Citing insufficient evidence, the Yolo County District Attorney’s office has declined to press charges against UC Davis Campus Police officer Lt. John Pike, infamous for a now-iconic image of him pepper spraying a row of seated, peaceful protesters. Pike, who was fired some time after the incident, states that he is “relieved.” No doubt that this ruling will come as good news to Yolo County capsecum enthusiasts: Spray with abandon! Spray on camera! YOLO!
“(V)iewing the incident through the totality of the circumstances, there is insufficient evidence to establish proof beyond a reasonable doubt that the use of force involved in the November 18, 2011, pepper spraying was unlawful and therefore warrants the filing of criminal charges,” officials said in a statement announcing the report’s findings.
The response by campus police clad in riot gear last Nov. 18, punctuated by the image of police Lt. John Pike calmly pepper-spraying seated student protestors (sic), was met with international scorn.
Pike was later relieved of duty; his police chief, Annette Spicuzza, resigned under fire; and withering reports from a specially-convened task force led by former state Supreme Court Justice Cruz Reynoso and independent consultant, Kroll, detailed a dysfunctional police department and “systematic and repeated failures” by university leaders.