UC Davis Pepper Spray Lawsuit

UC Davis Pepper Spray Lawsuit



On November 18, 2011, during an Occupy Movement demonstration at the University of California, Davis, campus protesters were sprayed down with pepper spray by university police officers.


This is right in the height of the Occupy Movement that was sweeping across the United States (probably most famously with the Occupy Wall Street movement that focus the attention of the US – and the world – on New York City and the movement itself for weeks), and the images of university police officers spraying the peaceful demonstrators became a global sensation.


The video of UC Davis officer Lieut. John Pike sprang down the demonstrators was viewed by millions and millions of people overnight. Lieut. Pike reported that he was ordered to disperse the crowd, though he would be relieved of his duties and subsequently fired by the university – even after an investigation into the incident reported that he should face disciplinary action but not lose his job or position on the police force.


This event triggered massive protests regarding the use of pepper spray on campus, with the Chancellor of the University apologizing to students and reporting that she had told the police that there were standing orders NOT to use any force and NOT to make any arrests.


Public debates regarding the “militarization” of the university police, the appropriate usage and deployment of pepper spray, and the validity of the Occupy Movement ratcheted up in the aftermath of this event and it acted as a spark for conversations that happened in millions of homes throughout the US as well as globally.


But conversations weren’t the only thing that were sparked by this incident.


The police officer that was relieved of duty and fired from the University Police Department immediately filed a lawsuit against the university, as did attorneys for 21 University students and alumni that had been impacted by the pepper spraying activity itself.


Lieut. John Pike received $38,000 in workers compensation from the University as a direct result of his lawsuit, while a $1 million award was handed out to the class-action lawsuit victims – with $30,000 passed on to each individual student that was pepper sprayed as part of the settlement.


Unbelievably, during the investigation that was inevitably triggered by both lawsuits – as well as the increased press and pressure from the local community as well as the nation in general – investigators discovered that the university had spent more than $175,000 to outside consultants to “clean up the school’s online reputation” and bury the pictures and documents online.


An in-depth investigation by the Sacramento Bee discovered that the university had taken money from the “communications department” and diverted it into these efforts in hopes of scrubbing the evidence of this confrontation and the subsequent lawsuits from the web in its entirety.


The university has defended their decision to move forward with this kind of approach.  A quick search on Google for “UC Davis Pepper Spraying Incident” shows news articles, YouTube videos, and in-depth interviews and reporting about all the major principle issues and individuals associated with the incident.


It’s impossible to imagine why a major university like this would assume that they would be able to banish something quite as embarrassing as this from the web once and for all, or even temporally.



All About Life In Yolo County

Yolo County, California

Yolo County is an agricultural area located in Sacramento Valley. The County is populated mostly by farms and other agricultural places. Yolo County is home to many exciting things that are open to the public.

Placer County Courthouse, Auburn, California
Placer County Courthouse, Auburn, California

The United States Bicycling Hall of Fame

Located in Davis, California the United States Bicycling Hall of Fame is one of the biggest attractions in Yolo County. The Museum features historic bicycles, topical exhibits, and the top floor holds the Hall of Fame. It was formerly located in Somerville, New Jersey but moved to Davis in 2010.

Whole Earth Festival

The Whole Earth Festival started in 1969 when Jose Arguelles held an “Art Happening” in his class at the University of California’s campus in Davis. After the first Earth Day in 1970 the Art Happening was renamed to Whole Earth and has been held every mother’s day weekend since it began. At the festival you can find numerous musical acts, many art exhibits, handmade craft and service vendors, and spiritual/educational workshops. You can even enjoy many different types of organic foods from over 20 different vendors!


Yolo County is a strong Democratic county when it comes to politics. The last republican to win the majority in Yolo county was Dwight Eisenhower in 1952. Yolo County is split between California’s third and sixth congressional districts in the USA’s House of Representatives. The third being represented by John Garamendi and the sixth being represented by Doris Matsui. The County is split between California’s third and sixth Senate districts. The third being represented by Lois Wolk and the sixth being represented by Richard Pan. It’s split between the fourth and seventh Assembly districts in the California State Assembly. The fourth being represented by Bill Dodd and the seventh being represented by Kevin McCarty. In 2008 Yolo County was one of just 3 counties in the state of California to reject Proposition 8 to ban lesbian and gay marriage.


Yolo County Life

Yolo County is one of the major contributors in California to its Multi-Billion dollar state of California tomato industry that provides about 90% of the United States canned and processed tomato stock. It also provides about 35% worldwide.

The crime rates in Yolo County are relatively low. The highest percentage of violent crimes in the county per 1,000 people is 3.84. The property crime, according to Yolo County Accident Attorneys, however is slightly higher with the highest percentage being 30.80 per 1,000 people.

The town of Davis in Yolo County is also host to a branch of the University of California. Many of the younger residents of Yolo County chose to attend college at this branch or travel to the main University of California campus.

Random Facts

Yolo County was originally supposed to be spelled Yola. It has since been changed to Yolo because it is believed to be a derivative of the Native American name Yo-loy which means “a place abounding in rushes. It can also be taken that the name was derived from the chief Yodo or of the viallage Yodoi. It does not, however, have any association with the popular YOLO acronym meaning “You only live once.”

Yolo County was one of the first established Counties in the state of California.


The four major cities in Yolo County are Davis, West Sacramento, Woodland, and Winters.

Since the early 1920’s a Republican has only been voted by the majority four times. The highest Democratic win in the county was a dramatic Republican: 29.5% 2,515 to Democratic: 67.8% 5,780 in 1932. While the highest Republican win was Republican: 62.0% 3,375 to Democratic: 32.8% 1,787 in 1920.

Public Transportation in Yolo County

The Reduction in Drunk Drivers

There has been public transportation for many years in large cities and now getting a ride to where you want to go has only become easier due to the various options that you have available to you. Things like public transportation and ridesharing through companies like Yolobus, Fairfield-Suisun Transit, and Uber, just to name a few, are just some of your options. Other companies such as taxi services also exist to get you to the places that you desire to go with ease and it has only become easier over time.


DUIs and Transportation Options

The number of DUIs a year has risen astronomically over the years as many die or become severely injured in DUI related accidents. Many loved ones have been lost to someone driving when they should not have gotten behind the wheel of their car have shown up on the news or in the papers. And while these sad stories should serve as a reminder to find a dedicated designated driver for our trips to the many bars and clubs that surround each and every city, these accidents still occur. However, one of the ways that these fatalities and depressing stories can end is to simply find a way home from the bar through various other forms of transportation. Things like buses, taxis, and other services exist to get you home without the worry of getting behind the wheel when you shouldn’t.

DUIs and Yolo County Transportation

With many forms of transportation in place for those who enjoy going to the bar for a few drinks with friends or simply to have a good time, the number of DUIs per year have actually decreased because people are using these options to get home rather than driving. Companies such as Uber are extremely useful because all you need to do is click a button on your smartphone to book a car that can come pick you up and take you where you want to go, according to Yolo County DUI Lawyer Michael Rehm. This not only saves you from the guilt of harming someone while you are under the influence, but can also save you from the thousands of dollars in fees and time spent for getting arrested with a DUI.



Simply by spending a little bit of money to take the bus or a taxi home from the bar can also save you thousands in court costs and fees for driving while drunk. There is no reason why anyone shouldn’t have a small budget for their ride home if they cannot get a designated driver to instead take a cab or bus home. There are other costs as well to driving under the influence of alcohol and other drugs besides the money that you will be forced to spend on fees. The emotional damage that can take place when a drunk driver has hurt or killed someone in an accident can haunt them for the rest of their lives, and while you may spend time in prison for a DUI accident that has killed someone, the pain can be unbearable.


Lessons Learned

Rather than driving home after having a couple of drinks with friends, don’t get in your car, just call on Uber or another taxi service to get you home. You can also ride the bus to the stop nearest your home to avoid DUI charges. These actions can further decrease the number of DUI accidents and arrests within Yolo County, California and other areas by simply planning ahead. You can even ask your bartender to call you a cab to ensure you aren’t on the road when you shouldn’t be.