Our Los Angeles readers will remember the UC Davis pepper-spray incident that took place back in November 2011. During that controversial incident, police pepper-sprayed demonstrators who sat down on a paved path on campus. Many were infuriated over the lack of judgment exercised by officers during that incident.
Now John Pike, the former UC police officer was took the brunt of the blame for the incident is seeking workers’ compensation for alleged psychiatric injury stemming from the incident. Pike was fired last July after an investigation concluded that pepper-spraying the demonstrators was a horrible call.
The UC system reportedly settled a civil lawsuit last year with UC Davis students involved in the incident, awarding $30,000 each to a total of 21 students.
It isn’t exactly clear how things are likely to proceed in the workers’ comp matter. An attorney for the union representing the UC police officers has declined to comment.
In order for a claim for psychiatric injury to be compensated, a number of requirements must be met. To list a few: the employment must have been six months or more; it must be shown that the employment was the main cause of the condition; and the employee must have a psychiatric condition listed in the current Diagnostic Statistical Manual (DSM IV).
Psychiatric claims most certainly have their place in the workers’ comp system, but they must be fully backed up and subjected to the scrutiny of the insurance company. It helps to have an advocate throughout this process.
Source: Los Angeles Times, Ex-UC police officer who pepper-sprayed students seeks workers’ comp,” Larry Gordon, July 26, 2013.