Former University of California police officer John Pike, who pepper-sprayed a group of prone, arm-locked Occupy protesters at the Davis campus in 2011, will receive thousands of dollars more in compensation than his victims did, says the Christian Science Monitor. Pike was awarded $38,000 in workers’ compensation for “moderate” psychiatric distress caused by outrage against his pepper-spray action.
The award is raising questions about whether labor laws are too accommodating of ill-behaved employees, and whether in this case they have been used to support a police officer's predisposition to harm peaceful people. A video of the protest, which went viral online and became an iconic moment in Occupy lore, caught Pike walking calmly and bureaucratically down a line of sitting protesters, spraying them in the face to get them to move. Still frames from the video were photoshopped onto famous paintings, mocking both Pike and the university. Pike was eventually fired after eight months of paid administrative leave.