U.C. Davis Officer Involved In Pepper Spray Incident Awarded $38,000

Former Lt. John Pike has been awarded $38,000 for “psychiatric injury” after the video of him pepper-spraying protesting students went viral.

University of California Davis police officer John Pike pepper-sprays students during their sit-in at an “Occupy UCD” demonstration in Davis, California in this November 18, 2011. Brian Nguyen / Reuters

Former U.C. Davis police officer Lt. John Pike gained global notoriety after a video of him pepper-spraying students at a protest in 2011 went viral. Pike has now been awarded $38,000 by California’s Division of Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board for “psychiatric injury specific or due to continuous trauma from applicant’s employment at U.C. Davis.”

The video showed Pike spraying students protesting tuition increases with with orange pepper spray at close range. After the video went viral, Pike was suspended, but with pay. SF Gate report that, according to the police union, because of the wide circulation of the video Pike received more than 17,000 angry or threatening emails, 10,000 text messages and hundreds of letters. It is said he changed his number multiple times and left campus police in July 2012.

Earlier this year U.C. Davis settled a federal lawsuit and paid $1 million to 21 student protesters who were pepper-sprayed. The university also formally apologized and promised to “implement reforms.”

People are rather surprised by Pike’s compensation:

Laila Lalami


Department of WTF. The cop who pepper-sprayed seated protesters at UC Davis in 2011 sued, claiming anxiety and depression. He got $38,000.

/ Via



so pike got 8 months vacation w/ pay, then after his dox got dropped sued UC davis for 30k because we hurt his feelings.

/ Via

Zak Smith


Justice does not exist

/ Via

UC Davis pepper-spray cop gets more in worker's comp than each student got in settlement.

— Scott Klein (@kleinmatic)

Scott Klein


UC Davis pepper-spray cop gets more in worker’s comp than each student got in settlement.

/ Via

A U.C. Davis spokesperson said:

“This case has been resolved in accordance with state law and processes on workers’ compensation. The final resolution is in line with permanent impairment as calculated by the state’s disability evaluation unit.”

You can watch the (upsetting) video of the incident here:

Check out more articles on!

Cate Sevilla is the UK managing editor for BuzzFeed and is based in London.
Contact Cate Sevilla at .

More News

More News

Now Buzzing