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UC Davis Pepper-Spray Officer Awarded $38,000

Lizzie Pereira |
October 24, 2013 | 11:21 a.m. PDT

Executive Producer

UC Davis students protestors. Photo courtesy of Creative Commons
UC Davis students protestors. Photo courtesy of Creative Commons
The former University of California Davis police officer, infamous for pepper-spraying student protestors, has been awarded more than $38,000 in workers compensation from the university. 

Lt. John Pike gained notoriety back in November 2011 after a viral video showed him dousing seated students with pepper spray. The students had been protesting tuition increases in a seemingly non-violent demonstration. The incident triggered extensive amounts of public uproar and prompted an investigation.

Pike was consequently suspended with pay. He ultimately left the campus police force in July 2012. Pike received tens of thousands of angry emails and text messages, as well as hundreds of phone calls after the video went viral, the police union said. 

On October 16, Pike was awarded a $38,056 settlement from the Division of Workers Compensation Appeals Board, which “resolves all claims of psychiatric injury specific or due to continuous trauma from applicant’s employment at UC Davis.” Pike claimed that he suffered depression and anxiety as a result of death threats he and his family received following the incident. 

SEE ALSO: UC Davis Chancellor Says Police Wielding Pepper-Spray Defied Orders

Last fall the university agreed to pay a $1 million to the dozens of students who had been pepper sprayed in a federal lawsuit. Each of the 21 students was given $30,000. Pike is therefore receiving more compensation than the students.

Bernie Goldsmith, a Davis lawyer who supported the protestors told the Davis Enterprise that the settlement “sends a clear message to the next officer nervously facing off with a group of passive, unarmed students: Go on ahead. Brutalize them. Trample their rights. You will be taken care of.” 

According to UC Davis spokesman, Andy Fell, “This case has been resolved in accordance with state law and processes on workers’ compensation. The final resolution is in line with permanent impairment as calculated by the state’s disability evaluation unit.”

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