UC Davis pepper-spray cop wins $38,000 settlement

Courtesy of Brian Nguyen/The California Aggie
Courtesy of Brian Nguyen/The California Aggie

On Oct. 16, former UC Davis police lieutenant, John Pike, received a worker’s compensation of $38,000 from the University of California, after citing depression and anxiety from a 2011 Davis demonstration. Pike gained notoriety through a viral video, which depicted him pepper-spraying sitting student protesters, while dressed in tactile and armored gear.

“This case has been resolved in accordance with state law and processes on workers’ compensation,” UC Davis spokesman said in a media release.

Pike reportedly received more than 17,000 angry or threatening emails, and 10,000 written and texted messages when his identity became known to the public. He was then placed on paid administrative leave for eight months, until his termination in July 2012. At the time of the demonstration, UC students were vehemently protesting against the privatization of higher education as a result of nearly a billion dollars in state divestment within a decade.

A 190-page investigative report of the incident revealed that the university and UC Davis Police Department used excessive force and bad judgment during the altercation. Following the release of the report, the university agreed to pay $30,000 to each of the pepper-sprayed students — $8,000 less than what Pike is now receiving.

Bernie Goldsmith, a Davis lawyer supporting the protesters told the Davis Enterprise, “(The compensation) 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 well taken care of.”

 

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