UC Davis pepper-spraying campus cop awarded $38,000 settlement

Chuck Ross | Investigative Reporter

The University of California, Davis police officer who pepper-sprayed a group of protesters in 2011 has been awarded a $38,056 settlement for mental anguish.

Former Lt. John Pike was given the settlement by The Division of Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board for his claim of “psychiatric injury”. The Board said that their award “resolves all claims of psychiatric injury specific or due to continuous trauma from applicant’s employment at UC Davis” according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

Pike, who casually sprayed an orange stream of MK9 on a group of UC-Davis students sitting in protest on a campus sidewalk, was fired in July 2012 for the incident.

The campus cop, a 17-year law enforcement veteran and former Marine, claimed that he dusted the group of protesters in order to “gain compliance, so that I can get my troops out of there, my suspects out of there, and get a job done.”

A video of the incident went viral and served as a rallying cry for the Occupy Wall Street movement.

After video of the incident went viral, Pike was forced to change his phone number on several occasions after receiving death threats.

Due to that stress, according to a psychiatrist who evaluated Pike for the workers’ compensation hearing, Pike experienced “continuing and significant internal and external stress with respect to resolving and solving the significant emotional upheavals that have occurred,” according to the Davis Enterprise.

Pike earned nearly $120,000 annually at the time of his firing. Besides the cash settlement, he is still eligible for retirement benefits he accrued over his 11 years working as a UC-Davis police officer.

Pike’s actions eventually cost the school $1 million for lawsuit settlements given to the sprayed protesters. Twenty-one of those protesters were awarded $30,000 settlements, and another 15 protesters were given $6,666 apiece, according to The Enterprise.

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