In the aftermath of last November’s pepper-spraying incident at UC Davis, the University of California has agreed to pay nearly $1 million to settle a lawsuit filed by the afflicted protesters.
On Nov. 18, 2011, students involved in the Occupy Movement at UC Davis were pepper-sprayed by campus officers after refusing to disband even after several warning from officials. The event was captured on video and posted online. In a matter of days, the video went viral and sparked outrage from all over the country.
Two of the officers involved were placed on administrative leave by UC Davis a few days after the incident. Chancellor Linda Katehi of UC Davis later issued an apology, stating, “I want to unequivocally apologize to the entire community for the appalling use of pepper spray. I will do everything in my power to make sure nothing like that ever happens again.”
Nearly a year later, the matter has finally been settled as it was announced this past week that the University of California will pay $30,000 to each of the 21 students and alums affected by the highly-publicized event last November. The UC system will also pay an additional $250,000 to the attorneys of the protesters.
Furthermore, the University of California will set aside an extra $100,000 for any additional students that were involved in the incident who wish to later submit claims in the lawsuit.
After the announcement of the settlement, some of the protesters said they will use the money they obtained from the suit to pay for future tuition expenses.
“I know that’s what a lot of my friends are doing,” stated one of the pepper-sprayed students, Ian Lee, in a press release. “Some others are donating it, and some others are using the money to get a good start post-college in this difficult economic time.”
Lee went on to voice the frustration he felt in the aftermath of the incident. “I felt like the university silenced me,” he stated.
In the midst of all the news, UC Riverside Police Chief Mike Lane gave his thoughts on the recent matter at hand. “When you look at the incident, I think we still have some work to do,” said Lane in an interview with the Highlander. “The office and the president has recognized that. I think we moved forward in transparency and what direction we need to go.”
Lane went on to talk about the 49 new recommendations issued by the University of California for any future protests that take place on UC campuses.
“You got a lot of people that are unhappy on many sides of that situation,” Lane continued. “It was a stressful occurrence for everyone, but I think the 49 recommendations going forward is a good starting point.
“In there, it talks about establishing different roles the stakeholders should play. [There are] strategies going forward to try to reach a peaceful solution if possible. And it really talks about accountability across the board.”
Last April, a report by the UC’s task force found that the officers involved mishandled the situation and should not have used pepper spray on the protesters.
It was also announced this week that the recent settlement also calls for UC Davis Chancellor Katehi to write a formal apology to each of the students and protesters affected by the incident.