Greenhut on the U.C. Davis Incident
My colleague (hey, he's a libertarian writer, too) Steve Greenhut over at CalWatchdog pipes in on the pepper spray incident at U.C. Davis. No surprise that he calls it "brutality" as he's always seemed to me to have strong feelings towards any suggestion of police misconduct.
I have a slightly different take on it. As I wrote in a comment to his piece, I wouldn't go so far as to call it brutality. If the police attacked them with batons and beat the pulp out of some of the students, I'd call that brutality. As it was it was pretty much a temporary application of pain which the students had to have been expecting and could have left at any time to avoid.
I do think it's illustrative of how cavalier police have become in the use of both pepper spray and tasers. I realize tasers weren't used in this instance but it's the same thing: Police have a tool that isn't considered to cause lasting harm so they use it more and more, often in cases that defy explanation. When they're used when the target didn't ask for a confrontation, as Radley Balko reports, I think that certainly is brutality.