“UC Davis pepper-spray officer awarded $38,000”

“A former UC Davis police officer whose pepper-spraying of protesters gained worldwide notice thanks to a viral video has been awarded more than $38,000 in workers’ compensation from the university for suffering he experienced after the incident.” [Joe Garofoli, San Francisco Chronicle]

More from Lowering the Bar:

Here are some additional facts that are remarkable.

  • Pike was on paid leave during the university’s investigation, which for some reason took eight months.
  • The investigation found not only that Pike didn’t need to use the spray, but that he used a spray not sanctioned by the department and he used it from an unsafe distance. Seems serious and willful to me.
  • Pike was being paid — please be seated — at least $119,000 per year (another report says $121,680) plus benefits, to be a campus policeman in Davis, California.
  • Though Pike was fired, he will still get his pension.
  • The students he sprayed sued UC Davis for civil-rights violations. The university settled with them for $1 million (plus an apology). Under the settlement, the plaintiffs will each receive, at most, $30,000.

Yes, the man who assaulted the plaintiffs will be getting $8,000 more than any plaintiff will get, as a result of his claim that he was acting within the course of his employment by assaulting them and became emotionally disabled as a result of being accused of assaulting them; he is also allowed to keep a pension that is likely based to some degree on the $119,000 per year the state was paying him to be the kind of officer who pepper-sprays non-violent protesters in the face.


  • Aaron Hernandez should sign up for work comp. He has injuries. Unlike ssdi or ssi, incarceration wont exclude him.

  • Obviously suffering much more than the people he sprayed. The truth DOES hurt.

  • Poor dear.
    He had to change his phone number and move a couple times.
    The article doesn’t state where he is working now, but come on, cops with much worse records still find employment somewhere. Wouldn’t be surprised if he is wearing a badge and carrying a gun for a municipality right down the road from UC Davis. Protect and serve.

  • How soon we forget the 1968 Chicago protests at the Democratic Convention. The Chicago Police hit protestors in the ribs and on the head with batons.

    The question of how to move recalcitrant demonstrators is never answered by those reacting to the police.

  • I find it hard to work up sympathy for UC Davis, or, ultimately, the California taxpayer.

  • William Nuesslein,

    The police should first answer the question of why the demonstrators should be moved.

  • MattS

    Because they are blocking use of a side walk.

  • The question of how to move recalcitrant demonstrators is never answered by those reacting to the police.

    Answered thousands of times in demonstrations of passive resistance — you pick them up and carry them away. If they’ve locked themselves to something, you cut the locks.