UC Davis pepper-spray cop’s payout criticized by attorney

An attorney supportive of the protesters who were pepper-sprayed two years ago at UC Davis criticized a recent decision to pay the former campus police officer involved in the incident $38,055 in worker’s compensation.

As the result of a claim filed with the University of California system, John Pike will receive the compensation for depression and anxiety he says he suffered after receiving death threats when his identity became known.

Bernie Goldsmith, a Davis lawyer supportive of the protesters, told the Davis Enterprise that Pike’s workers’ comp settlement sent a dangerous message.

He said it “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.”


After video of Pike pepper-spraying seated protesters as they offered no resistance when viral, he was put on paid administrative leave for eight months and eventually fired.

Pike’s compensation will be more than what each of the 21 UC Davis students and alumni who were pepper-sprayed got in a civil-lawsuit settlement. The UC system last year agreed to pay damages of $30,000 to each of those claimants.

In a statement, UC Davis spokesman Andy Fell said Pike’s case “has been resolved in accordance with state law and processes on workers’ compensation.”



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Twitter: @larrygordonLAT

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