Nightly News   |  November 21, 2011

Fallout over UC Davis pepper spraying not over

Police in full riot gear pepper sprayed University of California Davis students, as the young protesters sat arms linked, making no moves. But even some professors are now saying it’s not just the police, but the university that failed its young students. NBC’s Kristen Dahlgren reports.

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This content comes from a Full-Text Transcript of the program.

BRIAN WILLIAMS, anchor: We're back with those astounding pictures from the student protest on the campus of the University of California Davis . The story spread via social media. The video shows police methodically spraying students with debilitating law enforcement-grade thick pepper spray that's meant to cover like spray paint . Now imagine those are your kids sitting on that sidewalk. It has turned that campus upside down as you might imagine. The fallout is far from over in this. NBC 's Kristen Dahlgren live for us there tonight at UC Davis . Kristen , good evening.

KRISTEN DAHLGREN reporting: Good evening, Brian . And we're beginning to see some of those Occupy tents popping back up here on campus . That video has now gotten more than 1.4 million views, sparking outrage around the world and calls for some serious changes here on this campus . This is the video that spread shock across the Internet . Police in full riot gear pepper spraying students at point blank range as the young protesters sat arms linked, making no moves. The demonstrators were protesting tuition that has doubled in the last seven years. And for many on the quiet campus it was their first protest ever.

Ms. TATIANA MOANA (Student Leader): The students that come here are bioscience majors, veterinarians, doctors, neurologists.

Mr. THOMAS FOWLER: These guys...

DAHLGREN: Thomas Fowler shot the now famous video when he thought the show of force was going too far.

Mr. FOWLER: I was surprised. I didn't really even know Davis police had riot gear to use.

Unidentified Woman: I should not feel unsafe on my own campus .

DAHLGREN: This afternoon demonstrators were back on campus , many demanding the resignation of school chancellor Linda Katehi .

Ms. LINDA KATEHI: I'm here to apologize. I really feel horrible for what happened on Friday.

DAHLGREN: Maki Haberfeld trains police on use of force.

Ms. MAKI HABERFELD: I thought it excessive because from what I was seeing there was still room to do other things.

Ms. ANNETTE SPICUZZA (UC Davis Police Chief): I see pepper spray as a tool for officers to use. You hope and pray that it's used correctly and within policy and that the aftereffects are not terrible.

DAHLGREN: Chief Spicuzza and two officers identified in the video have been placed on administrative leave. But today, even some professors say it's not just the police, but the university that failed its young students.

Mr. BOB OSTERTAG (UC Davis Professor): We need to ask ourselves why it is that at the University of California police are armed with assault rifles in the first place . Why do they carry chemical weapons? What on earth are they thinking?

DAHLGREN: The faculty association has now joined in the calls for the chancellor to resign. Meantime the university is forming a task force to look into the incident and the university is also asking the district attorney's office to look into this to see, Brian , if any criminal charges should apply.

WILLIAMS: All right, Kristen Dahlgren on the campus UC Davis tonight. Kristen , thanks. Up next here