, will head the panel, Yudof said.

"My intent," Yudof said, "is to provide the chancellor and the entire University of California community with an independent, unvarnished report about what happened at Davis."

UC-Davis responds to pepper spraying
UC-Davis chancellor: 'I feel horrible'

Video of the incident has sparked widespread criticism, more protests and calls for the resignation of the school's chancellor.

A campus police officer, in a sweeping motion, sprayed seated protesters at point blank range during a police attempt to clear out an Occupy encampment.

The school said 10 of the arrested protesters were given misdemeanor citations for unlawful assembly and failure to disperse.

Eleven were treated for the effects of pepper spray, which burns the eyes and nose, causing coughing, gagging and shortness of breath.

Chanceller Linda Katehi, who has apologized for the incident, tried to address a meeting of protesters on campus Tuesday but was not allowed to speak.

An online petition seeking her resignation has gathered 80,000 signatures, CNN affiliate KXTV reported.

The university has said it has placed two police officers and the police chief on administrative leave in the wake of the incident.

CNN's Sara Pratley contributed to this report.

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