John Pike, the UC Davis police officer who infamously pepper-sprayed a group of seated Occupy protesters, has been awarded a workers compensation settlement that is larger than what the protesters themselves were awarded.
Pike, who apparently suffered from severe anxiety and depression after receiving death threats following the incident in November of 2011, was awarded $38,059 by a local judge. Pike was fired by UC Davis eight months after the incident occurred.
The settlement nets Pike more than those who were pepper-sprayed received in a class-action lawsuit: $30,000 apiece.
While the former UC Davis police officer likely suffered psychologically in the wake of the incident, a simple fact remains: it was his actions which initiated the suffering felt by all parties.
This settlement seems striking in that it can be seen as a metaphor for too many incidents in which those in power – those in government who cause pain via their reckless actions – emerge from their misdeeds unscathed.
And sometimes, rewarded.
David Harris-Gershon is author of the memoir What Do You Buy the Children of the Terrorist Who Tried to Kill Your Wife?, just out from Oneworld Publications.