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Pepper-Spraying Cop Gets $38K in Workers' Comp

By Betty Wang, JD on October 24, 2013 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Remember the notorious pepper-spraying cop? Ex-UC Davis police Lt. John Pike is now getting $38,055 in a workers' compensation settlement from the university, The Sacramento Bee reports.

A workers' compensation claim typically provides employees with benefits or a remedy for their on-the-job injuries. Public safety personnel, like firefighters and police officers, are no strangers to work-related injuries.

In Pike's case, he infamously pepper-sprayed a group of "Occupy" protesters at a campus sit-in in 2011. So what injuries did he claim in order to receive workers' comp?

Injuries to Pike's 'Psyche'

The $38,055 payout will cover injuries to Pike's "psyche," according to paperwork filed with the California's Workers' Compensation Appeals Board.

Pike filed a workers' comp claim with the state in July, after becoming somewhat of an Internet sensation. He claimed he was being flooded with thousands of hateful messages after his identity was revealed as the pepper-spraying cop.

Pike claims that he suffered from depression and anxiety after receiving death threats. According to a psychiatric report released by the State Department of Industrial Relations, as reported by The Davis Enterprise, Pike's disability of an allegedly damaged psyche was considered "moderate."

According to the expert psychiatrist in the case, Pike did not show any signs of substantial improvement, even a year after the incident.

An Unsatisfying Settlement for Some

Understandably, not everyone is happy with this result. One attorney in Davis told the Enterprise that this 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."

However, a UC Davis spokesman claims that this case has been resolved in accordance with both state law and processes regarding workers' compensation.

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