Wednesday, April 23, 2014
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 | 2 Comments

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.

Cory Golden

Cory Golden

The Enterprise's higher-education and congressional reporter. http://about.me/cory_golden
LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 2 comments

The Davis Enterprise does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • Lt. John Pike Goes Viral (7) « Photocritic InternationalSeptember 26, 2012 - 6:59 pm

    [...] don’t know why, in addition to the Kroll and Reynoso reports, the university also hired investigators from two outside firms, Deborah Allison at Van Dermyden Allison Law Corp. of Sacramento and Ed McErlain at Yorba [...]

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Late Night Open Thread: In This Week’s ‘Worst Person’ Competition… » Balloon JuiceJuly 26, 2013 - 12:01 am

    [...] ever made, despite the fact that the former University of California at Davis police lieutenant lost his job over it. Pike is now seeking worker’s compensation benefits from the university, for psychiatric [...]

    Reply | Report abusive comment
.

News

UC Davis biodigester hungers for food scraps, belches out electricity

By Elizabeth Case | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
New mosaic mural reflects Peña family history

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A1, 1 Comment | Gallery

Davis businesswoman presides over conference

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Bible fun featured at Parents’ Night Out

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Fire damages Woodland home

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A3

 
Davis Arts Center: See ceramics, join the Big Day of Giving

By Erie Vitiello | From Page: A3 | Gallery

Register to vote by May 19

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Birch Lane sells garden plants, veggies

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Team Blend hosts fundraiser for Nicaragua project

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A3

 
Sign up for enviro organizations during Earth Week

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Fundraiser benefits Oakley campaign

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Odd Fellows host culinary benefit for nonprofit

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

UCD to host premiere of autism documentary

By Cory Golden | From Page: A4

 
400 bikes go up for bids at UCD auction

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Fire crews gather for joint training

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
UFC hears from two local historians

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Church hosts discussion of mental health needs, services

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Sunder hosts campaign event for kids

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
UC Davis conference showcases undergraduate research

By Julia Ann Easley | From Page: A5 | Gallery

Train to become a weather spotter

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

 
Fly Fishers talk to focus on healthy streams, rivers

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5 | Gallery

Learn survival skills at Cache Creek Preserve

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

 
Veterans, internees may receive overdue diplomas

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

UCD professor to talk about new book

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

 
Slow Food tour showcases area’s young farmers

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A10

.

Forum

Will anyone notice?

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

 
My votes reflect city values

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

I support Sunder for board

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

 
A plea on the Bard’s birthday

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

Sharing fire services has been a success

By Our View | From Page: A6

 
Tom Meyer cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A6

.

Sports

DHS thunders back to win an epic DVC volleyball match

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

 
Seniors send Blue Devil girls past Broncos in a lacrosse rout

By Spencer Ault | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Davis gets to Grant ace and rolls in DVC crucial

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Walchli is under par in another Devil victory

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

DHS/Franklin I goes to the Blue Devil softballers

By Chris Saur | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
 
Sharks go up 3-0 with OT win

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8 | Gallery

Baseball roundup: Rangers rally to beat A’s in the ninth

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
.

Features

Field to fork: El Macero’s chef offers spring tastes

By Dan Kennedy | From Page: A8 | Gallery

 
.

Arts

 
Music, wine flow at Fourth Friday

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

Biscuits ‘n Honey will play at winery

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

 
 
Five Three Oh! featured at April Performers’ Circle

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9 | Gallery

Celebrate spring at I-House on Sunday

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

 
.

Business

.

Obituaries

Catharine ‘Kay’ Lathrop

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics

Comics: Wednesday, April 23, 2014

By Creator | From Page: B6