UC Davis to pay $38,055 to pepper-spray officer over damaged ‘psyche’

UC Davis will pay $38,055 in a workers’ compensation settlement to John Pike, the former university police lieutenant who was internationally scorned in November 2011 for pepper-spraying students at close range during an Occupy-style tuition protest on campus.

According to paperwork filed with the state’s Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board, the damages cover injuries to Pike’s “psyche.”

Once his identity was revealed after the incident, his telephone and computer were flooded with thousands of texts and emails and his home was swamped with delivery orders for food called in using his name, court records show.

After attorney’s fees, Pike, 40, of Roseville, will receive $33,350, the appeals board ruled.

“Like any other employer, UC Davis is required to follow the California workers’ compensation process,” campus officials said in a statement announcing the award, adding that the case was “resolved in accordance with state law and processes on workers’ compensation.”

A call to Pike’s attorney Jason Marcus was not returned Wednesday. University attorney Susan Novell declined comment.

Pike filed the workers’ compensation claim with the state in July.

He was at the center of the firestorm that erupted Nov. 18, 2011 out of UC Davis’ response to protests on campus. His point-blank pepper-spraying of students seated on the campus quad in opposition to rising tuition costs was captured on video and quickly went viral on the Internet.

The University of California launched an investigation led by former California Justice Cruz Reynoso that determined the pepper-spray incident “should and could have been prevented.” Fallout included the retirement of then-campus Police Chief Annette Spicuzza, calls for Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi to resign, a $1 million settlement with the pepper-sprayed students and Pike’s dismissal in July 2012.