A video apparently showing a UCLA student being tasered by University of California Police Department (UCPD) officers has found its way onto YouTube.
According to a report on the university's Daily Bruin, the incident occured at around 11.30 pm on Tuesday when security officers at the Powell Library CLICC computer lab "asked a male student using a computer in the back of the room to leave when he was unable to produce a BruinCard during a random check".
When he didn't immediately vacate the building, the security operatives returned with police officers to escort him from the premises. The Daily Bruin continues: "By this time the student had begun to walk toward the door with his backpack when an officer approached him and grabbed his arm, at which point the student told the officer to let him go. A second officer then approached the student as well.
"The student began to yell 'get off me', repeating himself several times.
"It was at this point that the officers shot the student with a Taser for the first time, causing him to fall to the floor and cry out in pain. The student also told the officers he had a medical condition."
The video shows the tasered ne'er-do-well shouting "Here's your Patriot Act, here's your fucking abuse of power", while refusing to get up. Shortly thereafter, the cops tasered him a second time for his trouble.
Students who protested at the treatment were themselves threatened to keep their distance or cop a tasering. Laila Gordy, "a fourth-year economics student who was present in the library during the incident", claimed officers threatened to zap her "when she asked an officer for his name and his badge number".
Eyewitness David Remesnitsky said of the incident: "It was the most disgusting and vile act I had ever seen in my life."
The student was later named as 23-year-old Mostafa Tabatabainejad. According to a report on NBC4.tv, he was given "a citation for obstruction/delay of a peace officer in the performance of duty and then released from custody". A UCLA police sergeant who saw Tabatabainejad after the incident claimed he had not suffered serious injury as a result of the tasering. He said: "If he was able to walk out of here, I think he was OK."
The UCPD released a statement yesterday afternoon, in which spokeswoman Nancy Greenstein explained: "This is a longstanding library policy to ensure the safety of students during the late-night hours. The CSO [community service officer] made an announcement that he would be checking for university identification. When a person, who was later identified as ... Tabatabainejad, refused to provide any identification, the CSO told him that if he refused to do so, he would have to leave the library.
"Since, after repeated requests, he would neither leave nor show identification, the CSO notified UCPD officers, who responded and asked Tabatabainejad to leave the premises multiple times. He continued to refuse. As the officers attempted to escort him out, he went limp and continued to refuse to cooperate with officers or leave the building.
"The officers deemed it necessary to use the Taser in a 'drive stun' capacity. A Taser is used to incapacitate subjects who are resistant by discharging an electronic current into the subject in one of two methods: via two wired probes that are deployed from the Taser, or in a 'drive stun' capacity by touching the subject with the Taser. In this incident the student was not shot with a Taser; rather, officers used the 'drive stun' capability.
"The entire incident is under investigation, and a case will be presented to the City Attorney," Greenstein concluded. ®