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UC OKs payment in pepper spray suit

  • (AP Photo/The Enterprise)

The University of California will pay damages to UC Davis students and alumni pepper-sprayed by campus police during an otherwise peaceful protest 10 months ago, officials said Thursday.

The UC regents met in closed session Thursday to discuss and approve a proposed payment to 21 UC Davis students and alumni who sued the university, contending their civil rights were violated.

But both UC officials and the ACLU of Northern California, which is representing the students in the lawsuit, refused to divulge details of the settlement, saying the agreement requires a federal judge to review the matter before it can be made public. That may happen within a few days, they said.

UC Regent Leslie Tang Schilling said the regents decided to settle because UC needs to move past the pepper-spray controversy and focus on pressing budget issues.

Plus, others note, UC's own investigations of the Nov. 18, 2011, incident have been critical of police tactics and administrators' decisions in handling the protests related to the Occupy movement.

A widely viewed video triggered outrage across the nation by showing a UC Davis police officer spraying seated protesters directly in their faces at close range.

A report on the incident released in April found campus police used poor judgment and violated policy during the incident.

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