Students and alumni pepper sprayed at close range by University of California, Davis campus police will receive a settlement, the UC Regents decided Thursday.
The board held a closed-door meeting Thursday in which they agreed to the settlement. Neither they nor the victims' attorneys are speaking of details until the deal is approved by a court. The lawsuit was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California in February, claiming UC Davis officials and police violated rights of freedom of speech and assembly and violated their Fourth Amendment rights against "unreasonable search or seizure."
Plaintiffs claim they were targeted by police "for forcible arrests based on their past political activism and associations at the university," the complaint read.
"We did an injustice to our students that day at Davis, and some amount of recompense is appropriate," Jonathan Stein, a UC student regent, said. "More importantly, it's time for us as an institution to publicly acknowledge that's not the way we should treat our students. We were wrong, and we are moving forward."
Students were demonstrating against tuition hikes and budget on the campus of UC Davis on Nov. 18. As a group of unarmed students were seated, Lt. John Pike was seen and photographed using military-grade pepper spray on the peaceful protesters. Pike said in his police report "the crowd and mob mentality of the moment became even more belligerent and worrisome," and claimed the protesters were passing out rocks.
Pike was then put on paid administrative leave until the summer, when it was announced he is no longer working at the UC police department. Police chief Matthew Carmichael fired Pike on July 31, concluding Pike "showed poor judgment" by using the pepper spray as he did.
Video of the footage went viral and attracted nationwide attention and outrage. The UC campus police have a long history of being cited for using excessively aggressive tactics when dealing with student protesters.
Multiple investigations were launched in the aftermath of the Nov. 18 incident. In April, one of the independent reports lead by former state Supreme Court Justice Cruz Reynoso condemned the UC Police Department for its actions.
The Sacramento Bee reports the incident has already cost the university well over $1 million in legal, investigative and other fees.
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2005 - UCLA campus police tase student in a library -- protests and demonstrations follow
Students and others march across campus to protest outside the University of California, Los Angeles police department after a rally on the Westwood campus Friday, Nov. 17, 2006 to protest police use of a taser on UCLA student Mostafa Tabatabainejad in a campus library Tuesday, Nov. 14.
2007 - UC Berkeley students occupy trees
Authorities negotiate with two tree-sitters at a tree on the campus of the University of California in Berkeley, Calif., Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2008. UC Berkeley officials are preparing to remove the last remaining tree-sitters protesting a planned sports center next to Memorial Stadium, where the football team plays. The university has refused to meet the protesters' demand that it donate $6 million to environmental and Native American groups as part of an agreement for the tree-sitters to come down voluntarily.
2009 - UCLA cops taser student protesters, protesting tuition hikes.
A student protester is tazered by a police officer during a protest against an increase in student fees at the UCLA campus in Los Angeles on Nov. 19, 2009. The University of California Board of Regents approved a 32 percent tuition increase during a meeting which at the campus today.
2009 - November incident at Wheeler hall, students clash with police outside of Wheeler while students barricaded themselves in the building.
Demonstrators protest in front of a closed off University of California, Berkeley building on the Berkeley, Calif., campus, Friday,. Nov. 20, 2009, during a demonstration against university fee hikes and layoffs.
2009-2010 - student protesters start using "Occupy Everything" tag
Students occupy the hallway outside the office of the university chancellor at University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) to protest education funding cuts and rising tuition on March 4, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. Thousands of students and educators from elementary, middle and high schools, and colleges and universities are holding marches, rallies and class walkouts across California today as part of a nationwide effort calling for no more cuts to education. University of California system student fees have increased 61 percent over the past five years and costs have gone up for students of California community colleges which, until the property tax rollback of 1978, provided tuition-free to all high school graduates.
March 2010 - at least one student tased when students "occupy" a portion of interstate 80/880
Oakland police officers take down a splinter group of protestors who attempted to block Interstate 880 following a rally for the national day of action against school funding cuts and tuition increases March 4, 2010 in Oakland, Calif. Dozens of protestors were arrested after they stormed the 880 freeway as students across the country were walking out of classes and holding demonstrations against massive tuition increases and funding cuts to college universities.
2011 - students beat with batons at UC Berkeley
2011 - UC Davis students pepper sprayed
In this image made from video, a police officer uses pepper spray as he walks down a line of Occupy demonstrators sitting on the ground at the University of California, Davis on Friday, Nov. 18, 2011. The video - posted on YouTube - was shot Friday as police moved in on more than a dozen tents erected on campus and arrested 10 people, nine of them students.