Look at it like this, those protesters (some students, some hangers-on) were told to move. They were going to move.
It's not like the the cops were going to debate with them or go away if they lost or simply because the protesters said "no".
Those protesters were leaving the scene and if not of their own volition then in the back of a police car.
So the cops used the pepper spray, gently led them away, and nobody got hurt.
And I mean hurt, not just red, teary eyes.
Say the cops had gone your route and decided to just man handle out of there.
What happens if one of them squirms and gets dropped on his face while the cops are trying to seperate him/her from the "human chain" they'd formed, or resists and gets a dislocated shoulder, or winds up with a broken bone?
The cops wouldn't be accountable. They'd just have been doing what you think they should have been doing.
If it were your kid, and I told you that pepper spray was going to result in a 30% chance thet your kid would get seriuosly hurt while an immediate hands-on effort would have resulted in a 50% chance which would you prefer?
Me? I'd opt for the less dangerous method.
And the reason that pepper spray comes before hands-on in the use of force continuum is that over time pepper sprated subjects have been proven to end up seriously hurt to a much lesser degree than non-pepper sprayed subjects who were resistant to the cops laying hands on them.
I really don't see how this could be simpler.
First the cop asks you to leave.
You say no.
Then the cop takes you by the arm and GENTLY attemps to guide you in the direction he wants you to go in. Either you say "no" or you link arms in preperation of not being led off (how else can linking arms, sitting down, and making yourself "dead weight" be precieved - you're not going anywhere - right?).
Next, the cop can either hit you with some pepper spray that's going to impede your vision, cause temporary pain, and take your breath away and then move you to a secure location with the promise that as soon as you comply he'll wash the spray off with water and the pain will stop - or he can go to the ground with you and do everything in his power to get you to move physically.
Who do you think is going to come out on top of that situation? 300 lb. officer fat ass or the 90 lb. gender studies emo fag protester?
You don't know what your asking for as policy dude.
The reason that things are the way they are is that fewer people get hurt for real when the cops use pepper spray.
And you want to change that to make it more dangerous for cops and (alleged) criminals both?