Student Tasered in UCLA Library

Corrine writes "A student was asked to present ID in the Powell Library computer lab. Upon his failure to do so, he was asked to leave and did not immediately do so. Police Officers were called in, and as he was leaving, he was grabbed and tasered.
The entire incident was caught on a video camera phone. You can read the full story and see the video here." Video also at YouTube. Aside from the funny home videos and show clips, YouTube has made news before for exposing (POSSIBLE) police brutality and intimidation (or even JiffyLube antics). The University of California Police Department said: "All use of force incidents require an administrative review, which is currently under way." Update: 11/16 19:47 GMT by J :More news from the Daily Bruin and the Chancellor.


My favorite part:"Here's your fucking Patriot Act!"Umm, yeah. I know you can't ask people to be at the rhetorical best after being tasered, but seriously? "Here's your Patriot Act"?Frequently when I hurt myself playing basketball I blame Title IX.

Do all of them think you are a jerk?

You state: "Neither the video footage nor eyewitness accounts of the events confirmed that Tabatabainejad encouraged resistance."

The video footage is poor. I see more of computer monitors and some attractive co-ed's callipygian curves than I do of the arrestee. The simple fact that you do not see the arrestee resisting does not mean that he did not do so. Secondarily he offered to leave only after he was detained by police. At that point leaving was not an option as the officers had an affirmative duty to assure his safety, the safety of other students, and finally their own safety. While he may have volunteered to leave after the officers detained him that was too little too late. Every drunk pulled over offers to take a cab; every wife beater offers to go to a hotel. To allow persons under investigation or being interviewed to wander off before the conclusion of the immediate investigation perverts the course of justice.

Eyewitness testimony is unreliable. In the hierarchy of evidence eyewitness evidence ranks low among best evidence.

Even the USDOJ notes in a training manual:

Recent cases in which DNA evidence has been used to exonerate individuals convicted primarily on the basis of eyewitness testimony have shown us that eyewitness evidence is not infallible. Even the most honest
and objective people can make mistakes in recalling and interpreting a witnessed event; it is the nature of human memory.


Your arguments are emotion-filled and from the heart, however they lack the substance that factual argument retains. Your idealism should be tempered with a critical view of the facts and a review of the many sources available to you.

I do envy your idealism, should I be so luck to have retained mine. You have an opportunity to be both idealistic and factually grounded. Act now before you become a realist and pragmatist as I did. You can do better than I if you were only to try.

The video is a great advertisement for computer monitors and little more. Watching it may have been torture, but it is evidentiary pablum.

The concept of what goes around comes around is myth. We live in a society that believes in the rule of law. That applies to this, and every situation not some Nostradamian divination.

I didn't find any unprofessional behavior by the police. I did find the behavior of the arrestee, and the interfering students disgusting.

If you find this evil what can you think of the murder of innocents?

What do I think of the murder of innocents? you ask...I think it is really really deplorably evil to murder innocents.
  This incident is nothing like the murder of innocents. This is simply a public torture. It will serve to keep the others in line.I'll keep the myth of "what comes around goes around". I'll let you have the myth of "the rule of law". Those will likely be our myth-takes...excuse my lisp.For you the video was an advertisement for computer moniters (so you declare)...for me the video started with the timid steps of a frightened person implementing their cell phone camera ...knowing something horrible was happening and feeling the need to take the opportunity to record it but afraid to be seen doing so...hence a lot of video monitors were photographed....and as they gathered courage they snuck up on the focus of the incident....recording a sound track of horror ...that could have been handled many different ways by a competent professionals ...of which these men were not...these kids got angry and demanded their right to know the identity these sadistic men ...they did not get out of line and you could sense their fear and anger.So I empathize and feel compassionate for that incident. Just as you identify and obviously with the big strong men and their magnificent Tasers and embrace their authority and wish to do what they want you to do...finding difficulty perhaps in the idea of refusing their gestures...perhaps you are comforted with the certain knowledge that you are succumbing to the rule of law.Sir you may throw your freedom away as you wish.. You sound as if you have completed that task.Hopefully, these kids will not.
  SUE THE BAST****We have a dramatically different point of view.

How very interesting, odd but interesting.

F*ck off, mcdoneil.

One could be a realist without being inhuman. If being a pragmatist or realist requires inhumanity that permits or encourages assaulting dumbass kids with tasers, then you've lost not only your idealism, but worse, you have lost a lot of your humanity and you would be a lot more at home in Germany circa 1939-45 or Stalinist Russia.Your talk above about how to handle problem people above ("At that point leaving was not an option as the officers had an affirmative duty..." blah, blah) is pedantic drivel because it is not based on real experience. Long ago I've done hospital police work (which I mention in detail in a post today) and as a matter of principle and policy I would never have dreamed of tasering the many problem people - who were druggies and nasties of various types - for their actions, which were worse than anything this college student did, though I would have used violence when there was a real need for it. Only vacuous conservative ideologues who have never had field experience are quick to encourage use of excess force and brutality, sort of like the chickenhawk neocons who have lied us into the Iraqi war.If you bothered to look at all my posts, especially recent ones, you would see I do balance off my assertions with objective factual info, you just choose not to read those.

That was brilliant. However it is mdoneil, not mcdoneil.

Alas I have posted to this thread or I could have used the witty retort moderation.

I nailed that he is not an Arab but indeed Persian. The ABC news story now notes that he is contemplating a lawsuit because he feels he was singled out for his ethnicity.

Odd I though he was singled out because he didn't have his library card.

How nice that you have Godwined the thread.

I would hope that you never dreamed of Tasering problem people when you did hospital police work whatever that might be. It is odd that you would use violence when you did hospital police work. I never resorted to violence when I was a police officer. Certainly I used defensive force when necessary but never violence.

Police officers, at least myself and the others that I worked with never want to have to resort to force because it simply delays an arrest. If you have to fight with an arrestee you can't simply take him to jail but you have to babysit him in the ER for several hours before you can take him to jail. I for one would rather deter crime by being visible on patrol than waste the taxpayers money sitting in the ER with some pinhead who thought biting a cop was a good way to get home from a bar fight.

To suggest that my statements are not based on real experience is odd especially when you claim to have done hospital police work yet you don't recognize the need for officers to assure the safety of the detained person, the library and themselves. What you describe as pedantic drivel is at the core of a police officers duties. How very odd.

I agree. This is clearly just some twat college student trying to get attention.

It's cool. I nailed that you aren't white, you're Irish.

It is not allowed to go unchecked. That is the point. We have laws, and the rule of law that sort these things out in Court. Certainly there are bad police officers, but in our society the good police officers seem to root out the bad.

One can only hope that it remains this way, but I am willing to obey an officer's lawful commands at the expense of a short inconvenience in exchange for a predominantly lawful society.

Not God knows how much electricity. Taser makes the specs available online go to their website if you are interested.

How do you know he is an Arab punk? How do you even know he is Arab looking? His name is not one would consider Arab in fact it seems more Kurdish or Indo-European. Do you have some special faculty for discerning one's genotype from audio recordings or was the few seconds of video enough for you to discern his phenotype and thus through some advanced divination his ethnicity?

I have little desire to comment on much less read the points raised in the remainder of your diatribe except to say that your rant seems to be little more than baseless rhetoric and political grandstanding.
Substantive discussion is worthwhile. It is unfortunate that you seem unable to engage in such.

Why did you turn this into an argument about race or ethnicity? No one else including the Bruin mentioned it.

N.B. If you want to emphasize points don't capitalize them, make reasoned argument. my time, I'd say a significant proportion of campus cops live for the day when they can taser some students. Keeps the job interesting and the kids in line.

While you are laughing in amusement at this student's outburst, you might want to consider what he told the police, according to a story: "The student also told the officers he had a medical condition." Amnesty Intl. has released a report on the number of people who have died, quite a few, after being tasered, so maybe he a had a real concern here. In this case, they tasered the kid repeatedly, after he did not get up (hey Chuck, do you think you could get up immediately after being tasered? Maybe you could think of something as amusing to say as this kid did if you couldn't). Here's another little excerpt from the story: "As the student and the officers were struggling, bystanders repeatedly asked the police officers to stop, and at one point officers told the gathered crowd to stand back and threatened to use a Taser on anyone who got too close." Mass tasering of college kids who assist one of their own - now that would be really amusing, eh Chuck? The article later says how shocked and upset the student bystanders were witnessing this, but somebody should tell them: get used to it; this will be commonplace in the "real world" of fascist America after they graduate, tasering people for very minor reasons.

At Library Connection's Newington Connecticut affiliate "Police arrested a man who was allegedly caught masturbating". Details are sketchy at this time.

I'm sure you never chuckled at someone else's misfortunes, instead preferring to tune your guitar and reherse with the von Trapp family.I'm pretty sure if I was tasered I'd soil myself, cry, scream, beg for mercy and ask for my mom. I'm not sure on the order.While we are also on the subject of what I would have done, let's start with EVERYTHING THEY TOLD ME THE MINUTE THEY TOLD ME TOO.You can respect cops. You can fear them. You can distrust them. But you have to follow their orders even if they are wrong because it will always be a disaster for you if you don't.1) You say other students asked them to stop and they refused. Are the police governed by the commissioner, the mayor, the chief, their commanding officer or a plurality of UCLA student who happen to be in the room?2) He said he had a medical condition. Yeah, and I was holding that for my friend whose name I don't know. Me and this girl were sitting in the front seat of my car talking about the designated hitter rule. Stormee was con and I was pro. Damn those National League hos.You said: "The article later says how shocked and upset the student bystanders were witnessing this, but somebody should tell them: get used to it; this will be commonplace in the "real world" of fascist America after they graduate, tasering people for very minor reasons."Not really. People that worry about the fascist police state beating up college students are the kinds of people who will never have the cops beat them up.If you are so passionate about police brutality you should worry more about blacks and Latinos. Not white dorks at UCLA. Poor people of color are the ones who wind up being the victims of bad, violent cops. Not little white kids in computer labs.

"You say other students asked them to stop and they refused. Are the police governed by the commissioner, the mayor, the chief, their commanding officer or a plurality of UCLA student who happen to be in the room." So of course, it' so obvious - how could I have missed it? - ZAP the kid with God know-how-much electricity for failing to show his ID card. And for the CRIME of not IMMEDIATELY getting up off the floor after you zapped him once, ZAP the little Arab-looking punk AGAIN! Why exercise such LACK of restraint? Because, because the mayor and police commish require it: they are the boss, not a mere "plurality of UCLA student who happen to be in the room." What is the world coming to when decent-minded college students object to a blatant act of brutality on the police's part? I mean, such people just GET IN THE WAY, of the police doing their "job", you know?Hence, when you say, "You can respect cops. You can fear them. You can distrust them. But you have to follow their orders even if they are wrong because it will always be a disaster for you if you don't," you are really saying: "accept the 'natural' - even if oppressive and brutal and unjust - order of things; disobey the cops on even minor matters, and you can be electrocuted or severely injured or tortured or killed." That implies a passivity reminiscent of 1930's Germany when Nazi thugs tormented and killed Jews. Today and tomorrow they are coming after Arabs ("Ay-rabs"), and later, as the song goes, for the rest of us. I think the real "disaster" for you and me, is what will happen in our accepting this bullshit from our so-called "leaders.""Poor people of color are the ones who wind up being the victims of bad, violent cops." Not so, you don't know what your're talking about. I grew up in all-white middle-class suburb of NYC, and believe me, we got plenty of abuse and brutality from the cops. In fact, one of them was brutal enough to make it on "60 Minutes" some years ago, plus others of his ilk in the same town. I knew him as a kid very well, having kicked his butt in a few altercations. (Perhaps not enough, as his specialty was beating up women.) It was quite astonishing to see this creep on national TV for doing things anybody who knew him as a kid could have predicted. Talking about beating up women, one of my cop in-laws (a state police sergeant) can tell you about the guy who reported to him and whom he tried to get fired because he regularly brutalized white women while on-the-job. This bad cop was white too. He ended up being hired by the FBI. (Do you or the women in your life feel safer now?) Oh, I know a million more true stories like this, about unjustifiable cop-on -white violence, so don't tell me to confine my worry about police brutality against only minorities.Thanks to Patriot Act and other decrees of the Bush regime (rather than "administration" - there's a difference), expect to see more of these type of events - lots more. You miss what the real message of what the kid implied in his referring to the Patriot Act, which really is about the authortarian atmosphere and fear and acceptance of such bad cop behavior that such laws have created.

According to a UCPD press release, Tabatabainejad went limp and refused to exit as the officers attempted to escort him out. The release also stated Tabatabainejad "encouraged library patrons to join his resistance." At this point, the officers "deemed it necessary to use the Taser in a "drive stun' capacity."

He certainly deserved the first couple shocks but the constant repetition of "Stand Up!" was absurd. They could have dragged him out of there in 2 minutes, instead they have six minutes of that.

As for the coming fascist state, if you don't hold people like this accountable for pushing anarchy then that's exactly what you'll get.

You can respect cops. You can fear them. You can distrust them. But you have to follow their orders even if they are wrong because it will always be a disaster for you if you don't.

Dude, that is the underlying principle of the Police State. And in a free country, such an idea should be anathema. Obey some pompous-ass blow-hard of a bully just on his say so? I've said it before and I'll say it again, albeit in paraprhase: while the government is busy "protecting" you and freedom, who will protect you from it? Stuff like this is why the framers of the Constitution inserted the Second Amendment.

And as for you're not getting the shit kicked out of you by the cops, that day will come if this sort of behaviour is allowed to go unchecked. Learn the lessons of history: In Germany, they came first for the Trade Unionists, but I wasn't a Trade Unionist, so I said nothing. [...] When they came for me I looked around, but there was no one left to speak up.

"He certainly deserved the first couple shocks" - ah yes, it is CERTAIN, and absolutely! - for disobeying an order - shock him, *torture* him!!! He D E S E R V E S it, the Arab swine, how dare he disobey an officer of the AMERICAN Fuehrer's police force!Now, from the real world: regarding whether he "deserved" getting zapped, according to a recent newspaper dispatch, here's the scoop: "According to a UCPD press release, Tabatabainejad went limp and refused to exit as the officers attempted to escort him out. The release also stated Tabatabainejad "encouraged library patrons to join his resistance." At this point, the officers "deemed it necessary to use the Taser in a "drive stun' capacity.""He wasn't cooperative; he wouldn't identify himself. He resisted the officers," Young said.Neither the video footage nor eyewitness accounts of the events confirmed that Tabatabainejad encouraged resistance, and he repeatedly told the officers he was not fighting and would leave.Tabatabainejad was walking with his backpack toward the door when he was approached by two UCPD officers, one of whom grabbed the student's arm. In response, Tabatabainejad yelled at the officers to "get off me." Following this demand, Tabatabainejad was stunned with a Taser." Greg-O, focus on this part, from above, "Neither the video footage nor eyewitness accounts of the events confirmed that Tabatabainejad encouraged resistance." Because it undermines your argument, as well as the cop's account. And given the video evidence and witnesses who say otherwise, the cops who did this, I think, are gonna get fried, but in a different way than the kid."As for the coming fascist state, if you don't hold people like this accountable for pushing anarchy then that's exactly what you'll get." You sound like a good German circa 1930's talking about everybody who is er...different...(Jews, dark skinned, etc.) Yeah, the kid is "pushing anarchy," (what is this anarchy being "pushed", a new street drug?) as if not showing an ID card is an act of anarchy, and he was walking away, towards the door, too.Think harder before you reply, because it gets boring to refute you sometimes - better arguments on your part would make this more interesting for me; you conservatives offer arguments too easy to demolish!

I hope he sues and gets a zillion dollars....this video of the incident is pure torture...Anyone who finds this acceptable doesn't understand the concept of "what comes around goes around"...If they behave this way in public in a UCLA library ...can you imagine what goes on in the "laborotory" and the alleys....Sorry this was evil.The video is here: Turner

1. The video is pure crap for the first minute or two, in fact as video its all crap. Only the audio is really of any use but not right away.

2. The fact that some of the first words out of his mouth are about the Patriot Act tell me all I need to know about his sorry state of mind. The video works against him too, including the "Dont touch me!!" in the start.

3. I haven't excused the campus cops, their behavior doesn't excuse his.

4. I've never seen a bored person use so many caps and exclamation points.

First I will address the articles cited in the posting. The first article is of little substance and is primarily quotations from self-described witnesses.

The second article from the Bruin cites an article in the Lancet and draws conclusions that are not made in the Lancet article (The Lancet Volume 358, Issue 9283 , 1 September 2001, Pages 687-688). The conclusion that a shock from a stun gun can immobilize someone for fifteen minutes comes from an article published in 1990 and cited as a source in the Lancet article. The author of the Bruin article fails to cite the original article (Electric shock devices and their effects on the human body, Med Sci Law 30 (1990), pp. 285 - 300) thus doing a disservice to readers as the device police officers used, the Taser, is made by a company founded in 1993, three years after the article upon which they base their information was written.

In fact the Lancet article contains this interesting statistic:

In one study 218 patients seen at an emergency department after being shot by a police taser for violent or criminal behavior were compared with 22 patients who had been shot by police with 38 calibre guns.4 The two groups were similar in age, sex, and misuse of drugs. None of the taser victims had serious long-term effects, whereas 50% of those with bullet wounds did.

It would seem that the Taser and similar devices are indeed saving lives and reducing injuries to criminals.

The third blurb from the Chancellor notes that an investigation is underway, an appropriate response and in fact a requirement after any use of force by law enforcement. The Chancellor notes that the investigation will be thorough, vigorous and fair. I am perplexed by the need to use adjective vigorous, as I would think a thorough and fair investigation would be sufficient. One must assume a vigorous investigation would be a good thing as well although it does give the impression that there might be vigorous persuasion one way or another.

To address the video, it is poor at best. There are only six or seven seconds during which one can see the arrestee in which he is passively resisting the officers who were required to carry him out of the library. It is obvious that the arrestee refused to comply with the officers' lawful commands. It is also obvious that any number of the bystanders were opposing officers by refusing to comply as well. The officers showed great restraint by not arresting the interfering students as well. There is a time and place for inquiries about officer identities and officer actions. While the officers are effecting an arrest is neither.

To address the arrested student's conduct: it was reprehensible. If there are rules that require a student, staff member or faculty member present an appropriate identification card for use of the library after 11PM the student should be able to comply with that reasonable regulation insofar as it was designed for the safety of all persons in the library.

Secondarily the student should have complied with the CSO's request to provide appropriate identification or leave. Apparently the student felt that the world revolved around him, a not uncommon feeling among many undergraduates I have found. Failing that that the student should have followed officers' instructions and failing to do so in and of itself constitutes a crime. Police were already dealing with a student who failed to follow regulations, failed to follow the instructions of the library security personnel and who could very well be armed and who was turning away from them with a book bag, which could contain an easily accessible weapon.

It is obvious from the video that the student escalated the incident. Screaming at the officers, failing to comply with voiced commands and raving about the PATRIOT Act and abuse of power only underscore the officers' concern that the arrestee may be unstable and dangerous. However the content of his railing is of little concern. Had he be screaming about the IRS or the microwaves the Communists are aiming at his head he would have received the same treatment.

It is obvious that the student was resisting the officer once the officer placed his hand on him to detain him. It is important for officer safety, the public's safety and the interviewee's safety that the officer is able to control the situation and the person being interviewed. When the officer was required to place hands on the interviewee he was de facto detained. To attempt to flee from this detention is a crime. This detention brings into play panoply of rights for the interviewee, however it also brings with it the responsibility of the officer to protect the interviewee from harming himself or anyone else. Until the officer can determine the interviewee is not a threat to himself or others his safety is the officer's responsibility.

It is also important to note that the Taser does have two modes of operation. The mode the public thinks of the most is the projectile firing mode in which two fishhook like barbs are shot at the subject using a compressed gas (not explosive) charge. The second and more common use in my limited exposure to them is the contact or drive mode. In this mode the contact is of much shorter duration than the remote tethered mode thus delivering a significantly shorter shock. In this case it was reported by all that the contact mode was used.

To address the specific failures I submit the following:

1) The student was asked to produce identification are required by library rules. He refused to do so.
2) The student was asked by library security to leave in compliance with library rules. He refused to do so.
3) The student was asked for identification by uniformed police officers. He refused to produce any.
4) The police officers attempted to interview the student. The student disobeyed officers' lawful commands.
5) The officer detained the student. The student attempted to flee the scene in violation of the law.
6) The student was given lawful orders by the officer in an attempt to peaceably effect an arrest. The student refused to follow lawful orders.
7) The student was arrested. The student actively and passively resisted a lawful arrest.

At each juncture the student could have complied with the rules, laws or orders of law enforcement. He choose not to do so. Had the student complied at even the fourth or fifth step he would most probably gone home with nothing more than a stern talking to. However he decided to be an arse and attention whore and he was arrested. The judicial process will determine if his refusals and opposition was reasonable or unreasonable and unlawful.

It is my opinion that the student was met with reasonable force needed to effect his arrest. Physical force is much more injurious to arrestees than a Taser. He should thank his lucky stars that he was tasered and not arrested by me when I was a LEO. There were no Tasers at that time and if he pulled away from an officer back in the mid-eighties he would have been slammed into a wall and had six knees on his head and neck. Police officers want to go home and see their families too, and no pushy college student who may have a gun in his backpack was going to keep me from doing that. Every police officer I know has one rule. "I go home."

The Unibomber had a medical condition. Ted Bundy had a medical condition. Heck I have a medical condition. Should that influence the way police make an arrest?

If you are that concerned about your medical condition then you allow the police to arrest you and sort it out in court. That is what rational people do.

Well truthfully, rational people respond rationally when asked to comply with library rules they don't launch into a tirade and oppose police officers.

Your statment that the officers threatened the bystanders who were interfering in the arrest with the use of a Taser is not substantiated by the video. I have watched it 3 times (heck I stood up after about 12 minutes of hearing it.)Nowhere can a threat against any bystander be heard. Please let me know if you heard one and at what time in the video so I can listen yet again.

College students shocked and upset. They get shocked and upset when asked to dissect a Planaria. Please when police actions shock and upset 40 year old factory workers let me know. College kids are shocked and upset when they have to pay for their own beer.

Remember the Taser is not a punishment so no one is Tasered because they did something they are only shocked to effect a lawful arrest with as little harm to all involved as possible.

Arabs and Persians (Iranians) are two completely different ethnicities. To call someone from Iran an Arab is an offense to them. I have friends and collegues from Iran (and many other places) so I understand the differences in cultural identification.

Perhaps you may find this article from Slate helpful. While Slate is not my usual reading the article is quite good.

Yes I am culturally identified as Irish, I am phenotypically and genotypically similar to the Irish, and surprisingly enough I am white (although technically I am what is known as Black Irish). However I am American by residence, citizenship, and fealty.

I fail to see how your comment relates to someone incorrectly referring to someone as an Arab. Arabs don't want to be called Persians and Persians don't want to be called Arabs. They both have a rich and vibrant history and have both contributed immensely to education, science and mathematics, but they prefer not to be lumped together. Seems reasonable to me.