Friday, April 24, 2015
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Report: Chief fired Pike; panel urged ‘exoneration’

Officer Alexander Lee, left, sprays seated, unarmed protesters on the UC Davis Quad on Nov. 18. He is no longer employed by the university, campus officials confirmed Wednesday. Wayne Tilcock/Enterprise file photo

By
From page A1 | August 03, 2012 |

Chief Matt Carmichael fired former UC Davis police Lt. John Pike on Tuesday despite an internal affairs investigation that deemed Pike’s use of pepper-spray on protesters “reasonable.”

A panel that reviewed the report recommended Pike face a suspension or demotion for using force against a dozen seated, unarmed Occupy UC Davis protesters on Nov. 18, according to a Wednesday report by The Sacramento Bee. The newspaper based its article on documents it obtained including the 76-page internal affairs report.

“The needs of the department do not justify your continued employment,” Carmichael wrote in a letter to Pike, according to The Bee.

Pike and Carmichael could not immediately be reached for comment. A UCD spokeswoman declined to speak about the newspaper’s report, citing a state law protecting the confidentiality of police personnel records.

Carmichael was sworn in April 19, replacing Annette Spicuzza. She retired while under investigation for her role in what happened after UCD leaders told police to remove the day-old encampment.

On April 27, Carmichael sent Pike a letter that outlined his intention to fire him for reasons that included Pike going against Spicuzza’s wishes to use “a minimum amount of force,” objecting to her request that officers not wear a helmet or carry batons and performing “poorly” when he took over control of the scene from another lieutenant.

“The Operation caused damage to the campus and the Department,” Carmichael wrote, according to The Bee. “It is my judgment that you bear significant responsibility for that outcome.

“Knowing this information, you stated when interviewed that there is nothing you would do differently. Faced with the same circumstances, you would still have deployed the pepper spray.”

Investigators from two outside firms hired by UCD, Van Dermyden Allison Law Corp. of Sacramento and Yorba Linda-based Norman A. Traub Associates, saw things differently.

After interviewing campus leaders, students and officers who were on the Quad, including Pike, and reviewing thousands of pages of documents, they wrote that while the viral video of Pike spraying protesters was “disturbing,” his use of pepper spray was “reasonable under the circumstances.”

The internal affairs report noted that Pike warned the protesters before taking action and that he spoke against the decision to remove the encampment.

The report also concluded that protesters had surrounded police, The Bee reported.

That differs from the earlier conclusions of investigators from Kroll Associates Inc., an outside security firm, and a task force led by former California Supreme Court Justice Cruz Reynoso, who found that protesters and a crowd of onlookers neither entirely surrounded police nor threatened their safety.

Kroll and the task force found that Pike had used unnecessary force.

Pike chose not to cooperate with Kroll investigators or the task force, but the newspaper reported that he told internal affairs investigators that pepper spray was a tool “to gain compliance, so that I can get my troops out of there, my suspects out of there, and get a job done.”

“Any, any — any application of force — umm — for me it’s not a — it’s not a thrill ride — it’s not — ‘woo hoo, this is gonna be fun, I get to hurt somebody.’ That’s not it,” Pike is quoted as saying in the report.

The internal affairs report was reviewed by a panel made up of a UCD police captain and the campus chief compliance officer.

They recommended to Carmichael an “Exonerated finding” on use of force, but concluded that Pike’s “serious errors of judgment and deficiencies of leadership” warranted demotion or suspension, the newspaper said.

Pike spent eight months on paid leave during the investigation, as did a second officer, Alexander Lee, who used pepper spray on the protesters at Pike’s direction.

The Bee’s report did not include investigator’s conclusions about Lee. His identity, confirmed by The Enterprise from still photographs, video and university documents, and that of others redacted in the Reynoso and Kroll reports are the subject of an ongoing lawsuit brought by The Bee and the Los Angeles Times.

UCD confirmed Tuesday that a second suspended officer ceased to be employed after July 11.

Comments

comments

Cory Golden

Cory Golden

The Enterprise's higher-education and congressional reporter. http://about.me/cory_golden
  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

    New design submitted for conference center

    By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Water and power have a troubling interdependency

    By New York Times News Service | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Bob Dunning: Fairness is an afterthought for them

    By Bob Dunning | From Page: A2

    Los Angeles march to commemorate Armenian killings

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    Hostage deaths a reminder of risk of ‘deadly mistakes’

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Walkers head out three times weekly

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4Comments are off for this post

     
    Got bikes? Donate ‘em!

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Need a new best friend?

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4 | Gallery

    Beginning tai chi classes start May 5

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    College Night set April 30 at DHS

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    School board hears report on health services

    By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A5

     
    Tour of co-ops precedes Sacramento conference

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

    Mamajowali will perform at benefit house concert

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A6 | Gallery

     
    Explorit: Celebrate International Astronomy Day

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

    Learn basics of composting in Woodland

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

     
    Winkler Dinner raises funds for enology, viticulture activities

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8 | Gallery

    Raptor Center welcomes visitors at May 2 open house

    By Trina Wood | From Page: A8 | Gallery

     
    Take a peek at region’s past at Tremont Mite Society’s social

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8 | Gallery

    BeerFest expands to include cider

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8

     
    Mapping where human action is causing earthquakes

    By New York Times News Service | From Page: A9

    Hummingbird health: Appreciating the little things

    By Kat Kerlin | From Page: A12 | Gallery

     
    .

    Forum

     
    Thanks for supporting the arts

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

    Bike Swap another success

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

     
    Drink is a tasteless insult

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: B4

     
    The fight for gender pay equity

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B4

    It’s a depressing beat

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

     
    .

    Sports

    Lehner talks about the UCD student-athlete experience

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1

     
    Reeling Blue Devils stop skid against Sheldon

    By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Aggie Spring Game environment will up the gridiron fun factor

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Rare DHS track loss still full of highlights

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

     
    DYSA roundup: Lester, Osborne lead Storm over Dixon

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3 | Gallery

    Lady Demons’ fundraiser a smash hit

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3 | Gallery

     
    Pro baseball roundup: River Cats lose their fourth straight

    By Staff and wire reports | From Page: B12

    .

    Features

    .

    Arts

     
    ‘Ex Machina': The perils of playing God

    By Derrick Bang | From Page: A10 | Gallery

    Ceramicist works will be featured at The Artery

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A11 | Gallery

     
    .

    Business

    Chamber expands Korean sister-city opportunities

    By Felicia Alvarez | From Page: A5 | Gallery

     
    Car Care: Tips for buying your first ATV

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B6

    Subaru goes rear-wheel drive with sporty BRZ coupe

    By Ann M. Job | From Page: B7 | Gallery

     
    .

    Obituaries

    Whitney Joy Engler

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    Valente Forrest Dolcini

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    .

    Comics

    Comics: Friday, April 24, 2015

    By Creator | From Page: B5