University of California President Mark G. Yudof announced today (Nov. 28) the appointment of former California Supreme Court Justice Cruz Reynoso to chair the task force formed to address the pepper spraying of UC Davis students.
Reynoso, a UC Davis law professor emeritus who was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2000, will be “absolutely fair,” Yudof said.
The task force is part of UC’s efforts to address policing issues in the wake of the Nov. 18 pepper spraying of UC Davis students and other incidents involving law enforcement officers and protesters. Acting in response to a written request from UC Davis Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi, Yudof last Tuesday announced that former Los Angeles police chief William J. Bratton would lead an independent fact-finding of the pepper spray incident and report back the results to him within 30 days.
Bratton, who also led the New York City police department, now heads the New York-based Kroll consulting company as chairman. He is a renowned expert in progressive community policing. Assembly Speaker John A. Perez also had made a request to Yudof and UC Regents Chair Sherry Lansing for an independent investigation.
Under the plan, Bratton's report also will be presented to the task force that Yudof is forming, again at Katehi's request. The task force will consist of a cross-section of students, faculty, staff and other UC community members. Reynoso is the first member named to the task force. The task force will review the report and make recommendations to Katehi on steps that should be taken to ensure the safety of peaceful protesters on campus. She will present her implementation plan to Yudof.
Reynoso, a farmworker’s son, rose from an Orange County barrio to become the first Latino to serve on the California Supreme Court. He has a bachelor’s degree from Pomona College and a law degree from UC Berkeley. His distinguished career includes serving as director of the California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation, a UCLA law school professor and as vice chair of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. He joined the UC Davis law school faculty in 2001 asthe inaugural holder of its Boochever and Bird Chair for the Study and Teaching of Freedom and Equality.
In remarks at the regents meeting today, Yudof reiterated his support for protecting the right to peaceful protests on campus and emphasized that Bratton’s investigation will be independent.
Last Tuesday, in a separate effort, Yudof also appointed UC General Counsel Charles Robinson and UC Berkeley School of Law Dean Christopher Edley Jr. to lead a systemwide examination of police protocols and policies as they apply to protests at all 10 UC campuses. The review is expected to result in recommended best practices for policing protests across the 10 UC campuses.
For more information about how UC is addressing policing and protest issues, visit this page.