OAKLAND -- The University of California can release most of an investigative report on a UC Davis police officer's pepper-spraying of Occupy protesters, an Alameda County judge ruled Friday.
But portions of the report must remain under seal until police officers' privacy arguments have been considered, Alameda County Superior Court Judge Evilio Grillo said following a hearing.
UC lawyers did not immediately say when -- or if -- they would make public the partial report, which was the result of an investigation by a panel led by former California Supreme Court Justice Cruz Reynoso.
"It may or may not make sense for us to release the report in a piecemeal fashion," UC attorney Charles Robinson told reporters after the hearing. A UC spokesman later said the university would wait for Grillo to finalize his order Monday before making a decision.
Lawyers for Lt. John Pike, the officer who sprayed the seated protesters, and other UC Davis officers argued Friday that the examination led by Reynoso essentially amounted to an internal-affairs investigation. State law requires that certain information in investigations of police actions be kept confidential, the lawyers said.
Grillo appeared skeptical about the officers' claims. He repeatedly asked their attorneys why parts of the report -- including officers' names -- should be kept private if the university was not going to use it to punish them. Robinson, UC's attorney, said the UC Davis police department was separately investigating six to 10 of its officers.
Officers were forced to answer questions from investigators at Kroll, a private firm hired by UC, said Michael Morguess, an attorney for the police officers. Because the order came from the UC Davis police chief, he said, the investigation is equivalent to an internal-affairs inquiry.
"They did not talk to Kroll on their own," he said. "This was not information that was voluntarily given."
Although Pike's name, as well as widely viewed videos of the pepper-spraying, have been publicized, the names of other officers involved in the incident should be kept secret, the lawyers said. Pike had threats and nearly 10,000 text messages and emails a week following the Nov. 18 incident, they said.
Police and university attorneys will try to agree before a March 28 hearing on whether any of the sealed portions of the report can be released.
Matt Krupnick covers higher education. Contact him at 510-208-6488. Follow him at Twitter.com/MattKrupnick.