Remember Pepper Spray Cop?
You know, former Lieutenant John Pike of the UC Davis Police Department, who sprayed all those Occupy demonstrators in November 2011? And then later became an internet meme everywhere after video of the incident went viral?
Well, as multiple sources reported this week, after being fired from his job at UC Davis in July 2012, Pike recently filed for workers’ compensation, claiming that he suffered “psychiactric injury” after his infamous actions back in 2011. His hearing is Tuesday, August 13, and in protest, Occupy UC Davis has planned the Officer Pike Fiesta of Emotional Support and Caring.
Here’s a description of the event from its Facebook page:
Poor Officer Pike experienced so much emotional trauma from pepper spraying those kids that he’s decided to declare himself disabled. He needs state support for his disabling mental distress, such as workers comp benefits and tax-free disability income. He has a hearing scheduled to ask for this, but we think he deserves oh so much more. In his fragile emotional state, he shouldn’t have to face this hearing alone. Don’t worry Officer Pike, we are there for you. Break out your salsa shoes, your maracas, and your… red hot salsa for the first ever Officer Pike Fiesta of Emotional Support and Caring. Let’s all show up to the mandatory appearance he must make at this hearing and show him that we’ll always be there for him, ready to remind him of all the wonderful things he has done to us.
While I applaud the sustained sarcasm and outrage over Pike’s actions—reminiscent of a modern, digital-friendly version of the Yippie protests of yore—I still feel a bit uneasy about poking fun at an already unstable guy. Yes, the claim is a bit ridiculous. He was also probably mentally unstable even before his international infamy. I mean, the dude calmly pepper sprayed kids in the face. But, now that he’s been the recipient of death threats and the butt of jokes everywhere around the world, doesn’t that make him more prone to violent outbursts?
Here’s what I think: Yes, people should give this guy “emotional support.” But don’t get too close: You don’t want to get pepper sprayed in the face.