The University of California announced on Sept. 26 it would agree to pay roughly $1 million for the settlement of a lawsuit filed over a UC Davis campus demonstration gone awry last November.
The 21 plaintiffs are expected to receive $30,000 each as compensation, as well as a written apology from UC Davis Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi, according to a document released by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). The ACLU represented the plaintiffs in the settlement.
The university agreed to pay an additional $250,000 in legal fees, and set aside another $100,000 for any individual involved who can prove they were subjected to unlawful arrest and/or excessive force, according to the ACLU website.
The settlement comes roughly 10 months after the release of a viral video depicting Lt. John Pike, a former UC Davis Police Department officer, pepper-spraying students protesting against tuition hikes, university privatization and the treatment of University of California, Berkeley demonstrators on Nov. 18, 2011.
Lt. Pike, who was ultimately fired, acted in response to the students’ refusal to disperse following the declaration of the protest as unlawful assembly.
“What we hope to do with this settlement is cause structural changes to the university, so that it will not just tolerate but encourage free speech on campus,” said ACLU lawyer Michael Risher to the ABC News.