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article image'Pepper spray cop' wants worker's comp for 'psychiatric injury'

By Yukio Strachan     Jul 28, 2013 in World
Sacramento - John Pike, the police officer at the University of California-Davis who was fired after he shot pepper spray into the faces of seated student activists — now wants worker's compensation for the "psychiatric injury" he suffered from the 2011 incident.
"It's so outrageous," said Bernie Goldsmith, a Davis attorney who has supported Occupy UC Davis. "While he might be entitled to receive worker's compensation, the idea that his own actions of brutality would entitle him to a payout is absolutely unjust. It's crazy."
Pike earned worldwide outrage when a video clip posted online showed the 17-year veteran lieutenant unloading pepper spray at close range on seemingly peaceful students protesters sitting on the ground with their arms linked; just "like a gardener using pesticide," Gawker wrote.
The video clip went viral immediately. Hackers posted Pike's personal information online. Documents in support of his claim show that Pike and his family received numerous threats, including death threats, according to UPI.
Although an internal affairs investigation deemed his actions on November 18 "reasonable," Chief Matt Carmichael fired Pike in July 2012, eight months after a task force investigation found that his action was unwarranted and concluded that “the pepper spraying incident that took place on Nov. 18, 2011, should and could have been prevented.”
Prosecutors decided not to charge Pike.
"In an ideal democracy, violent suppressors of political speech are jailed and not rewarded," Goldsmith said. If worker's comp is granted, it would send "a message that acts of violent political repression can be both insulated from real criminal prosecution and rewarded."
Pike has a settlement conference set for Aug. 13 in Sacramento, according to the state Department of Industrial Relations' website, the Sacramento Bee reported.
The Bee could not reach Pike on Friday and his attorney, Jason Marcus, declined to comment.
Organizers are already planning a demonstration outside the state building in the hopes of swaying the panel to reject the former cop's claim.
"When you reward people like Pike by giving them benefits, you tell people it's okay to hurt students," said Ian Lee, one of Pike's pepper-sprayed protesters. "That's the message we absolutely cannot send," Lee said.
What do you think? Should Pike receive worker's comp for the pepper spraying incident?
Let us know in the comments section below!
More about pepper spray cop, psychiatric injury, Lieutenant John Pike, university of california, Workers compensation
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