Last November students at the University of California at Davis held a peaceful demonstration to protest tuition increases. Campus cops pepper-sprayed them, which drew international attention. So should the recent “settlement,” of a federal lawsuit as an example of government waste and hypocrisy.
As the Sacramento Bee reported, in the $1 million settlement, the 21 pepper-sprayed students will each get $30,000. The Bee helpfully listed the settlement’s real winners.
The ACLU and other attorneys who filed the federal lawsuit get $250,000 in legal fees, a large piece of the action. The Munger, Tolles & Olson law firm in San Francisco gets $320,000 for “work on a systemwide review of how UC campuses should respond to demonstrations.” Actually UC bosses should have known all along. Some UC Berkeley officials worked on that review and will get $88,686 “paid in salaries and other fees.” Apparently their already high salaries weren’t quite high enough.
The Marsh Risk and Insurance Services of San Francisco gets $119,714 for providing “real time crisis management support for UC Davis.” UC’s own bloated management is apparently not up to the task. The internal affairs investigation of one UC Davis cop who “deployed the pepper spray” cost $230,256. Regular salaries should have covered this project.
The big winner in the pepper-spray sweepstakes was the New York-based Kroll “consulting” firm. Kroll bagged $445,879—nearly half the entire $1 million settlement—for “an independent probe that reported its findings to a panel headed by former state Supreme Court Justice Cruz Reynoso.” As the Bee’s Sam Stanton noted, Kroll’s billing included “more than $10,707 in airfare, $3,181 in ground transportation and $8,800 in hotel charges.” It’s all for the students, of course, and for justice.
As this shakes out, the students are simply an excuse for a wave of wasteful spending to politically connected firms, overpaid university bureaucrats, and washed up left-wing activist judges. Just so you know, Cruz Reynoso was an appointee of Gov. Jerry Brown to the California Supreme Court. In a rare display of good judgment, California voters booted Reynoso out of office in 1986 along with justice Joseph Grodin and state chief justice Rose Bird, two other Brown appointees.
Meanwhile, as Sam Stanton’s fine piece shows, any time any government purports to help victims, be sure and read the small print on the settlement.