UC Davis pepper-spray protests reach Amazon product reviews

Alexis Levinson Political Reporter
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Those angered by a recent incident at the University of California, Davis, in which campus police used pepper spray at close range on student protesters have found a new forum for their discontent:

Amazon sells the type of Defense Technology police-grade pepper spray reportedly used on the UC Davis protesters. Customer reviews of the product are now dominated by snarky comments about the campus incident.

“Accept no substitutes when casually repressing students,” is the title of one review posted Monday.

“When I feel threatened by students, no matter how unarmed, peaceful and seated they may be, I know that Defense Technology 56895 MK-9 Stream, 1.3% Red Band/1.3% Blue Band Pepper Spray has got my back as I casually spray away at point blank range,” the review says.

The student protesters who were pepper-sprayed were reportedly nonviolent, sitting on the ground with linked arms as the police sprayed them.

“I know it’s not explicitly listed as one [of] the uses on the can, but it’s also an amazing human arm de-linker. So if you have this gigantic public space and a dozen people are sitting there with their arms linked – this will really help in your effort to de-link those arms,” wrote another commenter on Monday.

The reviews seem to be as a result of a tweet from, an organization that seeks to provide an online platform for grassroots social change campaigns.

On Monday, the group tweeted: “@Amazon sells the same pepper-spray police used on peaceful #UCDavisstudents: No product reviews yet. Anyone? #OWS.”

“A staff member noticed that there were no reviews on Amazon’s listing for the pepper spray used against student protestors at UC Davis,” emailed Charlotte Hill, Communications Manager for “We figured followers – especially the 75,000 folks who joined a campaign on launched by a UC Davis student demanding Katehi’s resignation – might be interested in reviewing the pepper spray. So we tweeted out the link, and the reviews started pouring it. It really just grew organically from there.”

“Perfect for use against Occupy Wall Street!” wrote a reviewer on Monday, saying “Perfect for use against peaceful protesters, especially ones who are sitting down and pose no threat. According to one protestor, the stinging sensation this pepper spray leaves can last an entire weekend!”

“A friend of mine is a UC Davis student who was pepper sprayed by campus police with this stuff. I’ve always been skeptical of pepper-spray… I mean, how much damage could it really cause? Luckily, Defense Technology’s MK-9 put my worries to rest!,” wrote another.

“After being sprayed, my friend was instantly blinded. He said his face felt like acid had been poured on it. One of his friends was coughing up blood. Two had to be hospitalized. Now that’s the stuff!” continued the sarcastic review.

Amazon did not respond to immediate request for comment.

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Alexis Levinson