The police officer who launched a million memes with his nonchalant pepper spray-spree on a group of Occupy protesters at UC Davis in 2011 has been awarded a hefty sum for the "depression and anxiety" he suffered afterward.
Lt. John Pike of the UC Davis Police will receive $38,056 in worker's compensation stemming from the November 2011 incident where he pepper-sprayed a group of students sitting peacefully in protest as they desperately tried to shield themselves, sparking chants of "shame of you" from the crowd. Pike lost his job as a cop soon after, but says the subsequent death threats against him and his family have been a source of trauma, according to The Davis Enterprise. His disability was found to be "moderate" by a psychiatrist, according to a report by the state Department of Industrial Relations.
His settlement is more than the protesters were awarded for the incident — UC Davis paid out $1 million to settle their federal suit, which means the 21 plaintiffs received $30,000 each.
"[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," attorney Bernie Goldsmith, who is supportive of the protesters, told The Davis Enterprise.
A UC Davis spokesman said, "This case has been resolved in accordance with state law and processes on workers’ compensation."
Pike instantly became the focus of rage within the Occupy Wall Street movement, which was at its height in November 2011, after video and photos of the incident were posted online. His seemingly casual demeanor as he strolled down the line of sitting protesters, aiming his pepper spray can at their heads, sparked countless viral memes and mockeries.