Pretty much everyone remembers the scenes last year of students, sitting quietly in protest on the University of California campus, getting pepper-sprayed in the face by indifferent police. Thanks in large part to the power of YouTube, the university’s Board of Regents has agreed to settle the resulting lawsuit.
The Nov. 18, 2011, incident prompted national outrage, angry campus protests and calls for the resignation of Chancellor Linda Katehi after online videos shot by witnesses went viral. Images of a police officer casually spraying orange pepper-spray in the faces of nonviolent protesters became a rallying symbol for the Occupy Wall Street movement. The demonstrators had been protesting steep tuition hikes and police brutality.
If a federal judge accepts the agreement, the University of California will pay out $30,000 to each of 21 plaintiffs in the case. UC also agreed to pay the student lawyers $250,000, and set aside still more money for expected future plaintiffs. The grand total may exceed two million dollars.
This started as a chance for the university to send a message to protesters, but ended up teaching the university a lesson. At least it’s hoped that this will discourage future protester bullying by university police. Heaven forbid this should send a message to all such stormtroopers…
Source: The Washington Post