Former campus officer John Pike, the “Pepper Spray Cop,” received $8,000 more in workers’ compensation pay than peaceful protesters he sprayed.
A former campus police officer, who infamously pepper-sprayed a group of sitting Occupy UC Davis protesters, reached a settlement with the school for more than $38,000, a local news outlet reported Wednesday.
A news report from The Davis Enterprise says that 40-year-old Officer John Pike will receive $38,056 from UC Davis as part of a workers’ compensation package.
Pike said he suffered depression and anxiety after receiving death threats against himself and his family following the pepper-spray incident at the school in November 2011.
The incident received international attention after a video of the officer pepper-spraying the students, who were passively sitting with their arms locked together, went viral. Pike, now known as “Pepper Spray Cop,” was placed on eight months of paid administrative leave while the university launched an investigation.
A public task force led by former California Supreme Court Justice Cruz Reynoso found that both the UC Davis police and administrators were at fault for the incident. It also found that not only did Pike not need to use the pepper spray, but that he used a spray not sanctioned for use by the department, and he sprayed the protesters from an unsafe distance.
In August 2012, UC Davis spokesman Barry Shiller told the Sacramento Bee that Pike had left the force. Iit was later reported that Chief Matt Carmichael fired him.
Carmichael’s predecessor Annette Spicuzza retired during the investigation into the pepper spray incident.
The investigation also found that Pike had ordered officer Alexander Lee to spray protesters as well. As of July 2012, Officer Lee “ceased to work for the department” as well.
Even though he was fired, Pike will reportedly receive retirement benefits for his 11 years of campus employment. When he was fired, Pike was earning $121,680 annually.
Richard Lieberman is a Piedmont psychiatrist who was the expert in Pike’s workers’ compensation case. He said that Pike had a “moderate” disability and faced “continuing and significant internal and external stress with respect to resolving and solving the significant emotional upheavals that have occurred” in his life and said Pike had not shown any substantial improvement either time he met with him.
In response to the settlement’s publicization, UC Davis spokesman Andy Fell said the case was resolved in accordance with state laws.
But not everyone is happy with the outcome of Pike’s workers’ compensation case, especially since Pike is getting a larger settlement than any of the protesters who were pepper-sprayed.
Last September UC Davis agreed to a $1 million settlement to compensate current and former students who were involved in the pepper-spray incident. Twenty-one plaintiffs divided the settlement equally, getting about $30,000 each. The 15 other victims that came forward later were awarded $6,666 each.
Bernie Goldsmith is a Davis-based attorney who supports the student protesters. He said that Pike’s 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.”