The LA Times and Daily Bruin reported yesterday that the names of the UCPD officers involved in last Tuesday’s infamous taser incident have been released. It may not be a surprise to anyone following this past week’s events that the cop who shocked UCLA student Mostafa Tabatainejad has a shady record.
According to the Times, Terrence Duren, has been a UCPD officer since the late 1980s and was charged with excessive force soon after.
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 overturned the dismissal, suspending him for 90 days.
A second incident involving Duren occurred much more recently. I remember it vividly since at the time I was working in Kerckhoff Hall, home to student government, publications and students groups. The Daily Bruin covered the incident and the ensuing trial in detail (Frazier released from hospital, After near dismissal, Frazier heads to trial, Frazier opts to represent himself, Frazier’s mental state questioned):
Police say UCPD Officer Terrence Duren confronted Willie Davis Frazier, Jr. in the Kerckhoff Hall second floor study lounge on Oct. 5 . A physical confrontation ensued and Duren, reportedly in fear for his life, shot Frazier (link).
Frazier was later convicted of assault, but his attorney contends that he was “mentally ill and didn’t do anything to provoke the shooting” (LAT).
I wonder if the outcome of that case would have been different if a student had captured the incident on that Sunday night 3 years ago on his camera phone. Would Duren still be around? Maybe, maybe not. I hope this time administrators don’t second guess themselves and do more than just suspend him for 90 days.
Post updated with more information on Duren’s past, after the jump.
The LA Times reported in yesterday’s story (see link above) that Duren was fired from the Long Beach Police Department in the late ’80s. A contact in the LBPD claimed that Duren never worked thera and offered this summary of Duren’s career.
“A Southern California native, Duren became a police officer nearly 20 years ago after serving in the Marine Corps immediately after high school.
He joined the UCLA police department in 1988, and, at the time a member of the Marine reserves, was called to action in 1991 and served seven months during Operation Desert Storm – the U.S. military operation in Kuwait.
In 2001, Duren, a husband of 19 years and father of two, was named UCLA’s Officer of the Year.
The award is based on the three categories: performance of duties, contributions to the department and a commitment to the goals of community-oriented policing, said UCPD operations lieutenant Manny Garza.
“My support of his recognition as Officer of the Year speaks volumes. He does a very good job for us,” Garza said.”