Posts Tagged ‘pepper spray’

A sickening re-confirmation, if re-confirmation was really needed, both that the American legal system is ridiculously litigious, and also that “suffering” now includes being publicly shamed for behaving in an egregiously violent and unnecessarily offensive manner to people who are merely exercising their constitutional rights.

Some points to consider:

  • The concept of reasonable force. Was this in any way “reasonable”?
  • Americans are supposed to have the right to protest peacefully. Or do they?

We also think it is very helpful to read the full Wikipedia transcript on the incident, which puts this incident in the broader context of unnecessary violence used against students at UC (including being beaten by batons) and elsewhere during “Occupy” protests.

John Pike

John Pike

Anyhow: according to HuffPost, Pike was fired in July 2012 after eight months of paid administrative leave. Apparently, he and his family received death threats. Needless to say, no-one could, in all conscience, excuse that. Nevertheless, the compensation payout to him is surely yet another example of a world gone mad.

Not to mention $38,000 the University won’t get to spend on education.

Report begins:

Former police Lt. John Pike, who became infamous after cameras captured footage of him using pepper spray on protestors at the University of California at Davis, was recently awarded more than $38,000 in workers compensation from the University for “suffering he experienced after the incident,” SFGate has reported.

In the 2011 incident, students were protesting a tuition hike. Footage of Pike’s actions went viral, resulting in a popular meme, in which people digitally edited photos to include Pike pepper-spraying things and people.

Pike reportedly received more than 17,000 angry emails and 10,000 texts after the incident.

After the ensuing outrage, Pike was suspended with pay.

Citing a database of state employee salaries, SFGate reports that Pike earned $110,243 in 2010. He left the police force in 2012.

In a statement to SFGate regarding Pike’s workers compensation, U.C. Davis spokesperson Andy Fell said, “This case has been resolved in accordance with state law and processes on workers’ compensation. The final resolution is in line with permanent impairment as calculated by the state’s disability evaluation unit.”

Last year, U.C. Davis settled a lawsuit with 21 of the students who were pepper-sprayed during the protest. Each student received a $30,000 settlement.

In discussing the events, Fox News commentator Megyn Kelly called pepper spray a “food product, essentially,” sparking some to hilariously suggest she test her theory by drinking pepper spray on the air.

(Materials sourced from SFGate/Yahoo/Seven News)

Lieutenant John Pike walks up and down the line spraying students in the face.jpg

LIeutenant John Pike walks up and down the line spraying students in the face

Look at this Wikipedia report, or google “deaths from pepper spray” and click on a few links.

Then watch – you really should – this truly shocking footage of police in California ruthlessly using pepper spray on sitting, peaceful, non violent protestors.

(Courtesy of Yahoo7)

Then reflect on the fact that any of of these protestors – you, a friend, your son or daughter, wife, husband, brother or sister – could die, for sitting in a road. For expressing a widely held opinion in a peaceful manner. For standing up for what they believe in.

Then remember that this is not footage of the violence used to counter the civil disobedience of the 1960s which aimed to racially de-segregate America, although it appears these thugs of policement have learned nothing in the last fifty years, and nor has the country.

Remember also, this is in happening in what is supposed to be the world’s greatest democracy.

Then reflect on the fact that equally violent scenes have been seen in many other places around the world, including my home of Melbourne, Australia.

We are on the slippery slope, and fascism lies at the bottom of it. This lunacy MUST stop, or these protests will go underground and turn violent, as in the late 60s and 70s. The Weathermen. Baader-Meinhoff. Wreaking havoc, and provoking yet more repressive responses.

So: any ideas on how to explain to these blockhead police and their political-economic masters that these people are behaving in line with the truest traditions of what we are actually supposed to value in the West? The very principles of free association, free speech, and the right to protest that their friends and siblings go to war and die to protect?

Your thoughts on how to stop this before it gets worse – or someone gets killed?

Oh, and if you’re a policeman reading this – or one of their masters – listen to what the crowd is chanting.

“Shame on you.” And more importantly, “The whole world’s watching.”

This may well be the “Kent State” moment of the whole “Occupy” movement. Well did Gandhi say “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”

Yes, we are watching. And we will remember. We know you are: did you expect, as you walked forward, Lieutenant John Pike, that you were about to become one of the most loathed and castigated individuals on the planet? Or did your colleagues?

Be warned: those using violence to break up peaceful democratic protest will be brought to account, sooner or later. Syria. Libya. Egypt. And now California. Only the degree of violence is different – until, of course, one of these young people dies.