UCLA Protests Against Tazering Today at Noon

Found this left in the comments of a Live Journal entry regarding Tuesday night’s tazering of UCLA student Mostafa Tabatabainejad by campus police:

protest against police brutality at UCLA
Friday, November 17, 2006
Time: 12:00pm – 1:00pm
Venue: Kerckhoff Steps on BruinWalk
Street: 308 Westwood Plaza
City: Los Angeles, CA

The National Iranian American Council is also calling for an “External Investigation of Brutal Abuse Against Iranian American UCLA Student”.

As mentioned in the comments of Spencer’s initial post, while it appears most students are appalled by the incident, there’s the occasional person who feels that tazering someone as a method to get them to move is perfectly fine.

LiveJournaler CMCurry writes in an open letter to Mostafa Tabatabainejad that “Campus libraries are not public libraries and the rules are a little different.”

Are you really surprised that you got a first-hand look at action/reaction, cause/effect or deed/consequence? Getting pissy with police officers is not really a smart move. I would have hoped that a college student like yourself would have known that little factoid before doing the tazered tango on the floor of the library. But maybe you have learned your lesson and you will protest the campus policy about ID checks in their own library through appropriate channels.

A number of items disturb me here, the most trivial being his called the libraries “theirs”. UCLA is, indeed, owned by the public – it isn’t a private school.

CMCurry does bring up a point regarding the students who demanded to see the cops badge numbers, while they were in the middle of an arrest:

You could have waited the few more minutes required to get that knucklehead under control and not mobbed the officers who were simply trying to keep your asses safe.

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14 Replies to “UCLA Protests Against Tazering Today at Noon”

  1. The rent-a-cops were trying to keep the students’ asses safe?

    Hell no they weren’t. They were trying to punish a student who DARED to “sass” them and challenge them. A student whom they could have let go at any time instead of repeatedly tasering him. A student who they screamed at to “GET UP!” about 100 times, but couldn’t get up because they had tasered him more than once! The officers should have been mobbed. The officers were the ones that were out of control, and the student was the one that they other students were trying to keep safe.

    Yes, everyone’s roles were backwards and upside down, and it’s 100% the fault of the rent-a-cops.

  2. Brian,
    UCPD is in fact a real police department, not rent-a-cops.

    If I was in the computer lab on Tuesday night, I sure as hell would have not jumped in. Assault on a police officer is not something I need on my record.

    David,
    I’m leaving camera at about noon. I’ll try and get some photos of the rally beforehand. It’s a Friday, not the best day for a rally, but students are pissed off about this so people might come out.

  3. Oh and more UC students were arrested yesterday at a UC Regents meeting. But none were tazered. And guess what they were doing? They were disrupting a meeting by sitting in. (link).

  4. I didn’t sleep last night because I could hear that boy’s screams in my head, over and over again. What a horrible experience. I hope that somehow this brings about positive social activism at UCLA.

  5. Oh please – couldn’t sleep last night?

    Does no-one else realize that this “kid” is some spoiled man-boy who WANTED this to happen? He baited the cops, refused to play by the rules he agreed to, and is simply delighted now that he’s hit the jackpot and is assured a multi-million dollar settlement.

    Just wait till all the other trendy “activist” kids who just want so badly to have a “cause” to support flock like sheep to the protests….

  6. “Sick of this” is right. Both sides were being assholes. One asshole had a taser though.

    Now this blog will have this big post with all of these pictures from the protest and how this was wrong. It was. But the student was a wannabee activist too pushing it too far for no reason.

  7. But the student was a wannabee activist too pushing it too far for no reason.

    That doesn’t make it okay for the UCPD to Taser him unless his actions fit their guidelines for when it’s acceptable to Taser a suspect. You can all argue however much you want about whether he “deserved” it, or whether he was an activist, or whether he was spoiled, but that’s not the point.

    Tasers aren’t toys, and they’re not casual tools to be used when an officer doesn’t feel like dealing with a suspect. It doesn’t matter if he was a crackhead trying to sleep in the stacks. Unless they can’t detain him by other means there’s no justification to use a Taser on him. Arguing about whether he was a spoiled kid is as much banner-waving misdirection as arguing that he was Tasered just for being muslim.

  8. If the police felt the student was involved in some criminal activity, they had the right to detain him. But it sounds like their probable suspicion of such activity is weak. They asked him to leave and he was on his way out when this occurred.

    Whatever the student did (talk back? not show id? stay too long at the library?) he certainly didn’t assault anyone. TAZERS ARE NOT CATTLE PRODS FOR HUMANS. The police should not have used their tazers once, let alone five times. There were more than enough officers there to carry him out if that’s what they felt was necessary. They chose instead to use violence as punishment for not respecting their authority.

  9. I’ve read this on here, and in comments on a UCLA athletics blog…along the lines of “he was being a jerk, so you could expect the cops to react like that.”

    I find that argument disgusting, not too far removed from “well, did you see how she was dressed, she was asking for it.”

    No one deserves to be assaulted, no matter how you think they were acting. I think it says something about how our police departments perform that people aren’t surprised when they violently act out and seemingly cross the line of what is legal.

  10. Good point that Tazers are not cattle prods form people.

    The thinking on Tazer use is that it keeps the police and the (alleged) suspects from physical altercation. Having to use restraint or grappling with a person puts both the officer and the individual at risk for further escalation. Unfortunately, officers only respond as well as they are trained. I suspect that these officers have been taught to use the Tazer and pepper spray when in doubt and more quickly than they should.

    Yelling at the cops and disobeying their orders is going to get you arrested (they’ll let the courts figure out if you’re guilty of a crime or not), but if you act angry, they’ll assume that putting hands on you is going to start a fight. In years past that meant 2 or 3 officers jumping on you or battons a swinging.

    Again, not an excuse for any particular incident, just hoping to shed light on the mind-set for it’s use.

  11. I didn’t get to go to the rally because I had to catch a flight at LAX. The amount of newsvans there was more than I’ve ever seen for a rally or even an athletic event. According to the Daily Bruin, the count was about 400 people, but a friend said it was 600 and a few provateurs led an impromptu march to the UCPD offices on Westwood Boulevard.

    As I left, I heard some of the chants “1-2-3, don’t Tazer me” (or something like that), and “who’s university? our university!” I also heard that people had shirts or placards with “I’m a student, don’t Tazer me.”

  12. Tazering of Iranian UCLA student

    Nothing like this could have happened when my present wife was getting her masters degree at UC Berkley and I was a student taking courses at UCLA extension in the sixties. If it had the protests would have involved thousands not hundreds and the tires on police cars might have been punctured at least. If officers today were sued individually in addition to the department and they lost their homes they might not be so quick to do what they did in the future.

    We would not agree to contribute to our alumni associations if asked until the officers are suspended without pay pending completion of an investigation. If they were found to have used
    Unecessory and excessive force they should be FIRED.

    The Iranian student probably had difficulties prior the this incident just for being Iranian and that may have been when he didn’t want to show his ID, as there has been a vicious campaign to demonize Iran and Muslims with hate speech in the US media.

    The storm trooper federally sponsored militarization of all police and private guards seems to have achieved their goals.

    Tasering handcuffed suspects has been increasing even of small children and even the elderly.

    I imagine it is very painful especially with repeated tasering and is a favorite method of torturing. There have been deaths as a result. Amnesty International says, there have been 156 such deaths from Taser use in the past five years. … http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/12042784

    Even when a large person is tasered find it impossible to get to their feet. The officers at the university kept yelling “get up, get up” when they KNEW the student could not, so they could
    charge him with resisting an officer.

    These officers should take a close look in their mirrors and ask themselves how much of their
    Basic humanity has been trained out of them, especially when they have not been harmed in any way themselves?

    They must know that much worse may be required of them in the near future and should decide
    NOW where is their personal “LINE IN THE SAND, that they will not cross before all traces of humanity is gone and just say NO, this is too much, count me out from now on.

    Tom Green

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