Monday, November 20, 2006

Tasers, racial profiling, and university libraries

By now most of you have probably heard a bit of the news story coming out of the UCLA campus library, or seen the "shaky footage of a student, 23-year-old Mostafa Tabatabainejad, being tasered — repeatedly — in the library of the University of California, Los Angeles by campus police officers last Tuesday evening."

The NYT weblog "The Lede" has a nice summary of the coverage: "According to most published reports, Mr. Tabatabainejad had been using the library peaceably, but was asked to show an I.D. after 11 p.m., as was policy. His refusal, or reluctance or inability to produce identification — and/or leave the library — escalated into the melee."

The report continues, with video, at The Lede.

1 Comments:

At 6:24 PM, Blogger lwinkle said...

This was really disturbing to watch. I was engrossed but appauled by the footage at the same time; like a passing car wreck, you just can't help but look. Though the student wasn't complying, the police handled the situation horribly, I think. I have two police officers in my family, one of which voluntarily decided to experience the taser. He said it was unbelievable pain, but I applaud his efforts to know first hand the power that is at his disposal. What is the justification for repeatedly tasering him--especially after all the other students in the area started reacting and trying to get involved? The police should have simply carried him out, even if it took four cops to haul him out, instead of adding to the spectacle by insisting he comply. It only fueled the fire, and now it's in the national media. Besides all of the added attention from an ugly event, UCLA will be lucky if there campus police department doesn't get slapped with a lawsuit. Maybe that will prompt a change to the policy that allows tasers to be used on 'passive resisters', maybe that clause in the policy is the underlying problem anyway. U.C.L.A. police are allowed to use Tasers on passive resisters as “a pain compliance technique,” Assistant Chief Jeff Young said in an interview Friday.--from http://thelede.blogs.nytimes.com/2006/11/19/passive-resistance-no-match-for-tasers/

 

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