Police & Law Enforcement
28 voters

The Very Best of the Lt. Pike Meme

Updated January 6, 2021 194 votes 28 voters 111.5k views33 items

It's a photograph that has now become an iconic image of the Occupy Wall Street movement. During a protest at UC Davis, a police officer in riot gear - later identified as Lt. John Pike - was filmed walking in front of seated student protesters, blasting pepper spray into their faces. The students had interlocked arms to prevent officers from taking them away.

The incident has led to calls for University of California Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi to resign (she said she found the images "chilling") as well as public outcry in general over the use of pepper spray by authorities on otherwise non-violent targets.

It has also led to a new Internet meme, in which the image of Lt. Pike and his pepper spray dispenser are placed in unlikely and humorous scenarios that highlight it as a violent and over-the-top reaction to something non-threatening. (The meme is alternately referred to as the "Pepper Spray Meme" or the "Scumbag Pike" meme, a reference to the ongoing "Scumbag" series of memes and again meant to ridicule Pike as craven and abusing his authority.)

This list represents the very best - thus far - of the Lt. Pike Pepper Spray meme. (With special thanks to Kwikset on Tumblr, the Google Plus feeds of Billy Galbreath and Sage Serif and @Xeni on Twitter for pointing me to some of these great entries.)
  • 1

    Strutting Leo's Gonna Hate

    The Lt. Pike meme collides with the "Strutting Leo" meme in this genuinely disturbing entry.

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  • 2

    Lt. Pike in 2012

    Some people would probably still defend this behavior. "Well, he had asked the planet to stop spinning on its axis and Earth didn't listen. What choice did he have?"
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  • 3

    Pike Spices Up School Lunches


    (via Matt Uebel on Google+)
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  • 4

    Scumbag Katehi

    A side meme has started as well off of the Pike incident, in which Chancellor Katehi is seen advising the use of pepper spray in inappropriate situations. So far, seems to be gaining less momentum than the Pike meme. But these things are hard to predict.
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