The former University of California Davis police lieutenant who brutally pepper-sprayed a group of peaceful Occupy protesters was awarded a $38,000 workman's compensation settlement from the school last week. The payout is about $8,000 more than each of the assaulted demonstrators received in a settlement from the university last year, according to the Davis Enterprise.
In November 2011, Lt. John Pike of the UC Davis Police force casually sprayed the passive protesters, and was, of course, caught on camera doing so. The video went viral, becoming a sort of symbol and rallying cry for the Occupy movement, and Pike rightfully lost his job for the attack in July 2012. The demonstrators later received a $1 million settlement from UC Davis, which, when divided among the 21 plaintiffs and their attorneys, left each protestor with about $30,000.
About one year later, Pike, who made $121,680 per year as a cop, filed a worker's compensation claim, saying the event and its aftermath caused him to suffer depression and anxiety. He also said his family received death threats.
The school and Administrative Law Judge Harter, who approved the settlement, apparently agreed that the eight months of paid suspension (during which Pike “earned” more than $80,000) wasn't compensation enough for the self-inflicted duress and awarded the former officer $38,056.
“This case has been resolved in accordance with state law and processes on workers’ compensation,” UC Davis spokesman Andy Fell said in an email message to the Davis Enterprise.
Bernie Goldsmith, a Davis attorney supportive of the student protesters, told the Associated Press 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.”
[Image via AP]