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Cop who pepper-sprayed college kids awarded $38,000

The cop who pepper-sprayed his way to Internet-meme infamy just won a big settlement.


Fernando Alfonso III


John Pike, best known around the Internet as the cop responsible for drenching peaceful protesters with pepper spray at the University of California–Davis in 2011, will receive $38,000 in workers’ compensation.

Pike, a university police officer, filed in late July and received his compensation Oct. 16. He claimed he suffered serious psychiatric injuries from the whole affair.

On Nov. 18, 2011, Pike pepper-sprayed a group of students protesting tuition hikes at the University of California–Davis after they refused to move. Some students vomited; others suffered burns to their lungs.

Following the incident, Pike was turned into a popular meme. Internet users posted images of the cop holding a pepper-spray can in almost every scenario imaginable—from Pablo Picasso’s Guernica to Star Wars.


Pike, who earned $121,680 annually, was put on paid administrative leave in August 2012. Pike claims to have “warned the protesters before taking action and that he spoke against the decision to remove the encampment,” according to the Davis Enterprise. He was ultimately fired without a full pension and did not face any criminal charges.

In Sept. 2012, the 21 people who were pepper-sprayed received $30,000 each following a $1 million lawsuit against the university.

Since the incident, Pike claims to have received “17,000 angry or threatening emails, 10,000 text messages, and hundreds of letters,” SFGate reports. He has been forced to change his email address and phone number multiple times to avoid harassment. 

Photo via

The Daily Dot