California cop who pepper-sprayed protesters off police force

Reuters News
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Posted: Aug 01, 2012 11:25 AM
California cop who pepper-sprayed protesters off police force

By Chris Francescani

(Reuters) - The campus police lieutenant captured on video pepper spraying seated Occupy Wall Street protesters last November at the University of California, Davis is no longer on the force, a university spokeswoman said on Wednesday.

The image of a cop pepper spraying seated protesters came to symbolize law enforcement aggression against the movement and sparked multiple investigations.

UC Davis police Lieutenant John Pike remained on the force until Tuesday, said university spokeswoman Claudia Morain. Citing the school's personnel privacy guidelines, she declined further comment.

The Sacramento Bee newspaper, which first reported Pike's departure from the force on Tuesday, said he had been paid while on leave, reporting his 2010 salary at $110,243.

Pike could not be immediately reached for comment Wednesday.

The incident propelled the sedate, generally apolitical UC Davis campus near Sacramento to the forefront of the anti-Wall Street movement near the height of its popularity.

Three days after the incident, University Chancellor Linda Katehi apologized to a crowd of jeering students and faculty calling for her resignation. Campus police Chief Annette Spicuzza was soon placed on leave, and later resigned.

In April, a panel investigating the incident released a scathing report that criticized school and police officials.

Several of the seated students who were pepper-sprayed have sued the school. The Yolo County District Attorney's office is still reviewing the matter to determine whether criminal charges should be filed, the Sacramento Bee reported.

The incident came days after a pre-dawn New York City Police Department raid of Zuccotti Park last November that cleared out the original Occupy Wall Street encampment.

(Reporting by Chris Francescani; Editing by Will Dunham)