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Students Put UCLA Taser Video On YouTube 1583

dircha writes "As widely reported, an incident in which Iranian-American student Mostafa Tabatabainejad was tasered up to five times by UCLA police on Friday, has been captured by a fellow student using a video enabled cell phone and published to YouTube. From the Daily Bruin: 'At around 11:30 p.m. Tuesday, Tabatabainejad, a fourth-year Middle Eastern and North African studies and philosophy student, was asked to leave the library for failing to present his BruinCard during a random check. The 23-year-old student was hit with a Taser five times when he did not leave quickly and cooperatively upon being asked to do so.' In a story which has raised concerns of racial profiling, police brutality and the health risks of taser use, the ubiquity of video cell phone technology has given us a first hand record of an incident which might otherwise have been a he-said, she-said affair. While the publishing of the video to YouTube has given the issue compelling popular exposure beyond the immediate campus community."
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Students Put UCLA Taser Video On YouTube

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 21, 2006 @01:45AM (#16925772)
    The UCPD is not a part of the LAPD. The UCPD is a separate law enforcement agency with the same powers as CHP officers run by the University of California.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 21, 2006 @01:47AM (#16925790)
    first hand account [tuckermax.com]
    Yes, I was indeed at Powell Library at approximately 11:30 on Tuesday night, and yes I did see the entire event as it went down.

    Let me start off by saying that the guy DEFINITELY was asking to get his ass kicked. He was being extremely rude with the campus patrol guys (who are college students...this was before the real UCPD got called in). He was not complying with their requests to leave the premises, and he was definitely itching for a fight. I actually know the guy and a few of his friends, and I can tell you that he's the kind of guy that loves to make trouble.

    Just as a little backstory, one of the quotes the guy has on his facebook (which he now has taken down) was "I like to find the most difficult solutions to the simplest of problems".

    He definitely taunted the UCPD into behaving the way they did with him.

  • Re:Sick (Score:0, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 21, 2006 @01:56AM (#16925870)
    That's simply not true. For one thing, the tasers used were set on "drive stun" mode, which is not the full shock. Furthermore, even people who have been stunned on full power are usually able to stand up quickly. The point of a taser is to cause intense pain that quickly goes away, inducing the victim to cooperate in order to avoid further shocks.
  • by breadboy21 (856238) on Tuesday November 21, 2006 @01:56AM (#16925876)
    The term electrocution cannot be used except to refer to death by electric shock. Non-fatal shocking is not electrocution.
  • by SuperKendall (25149) on Tuesday November 21, 2006 @02:02AM (#16925942)
    After being shocked, Yes [youtube.com] he could well be able to stand - after all, he was more than lucid enough to verbally harrass the officers around him complaining about the patriot act...

    Part of the problem is if he refuses to get up, you cannot drag him to arrest him - he must stand so he can be removed. What we cannot see in the video was how much the person may or may not have resisted being pulled to his feet to take him away, he could well have been twisting pretty wildly.
  • by MSG (12810) on Tuesday November 21, 2006 @02:05AM (#16925966)
    It's supposed to prove that the police committed a gross abuse of their power. Tasers aren't equipment for "correcting" the uncoperative, they're intended to incapacitate dangerous persons without the use of deadly force. There was no reason to use a taser on that student.
  • by aitikin (909209) on Tuesday November 21, 2006 @02:05AM (#16925970)
    I really shouldn't even bother, but here goes:

    First of all, how many people do you know that first of all would go through the trouble of getting tased just to get one belief out there? Second of all, how many people do you know that actually expect to get videoed just because they're shouting their beliefs in the library? Third, how many "morons" do you know that become "rich" because they saying what they felt was true so they were tased by police 5 times? Furthermore, he was tased while on the ground being told if he didn't get up he'd be tased again!

    According to an article by Silja J.A. Talvi [inthesetimes.com], "People who have experienced the effect of a Taser typically liken it to a debilitating, full-body seizure, complete with mental disorientation and loss of control over bodily functions."

    So next time you think you're going to be wise and bitch about how people can make so much money off of such an easy thing, try it before you do it!
  • by falcon5768 (629591) <Falcon5768@com c a s t.net> on Tuesday November 21, 2006 @02:07AM (#16926004) Journal
    If you listen to the tape, after the first incident he stopped resisting, the cops on the otherhand continued to tazer him because he wouldnt (in their eyes) get up despite police protocol being very clear that it can take 10 - 15 minutes for a suspect to get over being tazered.

    The second time was questionable, the third fourth and fifth equals them going after him and attacking him. Add in more than one witness being threatened by the cops for filming and or asking their badge number (which by law every cop in the entire country MUST do regardless of who they are and whatever the officers claim)and its quite clear the officers where untrained in a potential riot situation, or where out for blood after the students started questioning their motives and thought that the easiest way to scare of the gathering crowd of 40-60 people would be to torture the suspect in front of them.

    Fortunately for all involved all three officers are likely losing their jobs as well as their chief and the intern chancellor for starters.

  • Re:Bystanders (Score:3, Informative)

    by From A Far Away Land (930780) on Tuesday November 21, 2006 @02:12AM (#16926052) Homepage Journal
    They did try, didn't you hear them saying "officer, I want your name and badge number". There were claims I read that students asking for that were threatened with arrest. If they'd rushed the police, there could have been deaths - the crowd handled it as best they could, short of calling for backup themselves, or chanting something to get the police to feel intimidated and back off temporarily.
  • by jjohnson (62583) on Tuesday November 21, 2006 @02:20AM (#16926126) Homepage
    To be in the library you're required to present student ID on request by staff. He said he didn't have his on him. He refused to leave when staff told him to, so they called campus security, who told him to leave. He still refused, and the police were summoned.

    According to other articles, at the time the video starts, he'd stood up and starting walking towards the door. One of the cops grabbed his arm to escort him, he yanked his arm away and yelled "don't touch me!" Whether or not he then passively resisted leaving by going limp, or was simply thrown down and tasered, depends on who you ask.
  • Re:Bystanders (Score:3, Informative)

    by heli0 (659560) on Tuesday November 21, 2006 @02:22AM (#16926138)
    What's up with all the sheeple standing around watching?


    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bystander_effect [wikipedia.org]
  • Tasered in handcuffs (Score:2, Informative)

    by SilverJets (131916) on Tuesday November 21, 2006 @02:29AM (#16926196) Homepage
    Watch the video again. As they are going out the door telling him to stand up the officer tasers him. He is in handcuffs/restraints. It is not justified. Rehearsed rants or no rehearsed rants, tasering him when he is already restrained is excessive force.
  • by ET_Fleshy (829048) <lespeaNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday November 21, 2006 @02:57AM (#16926456)
    Haven't heard anybody mention it yet, but the kid was handcuffed when they were shocking him. That, according to multiple claim-to-know people, is against pretty much every district's / precinct's rules.

    Also, the guy was in the process of leaving when the officer(s?) grabbed his arm, that's why he shouts out "let go of me." Now I agree that the guy probably shouldn't have been such an asshole when he was asked to leave the first time, which provoked the staff to call the "cops," but he definitely didn't deserve any of this.

    Also, "this is your patriot act!" --> wtf???
  • by crossmr (957846) on Tuesday November 21, 2006 @03:17AM (#16926650) Journal
    Unless it appears people are respond to him no. In the beginning a crowd gathered (natural when something is going on). However they didn't become unruly until the Police overstepped their bounds.
    Had they just arrested him quietly in the overwhelming numbers they had, then this wouldn't have occurred.

    It was their poor choice that lead to the escalation of the situation and the danger it created. The guy acted like an asshole, they're trained to deal with it. They chose to obviously ignore that training and throw caution to the wind and go with the most violent and reaction inducing method out there short of shooting him or beating him.

    If a police officer grabs you for no good reason then its assault and/or false arrest/confinement.
    Just because they're police officers doesn't mean they can go around grabbing whoever they want for whatever reason just because they feel like it.

    He may have told the security guard he wasn't going to leave, but he was in the process of leaving when the police arrived and grabbed him. As far as I understand trespass law, if he was making his way towards the nearest exit, he should have been fine.

  • by localman (111171) on Tuesday November 21, 2006 @03:20AM (#16926672) Homepage
    The current taser models override the voluntary muscle nerve impulses and cause the body to tense for the duration it's firing. Once it's off you're back to normal within a few seconds, with the exception of the adrenaline rush.

    This isn't what I've seen. Just last month an acquaintance of mine, a police officer in Indiana, offered to dress like Keith Richards and be tasered on stage for five seconds while "Start Me Up" played. No, I'm serious... it was a contest put on by a radio station to give away backstage passes for the Stones concert: whoever did the craziest thing, determined by judges and crowd reaction, got the tickets.

    Anyways, he had been tasered before as part of his training, so this was his second time. The MC shot him across stage with the electrodes (they go quite far) and then juiced him for five seconds straight. He stiffened like a board and two bouncers helped him to fall safely face down on the ground. And there he lay for at least 30 seconds wihout moving: despite his best efforts, he could not get up. In fact, the crowd was mostly silent and occasionally gasping as we thought he might be dead. Eventually, with the help of the bouncers he was able to regain his feet. He won the tickets. But he was moving in slow motion for another 15-30 minutes and complained that he felt like shit for the rest of the night.

    In any case, I'm just saying that when they turn off the taser, at least some of the time, the victim cannot get right back up as you claim. So telling someone "get up or I'll taser you again" is absolutely moronic.

    Cheers.
  • by dthree (458263) <chaosliteNO@SPAMhotmail.com> on Tuesday November 21, 2006 @03:34AM (#16926816) Homepage
    And did you catch the part near the end when the cop tells one of the students standing there watching that if he doesn't step back he will get tasered, too?
  • by Scudsucker (17617) on Tuesday November 21, 2006 @03:35AM (#16926824) Homepage Journal
    I assume this [cnn.com] is what you're talking about. Yeah, the cop screamed at him to get up, the man started to get up, and the cop shot him three times - chest, leg and shoulder. The man, Elio Carrion, is lucky to be alive, and that cop belongs in prison for attempted murder.
  • by GreyPoopon (411036) <gpoopon@NosPAm.gmail.com> on Tuesday November 21, 2006 @03:43AM (#16926886)
    The second time they tased him, I would've gotten as many students as I could together, pulled the police off of him and formed a circle around him several layers deep if necessary.
    Better think twice about that. Best case, you would have been expelled from the university. Most likely, you would have been arrested yourself, and there's a better than even chance that you or one of the students who helped you would end up being shot. I really don't think you want to turn what was a clear incident involving police brutality into the death of one or more students. The student who filmed the thing on his phone did the right thing. In the end, I'm pretty sure that three police officers will be making a career change and the victim, should he choose to file suit, will be sucking the police department dry.
  • by Dun Malg (230075) on Tuesday November 21, 2006 @03:49AM (#16926926) Homepage
    True, but which one gets to be the first to get stabbed in the leg with a pair of scissors?
    He was handcuffed.
  • by Walt Dismal (534799) on Tuesday November 21, 2006 @04:46AM (#16927444)
    The 'tasers' were the small close-range type, not the dart with wires type. You could hear the air-discharge from close point-electrodes even over the cellphone video audio. The problem is, this type is not as current-controlled as the official Taser brand-name type, and it is easy for a fool to pass enough current into the chest to actually cause heart defibrillation if he applies it incautiously on the torso. These weapons should not have been in security guard hands. Hell, they should not even be available for sale unlicensed, but they are, widely. Plenty of cheap Asian import models all over, unregulated. Even been used by muggers and rapists.

    Maybe it's time to start wearing copper-mesh-impregnated shirts if this is the wave of the future.

  • from the latims (Score:5, Informative)

    by mtenhagen (450608) on Tuesday November 21, 2006 @05:06AM (#16927586) Homepage
    he 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.

    In an interview with The Times on Monday night, Duren, 43, defended his record as a campus police officer and urged people to withhold judgment until the review of his Taser use is completed.

    "I patrol this area the same way I would want someone to patrol the neighborhoods where I live," he said. "People make allegations against cops all the time. Saying one thing and proving it are two different things."

    While he would not directly talk about why he used the Taser on the student, he said a videotape of any arrest doesn't necessarily tell the whole story.

    "If someone is resisting, sometimes it's not going to look pretty taking someone into custody," he said. "If you have to use some force, it's not going to look pretty. That's the nature of this job."

    A student's cellphone video of the incident has been broadcast around the world and focused much criticism on the officer.

    But Duren -- who was back on duty at the UCLA campus Monday night -- said he can roll with these punches and wants to explain himself to students critical of his actions.

    "In this line of business, you have to have a thick skin," he added. "I am proud of my service as a cop."

    The incident occurred about 11 p.m. Nov. 14 in a library filled with students studying for midterm examinations.

    Senior Mostafa Tabatabainejad, 23, was asked by Duren and other university police officers for his ID as part of a routine nightly procedure to make sure that everyone using the library after 11 p.m. is a student or otherwise authorized to be there.

    Authorities said Tabatabainejad refused repeated requests to provide identification or to leave. The officers decided to use the Taser to incapacitate Tabatabainejad after he went limp while they were escorting him out and after he urged other library patrons to join his resistance, according to the university's account.

    The video shows portions of the incident, in which Tabatabainejad can be heard screaming in pain when the Taser shocks are administered.

    The tape, which has been broadcast on the YouTube website and TV newscasts, prompted widespread criticism both on campus and from outsiders. On Friday, more than 200 students held a march to the police station, while acting Chancellor Norman Abrams tried to quell the critics by announcing an independent investigation of the Taser use. Abrams said UCLA had received numerous e-mails and calls from concerned alumni and parents.

    Tabatabainejad's attorney, Stephen Yagman, said his client was shocked five times with the Taser after he refused to show his ID because he thought he was being singled out for his Middle Eastern appearance. Tabatabainejad is of Iranian descent but is a U.S. citizen by birth and a resident of Los Angeles.

    Duren said Monday that he joined the UCLA police force after being fired from the Long Beach Police Department in the late 1980s. He said he was a probationary officer at the time and was let go because of poor report-writing skills and geographical knowledge.

    In May 1990, he was accused of using his nightstick to choke someone who was hanging out on a Saturday in front of a UCLA fraternity. Kente S. Scott alleged that Duren confronted him while he was walking on the street outside the Theta Xi fraternity house.

    Scott sued the university, and according to court records, UCLA officials moved to have Duren dismissed from the police force. But after an independent administrative hearing, officials ove
  • by Achromatic1978 (916097) <{ten.eulbamorhc} {ta} {trebor}> on Tuesday November 21, 2006 @05:12AM (#16927632)
    Err, yes. Fuck.
  • by Nasarius (593729) on Tuesday November 21, 2006 @05:23AM (#16927732)
    I posted a similar comment when the video got mentioned on DailyKos. I suggested that one might be able to avoid the charge of assaulting a police officer by pulling the guy who was tased away from the wannabe-fascist cops -- by using the common civil disobedience protest tactic of "de-arresting" someone. You get everyone in the immediate area to put their arms around his body and don't let go, and just drag him away. Make two cops try to arrest a dozen people all holding on to eachother. Oh, and then get the hell out of there.
  • Ridiculous (Score:5, Informative)

    by Mad-cat (134809) on Tuesday November 21, 2006 @05:29AM (#16927752) Homepage
    *disclaimer: I haven't seen the video due to restricted net access*
    It's this sort of crap that's going to get a very useful and life-saving tool taken away from cops who use it right.

    There's no reason to deploy a taser on someone who is ALREADY ON THE GROUND AND NO LONGER FIGHTING!

    I have used my taser as a police officer twice. The first time, the wires broke on contact and I had to chase him. The second time, the guy fell to the ground and became verbally and physically compliant.

    Tasers cannot be used as FREAKING CATTLE PRODS! They're a sophisticated, useful tool that is meant to incapacitate a VIOLENT criminal in order to protect *both* the officer and the offender from serious bodily injury. When deployed in a sensible, responsible fashion, tasers save lives. When used 3 to 5 times on a compliant subject on the ground, they don't help.

    In Florida (where I am a sworn law enforcement officer), most agencies are not allowed to use a taser unless a subject is actively resisting arrest (i.e. fighting and/or running away). A large powerful agency nearby was using them on everyone for passive resistance (i.e. "I'm Ofc. Jones, who are you?" "Screw you pig!" *taser*)
  • by Shaper_pmp (825142) on Tuesday November 21, 2006 @06:15AM (#16928048)
    "The current taser models override the voluntary muscle nerve impulses and cause the body to tense for the duration it's firing. Once it's off you're back to normal within a few seconds, with the exception of the adrenaline rush."

    Ummmmm... no [tbotech.com].

    Tasers work by using electrical shocks to rapidly contract and release your muscles. This has the very short-term effect of making you lose voluntary control of those muscles, but it also depletes the ATP (your muscles' "fuel"). A half-second burst will make you twitch violently and go "Ow". A 1-2 second burst will daze your attacker. 3-2 seconds will cause loss of balance, disorientation, and will leave you "passive and confused" for several minutes.

    A decent taser jolt (or, say, 5 or so jolts in quick succession) will effectively empty your muscles of ATP - your muscles literally have no fuel to contract, so you simply can't move them. Once the tazing stops your body will begin to resupply ATP to the muscles faster than it's being used up... but you'll be weak, shaky and possibly incapable of walking or standing up for several minutes.

    "Almost everyone is able to get right back up if they choose to do so, especially if people are trying to pull them up from under the arms as it appears those officers were trying to do at one point in the video."

    You've obviously read simplified reports of what happens when someone is given a single half-second burst. This is not the case for longer or repeated bursts.
  • by spge (783687) on Tuesday November 21, 2006 @06:20AM (#16928088) Homepage
    That may well be the case but, as far as I can make out from the reports, this student was tasered in a different way from your acquaintance, without the electrodes being shot at him. I believe that the 'drive stun' option, where the taser is used to touch the target/victim, is less traumatic and is "like a punch". I can't say that I would find being punched by a police man five times would clam me down any, though.
  • by Casual Maritime (1023535) on Tuesday November 21, 2006 @06:50AM (#16928254)
    I'm not sure where you get your information from, but University of California police officers are state police. They have the same authority that other state police officers (such as highway patrolmen) have to arrest or detain.
  • by Kijori (897770) <ward DOT jake AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday November 21, 2006 @06:53AM (#16928272)
    Except that he was on his way out when the campus police grabbed him. And they continued using force long after he was a threat, unless you count one handcuffed boy a threat to three police officers. This is like the guy that was handcuffed, put in the back of a cruiser, and then sprayed in the face with OC. The officer responsible, incidentally, was reinstated despite multiple witnesses testifying to a clear case of police brutality.
  • Re:Iranian Bigot (Score:3, Informative)

    by L4m3rthanyou (1015323) on Tuesday November 21, 2006 @07:32AM (#16928506)

    Whoa, slow down there.

    Yes, the student was carded randomly, around 11:30 PM, in a library that is only for students, at least after hours. And not just in the library, from what I understand, but in the computer lab, where (iirc) there is a posted policy that you must have your BruinCard if you're using the lab.

    This town has a lot of homeless people and the campus has a lot of younger kids running around, also. For security, it is necessary to do these random checks at night and remove people who are not supposed to be there.

    And besides, how is one's privacy invaded if they're asked to prove that they're a student in an area that requires ID anyway? It's not any more of an invasion of privacy to have to swipe that same card to open the door to a dorm building, call the elevator, let yourself into a dining hall, or even enter your res hall after hours. The UCLA BruinCard is critical to access just about anything on campus, including said computer lab. I'm sure most campuses are the same way...

  • Re:Iranian Bigot (Score:3, Informative)

    by L4m3rthanyou (1015323) on Tuesday November 21, 2006 @08:05AM (#16928720)
    Not allowed. The library itself is closed entirely to non-students after 11PM. Hell, you can't even bring non-student guests into your dorm with you after 9PM unless you sign them in as a guest. There are people waiting in the lobby that check in anyone who passes through.

    They take student security very seriously here.
  • Re:A taser (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 21, 2006 @08:30AM (#16928886)
    He wasn't "resisting with all his might"; he was limp. Not even the police dispute that.
  • by weave (48069) on Tuesday November 21, 2006 @08:31AM (#16928894) Journal

    Further, had the student had any sort of pre-existing medical condition

    The student did yell out "I have a medical condition" after the first shot.

  • Both; neither. (Score:4, Informative)

    by Kadin2048 (468275) <slashdot.kadin@xox[ ]et ['y.n' in gap]> on Tuesday November 21, 2006 @08:43AM (#16928982) Homepage Journal
    I think it's like they're campus security, but then they went and got themselves deputized as police officers. So the have police powers and can act like police, and do most of the things that you'd expect police can do, but they get paid for and have their equipment provided by (and probably, their area of jurisdiction limited to) the University of California.

    It's not uncommon for the 'Campus Security' forces at a lot of state universities to be deputized. The universities want "actual" police protection, as opposed to more powerless rent-a-cops, but the local municipalities don't want to pay for more police officers out of the tax budget, or divert police resources from the rest of the community, so basically the universities run a quasi-private police force.

    Arrangements like this are more common than you think. On railroads, the Amtrak Police or other transit police ("bulls") are privately employed, but have police powers within their area of jurisdiction. In California, bus companies can do similar things. (At least they could, a while ago.) In most states, they also have to complete regular police training at the State police academy or pass an equivalency test. WP has an interesting discussion here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transit_police [wikipedia.org]

    Basically, the line between 'security officers' and 'police' is blurrier than many people think, and has been for a long time. This isn't a bad thing -- the municipally-employed police don't have the resources to do many of the things that transit/metro/campus police forces do, and it saves a lot of public tax burden as well.
  • by LooseIsNotLose (917231) on Tuesday November 21, 2006 @09:16AM (#16929270)
    A foreign student was repeatedly tortured in front of a crowd of students by the police.

    Minor quibble, because otherwise I agree--this was an *American* student. He's of Iranian descent, but that doesn't make him foreign.

  • Re:Iranian Bigot (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 21, 2006 @09:19AM (#16929296)
    You honestly believe that being tasered 5 times is the appropriate reaction for not producing your papers on demand?

    You are right. Being tasered 5 times after not showing your papers is NOT the appropriate reaction.

    However, that is not the reason he was tased.

    After being told to leave, he wasn't making much progress to the door. At this time, one of the guards put his hand on the guys arm, to which the guy responded by yelling at him, falling to the ground, and going completely limp.

    There, right there, is where he went from "nuisance" to "potential threat".

    Anything security does that this point to remove him forcefully puts them in a vulnerable position. They plead with him to stand up and leave. He refuses. This goes on for a minute or so after which they warn him "Stand up and leave or you will be tasered." He still refuses to comply. At each point, the officers told him exactly what was going to happen and exactly what he needed to do to prevent it. He chose not to.

    All he had to do was leave. Instead, he chose to make himself a threat to security and to those students around him.

    That is why he was tasered.
  • by intheshelter (906917) on Tuesday November 21, 2006 @09:57AM (#16929694)
    You don't see police brutality? There was absolutely NO reason for them to user a taser on him. By every account I've read he simply went limp and offered passive resistance. Shouting is not a reason to use a taser. Besides, your argument that he might "run, shoot, attack, beserk (is that a verb I'm not aware of), maim, etc." is ridiculous. HE WAS ALREADY HANDCUFFED!! And as for your "Protect a total stranger who has refused to show ID and refused to leave ". He shouldn't have to show an ID unless he is doing something wrong. They approached him and asked him for an ID for no reason. I don't see he is under an obligation to show an ID. And, he did not refuse to leave. He was walking out when the police arrived. They could have let him walk out. There was no reason to detain him, no reason to use a taser on him. "I was more afraid for the cops". Give me a break, they kid was in handcuffs. Your arguments aren't even credible. We have GOT to rise up and take back this nation. I really wish those kids would have rushed the cops. I'm tired of cops having carte blanche to treat people like shit. 50 bucks says the cops get off scott-free. I'll bet the kid gets some money, and he deserves it, but that is still not justice. Those cops should be fired and put in jail themselves.
  • by TheGreek (2403) on Tuesday November 21, 2006 @10:33AM (#16930118)
    Perhaps you forgot, but police don't convict people, only arrest them. Whether he would have been found guilty for trespassing in an area where he was allowed to be (he just didn't have his ID on him - "comrade, show us your papers or prepare to be tased!") is debatable, to say the least.
    That's great. That "comrade" thing was real classy, too.

    The only problem with your argument is that the library staff asked him for his ID. Upon his refusal to produce it, they asked him to leave. He became a trespasser prima facie the second he refused their request that he leave. It was at this point that UCPD was called and not before.

    From California's definition of Trespass (California Penal Code, Section 602):

    (o) Refusing or failing to leave land, real property, or structures belonging to or lawfully occupied by another and not open to the general public, upon being requested to leave by (1) a peace officer at the request of the owner, the owner's agent, or the person in lawful possession, and upon being informed by the peace officer that he or she is acting at the request of the owner, the owner's agent, or the person in lawful possession, or (2) the owner, the owner's agent, or the person in lawful possession. The owner, the owner's agent, or the person in lawful possession shall make a separate request to the peace officer on each occasion when the peace officer's assistance in dealing with a trespass is requested.
    The library wasn't "open to the general public" when the complaint was made. I'm also pretty sure that the library has policies that allow the staff to eject jackasses like this guy. Absent any evidence--at the time--that he was entitled to be there, he was trespassing.
  • by Kijori (897770) <ward DOT jake AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday November 21, 2006 @10:47AM (#16930372)

    I didn't try to claim the video shows everything, it doesn't. I know he was handcuffed, I just believe that should have happened much earlier - and that once he was handcuffed he shouldn't have been tased.

    According to all the sources, the officers were using the "drive stun" mode of the taser. Rather than using the famous barbs, this simply functions like any other stun gun, requiring the officer shocking him to bend down over him to use the weapon. As with all uses of stun guns, it causes extreme pain, and uses a mixture of pain and nerve disruption to subdue a resisting offender - although it is worth noting that this particular application focuses mostly on the pain aspect. Considering that there were at least three armed officers present and that the suspect was on the floor shouting not "nonsense" or incitement (this is an accusation made by the officers - it isn't born out by the video and is directly contradicted by the students), but rather screaming that he had been trying to leave and begging them not to hit him with it again. What possible reason could there be for tasing him three times before handcuffing him? What possible reason could there be for tasing a handcuffed person? And if the officers were so blameless, why did they threaten witnesses asking for their badge numbers?

    Yet another hint - once the police have been called for trespassing, "cooperating" doesn't involve trying to run away when you're being questioned.

    He didn't try to run away. He was trying to leave. And he was trying to leave not because the police were trying to question him, but because he had been told to leave. By all available accounts, he was on his way out when he was stopped by the police (I can't seem to find a police response). When accosted by the police he didn't try to run, he fell limply to the floor - hardly a perfect response, but not one that I would immediately associate with violent intent! If the police were trying to handcuff him, they could have asked him to put his hands flat on the floor. They could have overpowered him. They could have used their taser to subdue him and then handcuff him. Instead, they chose to tase him over and over again first. Why?

    I don't claim to have a perfect response to the situation. But if I was a police officer, supported by two of my colleagues, I hope I would have behaved well enough to be comfortable giving out my badge number instead of threatening the student asking for it.

  • by rizzo420 (136707) on Tuesday November 21, 2006 @10:48AM (#16930374) Homepage Journal
    i think you're a bit confused. according to every account of this incident that i've read, he was in the process of leaving when the police arrived. it sounded like the library people did not really ask him to leave only asked for his ID and when he didn't show it, they called the police, even if he started packing up his things. when the police came, they tried to handcuff him and he said that he was leaving (is it a crime to leave a building that he's allowed to use?).

    they taser him, he falls, yells "i have a medical condition" and they start yelling at him to get up and go with them. meanwhile, they threaten other people who are watching that they will also be tasered. the kid yells something about the patriot act and abuse of power (which it was). he still is having a hard time getting up (although he's not fighting the police, just laying there, hardly resisting). they taser him again. he falls and screams and calls the cops "mother fuckers" (which they probably are). they yell at him to get up right after they stop (meanwhile this kid is in a TON of pain, and if he does, in fact, have a medical condition, he's probably not feeling so hot). they drag him a little more and taser him a third time because he's not getting up.

    now for the icing on the cake, the chancellor of the university basically said that the cops did what they were supposed to, protecting the workers of the library from people who don't carry their student ID on them.
  • Re:Iranian Bigot (Score:3, Informative)

    by Achoi77 (669484) on Tuesday November 21, 2006 @11:40AM (#16931304)
    I just saw the video. That kid was being a total ass. You couldn't count the number of times security was telling him to get up. He didn't, not becuase he couldn't. He just did not because that was his choice. You could even hear other students in the background yelling at him to "just get up!"

    This was not an unsolicited behavior by security, he was the one causing the scene, being disruptive and disobeying authority. If he had is ID everything would have been fine, but he didn't, and he refused to leave. You thing security asked him once and he was on his way out when they decide to stun him? You could tell he was throwing the dramatics out in full force. It was enough yelling and screaming on his part to get students to whip out their video phones, at least.

  • by Sancho (17056) on Tuesday November 21, 2006 @11:55AM (#16931586) Homepage
    You put quite the slant/bias on this post:

    Also, notice how this idiot cop doesn't tell her she's under arrest. He just YELLS at her to get out of the car, then fires.

    First he orders her to step out of the vehicle and then to put the phone down. Then he tells her to put the phone down again. Then he opens the door and grabs her, which she resists. She starts screaming. (Note: so far, the officer has not yelled).

    The policeman draws his gun and orders her out of the car. At this point, he has raised his voice and might be considered to be 'yelling' (after several lawful attempts to get her to step out of the car). He tells her twice more to get out of the car, and says that he will taze her if she does not comply. Once more (3) he tells her to get out of the car. She refuses, he tazes.

    That covers the first 40 seconds of the video. Can you see how that is different from your account? Can you see how you've created a bias in readers who don't go look at the video? This is exactly what radio talk show journalists do, it's exactly what Microsoft does, it's exactly the orwellian doublespeak that people rant about so much on Slashdot, only this time it's got a liberal slant instead of a commercial one. Regardless of the reasonablity of using the taser on this woman (and after resisting several lawful orders while being in a car where weapons can be easily hidden, I'm not sure the initial taze was unjustified), you have created a bias before anyone even clicks your link by implying that the officer didn't even give her a chance to exit the vehicle, or that he only asked her once and waited (who knows how long) before playing with his toy.

    Try to look at things objectively, even when they're very emotional. Try to be rational. Knee-jerk reactions are a pretty big problem these days, and it's up to everyone to remain calm and level-headed when examining a situation like this.
  • by TheGreek (2403) on Tuesday November 21, 2006 @12:07PM (#16931824)
    It's kind of hard to be tresspassing on public property if you are in a common use area of the property unless it is after established hours of business.
    I'll just let UCLA speak for itself [ucla.edu] here:

    UCPD officers became involved after they were asked for help by a community service officer - or CSO -- employed by the library. This is typically the next step in such a situation, since the UCPD officers and our CSOs - which number 123 and are mostly students -- work collaboratively and routinely without incident. A person identified after the incident as a student was repeatedly refusing to comply with the requirement that he show an ID in the library after 11 p.m.

    Showing an ID after 11 p.m. is a longstanding university policy to ensure the safety of all students. It is so routine that many of the students place their IDs on the table next to them so as not to be disturbed.

    The student was clearly told by both the community service officer and, subsequently, the UCPD that if he refused to show his ID, he would have to leave the library.

    When he continued to refuse to do so, officers attempted to escort him out. At this point, the student went limp and, at the same time, encouraged other library patrons to join in his resistance.

    These actions created an urgent situation in which the officers deemed it necessary to touch the student with a Taser that was set in its "drive stun" capacity in order to gain compliance. He was touched -- not "shot" -- with a Taser, which conveyed an electric current.

    He was subsequently arrested for resisting or obstructing a police officer, a misdemeanor. He was released with a citation and issued a court date. The incident is under investigation, and our case will be presented to the City Attorney.

    Not all the events Tuesday night can be heard or viewed on YouTube. Only a complete investigation will tell the whole story. I know we're all looking forward to learning exactly what occurred.

    All use of force incidents require an administrative review of the officers' actions by the department, which is also underway.

    While I am confident of our ability to perform a fair and thorough investigation, I am also cognizant of the need for a transparent review. Therefore, I have recommended to Chancellor Abrams that he appoint an independent investigator to look into the incident.
  • by Niten (201835) on Tuesday November 21, 2006 @12:18PM (#16932118)

    Actually, if I remember correctly, that particular video in which the police officer Tasers said woman out of her car actually became part of a set of training videos intended to demonstrate appropriate behavior for new officers. And there's a good reason for that.

    First of all, this part of the video only catches the tail end of this woman's interaction with the officers. She was originally pulled over by the first officer who, after talking with her for some time and finding her completely uncooperative, called for backup. In response, the woman in the SUV then got on her telephone and tried to summon an acquaintance to come join in on the altercation, a possibility that the officers were rightfully unwilling to allow to unfold.

    So she was already being uncooperative (belligerent, in fact) and, on top of that, she was at the wheel of a (IIRC) still-running vehicle. There have been too many incidents in which a police officer, attempting to extract an uncooperative suspect from a vehicle, has been dragged to the ground and injured when the driver decided to hit the gas; according to the accompanying commentary from the training video, which I can't find at the moment, using the Taser was the best way to remove her from the car while avoiding undue injury to either the suspect or the officer. I agree.

    In this particular case, that woman definitely got what she deserved.

  • Re:Good job UCPD (Score:5, Informative)

    by twiggy (104320) on Tuesday November 21, 2006 @01:00PM (#16933304) Homepage
    Oh, im sorry I zaped you 3 times already and you still won't move. I guess I should just let you go so you get your way. Have a nice day.

    I can't believe how stupid some of you are. Seriously.

    1) If 3 officers are incapable of restraining someone who is resisting verbally but isn't even resisting physically, they shouldn't have a job.

    2) If 3 officers are unable to carry a guy out of there, they shouldn't have a job.

    3) Tasers and other "nonlethal" weapons are meant for self defense against a threat of violence, not for passive (albeit annoying) resistors.

    4) Hey, you dumb fucks wondering why he still wouldn't move after the 3rd time -- many people's muscles are immobilized to the point of being unable to walk for about 10 minutes after the first time.
  • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Tuesday November 21, 2006 @02:34PM (#16935762) Homepage Journal
    But... these are "Campus Police." Security Guards. Rent A Cops. They don't have the legal authority to arrest anyone. I doubt they have the authority to tase anyone unless they're trying to defend themselves or others.

    Look, you don't know what you're talking about like 99% of the people contributing to this thread.

    Point the first: Nearly every school of higher education in California is patrolled by real cops; certainly the public ones are pretty universally covered. Even 12 years ago when I went to community college for the first time, in Soquel California which is a terribly sleepy and practically crimeless (compared to most places in Cali anyway) location, they had real cops on campus - in fact they have their own PD there. This is typical.

    Point the second: Any citizen can arrest anyone they like, including a police officer, if they witness them committing a misdemeanor or have reason to believe that they have committed a felony. The difference between cops and citizens is that cops can also arrest you if they have reason to believe you have committed a misdemeanor (they don't have to witness it) and they can cite you for infractions. That's it. Well, and we give them a license to carry a weapon, but in some places (like New Mexico) that doesn't differentiate them from anyone else.

    In order to arrest someone for trespassing, first they have to be trespassing. All that is required for this is that an agent of the agency owning the property must tell you to leave. Bing! Now, if you do not leave, you are trespassing. At this time, you are committing a misdemeanor, and so anyone who witnesses it can place you under arrest for trespassing, although I wouldn't personally do it unless it was my property because of the potential legal entanglements.

    Once you have placed someone under arrest, you have the legal right to use necessary force to subdue them. Resisting arrest is legally equivalent whether you resist against a police officer or a citizen, although depending on your locality there may be additional laws prohibiting violence against a police officer.

    Point the third: No one has the right to use violence against any other person except in self-defense, defense of another, or as necessary to execute an arrest. The cop grabbed the guy's arm long before any arrest was made - this is simple assault. The guy went limp and fell to the ground rather than get into a shoving match with the cop. This was not only smart, but also the right thing to do. It is a de facto announcement of an intent to avoid violence. No one can argue that he was violent, because he was explicitly passive.

    The taserings also preceded any arrest, making them assault as well. Because a weapon was used, they may be considered aggravated assault, making them more serious crimes. Each attack - the grabbing of the arm and each individual tasering - may be a separate count of assault.

    I hope this clears things up for you, and that next time you save your comments for things you actually know something about. Hell, save them for something you know anything about, unlike the current scenario.

  • Re:Good job UCPD (Score:5, Informative)

    by itsthesmell (1030322) on Tuesday November 21, 2006 @04:27PM (#16938400)
    Tasers and other "nonlethal" weapons are meant for self defense against a threat of violence, not for passive (albeit annoying) resistors

    While I agree that this episode is a pretty clear example of excessive force, the above statement is not accurate. Although my department doesn't use tasers, I presume that the courts consider tasers as occupying the same rung in the ladder of escalating force guidelines as pepper spray. Police officers (I am one) are trained to use non-lethal force options such as these when the arrestee is actively resisting but not threatening violence. Examples of active resistance include fleeing, attempting to break free from a compliance hold, etc. If the officer were actually be threatened with bodily harm, the guidelines stipulate that he should escalate to the baton (as long as the suspect is not himself armed).

    I can't really tell what's going on from the video but if the arrestee was already handcuffed and was simply not walking then use of the taser should not have been authorized. Realistically speaking, the courts tend to give arresting officers a lot of leeway because they feel that it is difficult to judge officers' heat-of-the-moment decisions when one has the benefit of time to weigh and reflect upon the facts. In my opinion, the courts give too much leeway. While there are certainly instances where the best use-of-force decision is not clear, the majortiy of officers make bad decisions not because they're afraid or anxious, but because they are bad officers who are either unable or unwilling to effectively balance law enforcement and constitutional protections.

    The reality of the status-quo is that police work attracts high-school grads and GED's whose priorities are being respected and retiring with a decent pension. As civilians, you have the power to affect this problem. If you want consciencious yet capable officers, you have to pay for them. Force your local politicians to fire and prosecute consistently and have them pay officers enough to attract educated individuals who want to positively affect their communities.

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