Wayne Tilcock / Davis Enterprise file, 2011

UC Davis Police Lt. John Pike pepper-sprays protesters Nov. 18 on the campus quad. Video of the incident spread online and triggered worldwide condemnation.

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Officer at center of pepper-spraying incident no longer works at UC Davis

Published: Wednesday, Aug. 1, 2012 - 12:00 am | Page 1B
Last Modified: Tuesday, Sep. 4, 2012 - 6:56 pm

Lt. John Pike, the UC Davis police officer who became a focal point of last November's pepper-spraying incident during a campus protest, is no longer employed by the university, a spokesman confirmed late Tuesday.

UC Davis spokesman Barry Shiller said he could not discuss the details of Pike's departure, but in response to queries from The Bee, he said Pike was no longer employed there as of Tuesday.

"Consistent with privacy guidelines established in state law and university policy, I can confirm that John Pike's employment with the university ended on July 31, 2012," Shiller said. "I'm unable to comment further."

Pike, 39, declined to comment when reached by The Bee as he was sitting in a meeting on campus where he said he was being terminated.

Pike's 2010 salary was listed as $110,243.12. He has been on paid leave since the debacle unfolded last year, sparking worldwide outrage, numerous investigations and calls for the resignation of UC Davis leaders.

Pike's leave coincided with an internal affairs investigation into his and other officers' actions on the campus quad Nov. 18, when Pike and at least one other officer used pepper spray on students and protesters who were seated and had locked arms, refusing police orders to disperse.

UC Davis officials have said that because the internal affairs probes are confidential, they cannot not disclose their findings.

As a result of cellphone video showing Pike spraying the students and protesters, he became the primary symbol of the public outrage over the incident as the images spread worldwide on the Internet.

Pike, a former Sacramento police officer, was suspended with pay after the incident along with another officer and then-UC Davis Police Chief Annette Spicuzza. Spicuzza retired in April after an independent panel issued an investigative report that severely criticized her leadership of the Police Department and found fault with much of the university leadership during the crisis.

Pike's future had remained in limbo until now, and at one point he faced harassment that included a barrage of 10,000 text messages, 17,000 emails and numerous items being ordered delivered to his home.

That backlash led, in part, to a judge's order that the names of other officers involved in the incident not be revealed, an order that is currently the subject of a legal battle between the Federated University Police Officers Association and lawyers for The Bee and the Los Angeles Times.

The university, Pike and other officers have since been sued by students who say they were victims of the pepper-spraying. The Yolo County District Attorney's Office is still reviewing the matter to determine whether criminal charges should be filed.

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