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Top News

Calif. Pepper-Spray Officer Claims Psychiatric Damage

July 29, 2013  | 

Screenshot: POLICE file
Screenshot: POLICE file
Former University of California, Davis, Police Lt. John Pike is claiming he suffered psychiatric and nervous system damage as a result of a video-taped incident showing him pepper spraying Occupy protesters.

Pike, who was fired from the department, filed the workers' comp complaint last month, reports Reuters.

Prior to deploying the pepper spray in November 2011, Pike repeatedly warned protestors that they would be pepper-sprayed if they did not disperse. He also voiced concerns about the plan to remove protestors and felt that the operation should have been called off.

A non-law enforcement committee stated in its after-action report that there were numerous lapses and errors made by campus administrators and officers, concluding the incident "should and could have been prevented." The Reynoso Task Force Report blamed Chancellor Linda Katehi, Chief Annette Spicuzza, and Pike for mishandling the removal of Occupy protestors and their tents from the campus.

The report also took aim at the police operation. Most notably, the report claimed the use of pepper spray was "not supported by objective evidence" and the MK-9 aerosol canister had not been authorized for use by officers.

While acknowledging the officers' concerns that they were surrounded by a hostile mob, the task force said the situation escalated because no arrangements had been made to transport arrestees from the quad. The report criticized Pike for his actions, including stepping over seated protesters to "get to their faces."

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