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UC to pay pepper-sprayed Occupy protesters $1M settlement

September 26, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
Students who were pepper-sprayed during an Occupy Wall Street protest at University of California, Davis, last fall will be awarded a $1-million settlement.

It was an unforgettable scene shown in video around the world. University police at UC Davis pepper-sprayed peaceful protesters who were upset about the rising cost of tuition. Without admitting wrongdoing, UC officials and the American Civil Liberties Union who represented the protesters agreed to settle a lawsuit.

Under the deal, which must still be approved by a federal judge, each of the 21 plaintiffs named in the complaint will receive $30,000. An additional $250,000 will be awarded for their attorneys to split. The settlement also calls for the University of California to set aside $100,000 to pay other individuals who can prove they were arrested or pepper-sprayed during the Nov. 18, 2011 incident.

In addition, a personal written apology will also be sent from the school's chancellor to each person hit with the spray. The settlement also states that the school will assist students whose academic performance was negatively affected by the incident.

The now-infamous event prompted campus protests and calls for the resignation of Chancellor Linda Katehi after online videos shot by witnesses spread like wildfire on the Internet. Katehi gets to keep her job.

A task force report released in April blamed the incident on poor communication and planning throughout the campus chain of command, from the chancellor to the pepper-spraying officers.

Once a federal judge signs off on the settlement, the university will make the payouts from its own self-insurance fund.

This settlement so-far increases the total payout for the pepper-spray incident to more than $2 million. That figure accounts for the use of a crisis management firm, investigators and more lawyers.


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