UC Davis students reach $1 million settlement with UC Davis over pepper-spray incident


Photo: Brian Nguyen/The Aggie

From the ACLU of Northern California, this just in:

Attorneys for 21 UC Davis students and recent alumni have just announced the details of a million-dollar settlement in the federal class-action lawsuit filed against UC Davis over the widely-reported incident in which campus police "repeatedly doused seated, non-violent student demonstrators with military grade pepper spray at close range."

That act violated state and federal constitutional protections, including the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, according to the lawsuit.

"The UC Regents approved the settlement in a September 13 meeting, and the settlement documents were filed with the court today. A federal court judge must approve the settlement before it is finalized."

Details, from the ACLU announcement:

Terms of the Settlement

The settlement was filed today with the United States District Court, Eastern District of California, for review by a federal judge before it becomes final. The terms of the settlement include:

UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi will issue a formal written apology to each of the students and recent alumni who was pepper sprayed or arrested.

The University will pay $1 million as part of the settlement. This includes a total of $730,000 to the named plaintiffs and others who were arrested or pepper-sprayed on November 18. It will also include up to $250,000 in costs and attorney fees.

The University will work with the ACLU as it develops new policies on student demonstrations, crowd management, and use of force to prevent anything like the November 18 pepper spray incident from ever happening again. $20,000 of the settlement will go to the ACLU for its future work with the University on these policies to protect free speech and free expression on campus.

The case has been expanded to a class action lawsuit to make sure that anyone who was pepper-sprayed or arrested that day can be part of the settlement, even if they are not a named plaintiff. $100,000 of the total award will be set aside to compensate other individuals who were pepper-sprayed or wrongfully arrested on November 18, 2011.

The University will also assist students whose academic performance was adversely affected by the incident in applying for academic records adjustment.

More about the incident in the Boing Boing archives.

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