Sara Taylor / UCLA Daily Bruin & Paul Joseph Watson / Prison Planet – 2006-11-18 23:19:06
Community Responds to Taser Use in Powell Library
Sara Taylor / UCLA Daily Bruin
An incident late Tuesday night in which a UCLA student was stunned at least four times with a Taser has left the UCLA community questioning whether the university police officers’ use of force was an appropriate response to the situation.
Mostafa Tabatabainejad, a UCLA student, was repeatedly stunned with a Taser and then taken into custody when he did not exit the CLICC Lab in Powell Library in a timely manner. Community Service Officers had asked Tabatabainejad to leave after he failed to produce his BruinCard during a random check at around 11:30 p.m. Tuesday.
UCPD Assistant Chief of Police Jeff Young said the checks are a standard procedure in the library after 11 p.m. “Because of the safety of the students we limit the use after 11 to just students, staff and faculty,” Young said.
Young said the CSOs on duty in the library at the time went to get UCPD officers when Tabatabainejad did not immediately leave, and UCPD officers resorted to use of the Taser when Tabatabainejad did not do as he was told.
A six-minute video showed Tabatabainejad audibly screaming in pain as he was stunned several times with a Taser, each time for three to five seconds. He was told repeatedly to stand up and stop fighting, and was told that if he did not do so he would “get Tased again.”
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.”
But Young said at the time the police likely had no way of knowing whether the individual was armed or that he was a student.
As Tabatabainejad was being dragged through the room by two officers, he repeated in a strained scream, “I’m not fighting you” and “I said I would leave.”
The officers used the “drive stun” setting in the Taser, which delivers a shock to a specific part of the body with the front of the Taser, Young said. A Taser delivers volts of low-amperage energy to the body, causing a disruption of the body’s electrical energy pulses and locking the muscles, according to a report by the American Civil Liberties Union.
“It’s an electrical shock. … It causes pain,” Young said, adding that the drive stun would not likely demobilize a person or cause residual pain after the shock was administered. Young also stributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.
Young said a Taser is less forceful than a baton, for example. But according to a study published in the Lancet Medical Journal in 2001, a charge of three to five seconds can result in immobilization for five to 15 minutes, which would mean that Tabatabainejad could have been physically unable to stand when the officers demanded that he do so.
“It is a real mistake to treat a Taser as some benign thing that painlessly brings people under control,” said Peter Eliasberg, managing attorney at the ACLU of Southern California. “The Taser can be incredibly violent and result in death,” Eliasberg said.
According to an ACLU report, 148 people in the United States and Canada have died as a result of the use of Tasers since 1999.
During the altercation between Tabatabainejad and the officers, bystanders can be heard in the video repeatedly asking the officers to stop and requesting their names and identification numbers. The video showed one officer responding to a student by threatening that the student would “get Tased too.” At this point, the officer was still holding a Taser.
Such a threat of the use of force by a law enforcement officer in response to a request for a badge number is an “illegal assault,” Eliasberg said. “It is absolutely illegal to threaten anyone who asks for a badge — that’s assault,” he said.
Tabatabainejad was released from custody after being given a citation for obstruction/delay of a peace officer in the performance of duty. Neither Tabatabainejad nor his family were giving interviews Wednesday.
Police officers said they determined the use of Tasers was necessary when Tabatabainejad did not do as they asked.
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.
UCPD and the UCLA administration would not comment on the specifics of the incident as it is still under investigation. In a statement released Wednesday, Interim Chancellor Norman Abrams said investigators were reviewing the situation and the officers’ actions. “I can assure you that these reviews will be thorough, vigorous and fair,” Abrams said.
The incident, which Zaragoza described as an example of “police brutality,” left many students disturbed.
“I realize when looking at these kind of arrest tapes that they don’t always show the full picture. … But that six minutes that we can watch just seems like it’s a ridiculous amount of force for someone being escorted because they forgot their BruinCard,” said Ali Ghandour, a fourth-year anthropology student.
“It certainly makes you wonder if something as small as forgetting your BruinCard can eventually lead to getting Tased several times in front of the library,” he added.
Edouard Tchertchian, a third-year mathematics student, said he was concerned that the student was not offered any other means of showing that he was a UCLA student.
With reports from Jennifer Mishory, Julia Erlandson and Lisa Connolly, Bruin senior staff.
Americans To Be Tortured For Refusing To Show ID?
Paul Joseph Watson / Prison Planet
(November 16, 2006) — A horror video that wouldn’t look out of place in Maoist China or Nazi Germany shows a student being repeatedly shot with a stun gun by UCLA police for the crime of not showing his ID. As similar cases begin to pile up how long will it be before Americans are routinely tortured for noncompliance and refusing to have their 4th amendment rights violated?
“A cell phone captured video of a 23-year-old student being administered multiple Taser shocks by UCLA police on Tuesday. The UCLA student was hit with the Taser shocks multiple times while he was in the Powell Library Computer Lab. According to the paper, (Mostafa) Tabatabainejad did not show ID to community service officers who were conducting a random check,” reports NBC.
Watch the video [see link below] and witness as the cops bark at Tabatabainejad to get to his feet as simultaneously shock him over and over until he begins crying and screaming for them to stop.
Police are given extensive training on the use of stun guns and in most cases that training involves taking a taser shot and feeling the effects. Depending on each individual’s physiology, it takes at least a minute to be able to even stand after a single Taser shot. Over a hundred deaths have occurred in America as a result of taser shocks and Taser’s own manual discourages repeated shocks, yet the history of their use tells us that police simply administer repeated shocks until “compliance is gained.” This is a euphemism for torture.
The video and the eyewitness reports describe multiple taser shots as Tabatabainejad begs and pleads while at one point screaming, “Here’s your Patriot Act, here’s your f—ing abuse of power.”
The officers repeatedly order Tabatabainejad to stand even as they administer further shocks — sending 50,000 volts of current that override the nervous system and temporarily paralyze muscles shooting through his system again and again. He can’t stand and the cops know it, they just get off on the maniacal ego power trip of torture and this is why Tabatabainejad is hit again and again despite his screaming and the protests of the onlookers.
Similar cases abound in the so-called land of the free, including the video [not linked] in which a housewife, Abbey Newman, is assaulted and arrested for simply refusing to tell … her name at an unconstitutional checkpoint. Another case in which an Alex Jones listener, Ferrell Montgomery, was tasered and had a dog set on him again underscores the brutal and sadistic nature of the police. Like Tabatabainejad, Montgomery was repeatedly told to put his hands behind his head and stand up while he was electric shocked and a dog savaged him for not complying.
In November 2005, Deborah Davis was reading a book on a Denver bus when a guard of a nearby federal building got on board and demanded everyone show their ID. Davis refused, leading the guard to “call on federal cops, who then dragged Davis off a public bus, handcuffed her, shoved her into the back seat of a police car and drove off to a police station within the Federal Center.”
How long before Americans are tortured with taser weapons on the streets for refusing to show identification on a routine basis?
How long before we are forced to wear shock collars like some bizarre science fiction movie, where our masters can discipline us on a whim for not obeying orders?
It may be a lot sooner than we think.
Every indication suggests that there are moves afoot to implement these measures on every major street corner and transport system. A year ago, we were told that Federal air marshals were to expand their work beyond airplanes, launching counter-terror surveillance at train stations and other mass transit facilities. So-called “Visible Intermodal Protection and Response” teams ˜ or VIPER teams, may soon be permanently deployed to check ID’s under the banner of counter-terrorism.
We need to set a precedent now whereby police who use taser stun guns and any other kind of unreasonable force as implements of torture, simply if an individual refuses to have their 4th amendment right illegally violated, are instantly fired, sued and can never work in any sector of government, policing or security again.
Watch this space for further updates on the Tabatabainejad case.
In accordance with Title U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.