Judge OKs Settlement in UC Davis Pepper Spray Suit

Plainiffs' attorney said settlement helps students "move on"

Wednesday, Jan 9, 2013  |  Updated 1:05 PM PDT
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The pepper spraying was captured on cell phone video and went viral on YouTube.

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A federal judge has approved a $1 million settlement of a class-action lawsuit filed by demonstrators who were pepper-sprayed during a protest at the University of California, Davis in 2011.
 
U.S. District Court Judge John Mendez gave final approval Wednesday of a preliminary agreement that was filed in court in September.
 
Under the settlement, UC agreed to pay $30,000 to each of the 21 plaintiffs, $100,000 to be split among 15 other individuals and $250,000 for their attorneys.
 
The Nov. 18, 2011, incident prompted national outrage, angry campus protests and calls for the resignation of Chancellor Linda Katehi after online videos shot by witnesses went viral. 
 
Images of a police officer casually spraying orange pepper-spray in the faces of nonviolent protesters became a rallying symbol for the Occupy Wall Street movement.

A lawyer with the ACLU said the early resolution means the students involved can begin the process of moving on.

“If the First Amendment means anything, it’s that students should be able to exercise their free speech-rights on their college campus without being afraid of police violence. What happened on November 18 was among the worst examples of police violence against student demonstrators that we’ve seen in a generation,” said Michael Risher, staff attorney with the ACLU of Northern California.

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