Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

UC OKs $1 Million Settlement In Pepper-Spray Suit

The University of California will pay $1 million to settle a lawsuit filed by Occupy protesters at UC Davis who were pepper-sprayed last November, according to a preliminary settlement filed in district court.

Here's more from the American Civil Liberties Union, which represented the plaintiffs in the case:

"The University will pay $1 million as part of the settlement. This includes a total of $730,000 to the named plaintiffs and others who were arrested or pepper-sprayed on November 18. It will also include up to $250,000 in costs and attorney fees."

The preliminary settlement, filed by UC and the plaintiffs represented by the ACLU, was filed in U.S. District Court in Sacramento. A federal judge must approve the agreement, and parties have the right to appeal.

The case is most famous because of the so-called "pepper spray cop," the UC Davis police officer who used tear gas against nonviolent demonstrators at the campus.

Here's more from The Associated Press about the outrage prompted by the incident:

"The Nov. 18, 2011, incident prompted national outrage, angry campus protests and calls for the resignation of Chancellor Linda Katehi after online videos shot by witnesses went viral.

Images of a police officer casually spraying orange pepper-spray in the faces of nonviolent protesters became a rallying symbol for the Occupy Wall Street movement. The demonstrators had been protesting steep tuition hikes and police brutality."

The development comes a week after Yolo County District Attorney's Office said it won't seek criminal charges against the officers involved in the incident.

As The Two-Way's colleague Mark Memmott noted last week, Lt. John Pike, the officer pictured pepper-spraying the protesters, is no longer with campus police.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit

Krishnadev Calamur is NPR's deputy Washington editor. In this role, he helps oversee planning of the Washington desk's news coverage. He also edits NPR's Supreme Court coverage. Previously, Calamur was an editor and staff writer at The Atlantic. This is his second stint at NPR, having previously worked on NPR's website from 2008-15. Calamur received an M.A. in journalism from the University of Missouri.
KUER is listener-supported public radio. Support this work by making a donation today.