An administrative law judge has awarded fired Lt. John Pike of the University of California, Davis, police department $38,056 in workers' compensation. Pike was fired eight months after he casually and sadistically pepper-sprayed a seated crowd of peaceful Occupy UC Davis protesters on the campus on November 18, 2011. Since he was cut loose from his job, the 40-year-old Pike, who was paid $121,680 annually as a campus officer, claims he has suffered anxiety and depression.
Nine months ago, 21 of the protesters received $30,000 each and another 15 received $6,666 each in a settlement with the university.
As can be seen in the video below, the protesters present zero threat and offer zero resistance before Pike jets the spray directly into their eyes and down their throats.
The police union claims that Pike received more than 17,000 angry e-mails as well as thousands of text messages and letters after the pepper-spray video went viral. Pike became such an icon that a tumbler site was established in his dishonor here.
The Davis protest was not an isolated incident. On Nov. 9 on the UC Berkeley campus, Alameda County Sheriff's deputies and UC police brutally attacked students in an effort to remove an encampment that was part of demonstrations opposing massive budget cuts and tuition increases. When protesters refused an order to disperse, they beat them with night-sticks and dragged away two of them, one an English professor, by the hair. On Nov. 15, at a protest of a meeting by the trustees of California State University, protesters were pepper-sprayed and arrested. One was hog-tied.
After the pepper-spray incident at UC Davis, Pike, another officer and the police chief were put on administrative leave. Pike was fired by the acting chief nine months later. Separate investigations later found that Pike had no need to use the spray, a type not sanctioned by the campus police department.
In a statement, UC Davis spokesman Andy Fell said, "This case has been resolved in accordance with state law and processes on workers' compensation. The final resolution is in line with permanent impairment as calculated by the state's disability evaluation unit."
Bernie Goldsmith, a Davis lawyer supportive of the protesters, said that the settlement “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.”How long until Pike is again wearing a badge and doing the bidding of managers who will suffer no consequences for their actions? How long before he himself is supervising other badge-wearers?
••• ••• •••
David Harris Gershon has a discussion of the compensation aware here.