Lt. John Pike, the U.C. Davis police officer who became a meme star after he sprayed sitting Occupy protesters with bright orange pepper spray last November, has left the building at long last. As it's been reported in The Sacramento Bee and The San Francisco Chronicle, it's unclear if he was fired or resigned. Reached by The Atlantic Wire via email, university spokesman Barry Schiller wouldn't say whether Pike had resigned of his own accord or whether the university had fired him, citing school policy and state law. But Pike's continued employment at the university was starting to cause it some PR problems, so whichever side ended the relationship, it's a good development for the school.
In April, an independent report found Pike was primarily responsible for using the large-sized canister of pepper spray, calling the act "objectively unreasonable." Police chief Annette Spicuzza retired after the report came out, but Pike stayed on administrative leave until Tuesday, when he officially left the department. Last week, The Atlantic's Connor Friedersdorf followed up with the school about why Pike was still employed there: "The internal affairs process is 'a lot more inexorable than anyone realized at the time,' a university spokesman told me. 'I don't know when that's going to get resolved.' " Now we know when, but we still don't know how. And unless Pike decides to speak up publicly about whether he got fired or quit (he's already declined comment to the Sacramento Bee), we may never know.