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October 2013

Make $38k Using this One Weird Trick: Pepper Spray Students

Former UC Davis cop John Pike, made infamous when cameras captured him casually pepper spraying dozens of peaceful protesters, is now receiving a big pay day from the university:

The campus police officer shown in a viral video pepper-spraying Occupy UC Davis protesters will receive workers’ compensation totaling $38,059.

John Pike, 40, of Roseville, reportedly suffered depression and anxiety brought on by death threats to him and his family that followed the Nov. 18, 2011, confrontation at an encampment on the Quad.

First off, funny how the act of walking up to a bunch of students sitting on the sidewalk and assaulting them is described as a "confrontation," implying two aggressors. But it gets worse: before he was ultimately fired, Pike was on paid leave for 8 months. Given his $121,680 salary, that means he received an additional $81,120 for doing zero work. That's a hell of a severance. On top of that, he'll also be receiving his pension from working 11 years at UC Davis.

Not even UC's public task force could hide what an idiot move his pepper spraying was:

A public task force, led by former California Supreme Court Justice Cruz Reynoso, faulted both police and administrators. It found that Pike did not need to use the pepper spray, used a spray not sanctioned for use by the department and used it at too close a range.

That's right: an 11-year veteran of the UC Davis police department made what by all accounts was a rookie move.

So how did the students fare?

Pike will receive an almost identical settlement amount as many of those he pepper-sprayed.

In January, UCD settled a federal lawsuit by agreeing to pay protesters $1 million. Twenty-one plaintiffs who were sprayed or arrested were to receive $30,000 each. Another 15 who came forward later had claims approved. They were to be paid $6,666 apiece.

What's worse? Being a victim of police abuse, or having basically everybody hate you for committing police abuse? According to these UC settlements, the latter. To add insult to injury, given that these were UC students their tuition dollars essentially subidized their attacker's payday. But most worrisome is the message it sends to other capsacin-happy cops:

Bernie Goldsmith, a Davis attorney supportive of the student protesters, said 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.”

While we wave Officer Pike into the sunset (he's still angling to get his job back — not bloody likely), let's reminisce with some of the best Pepper Spraying Cop memes:

Pepper Spraying Cop

Pepper Spraying Cop

Pepper Spraying Cop

Pepper Spraying Cop

Pepper Spraying Cop