UC Davis tried to bury its pepper spray cop incident, but it backfired

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Uc Davis Tried to Bury Its Pepper Spray Cop Incident, but It Backfired

Viral videos have a way of coming back to haunt their stars. Take the University of California, Davis, for example.

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UC Davis tried to rebuild its image after this video went viral in 2011. That's UC Davis Police Lt. John Pike.

Gawker described him as pepper spraying student protesters "about as casually as you would Febreze your couch."

Video of the incident received millions of views and ultimately cost Pike his job. It also saddled the school with a massive amount of negative publicity.

Reaction after students were pepper sprayed:

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Protests after UC Davis cop pepper-spray incident in 2011
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UC Davis tried to bury its pepper spray cop incident, but it backfired
Student demonstrators sit and block the Bruin Plaza walkway on the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) campus as the UC Board of Regents meet in Los Angeles November 28, 2011. UCLA students are protesting against the possible increase of tuition fees, pepper-spraying of student protesters by University of California Davis police, and other issues related to the Occupy Wall Street protests. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok (UNITED STATES - Tags: EDUCATION CIVIL UNREST BUSINESS POLITICS)
University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) students take photos as law enforcement in riot gear arrive at the site of the UC Board of Regents meeting, where students are protesting, on the UCLA campus in Los Angeles November 28, 2011. UCLA students are protesting against the possible increase of tuition fees, pepper-spraying of student protesters by University of California Davis police, and other issues related to the Occupy Wall Street protests. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok (UNITED STATES - Tags: EDUCATION CIVIL UNREST)
UCLA undergraduate Seth Newmeyer holds a sign while demonstrating against the pepper-spraying of student protesters by University of California Davis police on the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) campus as the UC Board of Regents meet in Los Angeles November 28, 2011. UCLA students are protesting against the possible increase of tuition fees, pepper-spraying of student protesters by University of California Davis police, and other issues related to the Occupy Wall Street protests. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok (UNITED STATES - Tags: EDUCATION CIVIL UNREST POLITICS BUSINESS)
UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi waits to speak to students at an Occupy UCD rally on campus in Davis, Califonia November 21, 2011. Katehi apologized to jeering students on Monday for police use of pepper spray against campus protesters in a standoff captured by video and widely replayed on television and the Internet. University of Califonia faculty and student critics of Friday's confrontation, some of whom demanded the chancellor's resignation, said it had damaged the school's image and the climate for free expression at the university. REUTERS/Max Whittaker (UNITED STATES - Tags: CIVIL UNREST EDUCATION)
UC Davis students protest at an "Occupy UCD" rally on campus in Davis, California November 21, 2011. More than 1,000 demonstrators rallied on Monday at the University of California at Davis to protest the pepper-spraying of student protesters by police, a clash captured in video footage circulated widely on television and the Internet. REUTERS/Max Whittaker (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST BUSINESS EDUCATION)
University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) graduate student Anthony Trochez yells during an opportunity for the public to make comments at a UC Board of Regents meeting on the UCLA campus in Los Angeles November 28, 2011. The students are protesting against the possible increase of tuition fees, pepper-spraying of student protesters by University of California Davis police, and other issues related to the Occupy Wall Street protests. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok (UNITED STATES - Tags: EDUCATION CIVIL UNREST BUSINESS POLITICS)
Student demonstrators lie across the Bruin Plaza walkway on the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) campus as the UC Board of Regents meet in Los Angeles November 28, 2011. UCLA students are protesting against the possible increase of tuition fees, pepper-spraying of student protesters by University of California Davis police, and other issues related to the Occupy Wall Street protests. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok (UNITED STATES - Tags: EDUCATION CIVIL UNREST BUSINESS POLITICS)
UC Davis students protest at an "Occupy UCD" rally on campus in Davis, California November 21, 2011. More than 1,000 demonstrators rallied on Monday at the University of California at Davis to protest the pepper-spraying of student protesters by police, a clash captured in video footage circulated widely on television and the Internet. REUTERS/Max Whittaker (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST BUSINESS EDUCATION)
UC Davis students protest at an "Occupy UCD" rally on campus in Davis, California November 21, 2011. More than 1,000 demonstrators rallied on Monday at the University of California at Davis to protest the pepper-spraying of student protesters by police, a clash captured in video footage circulated widely on television and the Internet. REUTERS/Max Whittaker (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST BUSINESS)
UC Davis students protest at an "Occupy UCD" rally on campus in Davis, California November 21, 2011. More than 1,000 demonstrators rallied on Monday at the University of California at Davis to protest the pepper-spraying of student protesters by police, a clash captured in video footage circulated widely on television and the Internet. REUTERS/Max Whittaker (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST BUSINESS EDUCATION)
University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) students create demonstration signs outside their tents at the site of Occupy UCLA, where a UC Board of Regents meeting will be taking place, at the UCLA campus in Los Angeles November 28, 2011. The students are protesting against the possible increase of tuition fees, pepper-spraying of student protesters by University of California Davis police, and other issues related to the Occupy Wall Street protests. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok (UNITED STATES - Tags: EDUCATION CIVIL UNREST BUSINESS POLITICS)
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So much so, UC Davis spent at least $175,000 on image consultants in an effort to clean up its online reputation in the following years.

The Sacramento Bee obtained documents that showed the firms would try to push positive stories about UC Davis to try to bury the negative publicity. But they clearly have no idea how the internet works.

When you type "UC Davis" into Google, "UC Davis pepper spray" is still the first result that comes up. Not to mention the incident sparked a parody Twitter account as well as some pretty creative memes, putting Lt. Pike in famous landmarks and classic works of art.

To make matters worse, the story about how much taxpayer money the school spent on its image problem is also going viral.

Gawker,The Huffington Post and The Washington Post have all covered UC Davis' latest PR fiasco, reminding readers of exactly what the school wanted them to forget.

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