The campus cop who doused sitting, defenseless student protesters with pepper spray in what became an iconic photo and viral video, was apparently so upset by the public backlash against him that he needs money to salve his psychological wounds. Now, he’s going to get a nice stack of it.
On October 16, an administrative law judge ruled that the University of California must may $38,056 to former U.C. Davis Lt. John Pike, to compensate him for the depression and anxiety he suffered after the national outcry against his bizarre and seemingly dispassionate pepper-spraying of the students.
It all goes back to November 18, 2011 at the height of the national “Occupy” protest movement. A group calling itself a part of Occupy staged a sit-in on the Davis campus, to oppose tuition hikes at the University.
As police attempted to move the protesters, Pike — as seen in the video — calmly walked up and down the line of passive protesters, dousing them with painful pepper spray from just a couple of feet away.
In January, U.C. Davis settled claims brought by the injured protesters. Each of 21 plaintiffs was awarded $30,000 while 15 more were to get $6,666 apiece.
Pike’s compensation is more than that received by any one of his victims.
After the incident, Pike was placed on administrative leave, then fired in July of last year. His annual salary atthe time he was let go was $121,680.
After the video and photo of the incident was published nationwide, Pike and his family received death threats and other harassment.
See the video in the KCRA News report below.
According to a report in the Davis Enterprise newspaper, one psychiatrist evaluating the former officer for California’s state Disability Evaluation Unit rated Pike’s disability level as “moderate,” saying that the former Marine suffered “continuing and significant internal and external stress with respect to resolving and solving the significant emotional upheavals that have occurred.”
The cash award “sends a clear message to the next officer nervously facing off with a group of passive, unarmed students,” lawyer Bernie Goldsmith told the paper. “Go on ahead. Brutalize them. Trample their rights. You will be well taken care of.”
SOURCES: Davis Enterprise, KCRA News, Los Angeles Times