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Muslim UCLA student tasered for not having ID
November 16, 2006 8:28 AM   Subscribe

Muslim UCLA student tasered for not having ID
"It was beyond grotesque," said UCLA graduate David Remesnitsky of Los Angeles, who witnessed the incident. "By the end they took him over the stairs, lifted him up and Tasered him on his rear end. It seemed like it was inappropriately placed. The Tasering was so unnecessary and they just kept doing it."

Some additional coverage. Patriot act craziness or simple police overreaction?
posted by cgs (369 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

 
simple (but horribly stupid) police overreaction
posted by Mach5 at 8:34 AM on November 16, 2006


Timely story on tasers in the most recent In These Times.
posted by jimfl at 8:34 AM on November 16, 2006


simple (but rather typical) police overreaction
posted by WoWgmr72 at 8:39 AM on November 16, 2006


"Since, after repeated requests, he would neither leave nor show identification, the CSO notified UCPD officers, who responded and asked Tabatabainejad to leave the premises multiple times. He continued to refuse. As the officers attempted to escort him out, he went limp and continued to refuse to cooperate with officers or leave the building."

what did he expect would happen?

I'm holding judgement on this one.....
posted by HuronBob at 8:39 AM on November 16, 2006 [1 favorite]


Interesting. "The name Taser is an acronym: 'Thomas A. Swift's Electric Rifle'."^
posted by Alt F4 at 8:39 AM on November 16, 2006


This is really sick.
posted by thirteenkiller at 8:39 AM on November 16, 2006


Video is also on YouTube.

As a current college student, it's quite chilling to see something like this.
posted by roomwithaview at 8:40 AM on November 16, 2006


That's just how they welcome everyone to Los Angeles. Now go home.
posted by loquacious at 8:40 AM on November 16, 2006


Patriot act craziness or simple police overreaction?

A little from column A, a little from column B.
posted by chunking express at 8:41 AM on November 16, 2006


:(
posted by sciurus at 8:45 AM on November 16, 2006


what did he expect would happen?

I'm sure we can say the same about the LAPD once they get hit with a lawsuit over this one.
posted by roomwithaview at 8:45 AM on November 16, 2006


I'm sure we can say the same about the LAPD once they get hit with a lawsuit over this one.

It wasn't the LAPD, but the campus police who were involved.
posted by ericb at 8:47 AM on November 16, 2006


From the article:

Laila Gordy, a fourth-year economics student who was present in the library during the incident, said police officers threatened to shoot her with a Taser when she asked an officer for his name and his badge number.

Yeah, if there was even a shred of doubt as to whether or not they were acting irresponsibly, that would do it.
posted by dflemingdotorg at 8:48 AM on November 16, 2006


what did he expect would happen?

I hope someone says the same thing of (and to) you next time you don't act exactly the way the cops want you to act and they beat the shit out of you, taser you, and/or lock you up and throw away the key. Brutal abuse of power is sickening but inevitable; pathetic justification of such by onlookers is, I guess, equally inevitable, but somehow I can never get used to it.
posted by languagehat at 8:49 AM on November 16, 2006 [3 favorites]


He was given a citation for obstruction/delay of a peace officer in the performance of duty

Law enforcement language gives me the creeps.
posted by psmealey at 8:50 AM on November 16, 2006


What's the point in tasing someone who's already limp?

GET UP! MAINTAIN BOWEL CONTROL! *zap*
posted by thirteenkiller at 8:50 AM on November 16, 2006


What the hell does this have to do with the Patriot Act? Is this story on some right wing blog somewhere with the line "typical muslim defiance"?

I'm reserving my judgment on this. The cops apparently didn't know he was muslim (it's a religion), so that is simply framing the story with post hoc facts not available at the time.

That said, in my mind this part "police officers threatened to shoot her with a Taser when she asked an officer for his name and his badge number" if true would justify a riot.

Note to cops and security people, if we ask for your name and badge number, just swallow your pride and give them to us. We have the right to ask, and you don't have the right to refuse.
posted by Pastabagel at 8:51 AM on November 16, 2006


If they tasered him in the ass, it probably means he was standing up and leaving, not 'limp and resisting'.
posted by Malor at 8:51 AM on November 16, 2006


well, it's not like he got shot 41 times, so I guess he should consider himself lucky
posted by matteo at 8:52 AM on November 16, 2006


(if you're walking away with a backpack on, your ass is pretty much the main target.)
posted by Malor at 8:52 AM on November 16, 2006


what did he expect would happen?

Witnesses interviewed in the Bruin indicate that he was cool to begin with, but got more upset as the cops either increased in number, or began to act more aggressively toward him. I cannot say I wouldn't have behaved exactly the same way if that happened to me.
posted by psmealey at 8:52 AM on November 16, 2006


It wasn't the LAPD, but the campus police who were involved.

Campus police get TASERS?!
posted by dreamsign at 8:53 AM on November 16, 2006


This is disgusting. Those cops were torturing that guy.
posted by Jupiter Jones at 8:53 AM on November 16, 2006


Assuming the accounts are accurate, of course.
posted by psmealey at 8:53 AM on November 16, 2006


It's bad enough having these cops walking around 'randomly' asking for people's ID.
How can even that be happening, in a supposedly free country?
posted by Flashman at 8:54 AM on November 16, 2006


Jesus. My old computer group at UCLA was in charge of IT in that lab he got tasered in.

Sounds like he wasn't cooperating, but maybe he was just putting up a mild protest over a "your papers, please!" demand and the cops got out of hand. I've never been forced to show ID while working away silently in a computer lab and I'd be kind of pissed if a bunch of cops showed up and started demanding it.
posted by mathowie at 8:55 AM on November 16, 2006


"Many cops are dicks. Film at 11."
posted by Optamystic at 8:55 AM on November 16, 2006


Malor, if you're hanging by the arms between two police officers, the ass is probably a pretty attractive target. It shows him like that in the video, but I'm not sure if it's before or after he was tased.
posted by thirteenkiller at 8:55 AM on November 16, 2006


Campaign Against The Taser.

Elderly Homeless Woman Subdued By Taser in Aspen; Charges Dropped Against Her.

Aspen Officer Dismissed After Tasering Senior.
posted by ericb at 8:55 AM on November 16, 2006


>How can even that be happening, in a supposedly free country?

Because everyone is the enemy. Potentially.
posted by gsb at 8:56 AM on November 16, 2006


I'm not defending the police but I don't get this:

I cannot say I wouldn't have behaved exactly the same way if that happened to me.
posted by psmealey at 11:52 AM EST on November 16


Why would you get more aggressive and hostile as you become more outnumbered? The cops who show up later only see you being aggressive, and there are more cops who see you this way then at the start when you were calm.
posted by Pastabagel at 8:56 AM on November 16, 2006


There was apparently a study in the Lancet in 01 that showed that some tasers can incapacitate people for 5-15 minutes, so when they're yelling "Get up or we're going to taser you again!" it's quite possible that he couldn't.

Sick.
posted by gramcracker at 8:57 AM on November 16, 2006


Sick.

Hope there's a massive lawsuit and changes as a result.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:57 AM on November 16, 2006


Him being a Muslim doesn't seem to be an issue with what happened.

Watching the video is terrifying, yet interesting. They tasered him because he wouldn't stand up. Evidently, they couldn't carry or dragg him out, he just HAD to stand. They stopped him as he was leaving anyway and then put their hands on him.

The cops should be fired for those two things alone. The best cops know when to physical and when not to and this (so far) seems like a textbook, common sense case of not getting physical.

What's really interesting that is how many students witnessed this and did nothing except demand badge numbers. I'm not knocking them per se, but rather society as they pretty much in shock and didn't have much clue what to do.

It would have been interesting if the students HAD rushed the cops. Note that I didn't say it was smart or wouldn't have created a bigger situation. But this might have been a good time to create a bigger situation since the police abuse was so obvious and out of bounds.

Also, I'm not sure what the Patriot act has to do with this.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:59 AM on November 16, 2006


How can even that be happening, in a supposedly free country?

It's a university computer lab - they have a right to verify that the people there are allowed to be there. Lots of people have to show ID to be permitted access to restricted places.
posted by thirteenkiller at 8:59 AM on November 16, 2006


That video made me sick.

I'm disgusted by the behavior of the cops, but not surprised: torturing people is in their nature.

What really disgusts me is that the mob of students didn't bum rush the situation as it was going down. Rent-a-cops torturing a student with a taser in the middle of the library?! Fuck no. Those bystanders should have been all over the guy they were torturing. Wrap your arms around him, make a dogpile.

Standing by while the cops shock him again and again is just too fucked up. Also, the cameraperson was a wuss.
posted by squirrel at 9:00 AM on November 16, 2006


Why would you get more aggressive and hostile as you become more outnumbered? The cops who show up later only see you being aggressive, and there are more cops who see you this way then at the start when you were calm.

Because if you were asked to leave and were complying and they still are getting increased resistance, it's disconcerning.

I mean, it's not like this guy did anything except not have a student ID. Why would there even be the faintest need for more cops?
posted by dflemingdotorg at 9:01 AM on November 16, 2006


I'm a little w/ HuronBob on this. If you start freaking out on police, something bad is going to happen. It would be great if the more agitated people got, the calmer police became, but that isn't the reality. What if the student was deliberately trying to provoke a reaction?

(Though the bottom line still remains that they could have just as easily carried him out rather than repeatedly shocking him...)

Pastabagel- you are right, and I apologize for the ad hoc-ness. I did find some coverage on an American Muslim site, but none of it has has said this is political...
posted by cgs at 9:02 AM on November 16, 2006


What's really interesting that is how many students witnessed this and did nothing except demand badge numbers. I'm not knocking them per se, but rather society as they pretty much in shock and didn't have much clue what to do.

The students repeatedly asked the cops to stop, and made a video of the incident. I think they did a good job! What else were they supposed to do?
posted by thirteenkiller at 9:03 AM on November 16, 2006


What really disgusts me is that the mob of students didn't bum rush the situation as it was going down. Rent-a-cops torturing a student with a taser in the middle of the library?! Fuck no. Those bystanders should have been all over the guy they were torturing. Wrap your arms around him, make a dogpile.

Standing by while the cops shock him again and again is just too fucked up. Also, the cameraperson was a wuss.


You're asking a bunch of 19 and 20 year olds to transcend a level of bravery that barely exists in society at all in front of a bunch of irrationally behaving cops?
posted by dflemingdotorg at 9:04 AM on November 16, 2006


posted by squirrel What really disgusts me is that the mob of students didn't bum rush the situation as it was going down. Rent-a-cops torturing a student with a taser in the middle of the library?! Fuck no. Those bystanders should have been all over the guy they were torturing. Wrap your arms around him, make a dogpile. Standing by while the cops shock him again and again is just too fucked up. Also, the cameraperson was a wuss.

Yeah, let us know where and when you plan to do that, Ghandi. We'll be right behind you. Mm-hmm, yep.
posted by fandango_matt at 9:04 AM on November 16, 2006


Why would you get more aggressive and hostile as you become more outnumbered?

Perhaps a feeling that you're not doing anything wrong, you're paying to use the damn equipment and you're getting harassed (and he most definitely was by all accounts) 'cause you forgot the damn piece of paper that says it's ok for you to be using the damn equipment your paying to you. Then the call backup for one damn student?! They're stupid and cowards?

Yeah, I can see someone getting pissed in the situation.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:05 AM on November 16, 2006


What's really interesting that is how many students witnessed this and did nothing...

Kitty Genovese had the same complaint.
posted by Alt F4 at 9:06 AM on November 16, 2006


disgusting
posted by tiger yang at 9:08 AM on November 16, 2006


If you start freaking out on police, something bad is going to happen.

Ok, so what is going to happen in a case like this?
posted by dreamsign at 9:10 AM on November 16, 2006


posted by squirrel What really disgusts me is that the mob of students didn't bum rush the situation as it was going down. Rent-a-cops torturing a student with a taser in the middle of the library?! Fuck no.

They are hardly rent a cops.

"Police officers of the UCLA Police Department are duly sworn peace officers under section 830.2(b) of the California Penal Code. The officers of the department are armed and possess the same authority under the law as municipal police officers."
posted by nitsuj at 9:11 AM on November 16, 2006


I think they did a good job! What else were they supposed to do?

I really, really, REALLY want to say "attack the cops". No, it's not productive and would have sparked a huge riot/situation.

But...tasering a someone 'cause they don't have their ID? There's a part of me that would LIKE to see the cops get the shit kicked outta them for pulling this crap. They are there to serve and protect, not taser your ass because you won't stand up.

Again, I'm not saying this would have been the best thing to do. But goddamit, they should NOT have been tasering him.

Sidenote: I never really wanted a camera phone before. Now I want one really badly.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:13 AM on November 16, 2006



Kitty Genovese had the same complaint.


I was thinking of that as I wrote my first post, but there ARE differences. These were, for better or worse, cops and I can see the situation being confusing at first: was there really a threat? are the cops actually preventing a major crime or some such.

Kitty, on the other hand, was just raped and there should be no question about defending her from that.

But the overall passiveness of the crowd was very...interesting.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:17 AM on November 16, 2006


damn! that youtube footage (much longer) is much worse....
posted by cgs at 9:19 AM on November 16, 2006


I think the TASER provides a too easy method for the cops to compel obedience from a subject. I hear story after story of someone getting tasered for what is essentially passive resistance, which seems like it was a factor here.

They were't tasering him to stop him doing something illegal; they were tasering him to get him to do something they wanted him to do. They might as well just have beat him with their nightsticks, or tortured him some other way to get him to comply. Is this now standard procedure for police, to counter nonviolent resistance with painful and potentially life-threatening force?
posted by JAHxman at 9:20 AM on November 16, 2006 [8 favorites]


The fact that the officers in question have not already been fired is going to backfire on the administration as the youtube video continues to circulate. I don't know how you can watch that and not know that the officers were out of line. I don't care if he was muslim, brown, or purple! He was a human being whose only offense was forgetting an ID card and not moving fast enough.

And the taser is part of the problem. Those cops would never have shot a person for not having an ID. Nor would they have beat him with nightsticks for not having an ID. But because they had what they perceived as a free pass, they used it.

Can somebody think of a reason that police officers in uniform should not have their names and badge numbers in large characters on their backs like pro athletes?

But yes, now I want a camera phone. Bigger Brother In My Pocket.
posted by ilsa at 9:22 AM on November 16, 2006 [1 favorite]


What's really interesting that is how many students witnessed this and did nothing except demand badge numbers.

At public universities in the US, there ARE no "rent-a-cops" - they're police officers, with guns. If you bum rush a police officer, they can shoot first and ask questions later.

Saying that, those cops were out of line. It is possible to restrain someone without tasering them.
posted by muddgirl at 9:22 AM on November 16, 2006


Patriot act craziness or simple police overreaction?

Please learn what the Patriot Act is (and isn't). You don't advance your cause by displaying ignorance.
posted by pardonyou? at 9:23 AM on November 16, 2006


Good point, JAHxman. I read similar criticisms when the "Scream" was debuted.
posted by dreamsign at 9:24 AM on November 16, 2006


dreamsign writes "Campus police get TASERS?!"

Why not, many American campus security services carry handguns.

Flashman writes "It's bad enough having these cops walking around 'randomly' asking for people's ID.
"How can even that be happening, in a supposedly free country?"


Private property. You have to police this kind of thing or people off the street will monopolize student resources which isn't fair to those paying to be there. Before we got more aggressive in removing user accounts of former students we had people actually running consulting businesses from our free use labs.
posted by Mitheral at 9:24 AM on November 16, 2006


me, a few minutes ago: Please learn what the Patriot Act is (and isn't). You don't advance your cause by displaying ignorance.

Although, I see now that the individual brought up the Patriot Act as this was happening -- if you were simply parroting his (misguided) comment, my apologies.

Also, to ilsa, police officers, as public employees (and presumably union members), have due process rights before they can be fired. That doesn't necessarily explain why they haven't been suspended pending investigation, though.
posted by pardonyou? at 9:29 AM on November 16, 2006


Saying that, those cops were out of line. It is possible to restrain someone without tasering them.

It is even possible to get someone out of the library without laying a finger on him or her. It is also very likely that the student is "arab-looking" and was singled out, consciously or not, because of this.

If the published (well web published anyway) account is to be believed, the student was taking his time getting to the door, but was indeed heading that way when he was accosted.

No Patriot Act nonsense here, just good old-fashioned new-fangled 21st century racism.
posted by Mister_A at 9:31 AM on November 16, 2006


If the students had rushed the campus security officers then they officers would have called it a riot. They would have got the guns (and I'm wiling to bet they've got them at HQ) and called the swat teams. Then the students would have been killed.

And Fox news and it's apologists here on mefi would have been saying, "well, they shouldn't have rioted, it's their own fault".
posted by nyxxxx at 9:31 AM on November 16, 2006 [1 favorite]


Its fascinating so many people here think its strange how supposedly passive the crowd was. What do we exactly expect these people to do, start tackling cops, beating them over the head with books and furniture over someone who most of them (for the large majority of them, towards the end) weren't entirely sure was in the right? We aren't even sure he's in the right and that's from the comfort of our houses/offices. I mean, the cops IMO were totally over the line with the repeated taserings (even the intial one), but who here would really know exactly what to do and have the guts to do it in the five or so minutes the whole scene unfolded?

Also, as a totally anecdotal aside, this is the third example this week I've seen of cops outrageously overstepping the line. You know, for what its worth
posted by Boydrop at 9:34 AM on November 16, 2006


Does the Patriot Act require libraries (and possibly computer labs) to identify and track internet usage? It's possible this is what the student was referring to.
posted by splatta at 9:41 AM on November 16, 2006


If a cop asks you to leave the building because you don't have proper ID, and you say no (not once, but multiple times) then you deserve to be tasered. I would have tasered him and then tossed him down the front steps of the library whether he was Muslim or a Flying-Spaghetti-Monsterist.
posted by tadellin at 9:41 AM on November 16, 2006


Yeah, the crowd rushing the cops would have been really stupid - it would have escalated things and probably brought about some really tragic consequences, as the police would have justification for using lethal force.

It seems like the crowd did what they could - questioned the cop's actions, asked them to stop, asked them for their ID, and made sure they knew they were being recorded.
posted by JAHxman at 9:42 AM on November 16, 2006


The incident is disgusting. So is the "what do you expect?" reaction here.
posted by maxwelton at 9:43 AM on November 16, 2006


the UCPD has plenty of pain compliance techniques that are available to them.

these techniques are pressure point techniques. if someone goes limp, charge them with resisting and get a few officers to drag them.

if they are holding onto something, use pressure point or come-along compliance, which is perfectly effective. if they have control of their muscles, they can comply after they decide the pain is too much, and the pain can be unapplied.

shit like this is useless for compliance, its meant to neutralize someone who is actively combative and fighting the police. going limp simply doesnt qualify.

anyway, all of this needs to be considered in light of the fact that the student was LEAVING when the officers ran up and grabbed him. they had no reason to do so. again, it is not standard operating procedure for officers to run up and grab people when making an initial contact if no serious crime has been commited. the first thing they are supposed to do is address the subject. if they werent arresting him, they simply had NO REASON to lay hands on him, doing so is BAD policing, and stupid cops like that also put themselves at risk by acting like retarded cowboys.
posted by mano at 9:43 AM on November 16, 2006


Libraries & the USA Patriot Act.

The USA PATRIOT Act and Patron Privacy on Library Internet Terminals.
posted by ericb at 9:46 AM on November 16, 2006


It is also very likely that the student is "arab-looking" and was singled out

From the second link: "The CSO made an announcement that he would be checking for university identification." I took that to mean that the "random" part of the searching meant the time was random but that they were searching everyone there not that they were only searching random people. Although, I suppose I could be wrong.

Don't get me wrong, I'm firmly in the "Tasing was unnecessary" camp. However, I don't have a problem with asking him to leave if he can't produce his student ID. Especially if its a known long-standing policy (meaning there are signs posted and what not). But why tase him if he's already leaving, regardless of how many times he had to be asked?

ON PREVIEW: what mano said as well
posted by srw12 at 9:50 AM on November 16, 2006 [1 favorite]


If a cop asks you to leave the building because you don't have proper ID, and you say no (not once, but multiple times) then you deserve to be tasered.

Damn. So what is a cop justified in doing to you when he pulls you over for a burnt-out headlamp and asks to see your driver's license and you so happened to have forgetten your wallet (with I.D.) upon leaving home earlier?
posted by ericb at 9:51 AM on November 16, 2006


People have often wondered why I carry around a voice recorder with me everywhere. After seeing this, I might be upgrading to a video camera phone soon enough.

What disgusting behavior. But I suppose this is what happens when you give functional retards a badge, gun and taser. Frankly, I think the kid is lucky to be alive. I wouldn't have been surprised if they shot him and claimed he was going for a concealed weapon.
posted by i_am_a_Jedi at 9:53 AM on November 16, 2006 [1 favorite]


I don't understand why 'Muslim' bears on the post. Was the police action somehow connected to the guy's religion? Was there a profiling accusation? I missed that ...
posted by thinkpiece at 9:54 AM on November 16, 2006


Pastabagel, left the thread for a while, but dflemingdotorg answered your question for me.

I've been in this situation before, mostly at organized protests. In these cases, I started to comply with the initial request from the first one or two officers. Then, as more cops start showing up, the situation gets distorted, cops get more aggressive in front of their buddies, and you naturally end up taking a more defensive posture, really out of self-preservation. I would never trust a cop's inclination not to overreact, and would be looking at the quickest out I could find.

I think some people would go limp in those cases, but that's never been my natural response.
posted by psmealey at 9:55 AM on November 16, 2006


I think the TASER provides a too easy method for the cops to compel obedience from a subject. I hear story after story of someone getting tasered for what is essentially passive resistance, which seems like it was a factor here.

What a fucking surprise that cops with cattle prods will use them to herd people like cattle.

AFAICS, non-lethal weapons deployed casually (as they always are, coz, hey, they're non-lethal (within a certain margin of error)) have a strong tendency for to be abused.

It's even easier than turning the firehose on people, because you don't even need to carry the hose or wrench. All your officers are already equipped with nice non-lethal body moving implements.
posted by sonofsamiam at 9:55 AM on November 16, 2006


It doesn't really matter who you're 'with' on this - 3 or more cops can't peaceably escort a lanky computer student out of the labs, no matter how childish he may have been acting? Dear... to me that demonstrates at least two things: An abuse of force, and a lack of training and/or common sense for the cops involved.

On a side note - is that all it takes to make several dozen students at UCLA largely unresponsive to the abuse of one of their colleagues? "what's your badge number", "Shut up or I'll taser you", "okay, sorry sir!" holy shit... that's weak. But then again, if you're face to face with someone who tasers a person without batting an eyelid, i might reserve my rights a more organized affront for later.

It seems to me that the only reason more cops would show up is if they premeditated the decision to use a taser, and anticipated a larger student reaction... (I'm overlooking the possibility that the cops are just completely disorganized and thoughtless buffoons here).

As an aside, if 1 protesting college student needs a group of cops to subdue him, then it's no wonder why the crime rate in america is where it's at. With those ratios, the real criminals practically have free range.
posted by wumpus at 9:56 AM on November 16, 2006


where does it even say he was a muslim?
posted by Dr. Twist at 9:57 AM on November 16, 2006


These were, for better or worse, cops

I think we can safely say "for worse" is the proper choice here.
posted by languagehat at 9:58 AM on November 16, 2006


Funny how this is always a case of

"simple (but horribly stupid) police overreaction"

if it happens in California or New York.


If it happened in the South, I think what happened in this case would be more obvious. Quit pretending. How do you do a random search of people in a library? I would love to see how that procedure is spelled out because I don't think the CSOs in this case had one. As for the students, come on the police have shown themselves to use excessive force. Who would want to be next and have to deal with the legal mess which would ensue?
posted by j-urb at 9:58 AM on November 16, 2006


If a cop asks you to leave the building because you don't have proper ID, and you say no (not once, but multiple times) then you deserve to be tasered. I would have tasered him and then tossed him down the front steps of the library whether he was Muslim or a Flying-Spaghetti-Monsterist.

No, you deserve to be potentially cuffed and removed from the premises, not inflicted physical punishment.

Christ, the fact anyone has this train of thought is scary.
posted by dflemingdotorg at 10:00 AM on November 16, 2006


"The incident is disgusting. So is the "what do you expect?" reaction here." Maxwelton, since I made the "what did he expect" comment, I'll respond to this.

I'm at work and can't watch the video, all I have is the written account (which I quoted in my original comment), my "what did he expect" was an honest question. I know exactly what will happen if I refuse a reasonable request (to show my id when on private and regulated property), I know what to expect if I get loud with an officer.. I honestly wonder what this student thought would happen when he, according to the article, refused to comply with an officer.

You'll also note I stated I was holding my judgement on this until I had more information, not that I agreed with the officer(s). What exactly is your problem with this approach and why do you find it so "disgusting"?

Sorry I didn't jump on the horse and join the lynch mob, but I'm not sure all the objective reports are in yet...
posted by HuronBob at 10:00 AM on November 16, 2006


Does the Patriot Act require libraries (and possibly computer labs) to identify and track internet usage? It's possible this is what the student was referring to.

Well, the Patriot Act's application to library records is a point of controversy, to be sure. But it's a federal law -- University police have no role in enforcement of it (nor, for that matter, do any state or local agencies).
posted by pardonyou? at 10:01 AM on November 16, 2006


Dr. Twist, I may have missed it elsewhere, but the only Muslim reference I've seen is in the poster's headline.
posted by thinkpiece at 10:06 AM on November 16, 2006


I honestly wonder what this student thought would happen when he, according to the article, refused to comply with an officer.

You know, you are not always legally required to comply with just any old thing an officer asks. Without knowing the school's policies, the student could have been well within his rights.
posted by sonofsamiam at 10:06 AM on November 16, 2006


ericb: nothing. my understanding is that you have anywhere from 24 - 48 hours (in most jurisdictions) to produce identification or proof of insurance.
posted by casconed at 10:07 AM on November 16, 2006


Stupid cops, badly trained, use "non-lethal" weapons to torture non-complaint suspect. Tasering is out of control, and needs to be more strictly regulated.
posted by orthogonality at 10:08 AM on November 16, 2006


You Americans. What kind of country are you living in?

I hope that if I'm ever unfortunate enough to witness a scene like this that I'm brave enough to intervene. Those on the scene who asked for badge numbers did the right thing. The guy who recorded the incident did the right thing.
posted by mr. strange at 10:08 AM on November 16, 2006


How do you do a random search of people in a library?

I think the timing was random, but everyone got checked.
posted by thirteenkiller at 10:17 AM on November 16, 2006


Some of you people are not paying attention.

COPS didnt ask him to leave.

"Community service officers" (CSO), which are students hired to be little helper monkeys to the police, asked him to leave. He gave them shit, and was leaving when the real cops busted into the scene.

Immediately, the REAL cops, even though they had no reason to lay hands on him, since he was complying at that point, and they had not even assessed the situation, laid hands on him.

He protested, verbally, and when they did not release him, went limp.

Then he was tased, and this began the whole ordeal, which only got more fucked up.

A. Those of you who think that it was a problem that he was uncooperative, and see "no reason for it", you should know that police are trained to deal with uncooperative suspects.
They are professionals, and public servants, and it is wrong for them to take things personally. They are not allowed to.

The reason for this is not to make cops' lives miserable, its because in situations in which emotions or stakes run high, in situations in which a cop ... *gasp*... may be wrong, people will be PISSED OFF. Anger does not indicate wrong doing, we have the right to be pissed off, upset, indignant, less than cooperative, and we dont sacrifice our rights because of it. Reacting to indignation with force does nothign to resolve the indignation, or help the resolution of the situation.

B. Those of you who think that it is a problem that the student didnt produce ID should know that unless he is being arrested - BY POLICE - he doesnt have to show anyone ID. Even if police detain you, they cant force you to show ID.

Thats why he's not charged with anything other than obstruction, because he did nothing illegal by not showing his ID.

I suspect the CSO's who asked him for ID told the cops a story about this guy who was being a dick to them and not showing ID (not respecting their authorita as not-real-cops), and this got the real cops all riled up, and they showed up to the scene ready to throw down on behalf of their wiener helper monkeys who had been disrespected. They needed to push the guy around to teach him a lesson, and it went from there.

C. All the people trying so hard to see the "cops side" of it, thats you trying to personalize their experience. Thats not a luxury cops (should) get. Police work is a job that should be done professionally as a public service, rather than vindictively and tinged with personal bias. When you look at the justice system, the moment it becomes personal, whether its a cop, a judge, a lawyer, anyone, people are expected to step the fuck back and out of the situation. These cops are not cut out for the job, they took it way too far, and made it personal.
posted by mano at 10:17 AM on November 16, 2006 [13 favorites]


Mitheral,
UCLA is a state-funded institution. I'm not sure what their rules are, but at my state university we are required by law to allow all community members access to our resources. Granted only there are some areas that are password protected, like certain database we pay for, but as a general rule, anybody who walks in off the street is entitled to use our library resources. Of course, you have to be student, faculty, staff, alum or community resident to check books out, but to sit and read stuff on the computer...you don't need nothing.

This was excessive, ridiculous and a clear violation of rational thought.
posted by teleri025 at 10:18 AM on November 16, 2006


On a side note - is that all it takes to make several dozen students at UCLA largely unresponsive to the abuse of one of their colleagues? "what's your badge number", "Shut up or I'll taser you", "okay, sorry sir!" holy shit... that's weak. But then again, if you're face to face with someone who tasers a person without batting an eyelid, i might reserve my rights a more organized affront for later.

Watch the youtube video. I'm actually very proud of the students for standing up for their right to watch and document the incident, to get the badge numbers of the cops, and so on. They didn't just ask once. There's a lot going on.

As the cops were dragging the student out the door (he was limp), they tasered him again. You can see him go rigid, flail, and then go limp. The crowd that was gathered around the scene surges forward, and one (very scared looking) cop is acting as a barricade. Some is saying, "You don't want to do this, you don't want to do this," although I don't know if he was talking to the students or the cops. The drag the student down to the lobby of the library, and you can see that yes, there are a lot of people (who are completely unfamiliar with the situaiton) not doing anything (why should they? all they see is some guy getting tasered). There are also students engaging the cops, over and over. Maybe they're helping, and maybe they're just pissing them off. Who's to say?

To you people who say it's OK to taser him, because he didn't have an ID, and was leaving too slowly. Would it have been ok to pepper spray him? to hit him with a billy club? to pull out a gun and threaten to shoot him? Where do you, personally, draw the line at excessive force?
posted by muddgirl at 10:18 AM on November 16, 2006


nothing. my understanding is that you have anywhere from 24 - 48 hours (in most jurisdictions) to produce identification or proof of insurance.

Exactly. In this case where a student doesn't have his I.D. card on him, it is hard for me to see how using a taser was justified. As has been mentioned, if the officers truly felt threatened, why not ask him to lie down and cuff him? Or, as others have suggested, drag him out of the building?
posted by ericb at 10:20 AM on November 16, 2006


Once again, I must say that Portland Police Bureau has it all over your wimpy California cops and their wimpy tasering.

A couple of years ago, Portland cops shot and killed an unarmed black guy on a traffic stop and then they tasered him for 3 minutes, 19 seconds.
posted by leftcoastbob at 10:26 AM on November 16, 2006 [1 favorite]


Can you see any raging cop erections during the tasering?

It seems to me that police departments tend to put the biggest pricks on the least-important duty.
posted by sonofsamiam at 10:29 AM on November 16, 2006


UCLA is a state-funded institution.

"UCLA is a public institution, which means its Library facilities and collections are accessible to residents of the state of California as well as people from across the country and around the world....Persons not affiliated with the university such as guests, visitors, and members of the general public may enter library facilities to use collections and services" -- UCLA Library User Rights and Responsibilities.

So -- a random person off of the street has access to the library facilities.
posted by ericb at 10:30 AM on November 16, 2006 [1 favorite]


[This is disturbing]
posted by knave at 10:31 AM on November 16, 2006


It takes a big man (and four of his friends!) to taser an unarmed college kid.
posted by StopMakingSense at 10:32 AM on November 16, 2006


"Private property. You have to police this kind of thing or people off the street will monopolize student resources which isn't fair to those paying to be there." (emphasis mine)

Excuse me? What part of "University of California" do you not comprehend? It's a public school. Which I support with my taxes, directly.

That said, sure the school has a right to keep non-students out of the computer lab and library. However, violence was clearly uncalled for in this case.
posted by zoogleplex at 10:35 AM on November 16, 2006


Excellent post, mano.
posted by dobbs at 10:36 AM on November 16, 2006


See, the problem is that when police get out of line, over-react, or mis-react, you have no recourse. None. And if you get one of 'em that has a hard-on for imposing his will on others, you're seriously screwed. He's tasering you and demand you to do something that may be physically impossible? Well you're gonna get tasered again. He's punching you in the face? Don't cover up -- that's Resisting Arrest.

(And the neat thing is you never really know when you're "under arrest" vs. a free man. They don't have to tell you "you're under arrest" or anything and just sorta decide later when they're deciding what charges to press.)

So what's a responsible bystander to do? If you interfere, you may well get yourself shot. At the very least, you'll be charged with Obstructing Justice. Guess you could always call the cops -- haha, just kidding... So I guess all you can do is video the event and hope it gets sorted out later. ...although, oopsie, you can be charged with felony eavesdropping for videotaping police officers. And if they maime or kill the guy? Oh well. There's nothing you could have done without putting your life and liberty at great risk. It truly is best not to get involved. So sorry if the "perp" is your brother, your wife, your son, or your friend -- or even "just" a fellow American.

It's not right. Police are fond of saying that a first-time offender was just caught the first time. Probably true most of the time. Similarly, I'll bet that for every case of police abuse that gets recorded, there are 100 that aren't. And without a video, it's just your word against theirs.

Who watches the watchmen? (YouTube, apparently...)

Haven't watched the vid, as I'm at work, but we mostly certainly did have rent-a-cops (Crowe Security) back when I was in school, 10-15yrs ago; many of 'em were students. We had real cops in the mix as well -- you could tell them by their swaggar. (seriously.)
posted by LordSludge at 10:37 AM on November 16, 2006 [5 favorites]


And just to be clear - your constitutional and other rights are not a magic monster-proof blanket that keep you from coming to harm. If the students at the scene had done anything beyond what is described here (can't watch video now), they would have risked serious injury or death, civil, constitutional, and other rights be damned. They did the right thing - they captured the police officers' identities and documented the incident. Now the legal system will determine which rights were trampled and which laws broken, and mete out justice. One would hope.
posted by Mister_A at 10:37 AM on November 16, 2006


The solution to bullshit like this is to treat a taser shooting exactly the same way the treat a gun shooting.

Automatically put the cop on desk duty and start an investigation. If they had do deal with that everytime they tasered somebody, they wouldn't do it unless they felt they had no other choice.
posted by empath at 10:39 AM on November 16, 2006 [3 favorites]


Obviously the police over-reacted here, but I'm mostly wondering why on earth there are armed police wandering the University campus in the first place? When I was at Uni, there were a couple of security guards on the Main Gate, and in the foyer of some buildings; you certainly never saw them roaming about harrassing folk over forgetting their library card.
posted by jack_mo at 10:39 AM on November 16, 2006


That said, sure the school has a right to keep non-students out of the computer lab and library. However, violence was clearly uncalled for in this case.

User Rights and Responsibilities
"All those who use computers in the libraries are expected to take proper care of the equipment. When accessing library computers and networks, users are expected to comply with the university's Communications Technology Services' Acceptable Use Policy..."
Anyone is permitted to use the library computers, as long as they abide by campus regulations for their use.
posted by ericb at 10:39 AM on November 16, 2006


No one asked the real question : WHAT THE FUCK POLICE DOING IN A CAMPUS?????
posted by zouhair at 10:42 AM on November 16, 2006


Several of the police officers were asked for their names and badge numbers (not once, but multiple times) and refused. I guess someone (one of the bystanders or a fellow officer) should have 'tased' them to make them comply.
posted by gruchall at 10:42 AM on November 16, 2006


The CSOs left, returning minutes later, and police officers arrived to escort the student out. By this time the student had begun to walk toward the door with his backpack when an officer approached him and grabbed his arm, at which point the student told the officer to let him go. A second officer then approached the student as well.

Another thing. I don't think the cops are monsters. They shouldn't be held down and tasered to see what it's like, or anything. The above quote seems to indicate bad training, more than anything else. Either that, or a willful disregard for their job. After the first cop starts it, the other cops will back him up, because they don't know the situation. All they know is that this student is 'resisting an officer'.
posted by muddgirl at 10:43 AM on November 16, 2006


This was an ideal example of effective nonviolence. By just going limp and refusing to get up, he exposed the violence of the officers. By asking it to stop and getting rebuffed, the students further exposed the injustice.

If the students had applied force, it would have become *their* fault, and the police could be believed in saying it was a dangerous situation.

Not all things are best solved by violence. Apparently it isn't just the current ruling class that needs that lesson here.
posted by Bovine Love at 10:47 AM on November 16, 2006 [7 favorites]


on post: thanks ericb.
posted by zoogleplex at 10:47 AM on November 16, 2006


gruchall: Several of the police officers were asked for their names and badge numbers (not once, but multiple times) and refused. I guess someone (one of the bystanders or a fellow officer) should have 'tased' them to make them comply.

Sure -- after all, it's non-lethal. What's the problem??
posted by LordSludge at 10:48 AM on November 16, 2006


"Those bystanders should have been all over the guy they were torturing."

What? Have you ever used yourself as a human shield to protect someone from the police? Do you seriously expect people to physically confront armed LE officers over some guy refusing to show ID. I don't know about UCLA but around here the campus police are sworn officers with arrest powers and real guns - they're not Rent-A-Cops.

They shouldn't have TASERed the guy though. Whatever happened to the good old-fashioned "hit them in the head with your baton several times and then drag them out by their feet" technique?

And what's does the student's religion have to do with it? Oh, that's so we can play the "Racist Redneck Cop" card.
posted by MikeMc at 10:48 AM on November 16, 2006


Yeah, this is really disgusting.

I'm wondering just how often these sort of incidents happen when there's no cameras around.
posted by stinkycheese at 10:49 AM on November 16, 2006


Though I think it is disgusting, I'm sure the investigation will find that the student's struggling justified the tasing. But I can't imagine any defense for the incident where the woman asks for the badge number, and the cop responds by threatening to tase her too.
posted by beniamino at 10:49 AM on November 16, 2006


Whether or not he is a Muslim, he certainly has a Muslim name. Think about it for a moment, if you were a student with a muslim name, wouldn't you think twice about whether it was a good idea to carry your ID around?

Suppose you got stopped by some super patriot cop-- you might reasonably fear almost anything once certain people in authority in this country right now have their hands on you and think you're a Muslim, from beating and baseless detention right on up to and including extraordinary rendition, if your name happens to resemble one on certain lists.

According to one of the articles, he wasn't shot with the Taser, they used it in "drive stun" mode, which means they were using it like a cattle prod, and I'm sure it felt like one. I would be very interested to see any legitimate justfication of using a cattle prod on a person under restraint. It looks to me as if they were, in fact, torturing him out of sadistic anger.
posted by jamjam at 10:53 AM on November 16, 2006


That is absolutely horrible.

Two thoughts come to mind: first involves the nastiness of the police mentality. They show no concern whatsoever for the humanity of their arrestee. Or for the people they are hired to protect. As far as I can tell, they want obedience, plain and simple, from this guy. There were a sufficient number of cops simply to cuff and carry him from the building, but they insisted on tasering him multiple times for the bare act of non-compliance with their demands. Disgusting.

Second: although this sort of thing is terrifying, it's also amazing that we live in a time when any schmuck with a camera phone can record and publicize these events instantaneously. If the issue of police militarization and brutality ever comes up for serious public debate, it will be thanks to these sorts of technologies that the conversation will be an informed one.
posted by felix betachat at 10:53 AM on November 16, 2006 [1 favorite]


why on earth there are armed police wandering the University campus in the first place?

They are supposed to be sensitive to the types of issues that are common on campus. It is pretty common, although I've heard of some motions to eliminate them at some universities in Canada. Wiki has a page on University police:
As a result of the domestic violence and mass civil disturbances found across the nation in the 1960s and early 1970s, campus security often proved ineffective against riots and other violent civil demonstrations. This occasionally resulted in injury to both the students and the officers. These campus security officers were often either poorly or untrained, ineffectively led and generally unprepared to effectively respond to these turbulent and unanticipated events. Creation of university/campus police departments began at this time across the nation. Statutory laws were passed and necessary regulations were enacted to provide these officers with the necessary statutory authority to perform their expanded roles. Campus security officers were required to meet higher training and educational standards. Further training was given to officers to deal with campus-specific issues (including non-violent crisis management and riot training).
Emphasis mine, of course..
posted by Chuckles at 10:56 AM on November 16, 2006


I hope he sues the crap out of them. Those cops were torturing the poor guy.
posted by bshort at 10:56 AM on November 16, 2006


if you were a student with a muslim name, wouldn't you think twice about whether it was a good idea to carry your ID around?

No? I'm a student with a Muslim name but I don't worry about the fact that I'm Muslim when deciding what credentials to grab on my way out… your religion doesn't tend to bear on your decision-making process in that way.

But then I'm in Boston.
posted by Firas at 10:57 AM on November 16, 2006


Nothing but nothing justifies the behavior of these thugs with badges. This student's only crime was being brown in the wrong place. These sadistic motherfuckers had made their minds up to kick his ass before he "resisted".

"Get up or we taze you again?" There were half a dozen of them! You're telling me the "suspect" couldn't have been carried? And their refusal to make with the badge numbers! Unbelieveable!

I used to regard the camera phone as a pointless toy. Now I'm thinking I ought to get one.
posted by EatTheWeak at 11:08 AM on November 16, 2006


The OP seems to be drawing a connection between the victim being a Muslim, the Patriot Act, and the behavior of the cops. Do we now automatically assume that the guy's religion has something to do with how the cops overreacted, and that they were hyped about terrorism? As far as I can tell, that is an inference on the OP's part, and is unnecessarily inflammatory.
posted by thinkpiece at 11:09 AM on November 16, 2006


I suspec that the student's appearance played a large part in this unhappy drama, thinkpiece.

The Patriot Act reference is a red herring though.
posted by Mister_A at 11:12 AM on November 16, 2006


*suspect
posted by Mister_A at 11:12 AM on November 16, 2006


bshort: I hope he sues the crap out of them. Those cops were torturing the poor guy.

The lousy thing is that if he sues and wins, say, a punitive $10 million judgement, it will come from either University funds, to be paid with student tuition, or from public funds, to be paid by taxpayers. Hurray.

If it was me, I'd want the cop, himself, to stand criminal trial, with a full investigation of training techniques, possible charges of his superiors, etc.

Furthermore, I think any crime committed in the guise of a govt authority should automatically TRIPLE the normal penalty. It's much, much worse when those in positions of authority betray that trust, because you have no recourse, no one to call for help. In addition, they have the whole good-ole-boy system to help cover for them, so they're less likely to be prosecuted or convicted in the first place without ironclad (video) proof -- and even THAT isn't enough in many cases.
posted by LordSludge at 11:12 AM on November 16, 2006 [3 favorites]


is anyone else getting a Kent State vibe from this? it's not as severe, but there was an eerie similarity brewing in my mind when i watched the tape. those posting that the students should have rushed the cops are way off.
posted by ambulance blues at 11:14 AM on November 16, 2006


Fuck tha police
Comin straight from the underground
Young nigga got it bad cuz I'm brown
And not the other color so police think
They have the authority to kill a minority

Fuck that shit, cuz I ain't tha one
For a punk muthafucka with a badge and a gun
To be beatin on, and throwin in jail
We could go toe to toe in the middle of a cell

Fuckin with me cuz I'm a teenager
With a little bit of gold and a pager
Searchin my car, lookin for the product
Thinkin every nigga is sellin narcotics

You'd rather see me in the pen
Then me and Lorenzo rollin in the Benzo
Beat tha police outta shape
And when I'm finished, bring the yellow tape
To tape off the scene of the slaughter
Still can't swallow bread and water

I don't know if they fags or what
Search a nigga down and grabbin his nuts
And on the other hand, without a gun they can't get none
But don't let it be a black and a white one
Cuz they slam ya down to the street top
Black police showin out for the white cop

Ice Cube will swarm
On any muthafucka in a blue uniform
Just cuz I'm from the CPT, punk police are afraid of me
A young nigga on a warpath
And when I'm finished, it's gonna be a bloodbath
Of cops, dyin in LA
Yo Dre, I got somethin to say

Fuck the police
posted by afx114 at 11:15 AM on November 16, 2006


The above quote seems to indicate bad training, more than anything else.

Not really. I mean sure, the official training tells them not to pull this kind of shit, but.. Somebody up thread had it, they are teaching him a lesson.

So ya, I guess it is bad training, in the objective and non-ironic sense. It really depends on what you think police are for, and how you think interactions between police and regular fold should go. It is great training, for example, if you want to make citizens act like sheep.

After the first cop starts it, the other cops will back him up, because they don't know the situation. All they know is that this student is 'resisting an officer'.

Because if one were to intervene to calm the situation, that would be an admission that your fellow officer messed up. Any escalation in the conflict was the fault of the perp, after all.

Teach the lesson: respect authority! What else is education for?
posted by Chuckles at 11:15 AM on November 16, 2006


as the OP, i admit the title is too heavy handed... i was going to include this link from The American Muslim but chose not to since it doesn't have any new information. Just that the Southern California office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations is calling for a probe on the incident.

i apologize for unnecessary inflammation. but then i'm also one of the disgusting cop apologists in this thread.
posted by cgs at 11:18 AM on November 16, 2006


ericb writes "a random person off of the street has access to the library facilities."

Which results in the questions: Why were they asking for ID and Why were they evicting people without.

zoogleplex writes "What part of 'University of California' do you not comprehend? It's a public school. Which I support with my taxes, directly."

Lots of places are owned by the people without giving the people access. You can't just wonder into the Whitehouse any time you feel like it. Also most public elementary and high schools control who can use their facilities. I see from ericb's posting that the general public does have access to library facilities in the University of California system but that doesn't immediately follow from the name. It sure isn't the case at my publicly funded institution. Even in the UC system I'd bet there are facilities and labs that aren't open to the public.
posted by Mitheral at 11:25 AM on November 16, 2006


Which results in the questions: Why were they asking for ID and Why were they evicting people without.

Since the incident took place at 11:30 p.m., it's conceivable that the university may have a policy for student/faculty-only access to the library "after-hours."
posted by ericb at 11:32 AM on November 16, 2006


This just occurred to me: for all those who are saying that the fact that this guy is a Muslim is irrelevant, imagine an alternative situation: a blond, sorority girl type gets agitated when a security guard threatens to eject her from the building for not having ID. There are so many ways this situation would be resolved prior to the tasers coming out that it boggles the mind.

I wouldn't say that the guy was necessarily tased because he's a Muslim. But it seems fair enough to say that if he hadn't been Muslim, all parties would have made a much more concerted effort to defuse the situation before it got ugly.

The coercive power of the state depends on a presupposition of illegitimacy to operate effectively. Today, Muslims labor under that assumption, even if it only becomes evident in extraordinary situations like this one.
posted by felix betachat at 11:35 AM on November 16, 2006 [1 favorite]


Effective policing does not mean abusive policing. Effective policing does not ignore the constitutional rights and the civil liberties that police officers are sworn to uphold. On the Ninth Street side of the Justice Department building, inscribed across the top, are the words describing the law that we live under. "The common law is derived from the will of mankind, issuing from the life of the people, framed through mutual confidence, sanctioned by the light of reason." For police officers to be effective, their enforcement of the law must be framed in mutual confidence between the people served and the people who serve them. Every American must respect the law, but the law must respect every American.
--Attorney General Janet Reno speaking to the National Press Club, 4/15/99

I didn't realize how easy gold teeth can be removed
--Richmond County, GA sheriff's deputy Jason Izquierdo on MySpace
posted by TedW at 11:36 AM on November 16, 2006


Do we now automatically assume that the guy's religion has something to do with how the cops overreacted,

I've read that disingenuous observation three or four times in this thread. Obviously they couldn't see the guys religion, obviously it is the fact that he was brown. Are you seriously suggesting that his skin colour had nothing to do with what happened? What happened was all about race, sex, and age.
posted by Chuckles at 11:37 AM on November 16, 2006


I hate this country.
posted by blacklite at 11:38 AM on November 16, 2006


"Do we now automatically assume that the guy's religion has something to do with how the cops overreacted, and that they were hyped about terrorism?"

Hm. Well, let's make a substitution and see what happens. UCLA has a very large Asian-American and Asian population, with students from pretty much everywhere in eastern Asia, including, for the sake of argument, Koreans.

If this kid had been Korean, and the cops had assumed he was a North Korean just from looking at him, and had acted the same way, would that have been justified? I mean, y'know, Axis of Evil and all that?

There's no shortage of students of Iranian descent at UCLA either. How about one of them?

Are Koreans and Iranians included in the pool of potential terrorists? Or is it just people who look stereotypically Muslim and have Muslim names?

I'm going overboard here, but the point is that this treatment shouldn't be applied to anyone of any culture, ethnicity or nationality who simply fails to produce an ID in a public university library. If they did it to some blonde kid from Orange County the reaction should be exactly the same.

The appearance that they don't seem to do this to Koreans and blonde kids from the OC should be examined, yes? I'm betting you folks who think (not without some realistic justification, I'll grant) "what did he expect would happen" might react just a little differently if it was some blonde kid from OC.

This police behavior is inexcusable no matter what color the student is and should be condemned on its face, but then you ask if the cops responded inappropriately to him because of their anti-terrorist training or mindset and perception of his ethnicity and/or religion, and add to their condemnation accordingly.

Argh... reading this back I'm not sure i'm communicating effectively, but I'm rushing cuz I'm busy at work... sigh.
posted by zoogleplex at 11:39 AM on November 16, 2006


HuronBob, I wasn't really calling you out specifically, apologies about that. I was calling out the fact that there seems to be a fairly significant chunk of the population that venerates police and desires and demands unwitting obedience to any and all authority.
posted by maxwelton at 11:47 AM on November 16, 2006


Okay -- you really do have to watch the longer YouTube video -- unbelievable and chilling. How is it at all justified?
posted by ericb at 11:50 AM on November 16, 2006


I'm not being disingenuous, ok, Chuckles? I think it's a bit premature to trot out the Muslim-Patriot Act connection, and I think it was done to cast this mess in a certain light and draw a certain response. The acts of violence and abuse of power I witnessed on the video were abhorrent enough -- and I have no doubt his skin color was a factor. I just can't leap to the conclusion that the cops assumed the guys was a Muslim, and therefore, a terrorist threat.
posted by thinkpiece at 11:51 AM on November 16, 2006


O - B - E - Y and maybe, just maybe, you can keep the cattleprods out of your ass.
posted by EatTheWeak at 11:51 AM on November 16, 2006 [1 favorite]


BTW -- in that YouTube video you can see other students who are using their cameraphones ... so, I suspect we'll see further documentation. I wouldn't be surprised if some students hold a protest rally this evening, as a result of this incident.
posted by ericb at 11:52 AM on November 16, 2006


I just can't leap to the conclusion that the cops assumed the guys was a Muslim, and therefore, a terrorist threat.

Nope. All you have to conclude is that, being Muslim, the cops didn't feel obliged to handle the situation the way they would with, say, a huffy blond chick with a ponytail. It's called "prejudice" for a reason. Certain factors are "pre-judged" and certain responses that would otherwise be off limits become possible, even necessary.
posted by felix betachat at 11:54 AM on November 16, 2006 [1 favorite]


whatever guys, there's a sign on the door that clearly says "Bring your student ID, or your ass will be tased four times, even if you're trying to leave - especially if you're brown."
posted by wumpus at 11:57 AM on November 16, 2006


good call felix batachat; i would've enjoyed this video a lot more if some yuppie, yoga-outfit wearing bubblegum chewing blonde were getting her ass tased.
oh my god, a new fetish! sweet.
posted by wumpus at 11:59 AM on November 16, 2006


UCLA community responds to Taser use in Powell.
posted by ericb at 12:00 PM on November 16, 2006


"UCPD Assistant Chief of Police Jeff Young said the checks are a standard procedure in the library after 11 p.m.

"Because of the safety of the students we limit the use after 11 to just students, staff and faculty," Young said."
posted by ericb at 12:01 PM on November 16, 2006


The reason the Patriot act has been brought up is because, in the video, you can hear somebody (the tased student?) yelling "Here's your patriot act!"
posted by sonofsamiam at 12:01 PM on November 16, 2006


That video is really, really disturbing. Watch it before you make any more comments.
posted by zoogleplex at 12:02 PM on November 16, 2006


"A six-minute video showed Tabatabainejad audibly screaming in pain as he was stunned several times with a Taser, each time for three to five seconds....But according to a study published in the Lancet Medical Journal in 2001, a charge of three to five seconds can result in immobilization for five to 15 minutes, which would mean that Tabatabainejad could have been physically unable to stand when the officers demanded that he do so."
posted by ericb at 12:04 PM on November 16, 2006


Yes, the video clearly shows that he was tased, not just multiple times, but multiple times separated by many seconds, as he was taken from room to room, he was tased repeatedly.
posted by sonofsamiam at 12:04 PM on November 16, 2006


As has been amply said, this is outrageous. Cops get a lot of leeway in my book, they do a rough job for shit pay and deal with everybody's worst moments.

This is way, way past the line. Telling the guy he has to show ID or get out? Fine. Grabbing him and trying to push him out? Assholish but pretty common. The kid was being a dick, the cops weren't patient enough. Even the first tasering, I could almost justify. You have to give the guy on the line in the situation the benefit of the doubt, he may have thought that, outnumbered by students, getting the kid under control was his first priority to avoid a riot. I'm not saying he was right or that there shouldn't be consequences for misjudging and overreacting like that, but I can at least understand the situation.

Tasering the guy, repeatedly, while he's cuffed and limp? No. That's never, not ever, not once acceptable. That's torture.
posted by Skorgu at 12:08 PM on November 16, 2006


UCLA Bruins Student Blog: Eyewitness Accounts.
posted by ericb at 12:13 PM on November 16, 2006


This is not new to the UC system.
posted by spiderskull at 12:13 PM on November 16, 2006


He was tased because he didn't stand up and walk. It doesn't matter whether he was "going limp" to resist the cops or was physically incapacitated. With that many cops there, they could have just picked him up and carried him out. That still wouldn't have been good, but it's better than tasering him.

I'd guess that if there hadn't been tasers available, they would have just picked him up.

Also, you can see that he's already handcuffed when they tase him the second time. Tasering a person who's already under restraint and not resisting violently is pretty sadistic.
posted by zoogleplex at 12:16 PM on November 16, 2006


No one asked the real question : WHAT THE FUCK POLICE DOING IN A CAMPUS?????

THEY'RE CAMPUS POLICE

Every big school has its own police. They're often rather useful. Sometimes there are real crimes!
posted by thirteenkiller at 12:17 PM on November 16, 2006


It sure isn't the case at my publicly funded institution.

I think you're probably wrong.. The key being that it is a library system. For UofT it is hard to find an explicit statement, but I finally did come up with something - Who can use U of T libraries..
Who can use U of T libraries?
(Information for non- U of T students, faculty, researchers,etc.)


Material in almost all U of T libraries may be used by non-U of T visitors, but only U of T card holders, faculty and graduate students from other Ontario universities, and those who have purchased alumni or research reader cards may borrow material.

Important for Robarts Library Users

While anyone may use Robarts material in the building, only those with U of T library cards have access to the Book Stacks (where most of the books and journals are kept).

Visitors to Robarts may request material from the Book Stacks by presenting titles and Robarts call numbers for items to the Information wicket at the Loans Services desk on the first floor of Robarts.

During fall and winter terms (after Thanksgiving until mid-May), the stack retrieval service operates

* Monday - Friday at 11:00 am, 3:00 pm and 6:30 pm
* Saturday at 11:00 am and 3:00 pm.
* Sunday at 3:00 pm.

During summer session (mid-May to Thanksgiving), there is no Friday evening retrieval.

Requests take between 30-60 minutes to be delivered. As these hours may change without notice, please call 978-8450 (x0) for confirmation before coming to campus.
posted by Chuckles at 12:26 PM on November 16, 2006


That blockquote should have been trimmed a bit.. Sorry!
posted by Chuckles at 12:27 PM on November 16, 2006


"Patriot act craziness or simple police overreaction"

Generally I call bullshit on stories of police brutality, but I'm gonna go with "severe overreaction." These guys went way overboard.
In the beginning of the video, you hear him screaming "DON'T TOUCH ME!" At that point, they should have simply said "Ok, you're coming with us" and cuffed the guy and taken him outside. I do not think the taser was necessary at all. This whole situation could have been resolved without tasering the guy.

These turkeys should have also initiated an EMS response the second they learned this guy had some sort of a medical condition. (We still don't know what the condition was.. do we?)

It's too bad. Most cops I know are cool people. It just takes a couple hotheads to give all of them a negative image.
posted by drstein at 12:27 PM on November 16, 2006


After viewing the video, instinctively I would have beaten the shit out of the cops for abusing their power, ideally with the help of the nearby college students ; but it seems that fear of authority and fear of tasering or worse stopped most of them (at least from what I can gather from the video) but at least they took some video.

Also, that wouldn't solve the problem of cops turning criminal abusers, expecially if the system protects them because "they are fighting terrah ! " or some other bullshit excuse.

it's the sense of impunity , the propension to use violence just because it is more convenient, the consideration of the person as subhuman that can be tortured. I wouldn't make an example of them, I would make an example of the people who enabled them, "trained" them and allowed them to exercise the power the way they did.
posted by elpapacito at 12:27 PM on November 16, 2006


For those screaming "its a public funded university, the public have the right to use the facilities". I work at a state funded university where some of the funding comes from the public (taxes). But not ALL the funding comes from taxes.

All the computer labs on our campus are funded from student fees, so our policy is that you have to be a student (or faculty) to use those computer labs. If UCLA has a similar setup and policy on that campus then they have every right to ask for student IDs. And if you cannot prove your identity as a rightful user, to then eject the offender.

That said, this is a bad situation that got way out of hand, and I deplore the use of tasers in this manner.
posted by JigSawMan at 12:28 PM on November 16, 2006


Every big school has its own police.

No, many countries get along fine without them.

Sometimes there are real crimes!

And history suggests that at UC at least, the police are often used against the students, rather than to protect them.
posted by beniamino at 12:29 PM on November 16, 2006


Okay -- you really do have to watch the longer YouTube video -- unbelievable and chilling.

Okay, I did. Man, I hate cops. Don't tell me about "a rough job for shit pay"—sanitation workers do a rough job for shit pay and somehow they manage not to throw people to the ground and beat the shit out of them because they don't like their looks or the guy didn't do exactly what they wanted.

imagine an alternative situation: a blond, sorority girl type gets agitated when a security guard threatens to eject her from the building for not having ID

Exactly. If you think there's even the slightest chance such a girl would get tased, or even treated roughly, you're out of your mind. It would be "Excuse me, ma'am, I hate to do this, but we're required to ask you to..." Dark-skinned guy with a bad attitude? Fuck him up fast and furious, teach him a lesson, maybe the next time he'll know the Code.

And think about this: these cops felt free to do this in front of a crowd of college students with camera phones and (presumably) access to media and authorities. How do you think they behave when they've got somebody alone on a dark road in the middle of nowhere?

Fuck the police.
posted by languagehat at 12:35 PM on November 16, 2006 [1 favorite]


Also on a tangent: how can I convince two cops that using violence is NOT always ok, if their country still kill people after a trial ? If judges that notoriously are "liberal elite" can do that, why can't Joe Schmuck the rent a cop ?
posted by elpapacito at 12:35 PM on November 16, 2006


The thing to do in that situation is to call 911 and report an assault on a student by people who are impersonating police officers.
posted by hindmost at 12:38 PM on November 16, 2006 [2 favorites]


Man! Stinkin' badge-bearing wannabe alpha-dog enforcers! Sorry, I've gots much disdain for cops these days, due to some recent events. And it truly is such a rare event when one of them is calm and collected and professional while executing their duty. Most times, the first one to show up is fine, and then some knucklehead Farva-type shows up in his new Camaro, strolls up while hitching up his belt, and wants some action:

Cop [pointing finger]: "You're inebriated."
Me: "I'm on my property, having a beer. I'm not inebriated."
Cop: "Hey! Calm down!"
Me: "Um, I'm not upset."
Cop: "You're obviously inebriated! Because you're getting upset. Calm down."
Me: "I'm not angry. But if I'm going to get upset it's because you keep saying 'inebriated' when it is more accurately called 'having a beer and grilling meat in my driveway' (albeit, at 2am)."
Cop: "If you want to turn this into a situation, fine. You're obviously inebriated..."

Cops bluff all the time. They try to make you question your own motives and legal status and hope that you somehow implicate yourself or lose control of your mouth and if they can't actually pin something on you, then well, you're "obstructing" something. In this situation these campus cops had their cards showing with everybody standing around, but instead of folding, they kept pushing in. And truly, it would have been foolish for the other students to bite - the best reaction was to let the cops do all the wrong things. This guys ass can now be made into a Guevara-esque poster for the masses to rally behind.

With that said... let's just sprinkle this guy with crack and move on.
posted by krippledkonscious at 12:41 PM on November 16, 2006 [1 favorite]


elpapacito, witnesses in crowds too frequently forget that the power resides with them. I'm actually a bit angry at the students for just standing around while this happened. Sure, you hear people yelling for it to stop and you see some students confronting the officers afterwards, but there's a ton of students just standing there watching.

What would it take to arouse a sense of defiance and power among students today?
posted by NationalKato at 12:41 PM on November 16, 2006


I'm going to say it for the millionth time. The police are not your friends. They do not care about you. They will not protect you. A police officer's only concerns are a) himself b) his buddies and c) his overtime pay. The day that they cut the "thin blue line" mentality and start going after their corrupt and power-abusing bretheren is the day that I will respect the police.

I'm not holding my breath.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 12:42 PM on November 16, 2006


after seeing video of an actual tasing of an individual, when i read this i was completely horrified. seeing the affect of a tase on a person is incredibly distressing and gut wrenching. it is so very hard to watch, and to imagine such a thing happening on campus, in a library is so .... horrible, for lack of a better word.

tasing is so incredibly cruel. very, very cruel.

no one deserves it. shoot them in the leg.
posted by virga at 12:48 PM on November 16, 2006


felix betachat writes "I wouldn't say that the guy was necessarily tased because he's a Muslim. But it seems fair enough to say that if he hadn't been Muslim, all parties would have made a much more concerted effort to defuse the situation before it got ugly."

How do you tell someone is muslim by looking at them? It's not like he was wearing a burka or something.
posted by Mitheral at 12:50 PM on November 16, 2006


but there's a ton of students just standing there watching.

You're in a computer lab, working on your thesis. You hear a guy shouting at the top of his lungs. You see a bunch of people get up to see what's going on. You hear cops telling him to get up, you see the guy (apparantly) resisting arrest, you see them taser him. Why in fuck's name would you attempt to fuck with the police in this situation? Not all cops are assholes, just like not all students are knee-jerk cop-haters.
posted by muddgirl at 12:53 PM on November 16, 2006


after seeing video of an actual tasing of an individual, when i read this i was completely horrified.

I saw a guy get tased on Cops once. He was either having a psychotic episode or was completely high on something aggressive, and was half-naked in the middle of the street, punching guys, completely impossible to contain. Even with that being the case, when he actually got hit with the shock, that was some of the most real TV I've ever seen. Really disturbing to watch, even after seeing fake violence on TV my whole life.
posted by rxrfrx at 12:55 PM on November 16, 2006


The UCPD statement (probably subject to ongoing edits) is an interesting read.

The issue of access to the computer lab, as already cleared up by ericb, is addressed:
At approximately 11 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 14, a community service officer (CSO) employed by
the library was performing a nightly, routine check to insure that all patrons using the library
after 11 p.m. are authorized. This is a longstanding library policy to ensure the safety of students
during the late night hours.
Since it was a communicty safety officer doing the checking, it seems like it probably is as routine as they say.

Just to be clear, he wasn't shot!
In this incident, the student was not shot with a Taser; rather officers used the "drive stun" capability.
Better keep that language of obfuscation straight.
posted by Chuckles at 12:57 PM on November 16, 2006


I order to reduce the amount of semantics that seem to be bandied about, why don't we agree that what the cops *think* his religion is matters. So, if he met what they consider is "muslim looking", he may be treated differently.

I don't know if he did look that way, or how well informed they were (the amount of sikh's that get abused because people think they are muslim is amazing), but if he gave his name, one has to think it might change their outlook.
posted by Bovine Love at 12:58 PM on November 16, 2006


How do you tell someone is muslim by looking at them?

You can't really see the guy in the video, but I'm assuming, based on his last name, that he looked non-white. Arab, Persian, Pakistani, etc. Not knowing which, I used "Muslim" as a catchall term, since it seemed a little more appropriate to the situation than "non-white", which could encompass any number of ethnicities.

Sure, in theory, my hypothetical trixie could be Muslim too, but to insist on that distinction strikes me as needless hair-splitting that would obscure what is, to my mind, a central factor in this incident.
posted by felix betachat at 12:58 PM on November 16, 2006


that was some of the most real TV I've ever seen.

exactly. i can't imagine that to be inflicted on anyone.
posted by virga at 12:59 PM on November 16, 2006


Having gotten to know a blond sorority girl type or two in my time I can tell you that cops are nowhere near as nice to them as some of you imagine. There is ugliness to go around.
posted by furiousthought at 1:00 PM on November 16, 2006


Note to cops and security people, if we ask for your name and badge number, just swallow your pride and give them to us. We have the right to ask, and you don't have the right to refuse.

Note to citizens -- you do not have the right to interrupt a police procedure while it is in progress. Cops don't have to stop arresting the bad guy to answer your questions.
posted by frogan at 1:01 PM on November 16, 2006


From the report, "A Taser is used to incapacitate subjects who are resistant by discharging an electronic current into the subject in one of two methods"

So the best way to get someone to leave is to incapacitate them by repeatedly tasing them? Am I the only one who sees a logistical problem?
posted by muddgirl at 1:02 PM on November 16, 2006


the only thing that scares me more than what these cops did is all the stupid comments in this thread which attrmpt to defend and justify their actions. what the HELL?
posted by StrasbourgSecaucus at 1:03 PM on November 16, 2006


Felix - the kid's name is given near top of thread: Tabatabainejad
Sounds Persian/Iranian to me.
posted by Mister_A at 1:04 PM on November 16, 2006


frogan, please troll elsewhere.
posted by felix betachat at 1:06 PM on November 16, 2006


Sounds Persian/Iranian to me.

My bad. I should have double checked and been more precise with my language.
posted by felix betachat at 1:08 PM on November 16, 2006


He was either having a psychotic episode or was completely high on something aggressive, and was half-naked in the middle of the street, punching guys, completely impossible to contain.

IMO, about the ONLY reason to tase someone is if they are on PCP, or as we call it 'round here, "wet". NOT meth, NOT crack, if the guy is wet and freaking out, you need to do something.

In any other case, tasers are way overboard, and they are particularly easy to abuse.
posted by sonofsamiam at 1:09 PM on November 16, 2006


"the only thing that scares me more than what these cops did is all the stupid comments in this thread which attrmpt to defend and justify their actions. what the HELL?"

Welcome to the America forged by the current Administration's exploitation of 9/11. Make sure you have ID on you at all times.
posted by zoogleplex at 1:09 PM on November 16, 2006


and there is no fucking way you can "STAND UP" after being tased, much less tased MULTIPLE times.
posted by virga at 1:10 PM on November 16, 2006


Cops don't have to stop arresting the bad guy to answer your questions.

What if, instead of arresting a bad guy, they are torturing an incapacitated kid for fun? Is it ok to interrupt them then, or do I still have to raise my hand?
posted by sonofsamiam at 1:10 PM on November 16, 2006


From the report

"As the officers attempted to escort him out, he went limp and continued to refuse to cooperate with officers or leave the building"

Between the victim's agonized screams, he repeatedly insisted that leaving the building was his intention. Not that these state-sanctioned criminals had any real reason to expel him aside from his skin color and the unfortunate absense of ID. It looks like the lad realized just a few moments too late that he was in danger, and delayed just a moment too long in getting out of Dodge.

Thank god someone shot video of what really happened before these sons of bitches could cram their crimes down the memory hole! Every last one of them deserves to be stripped of rank and thrown in jail.
posted by EatTheWeak at 1:11 PM on November 16, 2006


Protest at UCLA Tomorrow (Friday) - source.
posted by ericb at 1:15 PM on November 16, 2006


What would it take to arouse a sense of defiance and power among students today?

A good question worth repeating and some answers. I would start from the basis, for instance take muddgirl answer :

Why in fuck's name would you attempt to fuck with the police in this situation?

It seems to me that not for a second does muddgirl identify with the "victim" , do you muddgirl ? The attention seems to be on not getting into trouble with police, not interfering with their work, the fact the guy is getting tasered is just part of the context, we are probably _glad_ we are not him.

Now I don't think that muddgirl sympathized with the abuse, not at all. Yet I doubt she would have done anything more then the others, standing still pondering what to do next, while imho the clear answer was to yell to the officier to stop abusing him, just handcuff the poor bastard !

Maybe the cause of this is that people live togheter, but they feel alone, they don't feel like there are very strong commonalities among people...it seems like life is being lived as a sequence of "what's next? " and "will be next be good for me and me and me ? "

So to answer your question partially, nationalkato, to elicit defiance one should, in this particular case, first elicit identification with others..which seems to be missing.
posted by elpapacito at 1:17 PM on November 16, 2006 [1 favorite]


"Sounds Persian/Iranian to me."

Which makes it worse, since he's probably not a Muslim if he's Iranian and living in LA. There is a large Iranian community in Los Angeles, a lot of whom are non-Muslims who escaped the Khomeini regime.

So then the cops tasered a brown-skinned guy who they probably assumed was Muslim. Great.

The kid is quite probably a native-born American citizen, judging by what I can hear of his voice in the video.
posted by zoogleplex at 1:21 PM on November 16, 2006


Cop pulls me over, says I was speeding, I protest, he insists. It gets a little hairy, both getting angry. He smacked me in the mouth with his left hand, his right resting lightly on his gun. All the fucking anger evaporated, so I agreed. He was nice as pie and just gave me ticket. Walked around the passenger side and told squirrel to wind his window down. He then smacked him straight in the jaw. Squirrel asked what was the punch for, the cop said "So that 30 yards down the road you don't start mouthing off about should've and would've." True story.*

*[May not be a true story.]
posted by econous at 1:21 PM on November 16, 2006 [1 favorite]


A cop tasered people at a Two Gallants show a few weeks ago after rushing the stage:

1.
2. and 3.

Very upsetting.
posted by yeti at 1:21 PM on November 16, 2006


And history suggests that at UC at least, the police are often used against the students, rather than to protect them.

UCLA crime statistics

People don't make FPPs when a UCLA cop arrests a rapist or stops a drunk driver.
posted by thirteenkiller at 1:21 PM on November 16, 2006


I'm not adding anything to the discussion, but am simply dropping in to say I fucking hate police.

The most ridiculous part about this is that this sort of thing happens on a daily basis in ghettos all over America. It's only when the cops somehow become brazen enough to mess with richer people that we get to have a light shone on these fucking cockroaches.
posted by dead_ at 1:22 PM on November 16, 2006


As a form of non-violent protest I'd suggest that all patrons of UCLA's Powell Library refuse to show their ID's to the student Community Service Officers for the following week.

BTW -- refusing to stand when asked by a police officer (whether or not you've been incapacitated by a taser) represents a form of non-violent disobedience. We've all witnessed on television plenty of anti-war, ACT-UP and other protests showing police dragging and/or carrying people away -- without having to resort to clubbing, gassing or tasering.
posted by ericb at 1:24 PM on November 16, 2006 [1 favorite]


Why are Americans so violent?
posted by Mister Bijou at 1:25 PM on November 16, 2006


NationalKato: I'm actually a bit angry at the students for just standing around while this happened. Sure, you hear people yelling for it to stop and you see some students confronting the officers afterwards, but there's a ton of students just standing there watching.

NO! Wrong answer. Please see my previous post. If cops are doing wrong, there is nothing you can do but document it.

Look, my first inclination would be to disarm and restrain the cop doing the tasing too. But, assuming I was successful, backup would have been called and I would have either been tased myself and arrested (and probably convicted) or shot.

I've broken up a bar fight, in another town, between total strangers. One guy had knocked the other down and was kicking him in the head. Everybody was just standing around watching, but I couldn't just let him kill the guy. I restrained the kicker, whereupon the kickee jumped up and got a few punches in before, several seconds later, a few others restrained him (the slack fucks!). It was the right thing to do, and I trust you would do the same.

But with cops, your hands are tied. The system must change. Like so many other things, I believe the internet will help make this happen by shedding light on more and more abuses, making their denials more and more implausible. Maybe we can make 'em wear headmounted cameras. (the comments suggest you can get 'em for around $80.)

I am a well-educated, well-off white middle-aged male American, and I feel less safe with police officers around. Which is to say, most people would look at me and say I'm part of the system, getting special treatment and deference, and even I don't trust cops. I can't imagine how minorities, who have historically been most abused by law enforcement, feel.

That's a problem.

Mitheral: How do you tell someone is muslim by looking at them? It's not like he was wearing a burka or something.

Golly, I dunno. Maybe he's a blonde haired, blue eyed Aryan, that just happens to follow Islam. Methinks you're being deliberately obtuse.
posted by LordSludge at 1:28 PM on November 16, 2006 [1 favorite]


I think it is certainly time to co-op Orwell's 'boot stamping on a face' vision of the future for poignant imagery.

Thankfully, in an almost insignificant fraction of cases we might have video documentation of the face to go along with the boot.

I wish I was an alumnus of UCLA so I could not send them an money in the future.
posted by i_am_a_Jedi at 1:44 PM on November 16, 2006


People don't make FPPs when a UCLA cop arrests a rapist or stops a drunk driver.

People often don't make FPP when cops are doing their damn job.

The school had every right to ask him to leave if he didn't have ID, as that's their policy. Dude was probably being dickish. BUT HE WAS LEAVING. There no cause, NONE, for the cops to start getting physical, NONE.

Their asses deserve to be fired because they can't one college student, who was might be acting like a dick, but wasn't doing anything wrong.

and you know what? I bet the cops STILL think they were right and are pissed at all those snot nosed, ungrateful school brats.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:45 PM on November 16, 2006


LordSludge writes "Maybe he's a blonde haired, blue eyed Aryan..."

Kind of a funny comment, given that he does have an Iranian name....
posted by mr_roboto at 1:47 PM on November 16, 2006


All the computer labs on our campus are funded from student fees, so our policy is that you have to be a student (or faculty) to use those computer labs. If UCLA has a similar setup and policy on that campus then they have every right to ask for student IDs. And if you cannot prove your identity as a rightful user, to then eject the offender.

Learn to read, idiot. UCLA computer labs are open to all, however, after 11 (when this happened) they are not open to all.

Still, there was simply no reason for tasering, especially as the guy was on his way out in the first place.
posted by Paris Hilton at 1:51 PM on November 16, 2006


People have often wondered why I carry around a voice recorder with me everywhere. After seeing this, I might be upgrading to a video camera phone soon enough.

So I guess all you can do is video the event and hope it gets sorted out later

In addition, they have the whole good-ole-boy system to help cover for them, so they're less likely to be prosecuted or convicted in the first place without ironclad (video) proof


Off-topic, but related -- "In the era of YouTube, cell phone cameras and the blogosphere, public slipups are public fodder in no time flat."*

Who's watching the watchers? We are.
posted by ericb at 1:51 PM on November 16, 2006 [1 favorite]


Hear hear, LordSludge. For all of you calling "pansy" on the bystanders, remember the key difference here is the power differential. We're not watching a random guy getting TASER-ed by four other non-uniformed dudes. That's for the fine minds behind Jackass to do. Cuz when it's just regular folks inflicting pain on their peers, it just comes out different: white people zapping white people, the tag to be used is "Hilarious;" Black people zapping black people is "Sellin' Out;" Middle Eastern dudes zapping Middle Eastern dudes is "Sectarian Violence, but Not a Civil War."
posted by krippledkonscious at 1:51 PM on November 16, 2006


Dude was probably being dickish. BUT HE WAS LEAVING. There no cause, NONE, for the cops to start getting physical, NONE.

There is NEVER any excuse for escalating a verbal confrontation into a physical one, even if you get paid to carry around weapons.
posted by sonofsamiam at 1:52 PM on November 16, 2006


mr_roboto, methinks LordSludge was being facetious. ;-)
posted by ericb at 1:54 PM on November 16, 2006


"There is NEVER any excuse for escalating a verbal confrontation into a physical one, even if you get paid to carry around weapons."

Especially if you get paid to carry around weapons.
posted by zoogleplex at 1:56 PM on November 16, 2006 [1 favorite]


Towards the end of the video you can hear one of the cops say "...or you'll get tased too" to one of the students standing there questioning him, presumably asking for his information or an explanation. Its the student in the white short sleeved tshirt, the cop is stocky guy with blonde hair.

Just amazing.
posted by rsanheim at 1:57 PM on November 16, 2006


tasing is so incredibly cruel. very, very cruel.
no one deserves it. shoot them in the leg.
virga who are you recommending get shot in the leg?
posted by econous at 2:05 PM on November 16, 2006


Sadly, this is standard operating procedure for police everywhere (in the U.S), but universities shouldn't be police states and I think administrators understand that, so it wouldn't surprise me if these guys got fired. At one near-by school a student security guard tased someone and was found to have used excessive force. They couldn't fire him from the student position, so they offered him a job as a janitor.

What happened to that plucky, taser happy kid? He ended up becoming a cop in a local large city.
posted by Paris Hilton at 2:10 PM on November 16, 2006


Proud to be non-American.

Note: In this incident, I am pro-cops (who followed procedure), anti-UCPD (who created the procedure in the first place) and anti-this-student (not the sort of guy I want to be hanging with after 11pm in the library).
posted by zaebiz at 2:11 PM on November 16, 2006


I grew up in a rural area, the way the police tasered that young man is how some ranchers treat cattle (most ranchers don't even do this).

Who are the real terrorists now?!
posted by j-urb at 2:12 PM on November 16, 2006


If you feel strongly about this, you can contact the Chancellor:

Interim Chancellor Norman Abrams
Telephone: 310-825-2151
Fax: 310-206-6030
Email: chancellor@conet.ucla.edu
posted by bshort at 2:27 PM on November 16, 2006


In the video, there's an especially clear shot of the victim being drug through the doors, already cuffed. One of the cops puts the tazer to his backside so hard that his legs kick up over his head as he howls in pain.

zaebiz - you're seriously supporting these thugs? What bit of procedure do you reckon calls for further abuse of a prisoner that they already have restrained? Are you cool with it because you've written the victim off as "someone you wouldn't want to hang with"? That's completely asinine. Would your opinion change if it were your brother, or does "procedure" take precedent there as well?
posted by EatTheWeak at 2:29 PM on November 16, 2006


Glenn Beck would approve.
posted by fungible at 2:32 PM on November 16, 2006


People often don't make FPP when cops are doing their damn job.

The school had every right to ask him to leave if he didn't have ID, as that's their policy. Dude was probably being dickish. BUT HE WAS LEAVING. There no cause, NONE, for the cops to start getting physical, NONE.

Their asses deserve to be fired because they can't one college student, who was might be acting like a dick, but wasn't doing anything wrong.

and you know what? I bet the cops STILL think they were right and are pissed at all those snot nosed, ungrateful school brats.


Dude. I agree with all of that. Why are you saying that in response to my comment? There are people in this thread questioning the need for police to exist at all at UCLA. I'm trying to point out that abolishing police is probably a bit precipitous. Everyone knows these particular cops were dicks.
posted by thirteenkiller at 2:33 PM on November 16, 2006


zaebiz writes "I am pro-cops (who followed procedure)"

You're familiar with the UCPD policies at this level of detail? Could you explain the relevant policies to us, please? It's always nice to get inside info from a fellow Metafilter member.
posted by mr_roboto at 2:34 PM on November 16, 2006


Dude. I agree with all of that. Why are you saying that in response to my comment?

Because it wasn't clear what you were talking about, at least to me.

The fuller explanation your provided makes more sense. That and this story is really pissing me off. My apologies.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:38 PM on November 16, 2006


Dear Chancellor Fox,

My name is [REDACTED] and I am a UCSD Alumni. I graduated from Warren College with degrees in Economics and International Relations in 2003 and currently live in Washington, DC where I work for the United States Congress.

It was recently brought to my attention that a young Muslim student was accosted by the University of California Police Department at a library on UCLA's campus earlier today. My younger brother attends UCLA and relates to me that the student body there is up in arms about the incident. After receiving a phone call from him on the subject I went ahead and read several reports, and watched several video clips taken by students during the event. I encourage you to familiarize yourself with the incident by reviewing some of the same material that I did – the video footage is particularly chilling.

I know that as chancellor of UCSD there is very little you can do about events that occur at sister campuses throughout the state. However, I encourage you to reaffirm the universities stand on tolerance and the due process of law to students, staff, and UCPD officers on our campus. I also encourage you to publicly condemn the event that occurred this morning. My initially assessment of the incident leaves me convinced these officers need to be dismissed and that the UC system needs to reevaluate the way it manages it's police force.

Thank you for your time and understanding, I'm sure you're as outraged by this event as I am.

Respectfully yours,

[REDACTED]
Class of 2003

*****************

Wanna write a letter to UCLA's dean letting them know how you feel?

Norman Abrams
Acting Chancellor, UCLA
Professor of Law Emeritus
Born Chicago, Illinois, 1933
A.B. University of Chicago, 1952
J.D. University of Chicago, 1955
UCLA Law faculty since 1959
abrams@law.ucla.edu
posted by Dr.James.Orin.Incandenza at 2:45 PM on November 16, 2006


EatTheWeak, mr_roboto : I'm not taking the bait. Suffice to say that I have never met a cop I felt I could be with friends with. They are humans who have to walk the active fault lines of society every day of their working lives. I could never really empathize with what that would do to a person. I'm sure repeatedly tasering an uncooperative individual in front of a vocal and distraught crowd is a soul-crushing experience.
posted by zaebiz at 2:48 PM on November 16, 2006


Note: In this incident, I am pro-cops (who followed procedure), anti-UCPD (who created the procedure in the first place) and anti-this-student (not the sort of guy I want to be hanging with after 11pm in the library).

Uh, why exactly do you think the cops followed "procedure"? From what I understand, police have a 'continuum of force' They can only do X after suspect does Y. I'm very certain that X is not "taser them repeatedly" when Y is "Laying on the ground saying that he's not fighting".

Why exactly would you "not want him around after 11pm in the library?" I mean, he's a student, who looks like a student, and had the right to be there if he'd had his ID with him...
posted by Paris Hilton at 2:51 PM on November 16, 2006


Because it wasn't clear what you were talking about, at least to me.

The fuller explanation your provided makes more sense. That and this story is really pissing me off. My apologies.


No worries! I hope this kid gets a free year of school or something out of this.
posted by thirteenkiller at 2:57 PM on November 16, 2006


This story just doesn't ring true.

I mean, why wasn't he provided with appropriate fake ID, like all the 9/11 hijackers?
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:57 PM on November 16, 2006


Not trying to bait anyone, friend. I agree that as hard as these incidents are for we citizens to digest, it must be doubly difficult for the decent officers who joined for the right reason and are worthy of the badges they wear.

These cops, however, do not fit that description. I dispute that this was soul-crushing for them, as they lack the soul necesarry. The victim's first crime was being brown. His second was not falling in line like a good little sheep. Their repeated prodding served no purpose whatsoever - they did so because their blood was up and the authority conferred upon them by the state and a pliant populace left them feeling like they could get away with anything.

Seriously, watch the video again. If your blood is not chilled, it was cold in the first place.
posted by EatTheWeak at 2:57 PM on November 16, 2006


BTW -- refusing to stand when asked by a police officer (whether or not you've been incapacitated by a taser) represents a form of non-violent disobedience. We've all witnessed on television plenty of anti-war, ACT-UP and other protests showing police dragging and/or carrying people away -- without having to resort to clubbing, gassing or tasering.

We've also seen instances where cops have indiscriminately pepper sprayed, tear gassed or paintballed non-violent demonstrators (Seattle, anyone)?

I'm not saying we should respond violently to cops in these circumstances- traditionally, the more violent the response to non-violent resistance, the more effective it is. The key is documentation.

Unfortunately, in the current popular climate of paranoid authoritarianism, this approach (shaming or outraging the observer) is becoming less and less effective, as people take the he got what he was asking for position. And that's if they ever see it at all.

Actions such as those which they bystanders took are absolutely necessary in order to change the culture of casual violence that has infected many organs of the state. Ironically, it is now increasingly difficult to have those documents be seen by an increasingly fragmented public and a capitulating media.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 3:07 PM on November 16, 2006


It seems to me that not for a second does muddgirl identify with the "victim" , do you muddgirl ?

Fuck off. I'm as pissed about this as you are. However, I'm also a reasonable, rational person. It's OK to think, on one hand, "People shouldn't get tasered for acting like a typical college jerk, and the police shouldn't have a free reign to do anything they want," and on the other hand recognize that people aren't gonna put their own life in danger to help a stranger who is frankly acting like he's resisting arrest. Have you read this thread at all? I've identified with the victim and I've identified with the bystanders. Hell, I've even identified with the cops. Why? They're all fucking human beings.
posted by muddgirl at 3:19 PM on November 16, 2006


I'm sure repeatedly tasering an uncooperative individual in front of a vocal and distraught crowd is a soul-crushing experience.

Yeah, I'm sure they're losing sleep over it. Get real.

By the time you repeatedly taser a person who is in handcuffs, and does not pose a physical threat to you, your fellow officers, or the fellow students, chances are your soul has already been crushed (or you never had one in the first place).
posted by SBMike at 3:27 PM on November 16, 2006


"...or you'll get tased too"

S’why God invented the rifle.
posted by Smedleyman at 3:28 PM on November 16, 2006


Why are Americans so violent?

I'm an American, and I wonder that myself on a regular basis.
posted by davejay at 3:30 PM on November 16, 2006


frogan, please troll elsewhere.
posted by felix betachat at 1:06 PM PST on November 16


I'm sorry, did I offend your delicate sensibilities with the facts?
posted by frogan at 3:33 PM on November 16, 2006


what did he expect would happen?

I'm holding judgement on this one.....


This is the kind of sentiment that enables this horribly irresponsible and violent behaviour. Not enough public outrage.

Yes, that's right, objective reality only exists in the details of the officers' report. Witnesses and 1st-person accounts are biased. He brought it upon himself.
posted by tehloki at 3:35 PM on November 16, 2006


Note to citizens -- you do not have the right to interrupt a police procedure while it is in progress.

You absolutely have the right to interrupt or interfere with what you honestly think is an illegal act, even if it is a police procedure in progresss. In countries with Good Samaritan laws (like Canada), you would actually have a duty to do so.
posted by solid-one-love at 3:38 PM on November 16, 2006


Also: I may be a big ol' cynic, but I foresee the end result of the investigation being a ban on video cameras and other electronic recording devices on campus. The cops will go unpunished. The student will be expelled. Funding and/or quarters for student media will vanish. "Shut the fuck up. Pay your tuition and don't make waves or we'll beat you like a tweener's pud."
posted by solid-one-love at 3:46 PM on November 16, 2006


"Stay out of churches, son. All they got keys to is the shithouse. And swear to me that you will never wear a policeman's badge."

- Wm. S. Burroughs
posted by objet at 3:51 PM on November 16, 2006


I don't think they'll get away with doing all that in California, s-o-l. We've still got some of that 60's hippie mentality going on here, at least north of Orange County...
posted by zoogleplex at 3:57 PM on November 16, 2006


Wow, solid-one-love, that is pretty cynical. My money's on the cops being reprimanded, or at least an apology from the administration. This is incredibly bad PR for the university, and I'm guessing that the administrators will decide that damage control is a better option than further angering the students, alumnae network, and community. Of course, your cynicism proving to be correct would be far from the most shocking outcome.
posted by SBMike at 3:59 PM on November 16, 2006


The think I don't see mentioned here (and correct me if I'm wrong): Tasers are intended to be used on a suspect only in situations where a firearm would otherwise be used. Many people have been killed by tasers, they are not a harmless non-lethal device.

It will be a naked miscarriage of justice if these officers are charged with anything less than attempted manslaughter. Sadly, given the strength of the police unions I doubt they will see justice of any kind. I'm generally pro-labor, but police unions just shelter criminals who wear badges.
posted by mullingitover at 4:01 PM on November 16, 2006


what did he expect would happen?

I'm holding judgement on this one.....


Did you even watch the video? Watch the video. When you're lying on the floor crying in pain, being told to get up when you cannot get up because you've just been shocked, being threatened with another shock, what would you expect to happen?

Anyone who doesn't have a strong emotional response to this video needs to take some time and come back to humanity.
posted by rxrfrx at 4:02 PM on November 16, 2006


Many people have been killed by tasers, they are not a harmless non-lethal device.

Taser Related Deaths 1999 - 2006: 167 cases in the United States and Canada
posted by ericb at 4:09 PM on November 16, 2006


posted by solid-one-love You absolutely have the right to interrupt or interfere with what you honestly think is an illegal act, even if it is a police procedure in progresss. In countries with Good Samaritan laws (like Canada), you would actually have a duty to do so.

Wrong, as usual.
posted by fandango_matt at 4:11 PM on November 16, 2006


Was just going to post this, ericb. While rare, if you strike someone with a taser that truly didn't need it (like this case), and they happen to have an arrhythmia (or genetic condition predisposing them to arrhythmias), you can kill them. People should be taking this into consideration when using these damn things.
posted by gramcracker at 4:14 PM on November 16, 2006


"Police are given extensive training on the use of stun guns and in most cases that training involves taking a taser shot and feeling the effects. Depending on each individual's physiology, it takes at least a minute to be able to even stand after a single Taser shot. Over a hundred deaths have occurred in America as a result of taser shocks and Taser's own manual discourages repeated shocks, yet the history of their use tells us that police simply administer repeated shocks until 'compliance is gained.'" [source]
posted by ericb at 4:14 PM on November 16, 2006


Candid Cameras
"If it weren't for the video this might be another humdrum case of a rowdy student. But the video and the way it is distributed make it far more disturbing. Although the picture is incomplete, it is hard to characterise the officers' actions as reasonable. But much more interesting is that we get to see the video.

Home videos of police excess have been around for a long time - it is 14 years since the Rodney King video sparked the 1992 riots - but the means to distribute them to a mass audience has previously been in the hands of corporate media. That has now changed.

Three YouTube hits [1, 2, 3] in a week is bad news for a law enforcement community that has been grappling for years with its reputation for heavy-handedness. LAPD chief William Bratton has sounded by turns contrite and combative, promising an enquiry into the first incident (the FBI is also looking into the arrest) while insisting that 'Police work is never pretty, particularly when you have people resisting arrest.'

Back at UCLA, the campus police are collecting evidence. 'We will gather as many samples as we can find, from different sources,' an official told the LA Times. 'We'll use it for our own administrative investigation.'

If that sounds like a promise to adopt the old routine of sweeping an investigation under the carpet, home video has the upper hand. In the YouTube video of the UCLA incident, there are occasional glimpses of other students holding their mobile phones up to record the action. Reality has been brought to book."

[Guardian UK | November 16, 2006]
posted by ericb at 4:20 PM on November 16, 2006


“Note to citizens -- you do not have the right to interrupt a police procedure while it is in progress”

You have the right to observe any officer in the course of his duties as long as you don’t interfere.
Actually, I think the students did the right thing for the most part.
They bore witness and gathered evidence. Given that the student’s life was not in peril and he didn’t appear to be seriously injured. I don’t know how many people heard him say he had a medical condition. At that point, had I heard that, I might have gotten involved.
The question enters a grey area when police overstep their authority. But - note to citizens - an officer manifestly committing a crime should be resisted with reasonable force.

Given the situation wasn’t dire, and there wasn’t say a pressing need to maintain order in a crowd or keep a lid on a volitile situation - and it appeared from accounts, there wasn’t - once the officer refused to identify himself (giving his badge number) and assaulted a student (assuming female with a name like Laila) he committed a crime. In addition, there is no longer any reason to assume he is a real police officer. Anyone can put on a uniform and a badge and indeed people have to commit a variety of crimes.
Were I there, I would have gotten involved at that point.
posted by Smedleyman at 4:27 PM on November 16, 2006


FYI,

US Law (18 USC 2340) defines torture as an "act committed by a person acting under the color of law specifically intended to inflict severe physical or mental pain or suffering (other than pain or suffering incidental to lawful sanctions) upon another person within his custody or physical control".

Federal crime. Punishable by up to 20 years. Any ambitious prosecutors reading?
posted by mano at 4:36 PM on November 16, 2006


"But - note to citizens - an officer manifestly committing a crime should be resisted with reasonable force."

I tend to agree, but what force is reasonable to use against someone armed with a handgun, with legal authority and training to use it if he or she feels his life may be in danger?

If the crowd in the library had gotten unruly and attacked the officers, someone might have been shot to death. The way they act, refusing to give badge numbers and threatening with tasers, shows that they're afraid of the crowd. If 50 people (aka "a mob") started fighting them they probably would draw guns and shoot. Kent State, indeed.
posted by zoogleplex at 4:56 PM on November 16, 2006


Wrong, as usual.

Quebec and some countries require it; other provinces do not. The good samaritan law requires you to intervene to save another from harm if doing so would not put you at risk. If by "wrong as usual" you mean "Fandango_Matt is an idiot with an axe to grind as usual", then we agree.
posted by solid-one-love at 5:12 PM on November 16, 2006 [1 favorite]


Frankly, when you see two guys in uniform sadistically and repeatedly torture a guy with Tasers, the last thing you want to do is get involved, because if that's what they do to a guy with no ID you can easily imagine that they're going to pull their firearms on someone whom they perceive as a real threat.
posted by clevershark at 5:26 PM on November 16, 2006


Anybody who watched the video and is still defending this should just kill themselves.

Just rent a gun, buy a bullet, and shoot yourself in the face.

if you defended this, you cannot be rehabilitated. You are just a waste of a potentially great parking space.

if you argued that private citizens should just WATCH as the police commit crimes, simply because they are the police, you should also seriously consider killing yourself.
posted by Tacos Are Pretty Great at 5:33 PM on November 16, 2006


Does anyone recall that when Tasers were first being introduced, they were described as good alternatives to bullets, to be used to save someone's life? At what point did they become a tool to force compliance?

Three cases, one police department


Lorain police officer fired over Taser incident

JENNIFER BRACKEN, Morning Journal Writer
10/11/2006
LORAIN -- A Lorain police officer was fired and a sergeant received a 10-day suspension for separate violations of departmental rules, according to Lorain Safety-Service Director Michael Kobylka.

Kobylka upheld police Chief Cel Rivera's recommendations to terminate officer Daniel Bozsoki for wrongfully shooting a prisoner with a Taser stun gun and to suspend Sgt. James Wolford for yelling profanities about a municipal court judge.
......On May 1, Bozsoki and officer Stanley Marrero arrested Kalian Santiago on a warrant. While Santiago was handcuffed in the back seat of the cruiser, Bozsoki used 'unnecessary force' on him with a Taser, according to a letter from Kobylka to Bozsoki. Bozsoki was interviewed three times before he admitted to using the


--------
Police Say Boy Threatened, Assaulted Officer
June 10, 2005

LORAIN, Ohio -- Police departments use the x26 Taser to shock unruly suspects into submission, but Lorain residents are stunned that an officer used one on a school bus to subdue to 12-year-old boy, reported NewsChannel5.

According to the police report, police were called to remove the boy from the bus after he tried to steal another boy's CD case.

Police Capt. Russ Cambarare said the boy cussed at the officers and then threatened her.

"Then he made a threat that he was going to kill her, he bucked his head backwards and hit her on the chin and broke one of his arms free," said Cambarare.

Outside, at the corner of East 30th and Vine, what police are calling an angry mob was pounding on the bus, demanding the officer let the boy go.

Still, some residents are saying police shouldn't use a Taser on a child.

Cambarare will determine if the use of force was within policy. The officer involved is still on the job.
----

Police Taser teen in Lorain
Second incident in last three days


Shawn Foucher
The Chronicle-Telegram
LORAIN — A police officer used a Taser on Saturday to subdue a boy he feared might have a weapon, police said.
It was the second incident in three days in which a Taser was used against a juvenile.
The 16-year-old boy involved in Saturday’s incident had run away from the Euclid Avenue home where he lives with his mother and hadn’t been seen in days, the boy’s mother said.
But when police were called to Blossom Drive and Grant Street at about 5 p.m. Saturday — where a large crowd had gathered and was about to fight — the boy was among the group.
Police said they were told that some members of the group were armed with handguns.
The group began to disperse when officers arrived, but the boy continued walking in the middle of the street yelling at another male, according to a police report. Police say they ordered the boy to stop, but he began running north down Grant Street.
Officers lost sight of him in the 3100 block of Grant Street. A resident in the area told police the boy was in a neighboring back yard, where Officer Joe Novosielski found him hiding beneath a patio deck.
The boy refused to come out.
“He was lying on his stomach, with his hands concealed under his body,” Novosielski wrote in the police report. “I again ordered him out from underneath the deck and he still refused to move. Fearing (the boy) might be armed with a weapon … I deployed my departmental issued Taser.”
The officer zapped the boy and pulled him from under the deck, but the youth then refused to place his arms behind his back, Novosielski reported.
Novosielski delivered a second jolt from the Taser, to which the boy responded by placing his arms behind his back.
The boy was taken to Community Health Partners Hospital to have the barbs from the Taser removed from his torso, police said.
After being charged with resisting arrest, criminal trespass, walking in the roadway and obstructing official business, the boy was released to his father. At 10:30 p.m. Saturday, however, the boy’s mother called police looking for the boy.
The boy’s father said the child had already run away again, the report said.
posted by etaoin at 5:40 PM on November 16, 2006


“I tend to agree, but what force is reasonable to use against someone armed with a handgun, with legal authority and training to use it if he or she feels his life may be in danger?’

Yeah. That’s why I think the kids acted fairly judiciously in recording and witnessing. Given that the police weren’t overtly killing the student. Which is problematic - who do you call?
I think you’re right in reading my inference of physical force, but that’s just my knee jerk emotional response and what would ‘I’ do.
Like tracers, ‘reasonable force’ works both ways.
One can gather a crowd and take control without threatening physical violence. Not a lot of students that age have that kind of moral certainty or those kinds of leadership skills. Indeed, not a lot of adults do either.
This happened to be a random sampling of disconnected students.
But consider if a similar thing occured at in front of some sort of leadership or service club, or say the alliance for social justice.
There are plenty of other ways this could have laid out without the police continuing to taser the student - surround and detain the police, make clear you mean them no harm, until a major school official arrives on the scene, a dean perhaps.
(Unfortunately not many people can handle force well. Hell, case in point - these tin soldiers in this situation - who are supposedly trained to be able to use force appropriately.
I don’t know that Americans are more violent. But I’ve always wondered why we’re so juvenile when it comes to violence. We’re like the Japanese with sex. It’s fetishized in a variety of ways nearly incomprehensible to other cultures.
A trained person using force inappropriately is inexcusible. I’d be ashamed of myself if I’d trained him. Just the fact that they had numerical superiority against an unarmed individual and they still felt they had to taser him. Even after he was neutralized. It’s either ignorance, inferiority or sadism, either way, it’s a pure indicator of an inferior mindset. Not someone I want out from behind a desk.)

But all that’s just speculation and ‘what if’ - All things considered, as it actually occured, no one was seriously injured (apparently) there is evidence against the police here and if students show up in court and testify, I’d say one of the better outcomes from this situation had occured.
Oh, I’d like to put a dent in the head of one of those bastards. But yeah, I agree with you that isn’t what should have happened.

And I disagree with much of the cynicism from other quarters. This isn’t some back room in some urban noir DMZ. These are college kids. In a library. Moms and dads and their rotary club friends might not like having students tasered in front of their kid. Be a real shame if the alumni association felt donations might drop due to bad P.R.
Someone’s going on the hook for this. More than a few, I’d think.
posted by Smedleyman at 5:42 PM on November 16, 2006


But - note to citizens - an officer manifestly committing a crime should be resisted with reasonable force.

Define "manifestly committing." Get it wrong and you're guilty of obstructing justice. Just saying...
posted by frogan at 5:48 PM on November 16, 2006


I'm sorry, but fuck this kid. The same shit would've happened to me (a white guy) if I tried that nonsense.

I got my ass handed to me by a police officer when I was 14 years old for something very similar. Granted I didn't get shot with a taser, but regardless it was no fun. I could've walked away and either found a better way to deal with the situation or avoided it entirely. Instead I chose to get into it with the officer (just like this kid) and I dealt with the consequences.

There's no question that the LAPD can go overboard sometimes but I don't think that's the case here. It just happened to be a Muslim and right on the heels of that other beating that happend last week (which was much worse than this situation).
posted by jahmoon at 5:49 PM on November 16, 2006


I'm sorry, but fuck this kid.

Assume he was indeed guilty of refusing to leave the building after not showing ID. You really think it's okay to taser him, then yell at him to get up (which you've just prevented him from doing by tasering him), then handcuff him, then taser him again? And again? When he has, at no point, attacked anybody or acted violently? When dozens of people are yelling at you that the kid's done nothing wrong, and that he physically can't walk away anymore, and that you should stop attacking him? You can really listen to his screams of pain and feel no sympathy? Dick Cheney could use someone like you.
posted by rxrfrx at 5:52 PM on November 16, 2006


Watching the guy get punched in the face by the LAPD cops the other day didn't really have much of an emotional impact on me. I'm much more inclined to say "he got what was coming to him" after running from the cops and struggling against being cuffed. It was clearly unnecessary to hit him in the face, but again, it was something of a bilateral physical confrontation. Also, being punched in the face four times from close range probably doesn't hurt as much as being repeatedly shocked with a device that's designed to incapacitate.
posted by rxrfrx at 5:55 PM on November 16, 2006


My ex-landlady was the former head of dorm security at a big state school (before that she was military police). She would sometimes rant about the idiots that gave campus security people a bad name. I have a feeling she would not be happy with this bunch.
posted by Kattullus at 5:56 PM on November 16, 2006


college students are goats. fuck those UCLA pussies. spend too much time in front of myspace. i cannot fucking believe the moral apathy this country's top universities have come to embrace.
posted by phaedon at 5:58 PM on November 16, 2006


Dick Cheney could use someone like you.

Yep, anybody who doesn't agree with you on everything must be an evil Republican!
posted by jahmoon at 5:58 PM on November 16, 2006


Wow, etaoin, that one with the 12-year-old kid on the bus just has everything wrong with it from the get-go, on both sides of the Taser.

"It’s either ignorance, inferiority or sadism, either way, it’s a pure indicator of an inferior mindset."

Absolutely. It's all in the psychology. If these officers really had true confidence in their authority, this incident would never have even happened, and shouldn't even require more than one police officer. These guys are scared as hell inside, putting on a tough-guy front.
posted by zoogleplex at 5:59 PM on November 16, 2006


Meanwhile on this side of the atlantic pond, the italian Carabinieri (Militar police, but also with large civil duties) responsible of this beating (short story is drunken immigrant opposing some drunk resistence, gets beaten) were not processed as today a judge ruled for archiviation of the case (meaning there will be no process and no further investigation unless the opposing lawyer appeals and wins the appeal)

It is quite sad, as public have generally a good opinion of Carabinieri, but this archiviation jsut reinforced the idea of the old-boys-network and police inpunity.
posted by elpapacito at 6:01 PM on November 16, 2006


For those suggesting that the students should have acted more directly: This was my first thought while viewing the video. Of course, it's practically unreasonable. The only action that could have conceivably worked and not carried a high likelihood of serious harm for those participating would be something like:

Go around to another entrance to this stairwell with at least two dozen people, so you can be directly in the way of the cops, and sit down. Organize others to call for help from any and all people whose authority is greater than that of other students, and get these people to the same location. I'm almost certain that were I in this situation, I would have at least been on the phone to 911. As someone up-thread said - if for no other reason than to get an ambulance to the scene.

Anything involving physical violence towards the cops would have been disastrous.
posted by odinsdream at 6:06 PM on November 16, 2006


Justin is a nice guy. He is also a cop being trained in the use of a taser to subdue suspects. This training involves being shot by a taser.

"Now listen, I wanna do something here... OK... Justin, while you are under power, Im going to ask you to take a step forward. I want you to think about that.... K, think about it now because you might not be able to think about it while you are under power... while you are under power, im just going to ask you to take a step forward.. im going to be off to the side yellin at you... OK, i want you to think about that... try to .. try to focus on moving... i want you to try to move as hard as you can.. take a step forward. Even move an arm for me, do anything, ok?"

OK, you ready? Let's see how Justin does.
posted by mano at 6:08 PM on November 16, 2006


Some of you jerks in this thread remind me why I never sit with my back to the door when in public. Ever.
posted by zoogleplex at 6:10 PM on November 16, 2006


It is quite sad, as public have generally a good opinion of Carabinieri, but this archiviation jsut reinforced the idea of the old-boys-network and police inpunity.

Really? As far as I knew the Carabinieri were famously the most brutal police force you could find in Western Europe. Perhaps my impression is outdated.
posted by furiousthought at 6:12 PM on November 16, 2006



I'm sorry, but fuck this kid.


I'm not sorry: fuck you.
posted by StrasbourgSecaucus at 6:16 PM on November 16, 2006


Fuck the police.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:18 PM on November 16, 2006


Synchronicity was awful.
posted by StrasbourgSecaucus at 6:20 PM on November 16, 2006


"If you feel strongly about this, you can contact the Chancellor:"

Sent. Absolutely. Silence is consent.
posted by chowder at 6:23 PM on November 16, 2006


It's not the event alone I find disturbing, it's the discrepancies in the police report and the video evidence. It is quite hard not to "go limp and resist" when you have just been shocked with a device designed to incapacitate, and capable of killing you.
posted by tehloki at 6:26 PM on November 16, 2006


mano writes "US Law (18 USC 2340) defines torture as an 'act committed by a person acting under the color of law specifically intended to inflict severe physical or mental pain or suffering (other than pain or suffering incidental to lawful sanctions) upon another person within his custody or physical control'. "

Bingo. A law that doesn't suck. I don't see how these officers are anything but a danger to the public. 20 years should change their perspective on law enforcement and protect the student body from harm.
posted by mullingitover at 6:29 PM on November 16, 2006


“Granted I didn't get shot with a taser, but regardless it was no fun. I could've walked away and either found a better way to deal with the situation or avoided it entirely.”
Yes, but you’re not a trained police officer sworn to uphold the law. If you act too much like an idiot, you can, and should, be arrested for whatever crime. But a police officer should not taser you for 20 minutes because you called him an asshole. Whether that’s the “real world” expected response or not. The world is what we make it, not what we accede to.


“Define "manifestly committing." Get it wrong and you're guilty of obstructing justice.”

Indeed. I should watch as the uniformed police officer who pulled us over in an unmarked Toyota sexually assaults my wife for fear that I might be obstructing justice.
I’m not asserting some a priori course of action here based on some obscure knowlege of the law. There’s no need to define “manifestly committing” given a reasonable degree of conscience on the part of any witness. One should not act impulsively or without enough knowledge of the events and I trust your or nearly any reasonable individual’s judgement in the matter as to what a manifest crime is and what action should be taken.
I concede your point to the degree that it’s proper to comply with any legal order given by a police officer as well as not to interfere with a lawful arrest.
However, I see a cop pull over a black man in front of my house and hear him ask “what are you doing around here nigger?” and watch him baton the crap out of the man - I have full knowlege of all the events there - then I’m going to intervene whether it means I have to kill that officer or not and whether I’m going to jail for it or not.
I don’t assert my course of action for, say, a 68 year old grandmother, merely that one should be involved to the degree one’s capabilities allows involvement.
Sometimes that means just bearing witness. I think we can agree however that the above example(s) would be manifestly criminal acts.

But this “hands off” mindset concerns me. Police officers are our servants. They are paid by our taxes and derive their authority from our will.
If we do not correct them when they are abusing their power than we are subjects, and worse, their abettors and complicit in whatever crime we silently consent to.

This kind of involvement protects and aids police officers as well. From a variety of things, including corruption. But also helps in fighting crime - community policing as an example.
If in that previous scenario I saw the officer pull over the black man and treat him politely and the man assaulted the officer I would render assistance if necessary. If I see a crime committed, I should call the police. I recently saw an open door on a shop I knew was closed in my neighborhood (deli’s aren’t open at 1 am). I called the police to let them know. We can agree that I should do that. Perhaps I don’t always, and that may be forgivable. But why shouldn’t the inverse be true? If I see something amiss why should I overlook it simply because it concerns the “authorities”? There’s no ‘divine right’ involved, so why isn’t it my police department as much as anyone elses? One cannot deny power without also denying responsibility. If I shouldn’t get involved in police affairs - merely because they are the police and not for the reasons we agree upon - why then should I call the police when I see a door open on a store in the middle of the night? Or when Mr. Y beats his wife? Or when Kitty Geovese is getting raped?
The fact of the matter is, it is my responsibility, and I should.
Again - common sense. If a cop(s) is in a fight with someone I’m not going to just jump in to help if they don’t need it. That’d be interfering.
But there is no law that will make me circumvent my conscience. I can live without the former, but I have to live with the latter.
posted by Smedleyman at 6:31 PM on November 16, 2006


With little forensic evidence or understanding of the device, reporters rushed to blame the Taser and condemn the officers who had deployed it.

"It's frustrating," admits Rick Smith, CEO of Taser International, located in Scottsdale, Ariz., "To date, we've had 40 unexpected, unforeseen deaths. In every single case there are readily explainable causes. There are generally drugs involved or extreme levels of exertion. There are also people with psychological issues who may be off of their medications or there is a stress exacerbation of a pre-existing condition."
from here

It's amazing how dense this guy is. (That, or willfully ignorant because he's raking in the cash.) Everything he lists... drugs involved, extreme exertion, psychological issues... are most likely where police presence and use of tasers would occur.
posted by odinsdream at 6:34 PM on November 16, 2006


Maybe the student wasn't being a jerk, he did say he had a medical condition. It will be interesting to see what that is. I know when he first started shouting, it sounded to me like a full-blown melt-down..... people with autism are 7 times more likely to come in contact with the police than others in the US.

I have two kids...one's a rabble-rouser and other's an aspie. I have never been more scared for them both.
posted by gminks at 6:36 PM on November 16, 2006


odinsdream: Exactly. The rhetoric spewed by the Taser Corporation about the device never causing any deaths that weren't "exacerbating an existing condition" or "involved drugs" is just frightening.

Hello, if I'm being arrested, and I happen to be on drugs, is my life somehow worth less? What could be a deadly weapon when used against me is treated instead like a submission hold or handcuffs: as standard procedure for resistance. Even if you have a heart condition, the police may be attacking you with deadly weapons as a first line of offence.

Fucking tasers.
posted by tehloki at 6:40 PM on November 16, 2006


To the Taser corporation, no amount of deaths or physical suffering can possibly justify a loss of income.

Perhaps there should be a "Punch Rick Smith in the face day". Hey, no one ever died from a single punch in the face (well, as far as I know, perhaps there are exceptions where drugs or preexisting conditions are involved but that's not your fault right), so surely it's no big deal.
posted by clevershark at 6:46 PM on November 16, 2006


/derail
“It is quite sad, as public have generally a good opinion of Carabinieri, but”

Sure that’s not the Bersaglieri? Black feathers? Sharpshooters? Like playing with cranes and recovering bells more than sharpshooting? Those guys are pretty well liked, I’ve heard.
posted by Smedleyman at 6:47 PM on November 16, 2006


Synchronicity was awful.

LOL. Ouch -- red wine stings when blown out your nostrils!
posted by ericb at 6:49 PM on November 16, 2006


"I happen to know for a fact that every inch of the Powell Library at UCLA (other than the bathrooms) is covered by security cams. There isn't anywhere in that library that a security camera isn't recording everything that happens. That means that the entire incident that took place there last night, where the student was tasered repeatedly by the university cops, is on film and the university has it in their possession. Time for someone at UCLA, or in the media, to get on this immediately and demand a copy before the evidence goes poof. It's possible the system is set to tape over every 24 hours, that means there may be only a few hours left to get the tapes." [source]
posted by ericb at 6:54 PM on November 16, 2006


I will be making calls to every person I can, DEMANDING accountability. Here's a UCPD contact list with several names. Call them all.

I urge ANYONE who feels strongly about this to flood their phone banks, to bombard them with PHYSICAL faxes and mails (as well as emails) and to force them to respond. Clog their mailboxes. Clog their fax machines. Let their machinery stop.

I also suggest that you take this higher than the UCLA Acting Chancellor.

President's Desk
UC Office of the President
1111 Franklin St., 12th floor
Oakland, CA 94607-5200
(510) 987-9074
Fax: (510) 987-9086

If necessary, we may have to take this to the Governator himself.
posted by ed at 6:55 PM on November 16, 2006 [1 favorite]


What would you do as the head of Taser Corp.? Besides resign or whatever if you think the product is inherently immoral. From what I can tell it's a great substitute to maiming people. Taser needs to emphasize that it's not to be used unless as a substitute for lethal force. That's all I'd do, offer more more rules/officer training info/etc. Maybe some more research into the conflict dynamics and best practices.
posted by Firas at 6:55 PM on November 16, 2006


From what I can tell it's a great substitute to maiming people. Taser needs to emphasize that it's not to be used unless as a substitute for lethal force.

Given that reasonable position, how would the 'he deserved it' crowd justify the use of lethal force in this case.

If this student was dead, what would be their position?

(oh, and where are the pointers to setting up recording devices on ones body to always be recording or ready to record?)
posted by rough ashlar at 7:11 PM on November 16, 2006


I honestly wonder what this student thought would happen when he, according to the article, refused to comply with an officer.

Certainly not getting zapped with a TASER repeatedly. Keep in mind that those weapons are meant as a non-lethal means to subdue someone who poses a direct threat to the safety of the officer or another person. They are not supposed to be used as cattle-prods to force compliance.

If he went limp and refused to move (the first time), then they should have simply picked him up and carried him out of the building. The subsequent times that they were yelling at him to "get up" and move was after they had shocked him.

Each and every one of those officers deserves to lose their job. Hopefully the ACLU will get involved as well. The university better open their checkbooks, because if that video finds its way to a jury, they're screwed.
posted by mstefan at 7:23 PM on November 16, 2006


I'm afraid of Americans.

~David Bowie
posted by bwg at 7:26 PM on November 16, 2006


Let's all make a pact to always carry our video cameras, and whenever we see police interacting with the populace, start recording. Most of us will probably never catch a spectacular piece of brutality like this one, but if the police start noticing they are being watched constantly, maybe we'll prevent some of these atrocities.
posted by iconjack at 7:29 PM on November 16, 2006


sonofsamiam, zoogleplex: as far as I can tell the basic tenet of police strategy is "always escalate faster than the other guy". If someone looks doubtful or hesitates, yell at them. If they say anything, threaten physical force; if they say anything other than "yes sir", threaten to shoot and/or beat them; after that, you need to follow through on your threat or you've lost authority.

The idea, of course, is that the other guy will back down if you escalate fast enough. But it basically requires the cop to have a disproportionate response to any situation more fraught than a kitten rescue.

Yeah, I've met police who knew how to defuse and de-escalate and would do so. But afterwards, they always seemed to have to justify this, as if it were against regulations.
posted by hattifattener at 8:13 PM on November 16, 2006


digby: ... what is becoming a depressingly commonplace occurence in this country. Excruciating pain is now commonly accepted as a proper way for the police to bend people to their will. ...
posted by amberglow at 8:14 PM on November 16, 2006


This may have been discussed before, but a friend of mine who's a Marine (Vietnam) once demonstrated a few techniques for subduing someone, including some kind of horrific arm pinch thing that had me stumbling after him like a cow. He's about a foot shorter than me, too.

Is there a reason why cops aren't taught this? Is it a good thing they aren't - since my friend also mentioned that further techniques (which he wouldn't show me, damn him) could result in maiming/death?
posted by Liosliath at 8:35 PM on November 16, 2006


In the college computer center I work for, If a campus police officer walks in, they are stopped at the desk and asked what business they have. If the student employee can do it for them, they aren't allowed to enter. If not, they are escorted around by a student employee and rushed out as soon as possible.

Their presence is logged and an email gets sent to a large listserv so everybody knows they were there.

All of this is because users tend to get freaked out when cops are wandering around in the computer center. It's understandable, a few of them are dicks who get off on respectin' their authoritay. If one of them tasered a student even remotely as undeserving of being tasered as this guy was, one of us would probably clobber the cop over the head with the baseball bat we keep behind the counter. And then we'd call in one of the good cops.
posted by blasdelf at 8:41 PM on November 16, 2006


"During the altercation between Tabatabainejad and the officers, bystanders can be heard in the video repeatedly asking the officers to stop and requesting their names and identification numbers. The video showed one officer responding to a student by threatening that the student would 'get Tased too.' At this point, the officer was still holding a Taser.

Such a threat of the use of force by a law enforcement officer in response to a request for a badge number is an 'illegal assault,' [Peter] Eliasberg, [managing attorney at the ACLU of Southern California] said.

'It is absolutely illegal to threaten anyone who asks for a badge [number], that's assault,' he said."

[source]
posted by ericb at 8:52 PM on November 16, 2006


Attica. Attica.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 9:20 PM on November 16, 2006


I think that the fall of the American Empire will be accompanied by the people murmuring, "Disgusting but not surprising".
posted by jiawen at 9:44 PM on November 16, 2006


I think that the fall of the American Empire will be accompanied by the people murmuring, "Disgusting but not surprising".

Funny - I was under the impression that that is how it rose.

Could be worse - they could be laughing it up in the comments field. (Found via mano's link - people sicken me.)
posted by poweredbybeard at 10:12 PM on November 16, 2006


See, here's what I don't get. The cops had to have known what tasers do to people. UCPD aren't rent-a-cops, they're state police. Usually they've transfered in from a far less cushy place, and some of them are even stand-up guys. The cops in this video, sadly, don't fit into that category. But back to the confusion. If the cops knew that they were incapacitating by tasering him (and if they didn't, they shouldn't be cops) then why keep yelling at him to get up? Especially with all those people around. As the end of the video demonstrates, they could easily drag him around anywhere they wanted, so why bother with the multiple tasering? One would have certainly been enough to bend him into line, then they could drag him anywhere they wanted and not have to deal with the public specticle. These cops are just plain stupid. A thousand times stupider than the kid, who was taking umbridge at a rule that is more than a little silly. So why the rigamarole? To teach him a lesson? To teach us unruly students a lesson that when Officer Friendly says "jump" you do not say "yes sir" or "how high" but, "when do I come down"? Was that really the best venue to make this point? Sadly, if UCSC is any indication, not a damn thing will come of this. Hopefully our Brown-skinned friend can get the rest of his education gratis, but I don't think we ought to hold our breath for any sort of "house-cleaning" or the like.
posted by Doublewhiskeycokenoice at 10:22 PM on November 16, 2006


My perspective here is that this wasn't justified.

I have been "lucky" to witness a taser use in real life, across the street from here, when a drunk resisted a couple of police. Our local department had an incident almost five years ago where a psychotic guy who had gone off his meds caused a disturbance at a 7/11, attacked the cops, and died from a single gunshot wound to the stomach. The clerk at the 7/11, who both had known the guy as a local customer for a long time and been threatened by the guy that night, backed up the cops' account of the incident -- that it was suicide by cop. But the department moved quickly to implement Tasers.

I've had, as I say, occasion to see the Taser in use. First, I've seen cops handle an impaired and aggressive person without the use of any weapons whatsoever. There was a lot of judo-like standing out of the way as he exhausted himself and running out the clock until he could be restrained. Second, I've seen the Taser used in a very similar situation, and in that one the cops were also very calm and orderly in their escalation. The guy who got tasered announced he was going to grab one of the cops' guns, and tried a couple of times, very unsuccessfully (it was absolutely no contest), but at that point they obviously felt the situation needed to be terminated. They told the guy that he had the option to accept being restrained or being Tasered, and when he just yelled back at them, they fired, and although he was not wholly incapacitated after that he accepted being restrained (pushed onto his face and handcuffed).

I've also had the occasion to see the video of the training session by one of the cops that I know in real life. They all get Tasered as part of the training -- you should know that the manufacturer apparently encourages it. These are fully fit adults and they're set up with two other cops holding their arms, and when they get shot they scream like babies and swear like sailors. In our department, at least, they have that personal experience before they're allowed to deploy to the streets with the weapon.

So, even though I could not see the earlier part of the incident, I think I can safely say that the UCLA cops were not handling the situation appropriately. They didn't see their role as bringing control to the situation and defusing a cofrontation -- in fact the opposite. They seemed to be Tasering when it was likely to be counterproductive. If they had him restrained they should have used that time to get everybody calmed down and let the guy yell all he wanted. He wasn't a threat to the other students, he was just "resisting". It really seems like inadequate training.
posted by dhartung at 10:53 PM on November 16, 2006


Watching that extended video, I'm certainly not asking "why didn't the students do anything?" I'm amazed they didn't. Everyone concerned is lucky that they didn't have a full scale riot on their hands.
posted by dreamsign at 1:03 AM on November 17, 2006


dreamsign: when cops are feared as agressors instead of respected as protectors, this is how civilized people react. with fear and helplessness.
posted by tehloki at 1:09 AM on November 17, 2006


If you feel strongly about this, you can contact the Chancellor:

Interim Chancellor Norman Abrams
Telephone: 310-825-2151
Fax: 310-206-6030
Email: chancellor@conet.ucla.edu

I also suggest that you take this higher than the UCLA Acting Chancellor.

President's Desk
UC Office of the President
1111 Franklin St., 12th floor
Oakland, CA 94607-5200
(510) 987-9074
Fax: (510) 987-9086



Done and done.

tehloki -- you misunderstand my meaning. I could not watch the video without my hands shaking. I kept eyeing the three-hole punch near the person filming as a possible weapon.

I am not surprised that people were afraid.

I'm surprised it wasn't a frigging bloodbath.
posted by dreamsign at 1:22 AM on November 17, 2006


ericb: "If a cop asks you to leave the building because you don't have proper ID, and you say no (not once, but multiple times) then you deserve to be tasered.

Damn. So what is a cop justified in doing to you when he pulls you over for a burnt-out headlamp and asks to see your driver's license and you so happened to have forgetten your wallet (with I.D.) upon leaving home earlier?
"

According to ericb's 'Bad Lieutenant Manual of Law Enforcement', that offence would warrant the administration of free and enthusiastic blow jobs to any and all police officers on the scene.

Any resistance will invoke the Abner Louima 'plunger' clause.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 1:52 AM on November 17, 2006


Oh, bollocks. That should have been the taedellin Manual of Law Enforcement.

Massive apologies to ericb, who is, of course, on the side of the angels.

Mondo Meta -- you suck! :-(
posted by PeterMcDermott at 1:58 AM on November 17, 2006


You folks saying that these people should have assaulted the cops are incredibly dumb to suggest it.

Morally, that would probably have been the right thing to do.

But in the real world, where we actually live, there'd be a lot of students in jail if they'd tried that. For a long, long time. As in, 'your lives are over, suckers'. We want the COPS in jail, not the STUDENTS.

I hope the spectators that were threatened with tasing for asking for badge numbers sue their ASSES off. They probably won't do any jail time, but I'd love it if none of those people were ever able to work in law enforcement again.
posted by Malor at 2:11 AM on November 17, 2006


Malor, agreed. The second ammendment is good for some things, but historically the first works better. Feed these bozos to the ACLU.

Speaking of lawsuits, I'd have thought that pregnancy would make a quite literal case of eggshell skull. I guess police can perform abortions in Kansas?
posted by kid ichorous at 2:32 AM on November 17, 2006


Dear Dr. Dynes,

I am extremely concerned about the brutality reported in the press and visible in video during the arrest of Mostafa Tabatabainejad. While the use of reasonable force to remove a trespasser is justified, no reasonable person could claim that use of the excruciatingly painful and potentially fatal Taser on a nonviolent subject is reasonable.

Will you ensure that there is a investigation into this incident and that officers are disciplined or charged for what appears to be a criminal use of force? The UC police departments need to change their procedures to make it clear that Tasering on nonviolent subjects is not allowed.
posted by grouse at 4:41 AM on November 17, 2006


People arguing that the studnets should have fought back are kind of dumb. Yes it would have been nice, but not in the eyes of the criminal justice system.
posted by Paris Hilton at 6:57 AM on November 17, 2006


"one of us would probably clobber the cop over the head with the baseball bat we keep behind the counter..."

Probably not a good idea, but give it a shot and report back to us on that.

Ok, I was finally able to watch the video. No doubt that the cops were jerks and abusive in the continued tasering of this guy.

But, I'll stand by my opinion that the student initiated a bad scene when he didn't comply with the original, reasonable, request to leave.

No one was right in this situation, other than the students that tried to verbally intervene and recorded the event.
posted by HuronBob at 7:02 AM on November 17, 2006


Oh, bollocks. That should have been the taedellin Manual of Law Enforcement.
posted by PeterMcDermott


We've learned to expect nothing less.
posted by NationalKato at 7:03 AM on November 17, 2006


Really? As far as I knew the Carabinieri were famously the most brutal police force you could find in Western Europe. Perhaps my impression is outdated.

Possibly, while it is true that Carabinieri were used for atrocities (example here) they also were victims of attacks (same link). The problem, as usual, is in generalization.

Not all Carabinieri are violent armed and law supported psycopaths, and vice versa some carabinieri richly deserve to be imprisoned and stripped of any power. Same apply for any police force of any kind, size, past and present.

Politicians know exactly that there will be at least two kind of people : cop apologist and victim apologist, who concentrate on the facts as seen by one side and usually don't spend much time or any time consider the other side , which often is seen as _necessarily_ being in opposition.

Some politicians absolutely love these situation in which , regardless of the side they claim to sustain, they get free advertisement, chances to demonstrate "they care" and maybe some free vote ; and if they are lucky and skilled they get to command a country, look at neocons hijacking 9/11.

Looking behind in recent history, the case of Carlo Giuliani is still remembered in Italy , as much as the G8 in Genova violence events and luckly so, because imho it was a war between pawns.

To keep a long story short, Carlo Giuliani is a 21 year old protester apparently throwing a fire extinguisher toward two young carabinieri in a jeep, one of which shoots and kills Giuliani. The chaos with ensued is a legacy of Berlusconi government (which enabled the direct, military stile confrontation between police and people in manifestation)....extreme right ranks among police and extreme left among protesters incited an escalation of violence which led to the Genova horror.

People still talk about Carlo as the victim (mishandling an extinguisher while concealing his face, hardly could look as a nonviolent pacifist) and about the carabiniere who shoot him either as a butcher or as one scared youngster menaced by a rioter, who acted in self defence.

The big picture, of two pawns attacking each other, escapes.
posted by elpapacito at 8:17 AM on November 17, 2006


The UC PD (at least at UCSD) are a bunch of overbearing assholes. I knew multiple women who, when reporting sexual assaults, were humiliated (e.g., well, you were drinking... or maybe you should go to another campus so you don't have to see him anymore). Everyone knows that the UC PD is told to underreport crime, especially sexual assaults, so that the campuses can keep their Cleary Act numbers down.

Also, one time, these cops were doing burn outs in their cop cars and they hit a dude I knew who was riding his bike past the station (which was at the center of campus).

Losers.
posted by rbs at 8:57 AM on November 17, 2006


Self-link to the Lancet study establishing the demobilizing effect of stun guns. From what I can see of the video, Mr. Tabatabainejad was not actually tasered, but rather stun gunned. For reasons that continue to escape me, the dart-loaded electrical gun-looking device is a called a 'taser', while the handheld prod-looking thingie is a 'stun gun'.
posted by anotherpanacea at 9:03 AM on November 17, 2006


UCLA student stunned by Taser plans suit.
posted by ericb at 9:13 AM on November 17, 2006


n a prepared statement released late Thursday, UCLA's interim chancellor, Norman Abrams, urged the public to "withhold judgment" while the campus police department investigates. "I, too, have watched the videos, and I do not believe that one can make a fair judgment regarding the matter from the videos alone. I am encouraged that a number of witnesses have come forward and are participating in the investigation."

Really? Maybe we watched different videos. In the video I watched, a police officer TASERED THE STUDENT WHILE HE WAS ALREADY CUFFED AND BEING DRAGGED OUT THE DOOR. I've made a pretty freaking fair judgement of the matter.
posted by muddgirl at 9:25 AM on November 17, 2006


UCLA student stunned by Taser plans suit.

I hope he gets a two comma payout.
posted by Tacos Are Pretty Great at 9:25 AM on November 17, 2006


I should have said in my last link: UCPD Assistant Chief of Police Jeff Young has been quoted denying that stun guns used in "drive stun" setting are capable of demobilizing suspects. This is manifestly untrue, and reflects poor training and misinformation at the highest levels of the UCPD. No matter how you feel about the incident itself, you should write to the Chancellor and to the University of California Police Department to counter this practice. Combining paralyzing shocks with commands to move or stand is the height of willful, sadistic ignorance. In this incident, the officers' repeated use of the stun gun made compliance impossible, for which they punished him with further applications. A retraction of Mr. Young's claim is essential, as is new training and guidelines for all UCPD officers who will carry a stun gun/taser in future.
posted by anotherpanacea at 9:36 AM on November 17, 2006


For those of us who are not alumni (season to taste):

To: Interim Chancellor Norman Abrams, UCLA

Dear Sir,
I am not a UCLA alumnus, nor a graduate of the UC system. I do, however, hold degrees from (blank) and (blank), and currently work in the private sector, in the field of (blank).

Yesterday, I viewed a video account of actions taken by your campus police, towards a student in your library- I think you are aware of the incident I am describing. I was disgusted by what I saw. After viewing this, I could only come to cone conclusion: that you do not run a safe campus. As a result, I will now advise my colleagues, both academic and professional, not to attend colloquia or other events at UCLA. Additionally, I will tell any prospective students who ask my advice (regarding both college and graduate programs) not to apply to UCLA.

The one redeeming aspect of this occurrence was that some of your students were courageous enough to document and publicize the incident. Someone at your institution should be commended for that, at least.

Be aware that many people outside of the UCLA community will be watching for your school’s response in this matter.


Yours, &tc.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 9:45 AM on November 17, 2006


LordSludge writes "Maybe he's a blonde haired, blue eyed Aryan, that just happens to follow Islam. Methinks you're being deliberately obtuse."

I'm not being obtuse, I resent the Arab/Persian = Muslim equivelency popular in American culture. Not everyone from the Middle East is a Muslim and not every Muslim is from the Middle East. It pisses me off that so many people use Muslim as a replacement for Arab.

solid-one-love writes "I may be a big ol' cynic, but I foresee the end result of the investigation being a ban on video cameras and other electronic recording devices on campus. "

Never going to happen as it's completely unenforcable and there would be a huge outcry if they tried. Besides I'd imagine they teach some form of film making.

solid-one-love writes "Quebec and some countries require it; other provinces do not. The good samaritan law requires you to intervene to save another from harm if doing so would not put you at risk. If by 'wrong as usual' you mean 'Fandango_Matt is an idiot with an axe to grind as usual', then we agree."

Seems like there was a serious risk of being Tasered if one interferred in this incident.
posted by Mitheral at 11:39 AM on November 17, 2006


The 'cattle prod' setting is low voltage, but does not incapacitate. Hence his legs flailing around. It's meant to cause pain at the point of contact only. The stun effect is produced with a very large voltage which interferes with muscle control throughout the body.
posted by econous at 11:50 AM on November 17, 2006


Ok, econus, are you willing to let us stun you and then yell at you to get up and move? Let's give it the mythbusters test, how about it?
posted by nyxxxx at 12:06 PM on November 17, 2006


No, are you? What a silly question, what prompted you to ask? In any-case nyxxxx, the stun setting is designed to incapacitate.
posted by econous at 12:30 PM on November 17, 2006


Never going to happen as it's completely unenforcable

Has happened all over the place and is quite enforceable (just Google 'school camera ban'). Try to bring a camera phone into some schools, theatres or workplaces. A campus is not much more difficult to enforce such a stricture.

there would be a huge outcry if they tried

Huge outcries when freedoms are infringed do little in the US, in my experience.

Besides I'd imagine they teach some form of film making.

I'd imagine an exception would be made, much in the same way that Chemistry students may get access to hydrofluoric acid and English students do not.

Seems like there was a serious risk of being Tasered if one interferred in this incident.

Perhaps. But that's a judgment call.
posted by solid-one-love at 12:54 PM on November 17, 2006


Well, the cops managed to refrain from TASERing anyone at the Board of Regents meeting yesterday: see the UCLA paper. Student protesters were told to leave; they refused and sat down; they were cuffed and dragged out.

Granted, a situation like this is more akin to theater than a riot-type protest: everyone knows their lines, as it were. But I'm still baffled (and horrified) that the library situation developed as it did. I know a guy who works as a bouncer sometimes - he manages to get belligerent drunks to leave when he tells them to without TASERing them. He's a big guy; usually he just picks them up and removes them from the premises. I can't imagine that he's had better training than cops in making people do what they don't want to do (i.e., leave).
posted by rtha at 12:54 PM on November 17, 2006


The stun effect is produced with a very large voltage which interferes with muscle control throughout the body.

No. The demobilization effect is accomplished at the "cattle-prod" level. If you've never experienced it, you wouldn't understand. This is why the distinction between taser and stun gun is so important.
posted by anotherpanacea at 12:59 PM on November 17, 2006


The one reassuring thing about this situation is the number of people you can see in the video taking cellphone photos (and of course the video itself.)

These abuses go on all the time, and I'm sure they always have.

But the growing ubiquity of portable video will, I hope, start to keep it in check -- it won't help the suspect who's being tasered repeatedly in a dark alley where there are no witnesses, of course, but once the police start to realize that anything they do in public is certain to be recorded and likely to show up in court, if not the nightly news, they're going to learn to keep their testosterone in check.

And the for the ones who simply can't handle the responsibility of their position of authority, the evidence will help us take that authority away from them.
posted by ook at 1:10 PM on November 17, 2006


If you've never experienced it, you wouldn't understand.

Oh really. And you wonder why people cattle prod you.
posted by found missing at 1:17 PM on November 17, 2006


And you wonder why people cattle prod you.

I'm pretty sure she did it 'cause I asked her to, so I could shout "gotcha" when people make spurious claims. But I'll have to ask her.
posted by anotherpanacea at 1:29 PM on November 17, 2006


"sonofsamiam, zoogleplex: as far as I can tell the basic tenet of police strategy is "always escalate faster than the other guy". If someone looks doubtful or hesitates, yell at them. If they say anything, threaten physical force; if they say anything other than "yes sir", threaten to shoot and/or beat them; after that, you need to follow through on your threat or you've lost authority.

The idea, of course, is that the other guy will back down if you escalate fast enough. But it basically requires the cop to have a disproportionate response to any situation more fraught than a kitten rescue."


That, right there, is institutionalized paranoia, and nothing less.

That philosophy is totally antithetical to correct handing of civilian life law-enforcement-related conflict resolution, and is more appropriately applicable to military combat/survival situations.

If the cops are really working from this philosophy, we have a grave, grave problem indeed. It would create an innate culture of fear and "us vs. them" among the police, as it seems to have. From that mentality they can never have true confidence in their authority and ability to calmly control potentially explosive situations, rather they're more likely to turn low-intensity situations into explosive ones, just like this event.

That needs to get changed, as quickly as possible.
posted by zoogleplex at 1:32 PM on November 17, 2006


UCLA Daily Bruin columnist, David Lazar:
"In my opinion, he was asking for it....If I...refused to comply with the directions of the CSO – being asked to leave – I would fully expect to be treated somewhat roughly by the police....'Since when is it OK to Taser students?' I'd like to suggest an answer: It might be OK when the student picks a fight with police officers."
posted by ericb at 1:32 PM on November 17, 2006


UCLA Daily Bruin Editorial: UCPD’s use of force disturbing, unacceptable.
posted by ericb at 1:34 PM on November 17, 2006


A taser has the ability to vary the voltage being applied, the lower voltage being the 'drive-stun' setting which is the same as a cattle prod. Mobility and muscle control are not compromised at this level. It's only at the higher setting, that is the stun gun setting, that the target/victim loses control of their muscles. Seems straight forward, switch to lower voltage and cause pain, switch to the higher voltage and disable.

The only distinction between a taser and a store bought stun gun, that I'm aware of, is that the taser has the option of working at range. Is that not right?
posted by econous at 1:35 PM on November 17, 2006


Hmmm -- at the bottom of David Lazar's column is this gem: "Send your favorite Rodney King jokes to Lazar at lazar@media.ucla.edu."
posted by ericb at 1:36 PM on November 17, 2006


Dug this out of the CNN archives. In evaluating the use of the taser, we should ask ourselves, "Would use of a baton be appropriate here? What about a gun?" Do you think it would be appropriate to beat this student for practicing nonviolent resistance? What about shooting him? Of course not!

David Lazar is quite the little campus Republican, reading his other articles. I'm surprised the headline wasn't, "Whiney librul gets what he deserves".
posted by muddgirl at 1:53 PM on November 17, 2006


Eyewitness account from UCLA student.
posted by econous at 2:46 PM on November 17, 2006


Videos of folks (journalists, senior citizen, frat boys and dog) getting Tasered.
posted by ericb at 3:10 PM on November 17, 2006


Trickle down effect from abu ghraib.
posted by cell divide at 3:12 PM on November 17, 2006


I can't stand the group of people here who seem to think the kid brought the cops' ridiculously violent and callous treatment of him upon himself. His actions might have resulted in the cops' presence, but it was the cops who were controlling their unwarranted actions. It was their decision to use excessive force against a compliant subject.
posted by tehloki at 3:18 PM on November 17, 2006


“This is why the distinction between taser and stun gun is so important.” - posted by anotherpanacea

Yeah. Seconded. We used to shock the crap out of each other. See how long we could take it, etc. Pain you can shrug off, uncontrolable muscular contraction - different story.

“If the cops are really working from this philosophy...”

They’re not. They are trained to escalate to a force level higher than the one being used on them, but not to threaten with lethal force - ever, unless there is a threat of lethal force against them.
Which is where the “I saw a flash of metal...” defense comes in.
I will say the set up of liability insurance and union regs makes a realistic non-violent response difficult.
For example - a woman out here (in Chicago) got shot when she was reaching for her cell phone after being pulled over at night.
Now, there are a number of working positions when you are next to a drivers side window, and not all of them are useful for an officer of the law. For example, I’m talking to someone in their car. They reach for something. I duck, draw my weapon and fire through the door.
Well, cops can’t really do that one. They couldn’t, for example, skip shotgun slugs under a car. Pretty much any time you don’t have a clear picture of your target and your background, police can’t (legally justafiably) fire in that situation even though it might be the tactically smarter (read: lifesaving) thing to do.
As a result, a lot of LEA in firefights don’t take cover well. Which is about 90% of the reason cops get shot.

Anyway, the officer in the above real life scenario saw the woman reach into her purse and begin to pull out a metallic looking object (the phone was chromed). He can justifiably shoot her. When in reality it’s more efficient - given it’s night and you have a heavy flashlight in your hand already - to simply break the woman’s nose (or smash her windpipe) and get control of whatever it is in her hand. Sounds brutal, but it’s better - and quicker - than drawing your firearm and killing her. Which is almost certain because your visible target is her head.
Unfortunately that would likely result in a police butality lawsuit - whereas the homicide is justifiable.
There are countless other examples.

But it’s precisely because of the above - police are trained to respond to lethal force with lethal force - that those kinds of things happen. So you have to ask - why?
Well, because they’re mandated to respond in a uniform fashion. A fat ex-warehouse worker cop can draw a weapon the same as a muscular ex-MMA champion cop.
There are exceptions of course, with some remarkable and positive results. For example there are officers armed with baton shooting shotguns trained to disable, say, a knife wielding suicidal nut.

But there’s the rub - using a weapon effectively takes training. Knowing how to incapacitate and apprehend someone without harming them or being harmed yourself takes training. Which means money. Fortunately, some policing agencies can hire specialists to train their people.
But not all of them can, and anyone can use a taser with a bit of training. And it’s equipment cost vs. ongoing training expenses.
And the “non-lethal” aspect is something the city lawyers love.

Which is the driving force behind the “institutional paranoia.” It’s not the cops themselves. Most law enforcement folks are good people. The problem is they’re not treated like other practice professionals - nurses or even firefighters and so you get a good deal of unprofessional behavior if your department is FUBAR.
A nurse screws up or a firefighter drops the ball, people get on that right away. They know a trained nurse is a valuable asset, so they do a whole lessons learned thing. The nurse gives someone the wrong dosage or whatever they did wrong - you re-train them in that.
A cop screws up and - depending on the department - they just cover it up and he takes a few days off, maybe gets some counciling. Heaven forbid you train him to use violence properly - he’s...violent!
But conflict resolution and force management is part of the job just as knowing how things burn is part of a firefighters job and how people bleed is part of a nurse’s job.

Say what you will about the basic cop mentality, the bottom line is they are willing to serve authority, which means they’re creatures of whatever system that is in place.
But that concept has been addressed here by comments on the department, so we know what kind of system is there.

Leadership could have taken this seriously and seen it as a wake up call. They didn’t. So there will likely be more incidences like this until they have some discipline within the ranks. But that means more oversight (to weed out the idiot bullies) and a change in their current operating procedure to establish a professional standard. Which means training time, which means money. Which they apparently don’t want to spend. Which means they’re going to have less of it, because they’re going to keep getting sued.
posted by Smedleyman at 3:21 PM on November 17, 2006


I guess the boiled down point being - if someone’s dog bites you, you don’t sue the dog. The anger here is better directed at those who crafted the system the men in the field operate in.
...of course, uh, the dog is destroyed.
But being in a lousy department simply means the odds are you’re a poorly trained cop (there are exceptions) it doesn’t justify illegal actions.
posted by Smedleyman at 3:30 PM on November 17, 2006


ericb writes "UCLA Daily Bruin Editorial: UCPD’s use of force disturbing, unacceptable."

While I agree with the editors, the quality of their writing just makes me weep.

"But just because Tasers are not destructive, that should not be used as a rationalization for the UCPD to use it too liberally. "

Holy fucking shit; what are we teaching these kids?
posted by mr_roboto at 3:35 PM on November 17, 2006


You sound surprised. College newspapers suck at writing good. Most regular newspapers do, too.
posted by rxrfrx at 3:42 PM on November 17, 2006


Has happened all over the place and is quite enforceable (just Google 'school camera ban'). Try to bring a camera phone into some schools, theatres or workplaces. A campus is not much more difficult to enforce such a stricture.

Not to be unduly flippant, but we're talking about teens and twentysomethings from Los Angeles here. You would have to pry their cell phones from their cold, dead fingers. I also think UCLA (my alma mater) has enough PR-savvy to know that a ban on camera phones any time soon would be a clear admission of guilt.

The campus police's reaction to the situation was completely gratuituous and over-the-top. ericb has posted a lot of good clarifications to the rules they were trying to enforce: the library and computer lab are indeed closed to non-students after-hours, and ID-checking is commonplace, non-selective, and well-publicized on signage when you enter both the library and the lab. I had my ID checked many times when I would stay late to work on papers there. The most recent L.A. Times article has the student's lawyer saying he refused to show ID because he thought it was an instance of racial profiling: this doesn't jive with my experience, and I fear it may cloud the larger issue, which is that the police used unjustifiable and cruel force to deal with what has to be a somewhat common situation: a belligerent, non-cooperative student.

The cops in this situation were at best incompetent, poorly trained, and frightened of the crowd; at worst they were letting racist thinking and fears goad them into over-reacting. Either way, their response was hugely disproportionate to the "threat" the student posed and they should be punished. So far I'm disappointed by the mealy-mouthed responses coming from the Powers that Be, but I'm hopeful that the sheer weight of public condemantion will have an effect.
posted by brookedel at 3:56 PM on November 17, 2006


Smedleyman; your comments, if you aren't aware, are all over the board. I can't understand what your point is - at all. But, I can at least respond to this part: "if someone's dog bites you, you don't sue the dog."

Sure - because it's a dog. Luckily, that isn't at all like this situation. In this situation, we have actual people with real authority acting in a way that's reprehensible. And, you can sue them - people have before - and people will in the future. It works just fine, thanks, no shitty metaphors necessary.
posted by odinsdream at 3:59 PM on November 17, 2006


"The anger here is better directed at those who crafted the system the men in the field operate in."

Well, that's where I'm aiming it, though my comment probably didn't seem that way. Institutionalized paranoia is a product of the people in control of the institution, not the people who enact its policies. Still, the enactors have responsibility for their actions, as much as the institution.

Even so, I think this is a terrible mindset with which to train cops, as evidenced by the woman being killed for reaching in her purse for a cell phone. I think the error should be on the side of "reaching for a cell phone" rather than "reaching for a gun OMG I'd better shoot her."

BTW, that mindset is why, whenever I get pulled over, I always keep my hands in plain sight and explain any movement I'm about to make where my hand will be out of sight. I got pulled over earlier this year by the CHP while on my motorcycle, and I look far, far more intimidating in my armored leathers than when not wearing them, and the officer looked pretty antsy to me, with his hand on his belt close to, but not on, his gun. I made a point of very carefully and obviously removing my gloves and helmet before talking to the officer, and when he asked for my license etc. I made sure to tell him "My wallet is in my inside jacket pocket, I'm going to take it out now," and doing it slowly and visibly, because just reaching in there would look like I'm going for a piece in a shoulder holster. Same with going into my backpack for the reg and insurance.

Honestly, I don't think I should have to do that. The cops shouldn't be so afraid of me that any move like that could get me shot, and I shouldn't have to be afraid of getting shot if I forget to follow my "safety procedure."

Sadly, too many real assholes with guns have shot too many police officers, so I have to be afraid for my life anytime there's a cop around. Pretty sick.
posted by zoogleplex at 4:13 PM on November 17, 2006


UCLA Students Demonstrate Against UCPD Taser Use (with photos).
posted by ericb at 5:59 PM on November 17, 2006


Ok, I finally watched the video.

I am stunned. How in gods' names have you people managed to end up with a nation that employs amateurs for police duties?

How embarassing for you.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:22 PM on November 17, 2006


I think it's cool that the "Muslim" student took such a courageous stand for his right not to show ID. Showing ID sucks.
posted by jayder at 7:40 PM on November 17, 2006


fff, they're not amateurs, they just play them on youtube.
posted by rxrfrx at 7:58 PM on November 17, 2006


maybe i missed it but doesn't his presence in the library itself prove he had already shown it to get in? Aren't there turnstiles or swipe gates or something at the entrances?
posted by amberglow at 8:14 PM on November 17, 2006


As covered earlier - anyone is free to use the library. They check IDs after 11pm. So, if he came in before then, even if there were some check at the gate, he would have missed it.
posted by odinsdream at 8:37 PM on November 17, 2006


That has been covered amberglow. As a public university they allow the public to use the resources. However, because students often want to use the resources late into the night, when allowing public access might lead to safety concerns, at 11:00pm they send a community service officer (CSO, appears to be a student volunteer, but I'm not sure) around to check ID and kick the public out. All of that happened to plan.

When the student volunteer got to Mostafa, he didn't produce his ID, but didn't immediately leave. The student volunteer then reported the situation to higher authorities, which brought the UCLA cops to the scene a few minutes later.

I don't think there is any dispute about those details, but I wonder if and how often those circumstances occurred in the past. Obviously, students have occasionally failed to produce ID in that lab, what happened on those occasions? Do they all just obediently leave when the student volunteer pesters them? Perhaps.. If the student volunteers normally give people a few minutes to finish up, and then a warning that campus cops will be called, you'd expect most of the time ID cases would be resolved at that level.. Maybe the UCLA cops end up there on a regular basis, but this time they decided to teach somebody a lesson.




Smedleyman: They are trained to escalate to a force level higher than the one being used on them,

Does anyone have references that support this as a valid conflict resolution strategy?

I really appreciate Smedleyman's perspective. It is challenging, but I don't see the "all over the board" criticism. Cops operate in situations where training, instinct, and acceptable behaviour come into conflict.. The discipline of individual officers is only a small part of the problem of police brutality, or excessive authoritarianism, or whatever you want to call it (assuming one sees a problem in the first place).

Anyway, check out this youtube of a very different police tasering. There is none of the "Already handcuffed, lets give 'im another for fun" clarity. Still, I suspect that less escalation, and more non-violent conflict resolution, would be better.. Far more important than my opinion though, where are the studies!
Ya, so I'm never going to be a sociologist.. But there must be a more reasoned debate out there that I can access relatively easily?
posted by Chuckles at 9:37 PM on November 17, 2006


Cops operate in situations where training, instinct, and acceptable behaviour come into conflict.

And this was clearly not one of those situations.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:53 PM on November 17, 2006


Independent Probe Ordered in UCLA Taser Furor
"Hoping to calm the furor created when University of California, Los Angeles, police used a Taser to subdue a student studying in the university's Powell Library, the university's acting chancellor on Friday announced that a veteran Los Angeles law enforcement watchdog would head up an independent investigation of the incident.

Norman Abrams said he ordered the probe after the university received numerous calls and e-mails since the Tuesday night arrest from parents and alumni raising concerns about the officers' actions, which were broadcast around the world on TV news and the YouTube Web site.

'I want to assure them that the UCLA campus is a safe environment. Student safety and treatment are of paramount concern at UCLA,' he said. 'We plan to move ahead promptly with a complete and unbiased review.'

Abrams appointed Merrick Bobb, who was a staff attorney for the Christopher Commission and currently works as the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors' watchdog of the Sheriff's Department, to handle the probe. Abrams said Bobb has a proven track record looking into allegations of police misconduct, including the Rodney King beating."
posted by ericb at 9:58 PM on November 17, 2006


From ericb's most recent link:
Tabatabainejad's attorney, Stephen Yagman, said his client refused to show his ID because he thought he was being singled out because of his Middle Eastern appearance.
Which raises the question of just how routine ID checks are, again. Sounds like they may not be routine at all..
posted by Chuckles at 10:07 PM on November 17, 2006


Abrams said Bobb has a proven track record looking into allegations of police misconduct, including the Rodney King beating.

Oh, cool! Because we all know how well the Rodney King investigation turned out: justice for the little guy, peace and civility for the people.
posted by squirrel at 11:11 PM on November 17, 2006


But UCLA police are allowed to use Tasers on passive resisters as "a pain compliance technique," Assistant Chief Jeff Young said in an interview Friday.

Under UCLA policy, Young said, officers can use the weapons after considering the potential injury to police and to the individual as well as the level of resistance and the need for prompt resolution.

Young described Tabatabainejad as a "passive resister" who refused to cooperate with officers. He acknowledged that the student didn't actively resist the officers.


If that's true, then the people who set this ridiculous policy should be fired.
posted by grouse at 2:47 AM on November 18, 2006


The only distinction between a taser and a store bought stun gun, that I'm aware of, is that the taser has the option of working at range. Is that not right?

First, a taser really requires range. It's most effective for law enforcement, because the darts require a spread to be most effective, which is hard to get unless you've got a partner who can hold the guy down while you take several giant steps back, aim, and fire the taser. Two darts leave the muzzle of the taser at a 8 degree vertical angle. The great thing about it is that these two taser darts immobilize the target; while they're under power, the suspect is not moving, not even a little.

Stun guns have fixed electrodes 5 cm apart. You press the stun gun against the target, and push the button. Because the distance between the electrodes is so small, you don't get the same paralyzing effects. But the effect does increase the longer you keep contact and power going. First, it just hurts... then, you collapse. It's not so much the pain, as it is the jelly-feeling in your legs. If you keep it on long enough, you feel weak and you can't stand up. From this article in the Lancet, it appears that those stages all occur within five seconds: less than a second just hurts, a couple of seconds makes you fall, and three to five seconds will demobilize you.

Notice the differrence between 'immobilize' and 'demobilize.' While the taser will literally freeze you in your tracks, quivering and in pain, the stun gun makes you writhe and flail around. In the latter case, after only three to five seconds of 'drive stun,' you're lying on the floor without the will, energy, or motor control to get up.

So yeah, whoever mandated stun gun use for passive resistors is an idiot.
posted by anotherpanacea at 7:26 AM on November 18, 2006


After watching some of the major media coverage (Olberman, CNN, etc), so far I have noticed they are not mentioning the fact that he is already handcuffed when the taser was applied. That is, perhaps, the most damning detail in my mind. Quite simply, the arresting officers already had physical control over him: they were able to place him in handcuffs and had two officers on each arm.

If you are apply the Taser to someone who is already under your physical control, you have moved well beyond appropriate force, through excessive force and are dangerously close to torture.
posted by i_am_a_Jedi at 8:25 AM on November 18, 2006 [1 favorite]


Video and photo gallery of yesterday's student protest at UCLA.
posted by ericb at 9:56 AM on November 18, 2006


Stunning Revelations -- "The untold story of Taser-related deaths."
posted by ericb at 11:04 AM on November 18, 2006


After watching some of the major media coverage (Olberman, CNN, etc), so far I have noticed they are not mentioning the fact that he is already handcuffed when the taser was applied. That is, perhaps, the most damning detail in my mind. Quite simply, the arresting officers already had physical control over him: they were able to place him in handcuffs and had two officers on each arm.

If you are apply the Taser to someone who is already under your physical control, you have moved well beyond appropriate force, through excessive force and are dangerously close to torture.


Yeah, seriously. Whether or not cops should be able to use tasers is a reasonable question. I thought it was understood, however, that cops should use the minimum amount of force necessary to do their jobs. This is police brutality, pure and simple, and it wouldn't even matter if this student had been looking up bomb recipes on the internet or took a swing at one of the officers. Police officers are not there to punish people, that is for the courts and jails to do. They are there to enforce the law and keep us safe. That the outrage is not universal in the mainstream media, let alone here on metafilter, is chilling. I guess some people will defend the establishment no matter what.
posted by SBMike at 11:44 AM on November 18, 2006


anotherpanacea: thanks for the explanation. My foray into voltage was irrelevant to the stun-drive setting.
posted by econous at 11:56 AM on November 18, 2006


So yeah, whoever mandated stun gun use for passive resistors is an idiot. Yeap, an actual cattle prod would be more effective in that situation. A stun gun seems a poor choice to 'encourage' a person to move when they are limp already.
posted by econous at 12:02 PM on November 18, 2006


Chuckles: Which raises the question of just how routine ID checks are, again. Sounds like they may not be routine at all..

No, the situation as you laid it out in your previous comment is exactly correct. I can verify from personal experience that these checks are absolutely routine. The people doing checks in the library are not going around looking for "suspicious types" - they are going to every single person present in the lab and asking for ID. If anything was racially motivated, it was the police's violent response to an argumentative student. That's what the investigation and lawsuit should be focusing on, not the ID situation, which is a well-known policy that is clearly posted on signs throughout the building.
posted by brookedel at 1:12 PM on November 18, 2006


re: i_am_a_jedi

Yes, after having watched the video myself, I agree. It is evident that either the officers are the most confused, incompetent bunch of peace officers this world has ever seen, or they literally did just torture a suspect in handcuffs with a stun gun.
posted by tehloki at 2:59 PM on November 18, 2006


I'd like to join the chous of: Fuck the police. Well, that is, apart from the guys that dispatched a helicopter then had a car on the scene in three minutes when a friend found herself in her home alone with a bugler. But other than those, fuck em, fuck em all. Oh.. wait a moment... let's not fuck the ones who, after 14 hours of searching found our neighbors toddler and brought her home safe and sound.. Actually lets just fuck those specific officers that found your mum in a confused state of mind and brought her back to you when you had though you'd be rid of that bovine bitch for ever. Fuck the police? No, fuck you.
posted by econous at 5:06 PM on November 18, 2006


As a valid experience you could try and laugh at my spelling error. [ceilingUncomfortableProstateExam.gif]
posted by econous at 5:11 PM on November 18, 2006


"Smedleyman; your comments, if you aren't aware, are all over the board. I can't understand what your point is - at all."

Poor training = greater likelyhood of poor outcomes.
Good training = greater likelyhood of good outcomes.

The lack of poor training doesn't mitigate the fault on the cops in question. Who should be sued along with
the university. However the greater share of blame lies with the people who perpetuate the state of affairs and
that's where change should occur to reach a productive goal. Beyond saying "cops are dicks" and such.
But if it seems I'm all over the board, it's because I'm not rebutting anyone's position specifically.

Thanks, Chuckles

"I think the error should be on the side of "reaching for a cell phone" rather than "reaching for a gun OMG I'd better shoot her." -posted by zoogleplex

Unquestionably. Unfortunately there's a goofy gun culture skewing the laws out of kilter with reality.
And I'm more pro-gun than Wayne.
But I think a lot of good cops know that.
Bad cops...always seem to not know much of anything.
posted by Smedleyman at 1:16 AM on November 19, 2006


The lack of poor training doesn't mitigate the fault on the cops in question. Who should be sued prosecuted
posted by grouse at 5:15 AM on November 19, 2006


Hey, your cops also taser epileptics! Now that's what I call equal-opportunity in action!
posted by five fresh fish at 12:18 PM on November 19, 2006


Fuck the police? No, fuck you.

Edgy, in a bent-over, cheeks-spread, position-assuming kind of way.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:35 PM on November 19, 2006


UCLA Bruin Student Newspaper: UCLA community gathers to protest Taser incident, campus violence.

University of California Police Department (UCPD) Taser Policy [PDF]
posted by ericb at 7:47 PM on November 19, 2006


Well, that is, apart from the guys that dispatched a helicopter then had a car on the scene in three minutes when a friend found herself in her home alone with a bugler.

Yeah. Reveille is like that.
posted by felix betachat at 8:33 PM on November 19, 2006


Officer in Taser case identified:
The UCLA police officer videotaped last week using a Taser gun on a student also shot a homeless man at a campus study hall room three years ago and was earlier recommended for dismissal in connection with an alleged assault on fraternity row, authorities said.

UCLA police confirmed late Monday that the officer who fired the Taser gun was Terrence Duren, who has served in the university's Police Department for 18 years.

Duren, who was named officer of the year in 2001, also has been involved in several controversial incidents on campus.
[emphasis added]
posted by grouse at 2:30 AM on November 21, 2006


Shameful.

Sounds like the kid is going to land on his feet with this lawsuit. Maybe he'll negotiate a reasonable payment for the abuse, and the dismissal and public condemnation of asshat Duren.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:59 PM on November 21, 2006


In other news...
posted by homunculus at 9:39 AM on November 22, 2006


In case anyone is still watching this thread, turns out he's not a Muslim, he's a Bahá'í.
posted by camcgee at 10:33 PM on November 22, 2006


I'm still watching, and thanks. So his people left Iran, where they were persecuted as Bahai, to come here and be tasered as generic towelheads persons of color. The ironies just keep getting thicker.
posted by languagehat at 6:36 AM on November 23, 2006


camcgee writes ", turns out he's not a Muslim, he's a Bahá'í ."

Too bad that most of the people who would assume he's Muslim from looking at him aren't going to know or care about the difference.
posted by Mitheral at 8:45 AM on November 23, 2006


I've met a lot of people while travelling who claimed disingenously to be Bahá'í, simply because it was the vogue thing to do if you're part of the "more environmentally and spiritually conscious than thou" crowd. It gives me a lot more respect for people who genuinely follow the faith.
As a corrolary, where did the notion that he was muslim come from? Was it the officers tasering him who labeled him so, or was it the news media?
posted by tehloki at 1:59 PM on November 23, 2006


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