A former University of California at Davis police officer who gained notoriety after pepper-spraying Occupy demonstrators has been awarded workers' compensation for trauma from the incident's aftermath.
Former UC Davis police officer John Pike who sued the school for workers' compensation, has been awarded $38,059 by a judge. Pike said he had suffered psychiatric injury after the Nov. 2011 pepper-spray incident.
Pepper-Spraying Cop Seeks Worker's Comp for ‘Psychiatric Injury’
In an ideal democracy, violent suppressors of political speech are jailed and not rewarded. This sends a message that acts of violent political repression can be both insulated from real criminal prosecution and rewarded.
– Bernie Goldsmith, Occupy UC Davis-affiliated attorney
Pike earned $121,680 per year as a UC Davis police lieutenant before being placed on paid leave for eight months after the 2011 incident. His employment officially ended in July 2012.
A Sept. 2012 settlement was reached by UC Davis and the ACLU, awarding each of the 21 protesters $30,000, along with $250,000 for the attorneys to split. Another $100,000 was set aside for any other protesters who prove they were arrested or pepper-sprayed at the demonstration on Nov. 18, 2011.
The image of the protesters being pepper-sprayed by UC Davis police quickly went viral and became a rallying point for Occupy protesters nationwide. In the backlash to the incident, more protesters called for the resignation of the university's chancellor, Linda Katehi.