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UC Davis reaches $1 million settlement with pepper sprayed students

UC Davis students who took a break from studying to protest rising tuition prices and other issues last November, found themselves pepper sprayed by university police. Just this week a $1 million settlement over the incident was reached.
UC Davis students who took a break from studying to protest rising tuition prices and other issues last November, found themselves pepper sprayed by university police. Just this week a $1 million settlement over the incident was reached.

On Wednesday, the University of California – Davis released a statement saying that it will pay $30,000 to each of the 21 UC Davis students and alumni who were pepper sprayed by campus police 10 months ago.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the agreement still needs to be approved by federal court. However, it also calls for the university to pay a total of $250,000 to the plaintiffs’ attorneys and set aside a maximum of $100,000 in order to pay up to $20,000 to any other individuals who may come forward to join the class action lawsuit. Alleged victims will need to supply proof that they were either arrested or pepper sprayed.

On November 18 of last year, students sat with linked arms as part of the Occupy movement. Among other issues, the San Francisco Chronicle reported that individuals were protesting steep tuition hikes and the public university's increasing financial ties to corporations.

Video footage and photographs of the officers – dressed in riot gear – using the chemical irritant on the protesters went viral online and triggered public outrage.

A university task force that investigated the incident found that the officer who had used the pepper spray misused it and that it was not an "authorized weapon" under campus police guidelines, according to CNN.

Fatima Sbeih, one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit who was pepper sprayed, said in a statement that the incident created a divide between campus police and students.

Establishing a level of trust between customers and a company or organization is not always easy. After incidents like the one at UC Davis, it can be even more difficult to re-establish that relationship. Partnering with a firm specializing in business continuity planning can aid in this process, as these professionals are equipped to lead an enterprise through a multitude of situations.