Dover Bitch

Thursday, November 16, 2006

U-C-L-A Fight, Fight, Fight

What happened Tuesday at UCLA is simply nauseating.

From the Daily Bruin:

[Mostafa] Tabatabainejad was also stunned with the Taser when he was already handcuffed, said Carlos Zaragoza, a third-year English and history student who witnessed the incident.

"(He was) no possible danger to any of the police," Zaragoza said. "(He was) getting shocked and Tasered as he was handcuffed."

DB finds it hard to believe that UCPD officers were given Tasers to use on library users who can not produce a BruinCard. Outrageous.

Let's face it: Not to diminish the threats that these officers must occasionally face and definitely train to handle, these guys aren't living like Ethan Hawke in Training Day. Although it has a history of activism, UCLA is hardly teeming with armed and dangerous criminals, ready to kill officers and staff who challenge them in the library.

But even if these officers are on the front lines of the GWOT: Powell Library Edition, this was basically a case of non-violent civil disobedience. Going limp and refusing to move is not a reason for officers to inflict pain on someone. Especially someone who is already handcuffed.


UPDATE: Just to be clear... the thing that really rattles this blogger is the fact that this kid was Tased when he was limp and cuffed.

UCLA's policy about ID's in the library: Whatever.
UCPD confronting this kid: Sure, fine.
The cops Tasing him: Don't know enough about the crucial first moment when they made that decision.
The kid's yelling and swearing: DB would have said even worse. Much worse.
Tasing a kid who's cuffed: Unacceptable.

Two other points:

1) It is understandable for cops to worry about protecting themselves (and their own service revolvers, Tasers, clubs) from potentially violent people.

2) Going limp is what young people are taught to do when they expect to be arrested at a protest -- older activists, including lawyers, instruct college kids to go limp when arrested. Cops know this.

If they start Tasing anybody who goes limp on a college campus, they will either strike a severe blow against young people's right to feel free to peacefully protest (yeah, sure the UCPD cares about that one) or they will make it more likely that passionate young people will expect a physical confrontation at future protests and will not go easy (which the cops should care about). Either way, Tasing kids who are cuffed and limp cannot be tolerated.