‘Pepper spray cop’ demands pay for ‘psychiatric injury’

pepperspraycop-screen-615x345By Stephen C. Webster

A police officer who was caught on camera hosing down a group of student protesters with pepper spray for no apparent reason has filed for worker’s compensation, asking taxpayers to pay him for a “psychiatric injury” he claims to have sustained in the incident’s wake.

Officer John Pike was fired about eight months after his antics at the University of California-Davis became the subject of a viral Internet meme that saw thousands of famous photos edited to include him pepper-spraying various people and things.

He’s expected to be appearing at a settlement hearing in August, according to The Associated Press, where Pike hopes to be awarded compensation for a “psychiatric injury.”

Pike claims he received dozens of threatening messages following the pepper-spraying incident, thanks to hackers who dredged up his personal information and shared it widely.

Those threats are why a judge refused last year to release the names of other officers on the scene that day, but on appeal earlier this week a separate court ruled that news media has a right to those officers’ names.

Former U.C. Davis Police Chief Annette Spicuzza told Fox 40 in Sacramento that she did not make the decision to pepper-spray students on that day, but insisted that the other officers must not be named in public.

“The last thing I want to see is that these unnamed officers have to go through what I went through, as well as the lieutenant,” she said. “We dealt with death threats. I had to leave the state for a month because of the death threats and fear for my safety and my family.”

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