Terrorism

"Stand Up, Or We'll Tase You Again"

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UCLA student–with a suspiciously Muslim name of Mostafa Tabatabainejad–is tased repeatedly by campus cops the other night for not having his ID while using a library computer lab, and for complaining when they grabbed him while he was on the way out.

When he wouldn't get up quickly enough after being tased, they tased him again–and threatened to tase witnesses who wouldn't walk away.

UCLA Daily Bruin account of the assault.

Video of the assault. (Man, the citizens' panopticon eyes really are everywhere these days. The shooter doesn't get very close until about a minute or so in, though you can hear the victim screaming pretty much from the start. The Patriot Act is mentioned.)

An short account about the dangers of tasers by me from the April 2005 issue of Reason.

Sometime Reason contributor Declan McCullagh's account (from which I first heard of this awful tale).

In These Times magazine's November cover feature on abuse of and hazards of tasers.

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  1. I was impressed with the battery life of the taser. This kind of storage capacity in professional gear gives us hope for longer-lasting, longer-playing portable entertainment devices on the consumer level. Because that’s really what life’s all about, isn’t it?

    The police are doing their job magnificently. Now please go back to doing what 21st Century Americans do best: consume and be entertained.

  2. I wouldn’t leave with them.

  3. Well, this is America; if you don’t have your papers on you at all time then you deserve a good tasering, sez I. After all, if we don’t surrender all our basic liberties, the terrorists have won.

  4. Note the officer who, when asked for his badge number, tells a citizen to get back or he’ll get tazed. Not only this illegal, but according to the ACLU, it’s assault (i.e. a threat of violence directed in response to a lawful request).

    The guy in question is clearly a dick. But he’s also not posing any obvious threat to anyone, and the police respond with violence. The whole point of tazers is that they are supposed to be a non-lethal alternative to FIREARMS, not a use-anytime-you-feel-like-it cattleprod.

  5. So, to be on the UCLA campus do you have to have ID? Or was it merely required in the on campus computer labs? That’s, just, well, odd if the former is the case. How do independent scholars, etc. visit the campus sans I.D.? If the latter is the case, are the computers anonymous public terminals?

  6. Speaking as someone who used to work for a large university library, they are not public spaces, and if you are asked to leave, you must leave.

    Not that they should have tasered the guy, but large university libraries in cities always contain two things: books and public masturbators.

  7. For justice to prevail, there should be assault charges brought against the campus police who tazed the guy and threatened to taze the other student.

  8. I hope those pigs do some long hard time. In a perfect world they’d get their testicles electocuted so intensly that their future kids would pop out with lightning coming out the fingers (especially Mr. I-don’t-wanna-give-my-badge-number-so-I’m-going-to-threaten-this-guy) but we don’t live there so we’ll have to settle with… probably nothing.

  9. FinFangFoom,

    Don’t most university libraries have community, etc. outreach as part of their mission?

  10. I am amazed, yet somehow not amazed, at how many of the YouTube comments are supportive of the tasering.

  11. Is it a Godwin violation to invoke the N word on this thread?

  12. Depends on which N word.

  13. Mine allowed the public to use it (a private university), but you had to leave identification at a security desk (because of the public masturbators).

  14. FinFangFoom,

    Well, these days most (all?) universities police the use of terminals by requiring that you log-in prior to use. I’d be shocked if this were merely a public terminal open to anyone. In other words, he was probably logged and if that was the case they should have known that he was a student or someone else authorized to be there.

  15. Of course maybe they suspected he was using the terminal via a stolen password, etc. Anyway, when I was an undergraduate I used to go to the public labs all the time without ID, especially after playing tennis or running.

  16. If you read some of the articles he had been asked to leave because he did not have ID. He is a student, but without ID, you are not supposed to be in the UCLA library after 11 pm. This isn’t to say that they should have tasered him, but he did not have a right to be in the library. But the question of his right to be there and the police officers’ use of force are at least partially separate.

  17. Maybe a market in torts should be developed in these matters. End the police officer’s personal immunity from civil damages when wearing the badge, but allow him to recover damages if he is sued by a tasered paintiff, and the jury finds for the officer. Of course, there would be greatly reduced incentive for bullies in blue to taser a hobo, while if he could verbally provoke Michael Bloomberg into taking a swing at him, Officer Krupke might just win the lotto!

  18. That is, he is a student, but he did not have ID. Students are not allowed to be in the library without ID after 11.

  19. Maybe a market in torts should be developed in these matters.

    Okay. In the meantime, perhaps some enterprising young UCLA students can discover – and post in an appropriate (and very public) Internet forum, anonymously, of course – the identities and home addresses of the officers in question.

    For homework tonight…

    JMJ

  20. P.S. Bonus points for bank account info and wife’s employer.

  21. Fuck da police

  22. The scene was pretty much idiocy all around. Granted the student was not supposed to be on private property without permission (in this case student ID) but the cops were too stupid to properly enforce the law. If the school charges him with trespassing, then they can lawfully arrest him. Arresting him “for resisting and obstructing a police officer” is pure bull.

    The way to do it is to confront him with the librarian… make it clear to everyone that he/she is telling him to leave… give the student ample opportunity to comply, and then only arrest him for trespassing if he refuses. That way, the onlookers can see that the police are only doing what the librarian asked them to do, and not independently going on egocentric power-trips and taking out their testosterone-fuelled aggression on innocent students. I guess they don’t teach professionalism at police college anymore.

    [joking] Maybe next time they should send a SWAT team instead. [/joking]

  23. I wonder if I, watching this situation firsthand, would do as the students did and ask for a badge number while another person was tased, or if I would hit the man holding the taser with a chair.

    I’m pretty sure I’d stand there and bitch, and it makes me sad.

  24. Uh, Rich, if you hit a cop with a chair, you wouldn’t get tased, you’d get shot.

  25. Can someone explain to me why the police didn’t just pick the guy up? There were several of them. I mean, are we sure that the guy was able to get up? They said “get up” like 50 thousand times, but didn’t seem to put any effort into getting him to stand other than zapping him. They never asked him if he needed help getting up, they just barked out orders and zapped him for not complying. Is it like a police safety measure or something?

  26. Anyway, I am curious what the point of the tasering was? Why were they tasering him?

  27. after 11pm the library at ucla is reserved for students and profs only…this is a security measure to protect the students and keep homeless people from trying to use the library to sleep.

    the student was a student tho…and this is midterm week…a highly stressful time

    btw…ucla has a Meritorious Service/Taser Award

    http://www.today.ucla.edu/people/applause-061107/

    i think these guys just wanted a nomination

  28. Zeno,

    They first tased him because he told them to get off him when an officer put his hand on him to escort him out of the library. Then they tased for not complying with the order to get up.

    Those cops deserve whatever punishment they get.

    Nick

  29. A problem I have seen is various law enforcement and federal criminals get away for bullshit reasons, or because they don’t want to begin a process of prosecuting good cops who have erred while at the SAME time sending away innocent, non-guilty people to jail “just in case” or “to send a message”, however all this has done is create a smoke screen for crooked cops to run around in a bullshit fashion and evade detection and prosecution.

    How can we get around this?

  30. I wonder how the market for “police insurance” (or whatever they call it) is doing these days. Are premiums going up? Steady since Rodney King?

  31. This comment will probably look really dumb once the spam is deleted, but I think somebody is trying to say that Chinese cops are even more brutal.

  32. Maybe they just really like World of Warcraft.

  33. Like it or not the pay off for not complying to cops orders is not a friendly pat on the back.
    When the men with guns say do this or that it is best to do it and let the lawyers fight about it.
    Somebody please tell me about the guy who told the cops to fuck off and they did as they were asked. Bottom line is the cops are in the telling you what to do business and when they do you are are in the doing what you are told business or you are in the getting your ass kicked business.

  34. Jesus Christ, I hate college kids. That kid was just itching to be a victim. Well, I hope he feels justified now.

    That said, I also hate cops.

  35. I cant see the Video (at work) but…
    From Wikipedia:
    According to the many sources, a shock of half a second duration will cause intense pain and muscle contractions startling most people greatly. Two to three seconds will often cause the subject to become dazed and drop to the ground, and over three seconds will usually completely disorient and drop an attacker for at least several minutes and possibly for up to fifteen minutes.

    A tazer is designed to incapasitate people; asking someone to get up is like asking someone to stop bleeeding after you’ve shot them.

  36. “Uh, Rich, if you hit a cop with a chair, you wouldn’t get tased, you’d get shot.”

    Better to die on my feet, so on and so forth. Maybe using a chair wouldn’t be necessary.

  37. The problem with tasers is you don’t get to see videos of cops beating people with flashlights or batons as much anymore. As technology progresses, our entertainment choices dwindle… 😉

  38. Blacksheep: good point. UCLA police department will no doubt decide to “review its TASER policy” and “retrain police officers in their use” thus implying that the cops were too goddamned stupid to realize that they were basically scrambling the poor kid’s circuits.

    And yet, there are still poor fools out there that insist we need “tort reform.” If the tort reformers had their way, this guy would need to post a bond to sue the cops. And what if there had been no camera? How many unrecorded Rodney Kings go from the hospital to the jail without a complaint even from their court-appointed lawyer?

  39. I will share a painful personal memory I haven’t thought of in 15 years. This reminds me of when my stepfather used to beat me and yell at me to “get up/stop crying” and if I didn’t do both he would keep hitting.

  40. In the history of copdom has a cop ever actually given a badge number when asked for it?

  41. Like it or not the pay off for not complying to cops orders is not a friendly pat on the back.

    Strawman aside, you speak as if the act of a police officer using reflexive, excessive force is simply a law of nature, unalterable and something only a fool would challenge. I think if people had taken that view throughout history, we’d all be a lot worse off.

  42. In the history of copdom has a cop ever actually given a badge number when asked for it?

    No.

  43. Man, I gotta get me a Taser. Which states are they legal in?

  44. Don’t most university libraries have community, etc. outreach as part of their mission?

    Yeah, but this guy was Muslim looking….you’re not suggesting we “cut and run” are you?

    That is, he is a student, but he did not have ID. Students are not allowed to be in the library without ID after 11.

    Oh that explains it then. He’s lucky he wasn’t shot for such a flagrant offense

    Man, I gotta get me a Taser. Which states are they legal in?

    They’re not considered firearms and are legal in most states.

    I’m actually good friends with several University cops around the country and they **love** their Tasers. I’m surprised you don’t hear more stories of taser abuse….

    Not to generalize, but it seems that University cops often get really trigger happy when confronted with a situation more like an actual crime than riding herd on the local drunks.

  45. Found this on the 2nd Amendment enthusiast’s answer to Ebay, gunbroker.com. Mispelled states are from the original source:

    Must be 18 or older to purchase.

    Tasers (or any stun device) can not be shipped to the following states: Hawaii, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, or Wisconson.

    And we cannot ship to the following cities/counties: Annapolis or Baltimore County Maryland, Chicago IL, District of Columbia, or Philadelphia PA.

  46. I will share a painful personal memory I haven’t thought of in 15 years. This reminds me of when my stepfather used to beat me and yell at me to “get up/stop crying” and if I didn’t do both he would keep hitting.

    I got a good laugh out of this one. If you were kidding don’t ruin it for me.

  47. Jim Murphy,

    Thank you for the information.

    “Tasers (or any stun device) can not be shipped to the following states: Hawaii, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, or Wisconson.”

    New York — that’s me. I should have suspected tasers would be illegal in that people’s republic, I mean state.

    I used to live in one of those infamous “red states” — you know, where people are so intolerant? Thank God I’m not being oppressed any more!

  48. That video just got my blood boiling. I agree that the kid was itching to be a victim, and he handled the situation stupidly, but he’s what, 18, 19? That’s about how old I am, and maybe it’s just me and that poor bastard at UCLA, but I, up until a few minutes ago, was naive enough to think that police wouldn’t brutalize people for no reason. No, that’s not right, because I’ve heard about the Rodney Kings and the Amadou Diallos and stuff, but it never really hit home what that actually meant. He may not have known either, though he probably should have figured it out after the first taser (and if he couldn’t, which I have no idea one way or the other about, that is messed up beyond words).

    When I saw what those people were doing to that kid, my first impulse was “if I was there, I would have started a motherfucking riot.” Of course, I probably would have just asked for the badge number, but thinking about having to save people from police is just horrifying.

  49. Could somebody please explain why it’s necessary to randomly check ID’s and boot anyone who doesn’t have one after 11pm in order to prevent homeless people from sleeping in the library overnight? Is it really that hard to tell the difference between a sleeping hobo and a studying student? This is a totally idiotic rule, stupidly enforced.

  50. The kid was basically asking for the first zap, but after that, I suspect that the remaining zaps were deliberate nastiness. Probably the cops will say that, in the excitement of the moment, they “forgot” that people can’t just “get up” after being Tased. That’s not very likely, and anyway there’s no excuse for such forgetfulness.

    Stopping the student, on the other hand, was perfectly legitimate in itself. The 9/11 people used public library computer terminals, and here’s a person who seems Muslim (I know that’s profiling), who refuses to identify himself when required to do so or to leave when required to do so. These aren’t *public* computers, it’s not a public library, it’s government property reserved (at least at night) for specific people, that is, those connected to the institution. So it’s legitimate to ask if a person is one of the authoried users or not. Should California subsidize university libraries for the public as well as students? Some may say yes, since the public subsidizes students and should get some return on the investment, but there’s also the issue (discussed above) of Onanists hanging around the library and disturbing the students. So excluding the public is a decision they can legitimately make, and therefore they can ask for proof of identity.

  51. “Is it really that hard to tell the difference between a sleeping hobo and a studying student?”

    There are some borderline cases, especially around exam season.

  52. Nitpick to Russ R: The University of California at Los Angeles is not private property, it is a government institution. Life would be that much sweeter if it were privatized. I don’t think the school’s “public” status gives Joe Anybody the right to access to every place that an enrolled student or University staffer has. Even with a valid student ID there are “no go” areas for students.

    Now, why did the Kampus Kops, who, because this is a gubmint skool, are probably sworn peace officers and not just security guards, go all paranoid? D’ya think it might be because someone with an Iranian surname was hanging around public computer terminals, and wouldn’t identify himself? I betcha they were thinkng “terrorist”, not “pervert.”

    `Course, for all I know, Mostafa T is a second-generation USAn whose grandparents fled repression in their homeland, and the most patriotic kid on campus. His stated defiance of the PATRIOT Act has me thinking he’s a homegrown type, rather than an international student. A real terrorist would have a real or forged ID always handy.

    Kevin

    BTW, when the Cartoon All-Stars made their visit, I think they snuck the Server Squirrels – probably Secret and Slappy – back in with them. This will be my 3rd attempt to post this.

  53. I think this worked out well. A few overzealous asshole cops will likely lose their badges, while an annoying college student desperate to become a martyr got tased six times.

  54. Is it really that hard to tell the difference between a sleeping hobo and a studying student?

    As a university employee, yes… especially because of the smell. But, if you get close enough, college students during exams generally smell worse so you now they’re not a hobo.

  55. I wonder if it will become de rigeur for police to check YouTube and the like before releasing people like Tabatabainejad. His experience in custody might have been different if the police knew that this video was coming out.

  56. I also wonder if the UCPD knew about the video before releasing their statement on the matter. Their statement seems pretty inconsistent with the video footage.

  57. Don’t most university libraries have community, etc. outreach as part of their mission?

    Well, sure. Like Fin said:

    large university libraries in cities always contain two things: books and public masturbators.

    Is it really that hard to tell the difference between a sleeping hobo and a studying student?

    Haven’t spent much time around grad students, have we?

  58. I wonder if it will become de rigeur for police to check YouTube and the like before releasing people like Tabatabainejad. His experience in custody might have been different if the police knew that this video was coming out.

    I suspect, rather, that YouTube will be investigated by the DoJ/DHS…what with its new owenership (Google), I wouldn’t be surprised to see it (YouTube) filtered in the interest of national security.

    On another note, are Kampus Kops really policemen and women (i.e., professionally trained) or are they more like security guards? Anyone been one?

  59. I suspect, rather, that YouTube will be investigated by the DoJ/DHS…what with its new owenership (Google), I wouldn’t be surprised to see it (YouTube) filtered in the interest of national security.

    I think this very incident will make it harder for them to do that. That footage will linger in people’s minds, and shutting down YouTube (or an alternative service) to police brutality videos will seem pretty Chinese (in a bad way).

    I want to make a parody video where the students swarm the police after the 4th shock or so, beat them savagely. After the bloody beating, the police apologize and promise to be more careful with their stun guns. The video should have a lot of crazy cellphone/camera angles to track the visual appearance of the video, but should show quite a few students (eg, coeds) really punching out the cops for a few solid minutes. I think a lot of people would dig that because a lot of people probably wish the bystanders could have done that in real life, even tho they can’t.

  60. Note to self: Include more tasers and Muslims in your videos.

  61. Thiiiis is ouuuur countryyyyy!

  62. I know it’s been done, but I couldn’t resist.

  63. On another note, are Kampus Kops really policemen and women (i.e., professionally trained) or are they more like security guards? Anyone been one?

    I cannot speak for UCLA, but at my alma mater (in Massachusetts), the campus police were a special division of the state cops (with the usual and sundry authority this includes).

    This still appears to be the case:
    http://www.wpi.edu/Admin/Police/Safety/brochure.pdf

    JMJ

  64. I’ve not seen the video, but Opie and Anthony replayed the audio this morning in their show. I was disgusted by what I heard. Illegitimate use of a taser on a person who was admittedly loud, belligerent and looking to be made a victim, but nonetheless non-violent in his resistance (at least according to the audio I heard).

    What made my blood boil was the ensuing commentary O&A and one their cadre of Pests, Keith the Cop, who said “The kid fell for the oldest trick in the book?you tell them to get up, and when they move, you tase them again?cops keep a serious face while their working on somebody, but they laugh about it afterwards when no one is looking.”

    OK. O&A do a comedy show and I’ve been a fan for over a decade, and they give outrageous commentary on events of the day. But I went nutty when I heard Keith the Cop’s comments. It just reaffirmed my belief that most cops (I do know some that I like) are either 1) bullies to whom no one ever took a stand, or 2) kids who were constantly picked on who have found a legally-sanctioned way to get back at the world.

  65. If I am ever a witness at a thing like this, I think I might start yelling:

    CELL PHONE CAMERAS ON EVERYBODY

    TURN ON YOUR VIDEOCAMERA IF YOU HAVE ONE

    WE NEED VIDEO

  66. I really hope they don’t start tasering public masturbators. I’ll have to find new entertainment.

  67. I’m surprised everyone here is upset about this incident. Giving the police the “choice” to taze an innocent child is very libertarian-esque.

  68. The 9/11 people used public library computer terminals, and here’s a person who seems Muslim (I know that’s profiling), who refuses to identify himself when required to do so or to leave when required to do so.

    Proposed new initialism, a la DWB: LWA. “Learning While Arab”.

    And to add to what John M. Joy said: Here in Ohio, Campus Police at public universities are actual, factual police officers, with all the union-y powers of job protection that that implies.

  69. R C Dean | November 17, 2006, 7:55am | #

    Is it really that hard to tell the difference between a sleeping hobo and a studying student?

    Haven’t spent much time around grad students, have we?

    OMG, you just brought back memories of going to check my mailbox in the grad student lounge and discovering a grad student who hadn’t bathed in a few days sleeping on the couch.

    R C, you’ve been on a roll the past few days.

  70. R.C. Dean,

    You are basically repeating what other people have already stated (especially with regard to the smell of students and hobos).

  71. He’s been feisty / cranky since the election. Maybe the Pelosi Congress has already started eating away at his share price. Maybe he is just a Republican partisan. The change in his tone is way apparent tho.

  72. Giving the police the “choice” to taze an innocent child is very libertarian-esque.

    You’re not even trying anymore, Dan. 🙂

  73. Here’s an idea. As part of their training, and thereafter at random times averageing every five years, all police officers should be tasered for five seconds. Maybe then they’ll realize it’s not a toy.

  74. all police officers should be tasered for five seconds

    by victims who have received police brutality settlements and judgements.

  75. In a lot of police departments they require that new recruits get pepper sprayed to demonstrate what its like.

  76. Lord D —

    Many (most? all?) cops do get tasered during training these days. They typically also have to blast themselves in the face with pepper spray.

  77. Lord Duppy- They are tazed as part of their training. And pepper-sprayed.

  78. “Speaking as someone who used to work for a large university library, they are not public spaces, and if you are asked to leave, you must leave.”

    Even if it’s your taxes funding the place? Actually UCLA IS a public university, so why isn’t the library a public space?

    “Not that they should have tasered the guy, but large university libraries in cities always contain two things: books and public masturbators.”

    Supposedly true story: At the local library, a guy I met who fanatically studies a wide variety of martial arts subdued a creep for “frantically exposing himself” to the guy’s 8-yr-old daughter. (He’s basically Batman, if Batman were a serious athlete who regularly competed in local UFC-style tournaments). He basically put the creep in a VERY painful restraint hold (as demonstrated to my delicate self) for the 15 minutes it took for the cops to finally show up and make the arrest.

    Bottom line: Hooray for vigilante justice in support of law enforcement.

    Same guy, totally different situation: He was pulled over, some years previous to settling down and raising kids, by a cop who proceeded to try to thump him with a billy club. (The cop was ripping his car apart “looking for drugs.”) He subdued, disarmed, and cuffed the cop with his own cuffs. Then he called a state trooper buddy to come to the scene before any other cops arrived as “backup” – because he was worried that when they showed up they’d shoot him on general principle.

    Bottom line: Hooray for vigilante justice against jack-booted thugs.

    In both cases, it’s probably useful to note that it took 15-20 minutes for the cops to show up, or to figure out that one of their guys hadn’t radioed back in after making a traffic stop. It’s probably also useful to note that unless you’re basically Batman, this is a REMARKABLY BAD idea.

  79. Just because something is public property doesn’t mean its open to the public.

  80. “I’m surprised everyone here is upset about this incident. Giving the police the “choice” to taze an innocent child is very libertarian-esque.”

    What exactly is your purpose here, Trollman Dan? You add absolutely nothing to any discussion. You contribute zero intellectual value. Your posts are exclusively inciting, and all are vapid and juvenile.

    I guess the bigger question is, are you this much of a jerkoff in the real world, where you have interact with real people? Do you walk up to a conversation that your coworkers are having, stick your nose in, and say something like “Oh, only someone who rapes babies would think that!”, then walk away?

    Real piece of work, you are.

  81. Bottom line is the cops are in the telling you what to do business and when they do you are are in the doing what you are told business or you are in the getting your ass kicked business.

    That may be the way things are in Iran or wherever other hellhole Tabatabainejad or his parents came from, but I was under the impression that in the U.S., cops were in the enforcing the law and serving the public business. Silly me.

  82. Triple-F gots it right. Just because the courthouse is public property doesn’t mean that you can move into the courtroom and have a party.

    This thing is not about public property and whether the guy had a right to be there. That is peripheral to the central problem: the use of police brutality against a belligerent but nonthreatening student.

  83. “Just because something is public property doesn’t mean its open to the public.” – FFF

    Really? Who is public property for, then?

    “Just because the courthouse is public property doesn’t mean that you can move into the courtroom and have a party.” – Evan!

    No one is saying you can use that property for something it wasn’t intended for. But I’m guessing that a student using a public university’s library is using public property accessible to the public for its intended purpose.

  84. I want to propose a law that nobody is allowed to allege police brutality unless they have first passed Videography 101. If you don’t agree, search for “police brutality” on YouTube. I guarantee you’ll be sickened by the incredibly sloppy camera handling.

    OK, seriously… The guy does seem like he’s not real stable, and it wouldn’t surprise me to learn he’s got some mental issues. However, that doesn’t excuse the cops in any way; part of their job is dealing with people who may not be very rational, and they’re supposed to be the ones to be rational, not escalate the situation. I know that one thing cops are supposed to do is “keep control of the situation” (which all too many confuse with “being aggressive”) and these guys were doing a crap job of that. They’re supposed to get the guy out of the library, but they’re just standing around issuing incoherent orders and letting a potential mob scene develop. Brilliant.

  85. Not when he didn’t have ID.

  86. Not when he didn’t have ID.

    The issue at first was whether he was complying on his own before the police initiated touching.

    We can’t see that part of the tape. The guy seemed to be screaming that he was trying to leave, which I find to be persuasive, but not conclusive evidence that he was trying to leave. That one witness account (the one with the curious misuse of the word “concise”) also seems to indicate that he was leaving.

    There will probably be other witnesses who say the same or different, we’ll have to see.

    However this intial stage of the encounter really played out, it doesn’t excuse all the subsequent taserings.

    there needs to be a clear rule on whether police can taser protestors who go limp. My mother used to complain when they put pain holds on limp protestors at pro-life demonstrations in the 80s. but, really, what is the rule? Do you have a right to go limp if you are “trespassing?” If the police can show that there was indeed enough time for Tabatabainejad to stand up between the first and second taserings, does that mean Tabatabainejad really had a duty to do that instead of going limp. the problem is, if you do anything othr than go limp, that quickly becomes an all-purpose grounds for police to say: s/he resisted.

    Anyone remember that 2005 video where the policeman (California, near LA) ordered the guy to stand up and then shot him down?

  87. you’ll be sickened by the incredibly sloppy camera handling

    If they notice you have a camera, then they take your camera.

    I thinks a crowd of 60 students chanting camera! camera! and all pretending that their cell phones took video would be the most effective way to shut down that kind of nonsense. Make them confiscate 60 cell phones. that’ll look real good.

  88. there needs to be a clear rule on whether police can taser protestors who go limp.

    How about “No”?

  89. Really? Who is public property for, then?

    This is probably way too obvious, but warships and military bases are public property. And no, you can’t come in/aboard!

  90. reason reviews Malkin on racial profiling:
    https://www.reason.com/news/show/36412.html

    Editor Gillespie on failure to show id:
    https://www.reason.com/blog/show/111791.html

    Reason on racial profiling (from Aug 01!!!):
    https://www.reason.com/news/show/28138.html

  91. “This is probably way too obvious, but warships and military bases are public property. And no, you can’t come in/aboard!”

    Actually, you can. You just have to request a tour and get approved – plus most bases & ships have an annual “Open House” where you can come out and visit most of the areas on the base. DoD, unlike UCLA, seems to realize it is actually owned by taxpayers.

  92. rob, all the guy had to do was have ID. Can I show up to Norfolk and flash my drivers license and get on board?

    No?

  93. all the guy had to do was have ID

    No, for two reasons. One is that he was not asked for just any old id, but rather a BruinCard. A driver’s license wouldn’t have helped.

    the second reason this is incorrect is that everybody agrees that the guy was given a choice to show id or leave. the only issue is whether he was leaving and leaving quick enough and that is something we don’t have all the facts on yet.

  94. “rob, all the guy had to do was have ID. Can I show up to Norfolk and flash my drivers license and get on board? No?” – FFF

    Obviously not. But public property is still public property, and with a little prep you can gain access to it.

    I’ve noticed a strong authoritarian streak in public librarians, and this seems to be similar. But are you really trying to argue that the UCLA public university’s library shouldn’t be open to reasonable use by the public who pays for it? That they should be ejected by the cops for failing to have a student ID?

    It seems apparently ludicrous, frankly.

  95. “Obviously not. But public property is still public property, and with a little prep you can gain access to it.”

    See how Quantico, which is also public property paid for with taxpayer dollars, would feel about that? See how much “prep” it takes for a civilian taxpayer to gain access to Quantico.

    “I’ve noticed a strong authoritarian streak in public librarians, and this seems to be similar. But are you really trying to argue that the UCLA public university’s library shouldn’t be open to reasonable use by the public who pays for it? That they should be ejected by the cops for failing to have a student ID?”

    I’m not authoritarian whatsoever, but I do believe that just because something is “public property” (iow, owned by the taxpayers), that doesn’t mean that it necessarily must have revolving doors 24/7 for whoever wants access. This is more of a practical matter than anything else. If UCLA, while publicly funded, wants to restrict access during certain hours, then that is their prerogative. However, since it is public property, what that also means is that normal folks can change this policy by petitioning the government to change said policy. Just because a taxpayer/student technically “owns” a stake in the library because they are a taxpayer or tuition-payer, doesn’t mean that they should have unrestricted access at their own discretion. I’m an advocate of open government and less police presence and many other things along that vein, but in principle, it’s simply unreasonable for you to claim that administrators should not be able to set up rules for access to publicly-owned spaces…just as ludicrous as if I were to demand unfettered 24/7 access to the White House because, after all, those are my tax dollars paying for it.

  96. None of this is to say that this particular policy is good or bad…but just that the ability to make such a policy is indeed justified. We can debate the merits of this individual policy, of course…but when it comes to the broader issue of whether or not public officials should be allowed to set access rules to public spaces, I think that it’s a non-issue.

    Debate the merits of this particular policy and/or similar policies, but can we at least all agree that public officials should have the right, in general, to restrict access to publicly-owned spaces?

  97. I think that if the public is providing support for infrastructure, then we also have to know that there is a reasonable system/policy in place to protect that infrastructure so it can continue to fulfill its designated purpose – in this case, higher education.

    “Public” does not necessarily mean “unfettered access or use” when it comes to shared property. My tax dollars go to provide books, computers, and physical and human resources for a library (or school or other xyz place). I consider those tax dollars an investment and I would hope that the investment would be protected – books would not be stolen, viruses would not be planted onto computers, and the persons who are charged with the administration of the service would enforce the policies that serve to protect the public investment in said places. Sometimes that means that the public must abide by the policies of use set forth by administrators. The public owns it, not the individual, and the individual has to exercise due diligence when accessing a service or a place that serves not only him/herself but all of the other tax payers that seek to benefit from access to the service/place.

  98. “See how Quantico, which is also public property paid for with taxpayer dollars, would feel about that? See how much “prep” it takes for a civilian taxpayer to gain access to Quantico. ” – Evan!

    Really? Sure about that? Wrong!
    “Quantico Marine Corps Base, which is open to the public with identification. Ouantico has been the ‘frontline of innovation’ and was the place where amphibious warfare was conceived and perfected in preparation for World War II. Visit Quantico National Cemetery on the base, too.”

    Bet you feel kinda silly right about now, Evan!

    And beating up on the strawman version of my point should make you feel pretty silly, too…

    “I do believe that just because something is ‘public property’ (iow, owned by the taxpayers), that doesn’t mean that it necessarily must have revolving doors 24/7 for whoever wants access.” – Evan!

    That’s not what I said. I said “No one is saying you can use that property for something it wasn’t intended for. But I’m guessing that a student using a public university’s library is using public property accessible to the public for its intended purpose.”

    “This is more of a practical matter than anything else. If UCLA, while publicly funded, wants to restrict access during certain hours, then that is their prerogative. However, since it is public property, what that also means is that normal folks can change this policy by petitioning the government to change said policy.” – Evan!

    No argument there.

    “Just because a taxpayer/student technically ‘owns’ a stake in the library because they are a taxpayer or tuition-payer, doesn’t mean that they should have unrestricted access at their own discretion.” – Evan!

    I didn’t argue that it should be a free-for-all, Evan, and I’m pretty sure you realize that but are just being purposefully obtuse.

    “it’s simply unreasonable for you to claim that administrators should not be able to set up rules for access to publicly-owned spaces…” – Evan!

    I thought we had just agreed that those rules should be set by “normal folks” who “can change this policy [access rules] by petitioning the government to change said policy.” So which is it?

    “just as ludicrous as if I were to demand unfettered 24/7 access to the White House because, after all, those are my tax dollars paying for it.” – Evan!

    At least you recognize that you’re making a ludicrous argument. You CAN still get access to take a tour of the White House, as well. I’m not arguing – and I think you realize this – that public property means “anything goes.”

    But do you really think that student ID should be required to use the library of a public university? It’s not like the guy was damaging public property or was trying to break in during non-business hours.

    All this because some librarian got the campus cops to lean on a guy using the computer lab in a public university’s computer lab – in an appropriate manner (“intended use”) – as far as is known – because he didn’t have ID? That doesn’t seem overly “authoritarian” to you?

  99. Just try to take a tour of the Fort Knox Gold Repository sometime. No public access at all, so far as I know.

    And what happened to that student is utter BS. I hope he get a fat settlement out of the deal.

    Campus police officers are, quite frankly, useless.

  100. Evan – Here are some more specific answers about visiting Quantico from the base’s public web-site:

    “If you drive aboard Base, be sure to have your valid driver’s license ready, as you will need to present it to the guard at the gate…
    Marine sentries assist visitors arriving at the base; visitors are issued vehicle passes and given directions to their destination. Proper identification, such as a state driver’s license, is required to get onto base.”
    http://www.quantico.usmc.mil/map.htm

    And I meant to include the link about access to Quantico in my previous post:

    “Quantico Marine Corps Base, which is open to the public with identification. Ouantico has been the ‘frontline of innovation’ and was the place where amphibious warfare was conceived and perfected in preparation for World War II. Visit Quantico National Cemetery on the base, too.”

    http://www.virginia.org/site/features.asp?FeatureID=181

  101. I attended a large public university that allowed public access to anyone at almost anytime, the exception being between the hours of 11 p.m. and 9:00 a.m. After that, it was customary to ask for student ID upon entry. I am not sure what the intent of that policy was. There was a 24 hour graduate reading room that you could only access with ID that indicated your status as a Grad student, the intent being that you were there to conduct academic work and not just hang out (although plenty of students did go there to get some relative peace and quiet, and lots of napping was always to be seen).

    Campus computer labs in public universities are owned by tax payers also, but I was never able to enter one without showing my ID to the supervisor first. I suppose I would have been very frustrated at the thought of having to wait to use a resource that, as a student, I was paying an additional fee beyond my tax dollars (tuition) to use. If someone who was not verifiably a student wanted to use the computer instead, it would essentially force me to cede my academic needs for the resources to his/her non-academic use of a resource that is supposed to be dedicated to students.

  102. mediageek – True. But you can still tour the base.

    “Unfortunately, for security reasons, no tours are permitted at the Fort Knox Bullion Depository.”
    http://www.ustreas.gov/education/faq/treasury/tours.shtml#q6

  103. “Campus computer labs in public universities are owned by tax payers also, but I was never able to enter one without showing my ID to the supervisor first. I suppose I would have been very frustrated at the thought of having to wait to use a resource that, as a student, I was paying an additional fee beyond my tax dollars (tuition) to use.”

    I can understand that frustration. If it were truly a serious enough issue for you, I’d recommend attending a private university where this wouldn’t be an issue. And really, that’s one of the problems of public institutions – it makes scarce resources accessible to everyone who has paid their taxes … in theory. In reality, it gives inordinate power over those resources to administrators who might very well have you tasered for forgetting to bring your student ID with you to the computer lab.

  104. And it really pisses me off that they won’t let me take a tour of Area 51.

  105. Every eyewitness account indicates that he was leaving, but the police couldn’t keep their hands off of him.

  106. mediageek – Actually, “The U.S. Department of Energy, National Nuclear Security Administration Nevada Site Office provides free general interest tours on a monthly basis. (Refer to the Tour Dates) Groups, civic or technical organizations, and private clubs may request specially-arranged tours (minimum of 10 people). Please refer to Registration for details.”

    http://www.nv.doe.gov/nts/tours.htm

    “The NTS is bounded on three side by the Nellis Air Force Range and adjoins ‘Area 51’ a secret military base at its northeast corner.”

    It’s freaking amazing the stuff you can get in to see, really.

  107. “Actually, you can. You just have to request a tour and get approved – plus most bases & ships have an annual “Open House” where you can come out and visit most of the areas on the base. DoD, unlike UCLA, seems to realize it is actually owned by taxpayers.”
    Rob, you are right, of course. Tours are given, although sensitive areas are still off limits. When I was part of the commissioning crew on USS Bunker Hill CG-52 we gave tours out the ying-yang. We even had names for the different kinds of tours we gave. My favorite was the “Full Up Combat System Tour (FUCS tour). It never failed to impress and you always wanted to show the customers/taxpayers what they were paying for. Just don’t walk up the brow and say “Can I have a look around”.

  108. My mother used to complain when they put pain holds on limp protestors at pro-life demonstrations in the 80s. but, really, what is the rule? Do you have a right to go limp if you are “trespassing?”

    Well, back when going limp was a tactic of civil rights and antiwar demonstrators, the cops used to pick up the the demonstrators and carry them bodily to the paddy wagons. Of course, since then, cops have gotten the idea that *any* person they have to deal with is a potential cop-killer, so they have the right to inflict severe pain rather than actually come within striking distance of the suspect.

  109. I’m sort of anti-new-technology…
    I just don’t like getting the newest hippest gadgets because I like simple devices.

    But now I want the best little video-recording phone I can get, just in case I ever see something so insane happening right in front of me.

    I can’t believe the cops said he was trying to get the other students to join in his resistance. I mean, I can believe it, but WTF. That’s not what it sounded like to me.

  110. It just reaffirmed my belief that most cops (I do know some that I like) are either 1) bullies to whom no one ever took a stand, or 2) kids who were constantly picked on who have found a legally-sanctioned way to get back at the world.

    The phrase I hear often from a copper I know is “picked last for the kick-ball team.”

  111. Not to comment on this case in particular, but on police officers’ attitudes in general, a lot of them really do sign up to protect and serve. The members of the public that they cross paths with are usually unhappy about the situation and are often hiding something from the officer. This breeds cynicism in the police force. They begin to believe that everyone they pull over or confront is up to something. This attitude may save their lives at times. They aren’t trying to be bullies or assholes, they are trying to do their jobs. We may disagree with the laws they are enforcing, but we should not fault the officers.
    That said, certain police departments do encourage a “bully” attitude. Certain officers are assholes. Just like certain corporations encourage bullying and many people are assholes. I have family on the force. I have worked with police officers. I had childhood friends who became police officers. None of them are bullies or assholes. All of them are far more cynical than most of us. We should never excuse police misbehavior, but we can make an effort to understand where they are coming from when they “hassle” us and want us to comply now and explain the situation later.

  112. Correct me if I’m wrong, but from previous posts I got the impression that during the day the library *is* open to the public (I’m too lazy to check). It’s during the night that they limit access to students (and faculty, I suppose), because at night the weirdos come out. So they could either instruct the campus cops to look for perverts, or just require that outside patrons leave the premises during the night hours. If someone refuses to show he has a right to be there, and refuses to leave when ordered, then he’s trespassing (even if he *later* decides to leave, if that’s what happened in this case), and the cops’ next job is to arrange for prosecuting the guy. If he’s a student, a trip to the Dean’s office would be called for (for failure to show ID), and if he’s a non-student, a trespassing charge is warranted. Tasering a prone person is of course excessive, unless he was trying to reach for the anthrax gun in his pocket.

  113. What I don’t understand is; why did nobody come to this guy’s aid? All of those freaking students standing around going “can I have your badge number?” should have mobbed those fucking cops and beat them down. They had them outnumbered handily, but they all stood around like a bunch of scared pussies.

    Have we (Americans) really gotten that complacent about defending our fundamental freedoms? This is a very, very sad commentary on why Freedom and Liberty are disappearing concepts in Amerika circa 2006. Nobody fucking cares anymore; nobody is willing to step up and DEMAND and DEFEND their freedom(s).

  114. What I don’t understand is; why did nobody come to this guy’s aid?

    Maybe they were afraid of being shot dead by evidently-crazy cops.

  115. The police did what they were supposed to do. This was at 11:30pm, and the guy was asked to leave because he did not have student ID (library is public from 8am to 11pm, then restricted to students at night). He refused, so the Police were called. When they tried to detain him, he tried to leave rather than comply. Then he laid down rather than be taken away. That’s called resisting arrest. The unruly crowd was interfering with the process, and as such were subject to threats of force. The guy was an idiot.

  116. [quote]and the guy was asked to leave [/quote]

    [quote]he tried to leave rather than comply. [/quote]

    WTF? They wanted him to leave, so when he tries to leave they assault and torture him? Yeah, that’s reasonable…

  117. He was asked to leave by the Library security. Once he refused he was trespassing. Trespassers get detained.

  118. He was asked to leave by the Library security. Once he refused he was trespassing. Trespassers get detained.

    If they had handcuffed him and led him or carried him away, then that would be OK. But instead they tased him over and over again. That’s ridiculous. Suppose they didn’t have their tasers — should they have just shot this guy a few times because he’s a trespasser? Come on, use some common sense. If some kid goes limp when you try to get him to leave the library, then that’s not really a big deal. It’s not like the guy had a big knife or something. Jesus.

    This is assuming that he refused to leave in the first place, which is not clear.

  119. What I don’t understand is; why did nobody come to this guy’s aid?

    Maybe they were afraid of being shot dead by evidently-crazy cops.

    Maybe, but it still nice to fantasize about the bystanders, instead of just standing around, reacting like the passengers on Flight 93 and storming the cops. I don’t think the latter would have been able to shoot everyone, much less crash the library into the ground.

  120. Welcome to My.donews.com. This is your first post. Edit or delete it, then start blogging!

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  121. Open House” where you can come out and visit most of the areas on the base. DoD, unlike UCLA, seems to realize it is actually owned by taxpayers.”
    Rob, you are right, of course. Tours are given, although

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  122. provides free general interest tours on a monthly basis. (Refer to the Tour Dates) Groups, civic or technical organizations.

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  123. What you have to do is to create a UL LI list. The script will then create the tree based on this list. The script uses cookies to remember state of nodes. It also includes functions for expanding/collapsing all nodes

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  124. still nice to fantasize about the bystanders, instead of just standing around, reacting like the passengers on Flight 93 and storming the cops. I don’t think the latter would have been able to shoot everyone, much less crash ????
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  125. still nice to fantasize about the bystanders, instead of just standing around, reacting like the passengers on Flight 93 and storming the cops. I don’t think the latter would have been able to shoot everyone, much less crash ????
    ???

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