UC to pay damages in UC Davis pepper-spraying incident
The University of California will be paying damages to the UC Davis students and alumni who were pepper-sprayed by campus police during an otherwise peaceful protest 10 months ago, officials said Thursday.
The UC regents met in closed session Thursday to discuss and approve a proposed settlement payment to 21 UC Davis students and alumni who have sued the university and contend their civil rights were violated in the incident.
But both UC officials and the ACLU of Northern California, which is representing the students in the lawsuit, refused to divulge details of the settlement, saying the rules of the agreement require a federal judge to review the matter before it can be made public. That may happen within a few days, they said.
UC regent Leslie Tang Schilling said the regents decided to settle the matter because UC needs to move past the pepper-spray controversy and focus on many pressing budgetary issues.
Plus, others note, UC’s own investigations of the Nov. 18, 2011 incident have been very critical of police tactics at UC Davis and administrators’ decisions in handling the protests related to the Occupy movement. A widely viewed video triggered outrage across the nation by showing a UC Davis police officer spraying seated protesters directly in their faces at close range.
The funds for the settlement will come from UC’s self-insurance program, which officials said has about $600 million in reserves, officials said.
A report on the incident released in April found that UC campus police used poor judgment and violated policy during the incident.
-- Larry Gordon
Photo: UC Davis Police Lt. John Pike uses pepper spray to move Occupy UC Davis protesters while blocking their exit from the school's quad on Nov. 18, 2011. Credit: Wayne Tilcock / Associated Press