UCLA police taser student — video on YouTube

November 17, 2006

News:  Disturbing report from LA that UCLA campus police tasered a student in the library several times after he failed to show his ID at the library and then allegedly refused to leave the library after 11 p.m.  Apparently, by UCLA policy, non-students cannot use the library after that time, so the campus police were performing a random check.  The individual, however, was a UCLA student, Mostafa Tabatabainejad, who reportedly failed to produce an ID upon request and then did not leave as requested.   (More from LA’s local ABC station and the UCLA Daily Bruin)

Apparently, a student caught some of the incident on video and uploaded it onto YouTube.  You can hear (but not see) some of the tasering, followed by a lot of yelling and screaming.  In a statement, Interim Chancellor Norman Abrams said an internal investigation was underway,  “I can assure you that these reviews will be thorough, vigorous and fair.”

Analysis:  This is very disturbing.  I don’t want to jump to any conclusions without knowing more facts (the video itself does not show exactly what happened leading up to the confrontation), but I really doubt that any good policy should allow campus police to resort to tasering an individual who is not presenting a threat of physical harm to others.  (Truthfully, when I first heard the story, I thought it was a hoax because it sounded so incredible that campus police would actually be using tasers.)  Credit to the other UCLA students in the video who were asking the campus police to stop or identify their badge numbers, as well as those students who had the good sense to document the incident on their cellphone cameras.

[UPDATE:  If you are looking for the video of the Florida student tasered at a John Kerry speech on September 17, 2007, go here.]