Xenophobia by UCLA Police, Students Just Stand By And Watch

I watched the video of the event, which the Los Angeles times describes very clinically:

The latest in a recent spate of cellphone videos documenting questionable arrest tactics surfaced Wednesday, this one showing a UCLA police officer using a Taser to stun a student who allegedly refused to leave the campus library.

Of course, the victims name is clearly Middle Eastern, something the Los Angeles Times doesn’t discuss, but should. However, the main point is the abuse of power, and believe me, there is nothing clinical in the painful screams and angry denunciation of police power, in this video. Prepare to be disturbed.

Crooks and Liars has more.

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Sean Paul Kelley

Traveler of the (real) Silk Road, scholar and historian, photographer and writer - founder of The Agonist.

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  • Thinkprogress

    CNN’s Glenn Beck to the first-ever Muslim congressman:“[W]hat I feel like saying is, ‘Sir, prove to me that you are not working with our enemies.’”

  • A couple of days ago somebody posted to You Tube a mobile phone video showing a guard kicking a man on the ground a couple times. And another guard watching.

    — 101 ways to avoid the subjunctive mood

  • this story came up.

    We have lost international support not because foreigners hate our values but because they believe we are repudiating them and behaving contrary to them.

  • By Mary Jordan

    Washington Post Foreign Service
    Wednesday, November 15, 2006; A01

    (yes, horrifying. But consider that, from the early crude days of the Zapruder film to the Rodney King video to today’s ubiquitous cel-phone camera, exposure of abuse is swiftly cresting in rapidity and impact; IMHO all part of an enormously broad-based, if largely unconscious, technologically-enabled sociopolitical insurgency. This is what I was referring to when I talked previously about inadvertently “arming the peasantry” – overturning the state’s monopoly on coercion – the analogue of “a map and a radio” mapping onto the video plus the Internet, and the response of the parliamentarian Kok being a step towards “development of the ability to project coercive force in response” – ES).

    KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — “Do your squat! Do your squat!” the policewoman barked. “Arms up!”

    The 22-year-old babysitter, Hemy Hamisa Abu Hassan Saari, had already been forced to strip naked. Now she was being ordered to squat up and down, over and over, keeping her elbows away from her body and holding her earlobes.

    “I cried. I was scared. I was ashamed,” Hemy said in an interview, recalling what had happened on the night of June 29, 2005. She had just been arrested for drug possession. She had no drugs, her attorney said, but police found some on a friend of her fiance. Police arrested the whole group anyway.

    “Do I really have to do this?” Hemy, who had never been arrested before, pleaded with the female officer standing in front of her in a tiny police station locker room.

    She said her head was pounding from the humiliation and she feared what might come next. But what was happening at that moment changed her life: A male officer was secretly holding his cellphone and its tiny camera between the bars on the window, making a video clip that would ultimately expose more than Hemy’s nakedness.

    The clip began circulating phone to phone, e-mail to e-mail. Eventually it was posted on YouTube and other Internet sites, to be viewed by millions. What started as cheap voyeurism escalated into an unstoppable cyberspace phenomenon, which forced the prime minister to establish an official inquiry that led to changes in police practice. The episode also underscored the growing power of amateur video, shot on cellphones and ever-tinier digital cameras, to hold the powerful to account.

    The digital revolution is helping to throw light into some of the world’s darkest corners. The photos of naked and shackled Iraqi detainees at Abu Ghraib prison — images taken on soldiers’ personal digital cameras and made public in 2004 — focused a global spotlight on abuses there. Ordinary people going about their daily lives are now the first to document historic events.

    Vacationers with cellphones and cameras recorded the first images of the December 2004 Asian tsunami. London commuters provided cellphone photos that Scotland Yard used to investigate the July 2005 bombings on the transit system. Cellphone images were among the first glimpses of the recent coup in Thailand, and they were the only way anyone would have ever known what happened to Hemy in a Kuala Lumpur police lockup.

    The Power of Images

    “Images have more resonance,” said Gillian Caldwell, executive director of Witness, a New York-based human rights group whose credo is “See it. Film It. Change it.” Her group has already gathered almost 3,000 hours of footage of human rights abuses from people in more than 75 countries. It is getting ready to launch a YouTube-like Web site for human rights. Caldwell said rights groups are increasingly harnessing the “power of images and human stories to motivate change.”

    Female detainees had complained for years that Malaysian police humiliated them by ordering nude squats, ostensibly to dislodge anything they might be hiding on or inside their bodies. Even women arrested on minor traffic violations complained of this inappropriate treatment.

    Human rights groups protested, but nothing changed, they said. It was hard to get word out about any police misconduct, they said, because newspapers and television stations that require annual government licenses rarely carried unflattering stories about the police. In a nation where the same political party has led the government since 1957, authorities silenced critics.

    Then the nude squat video became public and shattered the old balance of power…

    … Last Nov. 23, Teresa Kok, a member of Parliament from the opposition Democratic Action Party, saw it on a friend’s phone.

    “The next day I called a press conference,” Kok said. “Everybody was shocked.”…

    … Now, as more criticism of the government and more homemade videos of police misconduct are posted online, authorities are contending with a new force. Earlier this year, for example, there was a news blackout in the mainstream newspapers and TV stations of protests over oil price increases, said Steven Gan, editor of Malaysiakini.com, an increasingly popular independent online news service. But photos and video of police smashing protesters with red batons appeared almost instantly online.

    “The government can’t collect everyone’s phone” said Gan, who posted the nude squat video and graphic pictures of a bloodied demonstrator on his Web site. “This has opened more democratic space.”


    ( … Link … )

  • …technologies at their disposal:

    The outcome may have been different had Eugene officers had access to Taser stun guns, like their colleagues in Springfield, Junction City and Portland, Lehner said. Eugene police do not have Tasers, which fire probes into the body and use an electrical pulse to temporarily disable aggressive people.”

    “We declared war on terror, it’s not even a noun, so, good luck. After we defeat it, I’m sure we’ll take on that bastard ennui.” – Jon Stewart.

  • the fact that the guy was not hostile and yet they continued. Clear abuse of authority and power.

    We have lost international support not because foreigners hate our values but because they believe we are repudiating them and behaving contrary to them.

  • I don’t trust the cops any farther than I can throw them. My fiance is from Long Island and had an uncle in the police force, and she has some stories. She also got into a car accident with a cop who was drunk, running a red light at 40 mph, and didn’t have his lights or siren on–100% his fault. It was all pretty well covered up by his buddies and she got no compensation because of the laws on the books that protect police while on duty. Then the cop had the balls to try and sue her for personal injury. Luckily, nothing came of that. The outright slime and corruption there is shocking, especially to someone like me who was brought up thinking police are all our friends and on our side.

    We’re just as afraid of them as we are of the actual situations (crimes, accidents, etc.) that normally prompt their appearances. And that’s not how it should be.

  • …I responded to is about a guy that was shot with a handgun because multiple beanbag rounds were ineffective, and they ran out of less than lethal alternatives. Beanbag rounds are typically a pain compliance tool* Tasers aren’t – unless the deployment is muffed, the subject pretty much falls down and shakes.

    * n.b., unless your shot placement is risky – you can actually knock someone out by putting a shot in just under the heart, but it’s a bit of a roll of the dice as to whether you’re going to cause a cardiac arrest

    “We declared war on terror, it’s not even a noun, so, good luck. After we defeat it, I’m sure we’ll take on that bastard ennui.” – Jon Stewart.

  • Those fucking rent-a-cops should have had the shit kicked out of them by fifty students in that library, but the students were clearly too stunned and frightened to intervene.

    Somebody’s got to teach students to be more militant about police brutality. The only way to defeat fascist cops is for large groups of people to confront them physically. It has always been thus, and so it shall always be with bullies.

    “Death before being dishonored any more.” – Col. Ted Westhusing

  • Ask yourself this question: Would those cops have gone overboard with their tasers if they knew all the students had them? No fucking way.

    “Death before being dishonored any more.” – Col. Ted Westhusing

  • …near as I can tell the UC Police are sworn officers.

    Police officers of the UCLA Police Department are duly sworn peace officers under section 830.2(b) of the California Penal Code. The officers of the department are armed and possess the same authority under the law as municipal police officers. UCLA Police Officers patrol the campus 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. They enforce the law, arrest violators, investigate and suppress crime, investigate traffic and bicycle accidents, and provide a full range of services to the community. The Police Department enforces all applicable local, state and federal laws.”

    And, yeah, confront armed police physically – I’m sure that’ll help.

    “We declared war on terror, it’s not even a noun, so, good luck. After we defeat it, I’m sure we’ll take on that bastard ennui.” – Jon Stewart.

  • Makes no real difference. Second Amendment enthusiasts should all agree that a well-armed populace is the best defense against fascism and police brutality.

    Heck, I’m not even talking about guns here, just little old tasers. Can’t really hurt anybody with a taser, right? I’m almost afraid to google it…

    “Death before being dishonored any more.” – Col. Ted Westhusing

  • …in this little bit of fantasy is that police officers are typically highly focussed on retaining control of their service weapon in any physical confrontation – pretty much everything else is secondary to that aim. Can’t tell you how many episodes of rolling around on the ground I know of that ended up escalating to someone getting shot because they made a play for an officer’s service weapon (or the officer(s) involved believed they were making a play). Giving the public access to Tasers, a tool that used properly, disables an officer and renders them incapable of retaining control of their service weapon pretty much means that many more confrontations will end up going directly to lethal force without any intermediate steps – I think that’s an option we can do without.

    Ya wanna take these guys down, launch a civil suit.

    “We declared war on terror, it’s not even a noun, so, good luck. After we defeat it, I’m sure we’ll take on that bastard ennui.” – Jon Stewart.

  • with policing. So why did the UCLA officers have to use their stun weapons initially? He was not armed. And there were more of them than there were of him. Why didn’t they just forcibly remove him to the outside of the library? One on each side, under his arms and throw him out? Bouncers in bars do that all the time!

    Strikes me, no weapons of any kind were needed to be used in this instance.

    When he was down on the ground, rather than continue to yell at at him to get up, the officers could have picked him up and thrown him out. Instead they tasered him numerous times. Who knows, he could have been mentally ill and not receptive to verbal compliance. Jeez, if I’m mentally ill and forget my library card, I would dread to go into a US library with guards armed with non lethal weapons. But not having all of my faculties, I’d probably go anyway.

  • …that the first deployment of the tool may have been justified. If the officers were justified in detaining that man (and I suspect that they were, given the various descriptions of what occurred) and he was screaming “Don’t touch me” and resisting even to the extent of shaking off their hands, or looking like he was going to take a poke at them etc. they were likely lawfully entitled to use force to detain/cuff him. I personally think that it’s a whole lot less acceptable to Taze the guy just because he wouldn’t walk to the cruiser, which appears to be what was subsequently happening, but the mileage of some folks seems to vary.

    I’m only an interested policing spectator, but I tend broadly to agree – talking (or ignoring the vocal abuse as one drags the guy out) is a lot better than zapping someone. Over the past couple of years I’ve noted that folks seem to be a lot more willing to use Tasers as a tool of pain compliace than they were in the past. Dunno what the answer to that is, but I know that we’re a lot better off with them than without them.

    “We declared war on terror, it’s not even a noun, so, good luck. After we defeat it, I’m sure we’ll take on that bastard ennui.” – Jon Stewart.

  • It’s usually possible to physically control someone without giving them a beating, especially if they’re untrained and you outnumber them. There were things cops did before Tasers and beanbags that didn’t amount to either beating them or shooting them. It is more risky for cops, but that’s the job, and somehow bouncers manage to do it. I don’t think it’s asking a lot for cops to be as good at handling people as bouncers.

    As for Tasers, they have a number of problems as well, and have caused a number of deaths.

    And as for the cops vs. the specific student, I hope they lose their jobs, their houses, their livelihoods and everything else that matters to them.

    I don’t have even the smallest amount of tolerance for police brutality, and this was clearly taking it far too far, including refusing to give badge numbers. These guys should go to jail, and if I were the student involved I wouldn’t rest till they were destroyed completely.

  • I’m inclined to agree. First use the law. If the law doesn’t work, then consider more physical resistance. But in this case, with a video, odds are you can destroy these guys completely. Personally that’d be really satisfying. They may have got their kicks, but by the end of it I’d have their house, their car and they wouldn’t have jobs. And better than even odds if they have wives, their wives would leave them and take their kids.

    Revenge is sweet, and if I were this kid, I’d be getting me some. And if I were the police department I’d be considering how much it’ll take to buy him off. But I’ve noticed that particular police department ain’t real good at understanding when they’ve screwed the pooch.

  • preventative measures and asked to see library cards as students are entering the library rather than sending for UCLA police after someone has sat down and is problematic to evict?

    An ounce of prevention is usually much better than trying to enforce police actions.

    Agree that police should have non lethal weapons as options in their arsenal of tools for enforcement of the peace.

    But IMHO, after the first jolt from the taser, they had other means at their disposal that they did not elect to use. At no time did they suspect he was armed.

    If I were the victim of this assualt, I would sue their asses off for the second and subsequent taser stuns.

  • don’t victims have to prove physical damages were incurred? It is not enough when feelings were hurt, to collect thousands of bucks.

    I’m not very conversant with civil suits, but I would have thought the defendant has to prove that he incurred ongoing physical complaints after being stunned.

    The ULCA police will undoubtedly apologize and the officers involved rebuked.

    For crying out loud, this was not Kent state where students were shot and killed by police.

  • Apologies aren’t enough. I want them disciplined harshly, or fired.

    Civil justice includes the possibility of suing for pain and emotional distress. I’d be awfully distressed.

    The other option, of course, is to charge them with assault and battery. I understand spending time in a California Pen as an ex-cop is real fun.

  • that it was this man who caused the disturbance? Had he voluntarily left the library when it was discovered he did have a library card, the UCLA police would not have been called and no tasers or force would have been used.

    What is his role? Can officers sue their so-called victims? Or charge them with assault and battery? 🙂 Do police have equal rights to civil liberties?

    It’s my understanding he did make physical contact with them before the tasers were used. Why in hell didn’t he just leave?

    Do judges ever order defendants to apologize?

  • I don’t think I could have just stood by. I would have tried to get the other students to rush them with me and give them a bit of tazering myself.


  • …university has deemed the library accessible to the public, but restricts access to students and faculty only after 11:00 p.m. as a safety issue.

    Part of the disparity between the public view of this and what I think might be the view of many law enforcement folks is that increasingly Tasers have come to be seen as being a less dangerous mode of force than most other means once one goes beyond holds and grapples. Most civilians don’t have much of an appreciation for how dangerous it is to strike someone with a baton, for example (the Otto Vass case from here in Toronto would be a prime example of the limits and dangers of kinetics-based pain compliance techniques). If they got beyond the holds and grapples stage, I could see them going to drive mode on a Taser very easily. I personally have a tough time figuring how such a use of force can be justified in order to impel someone to walk once cuffed, but if force was justified in order to detain someone, hopping up to use of a Taser can be a lot shorter bar than most folks think.

    “We declared war on terror, it’s not even a noun, so, good luck. After we defeat it, I’m sure we’ll take on that bastard ennui.” – Jon Stewart.

  • “Witnesses disputed that account, saying that when campus police arrived, Tabatabainejad had begun to walk toward the door with his backpack. When an officer approached him and grabbed his arm, the witnesses said, Tabatabainejad told the officer to let go, yelling “Get off me” several times.

    “Tabatabainejad encouraged library patrons to join his resistance,” police said. “The officers deemed it necessary to use the Taser.”

    Officers stunned Tabatabainejad, causing him to fall to the floor.

    The video shows Tabatabainejad yelling, “Here’s your Patriot Act, here’s your … abuse of power,” the Daily Bruin reported, adding he used a profanity.

    “It was beyond grotesque,” said UCLA graduate David Remesnitsky of Los Angeles, who witnessed the incident. “By the end they took him over the stairs, lifted him up and Tasered him on his rear end. It seemed like it was inappropriately placed. The Tasering was so unnecessary and they just kept doing it.”

    Campus police confirmed that Tabatabainejad was stunned “multiple” times.

    By then, Remesnitsky said, a crowd of 50 or 60 had gathered and were shouting at the officers to stop and demanding their names and badge numbers.

    Remesnitsky said officers told him to leave or he would be Tasered.

    Tabatabainejad declined to comment. He was arrested Tuesday night and cited by campus police for resisting and obstructing a police officer and was released.”


    I’m not at all sure the taser ever warrranted to be used, but after the first jolt it was not.

    And tasering him on his rear-end is an abuse of the taser and the officers responsible need to be repuked.

    Whether there are monies to be collected is up to the courts. An unfortunate civil occurrence and it should not ever be repeated. Police need to meet to come up with ideas about how to evict people that do not have library cards after the hours of 11:00 p.m. Or for that matter, any eviction during any hours. There do need to be clear guidelines as to when and under what circumstances police may use their taser guns to enforce the peace. Those circumstances would change drastically if the alleged suspect is armed.

  • Most police officers don’t have much appreciation on how a baton feels when getting whacked with one. Also, and this is well documented, a uniform and a badge gives certain officers a feeling of superiority, that any confrontation to their ‘authority’ must be beaten down, regardless who is in the wrong.
    I think if Jimbo and I had been there, things may have turned out differently for these cops. And even if I endedup in jail too, I would have had peace with myself about it.


  • …directly physically controlling folks? I don’t have a lot, but what I do have has indicated that it’s a good deal tougher than it looks, particularly if one has to be concerned about control over the service pistol strapped to one’s duty belt (which bouncers don’t have to be concerned with – at least in this jurisdiction). More to the point, having seen the patterns of force use amongst bouncers in some detail, I’ll pick the coppers every time.

    There were things that police officers did before the advent of Tasers and pepper spray (I don’t think a lot of kinetic rounds, even soft ones) but in many situations they were things that were a lot riskier for the people that they happened to, particularly when those folks were highly “goal oriented”. All less than lethal technologies have the potential to cause death, particularly in conjunction with external factors such as underlying medical conditions, substance abuse, or bad technique (i.e., positional asphyxia) – the issue is which evaluating which technologies/techniques are least risky in a given set of circumstances and applying them properly.

    “We declared war on terror, it’s not even a noun, so, good luck. After we defeat it, I’m sure we’ll take on that bastard ennui.” – Jon Stewart.

  • …with require officers certified to use the less than lethal technologies that they employ to take a hit from the systems involved (I believe the popular term is “taking a ride” on a Tazer). This seems to me to be a pretty good idea, in that it brings home to them how unpleasant/painful much of this stuff is. I’ve been tear gassed pretty damned good and on the margins of a pepper spray deployment and I can tell you, without the experience I would not have believed how deeply friggin’ unpleasant it was.

    That said, I think that as the deployment of these systems has become more widespread, it may be backfiring somewhat, in that those using the systems, weighing the alternatives of rolling around on the ground or pushing the magic button, may be falling into the trap of thinking to themselves “the stats say it’s safer, and I’ve taken a hit myself, what’s the big deal, just push the button”. Additionally, at least some jurisdictions don’t seem to require the full exposure. Bottom line, personally I think they’re a great alternative to the baton or pistol, but they’re a shitty alternative to speech and that might be increasingly what’s happening.

    “We declared war on terror, it’s not even a noun, so, good luck. After we defeat it, I’m sure we’ll take on that bastard ennui.” – Jon Stewart.

  • …surprises me anew. These things are legal for civilian use in most states! Sheesh. Up here they’re classed as a prohibited weapon.

    ‘course, once you’ve decided that an MP5-SD3 is something that you can get by paying a tax, I guess all bets are off…

    “We declared war on terror, it’s not even a noun, so, good luck. After we defeat it, I’m sure we’ll take on that bastard ennui.” – Jon Stewart.

  • … you guys expected the other students at the library to do. As pointed out, physical force against the police accomplishes what exactly?

    Michigan State University had police inspired “riots” in April 2005 with excessive, unwarrented force and after the investigations not a thing was done. Police from across the state actually volunteered to work that detail (they still got paid) because they “knew” they’d get to launch tear gas at students. Memos were sent out that police should bring a change of clothes so tear gas residue from the uniforms woulsn’t taint their personal vehicles when returning home. The “riot” as the police dubbed it only caused massive damage, jail sentences and fines for citizens, and zero accountability for police actions even with numerous videos.

    Those students did the best that they could short of full scale riot. You can see at the end of the video clip how the officer responds when the female asks for badge number and information, “Stand back or you’ll get tasered too.” I’ve read on many sites how so many people would have “beat those cops asses” but I highly, highly doubt it. Rational and reality set in rather quickly and there were other students who interviened to the best of their limited power even with adrenaline surges and an overwhelming sense of wrongness. Most damning is the video.

  • Remember that the subject was already surrounded and within grappling range. Direct physical control can be easily trained – and in fact as far as I’m aware is trained, albeit not as much or as well as it should be. Essential comealongs, restraints, holds and locks AFAIK have long been part of the curriculum of police training here in Canada. It’s not extended martial arts training by any stretch of the imagination; I’m talking about holds and comealongs that can be taught to any reasonably fit person in a single lesson as long as the teaching method is good. This was in fact my business once upon a time in my youth, and I have taught these tricks to many. Grappling methods that have achieved wide currency include those modified from judo and aikido, but chin na – a Chinese grappling method of locks and holds – is simple, unforgettably easy, and relatively painless and risk-free to the subject.

    My instructor used to teach us “control the elbow, control the subject” and most of the techniques are simply variants on that theme. There are many holds and restraints ranging from thumb/palmlock to armlock upwards that are effective and harmless control methods, relatively painless unless struggled against and even then dynamically adjustable moment by moment. I have had cause (although thankfully rare) to defuse violence using those techniques and can attest to their effectiveness. I have only once ever had to strike a blow in the direst of circumstances, and that was directly to prevent far worse harm to the subject himself, who was quite literally not in his right mind at the moment.

    Reliance on technology is risky. A taser doesn’t know how to reduce its voltage and still incapacitate, whereas there is constant tactile feedback from a physical hold. The key, as so often is the case, is better training, both physical and psychological – not shinier gadgets. Methods that include striking are largely pointless – I have seldom seen a person hit into becoming more docile unless they were incapacitated by the blow(s); a police officer’s job isn’t to offer combat but to get the situation under control. Strikes (and here I include ineffectual taserings) can enrage difficult subjects; the goal instead should be to demonstrate to them that they are powerless.

    No matter how you train, though, you’ll still get the officers that prefer to get more “hands on” and “teach some respect”, as these officers seem to be interested in doing rather than getting the boy into the cruiser.

    As you’ve noted, if this goal hadn’t got forgotten in the heat of battle, it could have been achieved by the simple expedient of carrying him there – rather than the far less practical and defensible route of multiply tasering a handcuffed boy – in front of an outraged crowd yet – for the defiance of not submitting and walking there himself.

    There’s no defense against an officer mistakenly taking it into his head that his job includes “teaching a lesson” or “sending a message” – rather than “setting an example”. I still remember sitting in a Gastown cafe one night in my youth, watching in horror as two of Vancouver’s Finest beat a prostrate, bleeding and defenseless drunk into unconsciousness with their rubber flashlights. I wish I could share with those officers my impression of the counterproductive lesson they taught that night.

  • You’re kidding, right? A silenced MP5 where? How?

    As far as tasers – yeah, pretty much totally legal down there, I just figured you knew that. It’s here in Canada they’re prohibited (just like mace or teargas; of course in Vancouver we have such a huge bear problem on the North Shore that stores sell a lot of “bear spray”).

  • With this little beauty in your backpack, you can walk through even the most vicious campus libraries with confidence that those bully cops will get as much as they give. Buy one now, and then buy one for all your friends!

    “Death before being dishonored any more.” – Col. Ted Westhusing

  • My understanding is that once you get an automatic weapons dealer’s license, and find a grandfathered MP5 it’s a matter of paying a tax to BATF.

    “We declared war on terror, it’s not even a noun, so, good luck. After we defeat it, I’m sure we’ll take on that bastard ennui.” – Jon Stewart.

  • …about the tactical situation and the advisability of other techniques – however, I think you may find that many departments have become increasingly willing to use Tasers in drive mode (i.e., direct contact handheld, without firing darts) as a means of getting access to / control of a subject’s arms to cuff them, rather than repeatedly trying for a grapple or lock as distribution of Tasers has become widespread. I’ve seen a couple of videos of late showing officers going to this technique very early in an arrest sequence (i.e., two or three short attempts at controlling the limbs of a struggling subject, followed by use of the Tazer). In some ways I’m not sure that it’s necessarily a really bad thing, if one is in a situation where one really does need use force – there’s been more than one team of coppers who have pigpiled a wildly struggling suspect because that was all the option they had, and on getting off him have realised they either hurt him pretty bad or had him die via asphyxiation (or some more exotic means) then or shortly thereafter.

    I broadly agree with you on the notion of hitting someone into compliance, but pain compliance techniques are a pretty big part of police use of force training, at least the stuff that I’ve seen. A large chunk of the baton techniques are based on hitting meaty parts of the body until the guy gives up (it’s those techniques that killed Otto Vass, in the case that I was speaking of elsewhere here). It’s exactly that that leads me to thinking that Tasers are a real good use of force alternative to that set of techniques. The numbers that I see bandied about indicate that a Taser’s much, much more effective compared to going to town with a baton and it seems to lead to a good deal less injury. I personally don’t think there’s much that justifies the use of force once they had the kid cuffed, and I don’t know what their departmental guidelines and governing laws are – but if you’re going to use force, I don’t think use of a Taser over some other technique should be seen as the dramatic departure the public seems broadly to view it as. I’d much rather be Tasered than batoned. ‘course, as I’ve noted, I’d much rather be talked to than Tasered.

    “We declared war on terror, it’s not even a noun, so, good luck. After we defeat it, I’m sure we’ll take on that bastard ennui.” – Jon Stewart.

  • is quite accurate. First of all, students filmed the affair to the end. Secondly, some reports suggest they yelled at the police to stop. Thirdly, a female student asked for badge numbers. If one were to ask what the students could do within the bounds of the law, I would be hard pressed to find a better list. What would you suggest? Call 911?

    I agree that the student in question behaved badly in several ways. But a) he was leaving when he was intercepted by the police. Ironically, police action actually prevented him from leaving of his own free will. and b) he was in the “Rodney King submissive position” when they were firing tasers. SCOTUS ruled that King could not sue the police for use of excess force in a beating because he kept getting up from the ground.

    If there is not a pretty substantial ruling against these cops, it puts ordinary citizens in a difficult position. We are not in compliance if we get up. We are not in compliance if we do not. Beating is inevitable. Unless we can hover passively in mid-air.

  • which I don’t always feel like wading thru, that seems irrelevant. It’s like listening to my daughter when she calls for a favor and starts to ‘give me the story.’ It’s a distraction.

    One of the first things I thought when I heard him screaming “don’t touch me” was he may have a mental disorder or unable to tolerate being touched. Certain disorders along the autistic spectrum sprung to mind.

    In the general sense, you’re all going back-n-forth about the merits of tasering. This isn’t so much about using the taser, as it is about the abuse of power.

    – the abuse of power by the police. The student was tasered at least 5 times. one of those times he was clearly handcuffed. (There were a few more times when ‘downstairs’ where he screamed again like he had been tased, but that I don’t know for sure.

    – those standing around is VERY disturbing. What? No one has balls anymore?

    – I went to a private college, AND a public university before that for a bit. At both places, in order to sign onto the computers in the computer labs (like at CLICC @UCLA) you had to have a college sign-on. I couldn’t just go in and check my email in the computer lab (or anything else) IF I WEREN’T A STUDENT. (There may have been computers for the general public, I don’t know.)

    – I was NEVER asked for ID at either private or public school, unless I was checking out a book, no matter how late or early I was there. Every student around this kid better have been asked for ID as well OR ‘why him?’ needs to be answered.

    – Despite his name, he sounded pretty damn American to me.

  • I think if Jimbo and I had been there, things may have turned out differently for these cops. And even if I ended up in jail too, I would have had peace with myself about it.

    I might be old (52), but I woulda, even if it meant being arrested and ending up in jail.

    That was the most bothersome. The police were clearly outnumbered, and once they got into that more open area. I clearly heard on the tape (almost to the very end) another police officer threaten a student: ‘back up or you’ll be tased’ or ‘move back…’

  • …you don’t want to wade through it, don’t read it. Besides, seems to me that you’ve drawn all the conclusions that you want from your experiences.

    “We declared war on terror, it’s not even a noun, so, good luck. After we defeat it, I’m sure we’ll take on that bastard ennui.” – Jon Stewart.

  • I’m saying. I see it with most everything you address here. And, often it doesn’t address the issue at hand. I’m not saying in this case it does or doesn’t.

    Of course, my experiences certainly help in forming opinions, conclusions, and anything else I wish to draw – whose don’t.

    Still as contrary as ever, I see.

  • even the states that allow them to be purchased, have restrictions:

    At the bottom of the page where the stun guns are being sold, it says:

    Note: TASER Guns are not considered firearms. They can be legally carried (concealed or open) in 43 states. TASER Guns are prohibited for citizen use in seven states including HI, MA, NJ, NY, RI, WI & MI (legal for bail agent, private investigator, or properly trained aircraft pilot or crew in MI). To view a “Law Statutes Summery” on the possession and use of stun products in your area (law enforcement and consumer), click here.

    Click for details of legality of stun guns by individual state

    restrictions by state: I.e., some states let you own them, but do not allow them to be carried into public buildings or public areas, others not allowed to be carried in vehicles, some restrictions on concealment, special authorization needed for school areas, home or principal business, subject to requirement of handgun license, minimun age requirements, restricted to non felons, not allowed in liquor or gaming areas, some states mandate prison time for possession.


    Why not use a club, a baseball bat, or a hockey stick if you don’t intend to kill someone–they’re close at hand and aren’t expensive like the tasers? Isn’t some sanity needed? I just don’t get why you’re advising people to buy these things or resist officers who do sometimes do their jobs badly. Why not take officers who make mistakes in judgement to court–that’s more effective because other officers and police forces pay attention to the rulings of courts.

    Are you sure you’d be satisfied with 80,000 volts…if the police have more voltage, wouldn’t you want to match theirs?

    To me that’s ridiculous to buy one yourself and arm your friends with them. Is it your rationale that if someone does something that you disapprove of that you pay them back by making them suffer too? That’s just plain vindictive. That is not a peaceful solution. The goal is for everyone to respect the law. Police, students and the citizenry in general need to respect the laws that are passed in order for societies to be law-abiding.

    By adopting the tactics of rogue/undisciplined cops, you become a thug! Someone has to break the cycle of violence.

  • Striving to put things into a broader context, instead of rushing to judgement. From where I sit, that’s trying to understand, not deflect. In ten years very few folks who weren’t personally involved with the Powell Library incident are going to care about it, but I guarantee that they’ll care about the broader issue of less than lethal technologies that it’s part of. MNSHO, that means we should look at this as more than just 6:54 worth of ugly tape with good guys and bad guys on it.

    If contrary means not singing along with the choir, then I’m the contrariest guy around – and likely to stay that way.

    “We declared war on terror, it’s not even a noun, so, good luck. After we defeat it, I’m sure we’ll take on that bastard ennui.” – Jon Stewart.

  • …as shown by this piece done by the Arizona Republic.

    The Arizona Republic, using computer searches, autopsy reports, police reports, media reports and Taser’s own records, has identified 167 cases in the United States and Canada of death following a police Taser strike since September 1999. In 27 cases, medical examiners said Tasers were a cause, a contributing factor or could not be ruled out in someone’s death. In 35 cases, coroners and other officials reported the stun gun was not a factor. Below is a synopsis of each case. The Republic requested autopsy reports for all of the cases and so far has received 50.

    In the overwhelming majority of cases, Taser use is either not a factor or one among others. The missing piece to all of this is how many folks would have died if alternate means of force had been used.

    “We declared war on terror, it’s not even a noun, so, good luck. After we defeat it, I’m sure we’ll take on that bastard ennui.” – Jon Stewart.

  • Terrence Duren, a 2001 UCLA officer of the year, has been the subject of two other use-of-force complaints.
    By Charles Proctor and Richard Winton, Los Angeles Times Staff Writers
    November 21, 2006

    The 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.

  • Reuters, By Silvia Aloisi:
    ROME, Nov 24 (Reuters) – Italian prosecutors on Friday put two Google Italy representatives under investigation as part of an inquiry into how a video of teenagers harassing an autistic classmate surfaced on its Video site, a judicial source said.
    The two are accused of failing to check on the content of the video posted on the Internet search engine’s Web site.
    The video, which sparked outrage in the country, showed four teenagers beating and poking fun at a 17-year-old disabled boy in a classroom in the northern Italian city of Turin.

    So, publishing of these videos is against the rights of the victim, thus these videos must be censored, says the system. Frankly, I didn’t expect anything else.

    Here the interest of the victim, the public and the system collide. The system abuses the collision and overrides the interests of the public and the victim.

    — 101 ways to avoid the subjunctive mood

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