Bell Curve The Law Talking Guy Raised by Republicans U.S. West
Well, he's kind of had it in for me ever since I accidentally ran over his dog. Actually, replace "accidentally" with "repeatedly," and replace "dog" with "son."

Friday, December 01, 2006

Police Brutality at UCLA

OK, a number of the Citizens live or have lived in Los Angeles and most of us have connections either directly or indirectly to UCLA and all of us have been there several times.

That's why I was appalled when I found out that a couple of weeks ago a UCLA student was repeated shocked with a taser gun at the UCLA library because he did not have a student ID and he had not left a computer lab quickly enough. Several of the shocks came AFTER he was handcuffed.

Here is the video (of course it was videoed! You'd think cops in LA would realize their being watched now). If you have not watched this video, I strongly encourage you to. Even if you have read about this story in other media. This is about a 7 minute video of a college student being repeatedly shocked by campus police while other students alternately beg them to stop and demand their badge numbers.

Oh, and here is the cherry on top. The student in question was one of many LA residents and UCLA students who is of Persian decent. His middle eastern appearance almost certainly played a role in the violent reaction to a missing student ID. The victim can heard to scream as he's being tased, "Here is your f*ing Patriot Act!" How true. While the abuse of force by cops is not legal in the Patriot Act, there is a spurious relationship between support for the Patriot Act and apathy about the violent abuse of Middle Eastern decent Americans.

In the video you can see (towards the end as they are dragging the now limp tazing victim out of the library) a student demand the badge number of one of the cops. The cop responds (taser in hand) that the student better back off or "you'll get tased too." LTG, what are the rules for cops to threaten force when requested to give their badge number?

The cops involved never did identify themselves to the witnesses. And one of the cops has also been involved in several other cases of extreme use of force. The man with the taser gun has choked students with his night stick and shot a homeless man in a university building restroom. Here is a link to the LA Times story about the rogue cop's past.

Now, since this incident I've been pretty busy but I still check out a lot and I watch cable news and listen to NPR news. And I did not hear about this until two weeks later! Are we so numb to the abuse of force by the police that we simply shrug our shoulders and move on?

Can some of the Citizens with closer current ties to LA fill the rest of us in on what the situation at UCLA is? Have there been protests? Is there going to be an investigation? What is the reaction in the city at large?


Anonymous said...

we saw the video in our office last week....It's chilling, hearing this guy scream. One of my managers felt the same way I just want to drop kick those police officers in the back to stop their brutality.

"Who watches the watchmen?" 

// posted by Siddharthawolf

Anonymous said...

I refer you to my last post. Tyranny. Since the drug war, we have empowered police beyond all reasonable limits. It is bullying pure and simple. They wear a badge, so we should all bow down before them. I am reminded of the 90 some odd year old Alanta woman who was shot dead by police who, under a "no-knock" warrant, raided her home looking for drugs and shot her dead. She had apparently fired on them, not realizing they were cops. Then you find out that the police informant was lying because he claimed he was intimidated by the cops.

The genie is out of the bottle. And when you hand a tazer to someone, it has to make force easier. The thought has to me, "I won't kill the guy, so I will just stun him." And I am still left the question as to why such an officer was still carrying a badge to begin with.

Is is the mentality of tyranny. As one commentator from Iraq has explained, when you live under tyranny, you become like the tyrant yourself. It's worse than terrorism.  

// posted by USwest

Anonymous said...

USWest is absolutely right. I often say that the police forget that their duty is to protect us, not control us. The militarization of the American police was pushed forward by the "war on drugs" - a dangerous metaphor - to a substantial degree. I suggest it also came out of the 1950s and 1960s, when police were engaged in pitched battles over segregation and, later, just plain riot control.

I also think the history of policing is a fascinating subject worth talking about fo ra minute. It's interesting to reflect that there were no police forces in America at all  until the 1830s, when the urban Irish population began to rise and toughs were hired to keep them in line. Outside of large cities, police were not common until the 20th century.

Beforehand, the tradition of justice was that a sheriff was elected for the county or town who could call on citizens to join him in a posse (short for "posse comitatus," for the aluminum-foil-head set). If there was real danger, the governor could order out the militia. We are familiar with this custom from the Old West, where this continued much longer.

The constitution never contemplated police. When it spoke of warrants, it believed they would be served by sheriffs. One of the factors in the revolution was the distribution of "writs of assistance" to customs agents - in effect, making them police with search powers.

It is sometimes worth recognizing how very different modern America is from the thinly populated rural nation of 230 years ago. Translating 18th century concepts of civil liberties to the 21st century requires considerable thought and care.

My take is that the founding fathers were right to fear a standing army on every streetcorner, and that militarizing the police is doing just that.


// posted by LTG

Anonymous said...

Last week I was at a conference where the effects of militariztion on society were discussed. Basically, violence and crime go up across the board. I oculd have told yo uthat without attending the panel. This panel was looking specifically at the effects of militariztion on women and children. Guess who were the most likely victims of violence when militariztion occurs? Women, children and minorities. They are the "weak" ones. This is partially what concerned me in my past posts about militarization in the economy. It is like an ink stain. It just spreads and spreads with many unintended consequences.  

// posted by USwest

Dr. Strangelove said...

"Stand up, or you'll get tazed again." They said this to him many times--a man who was not fighting or otherwise resisting. I did not realize that anyone--let alone some tinpot campus policeman--was allowed to electrocute a person for civil disobedience.

Definitely a chilling video. It was proud, however, to see other students come around, start filming, demand badge numbers, and argue with the cops to try to get the brutality to stop.

Dr. Strangelove said...

One more note: at the very end, after the tazered student has been dragged away, many of the witnesses continued to protest and demand badge numbers. The nastiest of the officers confronted one of the students and told him, "get back inside or you'll get tazed too."

The student obeyed. This was a student who had done nothing wrong at all, and a policeman--who did not like where he was standing--threatened to electrocute him if he did not move. Every policeman in that incident should be fired with prejudice.

Dr. Strangelove said...

I am also shocked to see that UCPD policy permits the use of tazers against "passive demonstrators" as a "pain compliance technique" to get them to obey the officer.

Passive demonstrators can be carried away. That's how it is always done. If they make any significant resistance--and only then--may an officer resort to harsher methods.

Thanks for posting the video, RbR. It got my blood running hot and cold. The descriptions on local news did not do it justice.

Anonymous said...

I too was very heartened by the reaction of the victim's fellow students. They almost immediately rallied to his defense but without physically confronting the rogues cops.

I am saddened however by two things. First, that this happened in the first place. Second, that this isn't national news for a week on end.

I suppose the latest Hollywood break up or where the Bush twins spend their vactaion is more important.

All real Americans should be outrages by this incident. We should be making a HUGE stink about this. 

// posted by RBR

Anonymous said...

I will admit that I saw a piece of this video somewhere, but I can't remember where. It was on the news I suppose. The piece that I saw so bothered me that I haven't dared to watch RBR's clip. I think I am suffering from some form of post tramatic stress (having seen photos of Abu Gharib, videos on Al Jazerra, etc) because oddly enough, I am no longer numb to violence. 

// posted by USWest

Anonymous said...

I sent the clip around to my more local friends and several of them said it made them ill. Of course the clip doesn't really show much of the tasing itself. Mostly you see a crowd of students. But you hear screaming and the sound of the taser gun.

It really is watching a group of students watch one of their fellows being tortured.

I can understand if you are squemish about it. But when CNN runs video of US soldiers being targeted by snipers or dead bodies floating in the water in New Orleans, why not show this clip too?  

// posted by RBR

Anonymous said...

The sound of the scream is chilling. The demand that he "stand up" showed how twisted these cops had become about their job. If a tazer is ever used, it is to force someone down, not up.

Perhaps if the police had used a whip, it would be more obvious how obscene their behavior was. 

// posted by LTG

Anonymous said...

I went to the Daily Bruin website and did a search for taser. This is the result. Read it from the bottom up. You will see the progression: power corrupts. First they deny they want them. Then they get them, hail them as good. Then they end up using them for no reason. The cop who shouts at the end, "back off or you'll get tazed too" needs to be fired and remanded for serious counseling. They all do.

Search Results
14 results found.
1. A Closer Look: UC campuses exhibit varied Taser usage guidelines 11/29/2006
Author: Joanne Hou and Anthony Pesce
2. Editorial: UCSA Taser resolution inaccurate, uninformed 11/29/2006

3. Officer named in Taser incident 11/21/2006
UCPD identifies Terrence Duren as police officer who used a Taser on a student in Powell
Author: Sara Taylor
4. Letters to the Editor: Responses to the Taser incident 11/20/2006

5. Student to file suit in Taser incident 11/20/2006
Civil rights attorney for Tabatabainejad plans to sue UCPD on grounds of ‘brutal excessive force’
Author: Sara Taylor
6. [BREAKING NEWS]: Officers named in Taser incident 11/20/2006
One has been implicated in past cases of alleged misconduct, use of excessive force

7. DBTV News: YouTube Web site aids in the circulation of Taser video 11/18/2006

8. Questions raised about safety, regulation of Tasers 11/17/2006
Author: Anthony Pesce
9. [Online Exclusive]: UCLA community gathers to protest Taser incident, campus violence 11/17/2006
Protesters demand additional investigation be made into officers' actions by an outside organization with help of students
Author: Julia Erlandson and Anthony Pesce
10. Community responds to Taser use in Powell 11/16/2006
Author: Sara Taylor
11. [BREAKING NEWS]: Student shot with Taser by UCPD officers 11/15/2006
Incident occured around 11:30 p.m. in the Powell Library CLICC computer lab

12. Tasers: fatal or just shocking? 11/19/2004
UCPD defends use of stun guns despite reports of deaths across nation
Author: Oliver Lukacs
13. UCPD to start using Tasers 10/28/2004
Stun guns will give officers another alternative to using lethal force
Author: Ari Bloomekatz
14. UCPD: no plans to buy tasers 4/16/2004
Author: Ari Bloomekatz

// posted by LTG