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Former UC Davis police Lt. John Pike files for worker's compensation

6:11 PM, Jul 26, 2013   |    comments
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DAVIS, CA - John Pike, the former UC Davis police lieutenant who drew worldwide criticism in 2011 for dousing peacefully sitting student demonstrators with pepper spray, now wants worker's compensation for psychiatric injury.

The former Marine sergeant received death threats after the video went viral.

Pike was fired a year ago after an investigation found his action was unwarranted.

Ian Lee was one of the protesters pepper-sprayed. He and about 20 others shared in a million-dollar settlement from the university last year. The college junior hopes Pike's claim is denied.

"It's wrong what he's trying to do," Lee said. "When you reward people like Pike by giving them benefits, you tell people it's okay to hurt students. That's the message we absolutely cannot send."

Calls to Pike's attorney were not returned. However, Melissa Brown, a worker's comp attorney not connected with the Pike case, said Pike and his lawyer must have thought this case through carefully because more public scrutiny lies ahead.

"Filing a psychiatric claim is not easy," Brown said. "The injured worker basically gives up their rights to privacy. Your whole life is an open book."

The Department of Industrial Relations will look at the claim Aug. 13. If no settlement is reached, Pike's case would go forward to trial or moved on for further hearing.

Organizers are already planning a demonstration outside the state building in the hopes of swaying the panel to reject the former cop's claim.

"It's so outrageous," Protest Organizer Bernie Goldsmith said. "While he might be entitled to receive workers compensation, the idea that his own actions of brutality would entitle him to a payout is absolutely unjust. It's crazy."

Pike made nearly $122,000 a year.

Brown said because of recent cutbacks the Legislature made, a 50 percent permanent disability for instance, would entitle Pike to $62,000 in lifetime cash benefits, but medical treatment for life.         

ABC7/KGO

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