Pepper Spray Students Get $1M

The University of California announced Sept. 27 that it reached a $1 million settlement with the victims of last year’s pepper spray incident at UC Davis. The settlement ends a class action lawsuit filed by 21 plaintiffs seeking compensation from the university for being doused in pepper spray during a Nov. 18 Occupy movement protest.

The settlement states each victim will receive $30,000 and a handwritten apology letter from UCD Chancellor Linda Katehi. According to the Los Angeles Times, UC will need to pay $250,000 in attorney fees and set aside $100,000 for any victims who may not have been part of the original class action suit.

Last year’s now-infamous pepper spray incident made national headlines after videos of UCPD Lt. John Pike deliberately spraying protesters in the face with pepper spray went viral.

Since the incident, the University of California has taken steps to assess the situation and create preventative methods for future protest-related issues.

In April, a task force commissioned by UC President Mark G. Yudof and led by former State Supreme Court Chief Justice Cruz Reynoso found that campus police had acted beyond their authority during the incident.

On July 31, UC Police announced that Pike was no longer with the force. A final version of a separate report was released on Sept. 13 — this one commissioned by Yudof seeking advice on possible changes from UC General Counsel Charles F. Robinson and Cal Law School Dean Christopher F. Edley Jr. included 49 ideas to help ensure similar incidents from occurring. The suggestions included a proviso to create a better internal communication system and improve police training.

Yudof announced that Associate Vice President of UC Office of the President Communications Lynn Tierney will now oversee the implementation of the recommendations on UC campuses.

“Successfully laying the groundwork for safe and accountable protest activity will take the commitment and effort of all members of the University community,” the report said.