Pepper spray campus police officer awarded compensation

media captionAn officer appeared to spray the protesters at close range

A former US campus policeman who pepper-sprayed peaceful protesters has been awarded $38,000 (£23,400) in compensation for psychiatric damage.

Lieutenant John Pike received threats after footage of the incident went viral on the internet in 2011.

It showed him casually spraying protesters from the Occupy Wall Street movement as they sat on the ground at the University of California.

His award is not much less than that received by the protesters he harmed.

Mr Pike was suspended from his job at University of California Davis after the incident and left the force in July 2012.

An official investigation found that university officials and UC Davis police used poor judgment and excessive force in the confrontation.

In June, Mr Pike filed a worker's compensation claim with UC Davis over the incident, claiming he suffered psychiatric and nervous system damage.

Local reports said Mr Pike had received more than 17,000 angry or threatening emails, 10,000 text messages and hundreds of letters after the video of the pepper-spraying was published.

UC Davis spokesman Andy Fell said on Wednesday that the Division of Workers Compensation Appeals Board agreed on 16 October to resolve his claim by paying him a settlement totalling $38,055, Reuters news agency reported.

The amount of compensation "in line with permanent impairment as calculated by the state's disability evaluation unit," Mr Fell said.

Last year, the university agreed to pay $1m to settle a lawsuit brought on behalf of the 21 students who were sprayed and reported suffering panic attacks, trauma and academic problems as a result.

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