Did the "Pepper Spray Cop" Deserve $38,000 in Workers' Comp?

John Pike, the former University of California police officer who became notorious for casually pepper spraying UC Davis student protesters two years ago, has received $38,059 in workers' compensation.

Pike, who became known as "Pepper Spray Cop," spawned an Internet meme featuring his image Photoshopped in various historical and fictional scenarios, like the one below.

SFGate reported that Pike was awarded the settlement by California's Division of Workers' Compensation Appeals Board:

The claim "resolves all claims of psychiatric injury specific or due to continuous trauma from applicant's employment at UC Davis."

After the video clips and images depicting Pike spraying protesters for more than 15 seconds with orange pepper spray went viral, he received more than 17,000 angry or threatening emails, 10,000 text messages and hundreds of letters. According to the police union, Pike had to repeatedly change his phone number and emails and lived in various locations to avoid his detractors.

The psychiatrist consulted by the board classified Pike's disability as "moderate," as he faced "continuing and significant internal and external stress with respect to resolving and solving the significant emotional upheavals that have occurred” in his life and had not shown evidence of substantial improvement, as reported by The Davis Enterprise.

The settlement, according to California lawyer Bernie Goldsmith, 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."

UC Davis had also settled with the students who got sprayed. A total of 21 plaintiff split the pay out of $1 million, which after attorney's fees, is about $30,000 each or less than what Pike got.

Top image: Wayne Tilcock/AP

Pepper Spray Cop spraying Crispus Attucks - via Pepper Spraying Cop Tumblr

Did Pike deserve the worker's comp award?

Newest 5
Newest 5 Comments

In reply to Killer: Because there may come a time, in whatever employment you may be in where you are ordered or have the choice to do something incredibly stupid/dangerous/immoral/illegal. And it will be your choice as to whether you follow these orders and/or directions. You shouldn't be rewarded for making the wrong choice.
This situation doesn't pass the layman test. If a layman were ordered to pepper-spray some peaceful protesters who present no threat to anyone but themselves (could get sunburned) would they believe that they should be pepper-sprayed in order to disperse them?
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
Why shouldn't he be paid? Whether you agree with this cop or not, it's not part of his duty to take on thousands of threats, and having to move, etc. Or should he not get a settlement because you don't like him or you don't like the judgement call they used to use mace?
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
I do plenty of things I don't care for, at work. My employer pays me, and if it bothers me, I stop doing it, and they stop paying me.

It sure doesn't look like it bothered him. Yes, he was called out for being a douche. And the employer can't *prevent* him from receiving this treatment. The best way to prevent that treatment is to not act as he did.

Screw him.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
His bosses needed to step up and declare loudly that he was Under Orders to do it (and redirect any death threats to those giving the Orders). Still, his casual appearance (I've seen people spraying for roaches with much more seriousness) should provide a warning to us all about "how we look doing something" - that's where you get bit in the butt.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
Login to comment.

Email This Post to a Friend
"Did the "Pepper Spray Cop" Deserve $38,000 in Workers' Comp?"

Separate multiple emails with a comma. Limit 5.


Success! Your email has been sent!

close window

This website uses cookies.

This website uses cookies to improve user experience. By using this website you consent to all cookies in accordance with our Privacy Policy.

I agree
Learn More