Pepper-Spraying Campus Cop Awarded $38,000 For 'Psychiatric Injury'

A video of Officer John Pike pepper-spraying demonstrators at UC Davis went viral in 2011

You just never know when your job will leave you under the glare of the national spotlight. Two years ago, activists organized the Occupy movement throughout the country to call attention to growing economic inequality in the United States. The rallies resulted in broad security oversight and response. One incident in November 2011 at the University of California, Davis, became a symbol of the divide between the movement and their myriad targets. A now-famous video captured Lt. John Pike of the UC Davis campus police as he calmly pepper-sprayed nonviolent protesters after they'd sat down and refused orders to leave.

The video went viral, as did photoshopped images depicting Pike and his pepper spray in famous scenes from history and art. The demonstration by Occupy UC Davis was part of a series of protests there against tuition hikes, as well as what demonstrators felt was excessive force being used by police to break up previous rallies.

Pike was just awarded $38,000 in workers' compensation by the state university for the pain and suffering that he endured as a result of the experience. He said that he received more than 17,000 angry or threatening emails, 10,000 text messages and hundreds of letters attacking him for his conduct. The reaction caused him both depression and anxiety, he claimed, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. His award was the result of a workers' compensation claim that he filed over the summer, reported The Davis Enterprise.

The decision adds a new chapter to Pike's experience after his confrontation with the Occupy movement. He was suspended with pay from his job just after the incident, while it was being investigated, and remained on leave until his employment there ended last summer. While the campus refused to comment then about the reason, citing confidentiality, the Sacramento Bee quoted Pike as saying that he'd been terminated from his job. The paper also reported his annual salary as $110,243.12, as of 2010.

Why was he given the award? The state Division of Workers' Compensation Appeals Board said the ruling "resolves all claims of psychiatric injury specific or due to continuous trauma from applicant's employment at UC Davis." The decision, "is in line with permanent impairment as calculated by the state's disability evaluation unit," UC Davis spokesman Andy Fell told the Chronicle.

UC Davis, for its part, appears to be willing to pony up for all involved parties. The group of demonstrators were awarded $1 million, which left each with about $30,000 a piece, said The Associated Press. This latest decision "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," a local attorney and advocate for the demonstrators, Bernie Goldsmith, told the AP.

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The only reason to pay that kind of money to a campus cop is particuallry judgemnt and professional abilities or a handsome union contract.

Of course, he was threatened by unruly sitting .... and he did more than spray once ... which is the standard for pepper spray.


March 31 2014 at 4:40 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

$110,000 salary for a Campus cop???!!! Hell yes the students should protest the rise in tuition, if universities pay their 'rent-a-cops' more than some professors and senior lecturers. This country is completely f***ed up.

March 31 2014 at 2:25 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply


March 31 2014 at 1:28 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

police officers knowingly go into situations - they are prepared physically and mentally - for him to claim psychiactric injury is a farce ... what he did to those demenstrators was wrong - they EACH deserve a peice of him - ... in addition , his 110,xxx salary was way too much in the first place - he should have been stripped of his job and thrown in jail - demonstrators were protesting police brutality and then he goes and does that - wether or not he was directed to spray demonstrators his conscience should have over-ridden ... its time for our police and troops to be compassionate towarsds the people they are "sworn" to protect ... king marc

November 01 2013 at 8:20 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

Now he will be harassed all over again for being such a wussy to file mental anguish.

October 28 2013 at 7:21 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

American is ruined.

October 27 2013 at 1:45 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

That's Pepper Spray! Those Occupy idiots, (and you either KNOW what they are or REFUSE to), intentionally sat there knowing they would get sprayed and expected to SUE. Big Deal. I worked as Charlie Manson's Wing Officer at CMF prison very close to Davis before they had that spray. It was very dangerous to mess with super strong inmates by tackling them and breaking up their fights. When I came back years later they had O.C. spray. I was sprayed with it many times, once when a Sgt tripped and sprayed me full in the face. Yes it burns and yes you think your face is on fire but you also STOP fighting, stabbing or killing someone else and do anything to wash it off and NO you don't die or even get hurt. An hour or so later, after you have gotten as much of it off as possible, things are OK and in prison it saves lives - a lot of lives.
This rent-a-cop should have been properly trained and had the experience of getting shot himself as they do at the Correctional Academy. He just seemed too casual. But he may not have even been using full strength O.C. spray. The Occupiers got just what they deserved and expected. The Campus Cop probably DID go through Hell over this, especially at a school as Liberal as Davis and he probably DID deserve compensation for all the threats and changes to his life caused by his line of duty actions.
Just Amazing how many people HATE this guy just because he squirted pepper at people who refused to obey a lawful order. These people can't understand that RATIONAL people don't think like them. They refuse to enforce the Law or the majority view regardless of how irrational the disobedient's behavior is. They won't fight or stand up for anything. These people were born to be slaves. But they won't be because the Communists and Socialists have no use for Aparachniks after they take charge.
What options were available here: Communists - let them be, let them STOP school and disrupt government, Liberals - condemn the COP and let everybody SUE the State and get paid by the taxpayers, or spray, cuff move them to jail. They USED TO use BILLY CLUBS & throw these guys into a Paddywagon. LATER when they used WATER CANNONS and RUBBER BULLETS, that wasn't fun either.
The O.C. spray is fantastic. It makes obnoxious idiots quit destroying property, hurting others or each other and allow them to be safely cuffed and taken to jail with no lasting injury except in a Liberal's mind. The comments on this thing sound like Trayvon and Zimmerman. The attorneys make out the best, the Occupiers share what's left of a million dollars and the cop gets fired, threatened by hundreds, has to move his home and fear for his life and gets criticized for making enough to pay his utilities for a year in California. What's wrong with this picture? Answer: California Liberal Democrats.
At least now kids in California schools can choose a special bathroom now when they DON'T KNOW WHAT SEX THEY ARE. Who'd a thunk it?

October 25 2013 at 9:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Amazing. Laziness leads to entitlement mentality. Entitlement mentality leads to civil unrest. Civil unrest leads to police abusing authority. Police abusing authority leads to death threats. Death threats lead to entitlement mentality. It's come full circle.

October 25 2013 at 8:40 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jeff R.

Define irony. The very same liberals who have made it so that you can sue for emotional distress are pissed off because this guy did just that.

October 25 2013 at 7:48 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

What? **** this pig. I can't stand the Occutards, but his "aftermath" is the result of his irresponsible use of tools and authority. He should have been fired, and likely gone to jail for assault for his actions.

October 25 2013 at 7:23 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

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