University to pay over protest

Sept. 27, 2012 at 12:13 PM
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DAVIS, Calif., Sept. 27 (UPI) -- The University of California has agreed to pay nearly $1 million to settle a lawsuit over the pepper spraying of students at a peaceful protest last year.

The university announced Wednesday that it has agreed to pay 21 UC Davis students who were sprayed with pepper spray at a Nov. 18 Occupy rally $30,000 each, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The school also agreed to pay a total of $250,000 to the plaintiffs' attorneys, as well as set up a maximum of $100,000 to pay up to $20,000 to any other individuals who join the class-action lawsuit who were either arrested at the protest or directly pepper-sprayed. The University of California will paid the settlement out of its $600 million self-insurance program.

Controversy was sparked after a video of the protest showed campus police pepper-spraying students directly in their faces at close range.

Fatima Sbeih, 22, a plaintiff in the lawsuit who was pepper-sprayed, said the settlement shows that universities can be held responsible for how they treat demonstrators.

"It's a lesson for other UCs and universities across the nation to really think critically and not make rash decisions when dealing with protesters because they will be held accountable for it," she said.

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