San Francisco: Officer draws gun on students as protests against tuition increases heat up: 13 arrested

Video available here. Capitalist media coverage:

SAN FRANCISCO — Questions were being raised Wednesday over whether a UCSF police officer went too far when he pulled his gun on a crowd of angry student protesters earlier in the day during an incident that was caught on tape.

The confrontation happened at UCSF during the first day of student protests over a new plan by UC Regents to raise tuition.

The incident occurred as the main protest took place outside the William J Rutter Center.

But just after 10 a.m. Wednesday morning, a group of protesters entered the parking garage. They went to the second floor where the confrontation took place. University of California police were holding the line at a bank of elevators in a campus parking garage.

The protesters were trying to get into the adjacent main building. As the crowd surged, pushing and shoving between students and campus police ensued.

Seconds later, one officer struggled with a student demonstrator before backing off and pulling out his gun.

During a press conference following the incident, campus police Chief Pamela Roskowski described the officer’s actions as justified given the circumstance.

“They hit the baton out of his arms. He was struck in the head with a baton,” said Roskowski.

If that was in fact the case, the blow Roskowski mentioned was not visible in video of the incident shot by KTVU.

In slow motion, the video showed the officer break free from the crowd and release his baton before he pulled his sidearm.

Roskowski said she reviewed this video and believed the officer acted properly.

“During that discourse, the officer heard individuals in the crowd call for taking his gun and he was genuinely concerned for his safety,” asserted Roskowski.

However, the video showed those chants from the crowd were heard after the officer pulled his gun. It was not clear if the same words were spoken previously.

UC Hastings College of Law Professor Rory Little viewed the video tape and said that the officer was entitled to draw his weapon in that situation.

“The protesters appear to push and shove him, which is unwise as well as unlawful,” explained Little.

Little said the officer appears to keep the weapon pointed down in a safety position, but he questioned why the officer was alone in the crowd.

“I can’t watch that tape and say the officer made a mistake. I can say the campus police should have had it better staffed,” said Little.

University of California police said the incident will be investigated.

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