Identity, Justice

UCLA Cops Taser Student for Refusing to Show ID

I’m adding my own categories to this: police brutality, xenophobia, imperialism, violence

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The following are two videos documenting the police brutality of Mostafa Tabatabainejad, a UCLA student, who was repeatedly stunned with a Taser and then taken into custody when he did not exit the CLICC Lab in Powell Library in what was deemed a “timely manner” by UCLA police. The first video is decent media coverage and the second video is a six-minute video caught by a student’s phone of the violence that occurred, showing the police’s beyond excessive force and violence of Tabatabainejad who can be heard audibly screaming loudly in pain as he was stunned several times with a Taser, each time for three to five seconds.

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Each time after he was stunned he was repeatedly demanded to stand up and stop fighting, and was told that if he did not do so he would “get Tased again.” Thus, the police continued to taser him as he was unable to stand. When students attempted to get the police to stop they were told they would be tasered as well.
As typical of these situations and most often in which it isn’t documented and police get away with charging people with assault or inciting a riot, rather then them being pinned with police brutality, police are trying to say that Tabatabainejad was trying to incite students. The video footage and all of the eyewitness confirmed that he was not encouraging resistance, and he repeatedly told the officers he was not fighting and would leave.
In the video you can hear him saying that he said he would leave and later, “Here’s your Patriot Act, here’s your f—ing abuse of power.”
And he’s absolutely right.
And you can also be sure that if this wasn’t caught on film, this would never have gotten coverage.
As someone who does ID work, this video is testimant to the real larger issues entangled in this issue of the proliferation of the idea of safety in an ID, of the myth of voter fraud, of the false notions of security perpetuated post 9/11, of the ways in which the military industrial complex and prison industrial complex collide, of the violence perpetuated in this so-called “war on terrorism,” of the right wings campaign of “freedom,” i.e. the maintenance of white supremacy and the white-nation state, the surveillance and brutality of people of color and immigrants in our nation, our communities our streets, and our schools.
This is the violence of the police state that so many in the US live under caught on film.
Watch it. Learn from it. Understand the implications of the time we are living in. Understand that racism and xenophobia cannot be taken out of this, that the fact that he was a person of color, a person who would be perceived as of arab descent and potentially an immigrant (I am not sure if he is or not) informs how the police responded and used this kind of violence–that this was central to what drove the police to do what they most often get away with doing, which is not just profiling but violently beating and arresting people of color and then charging them with a crime, and then, get angry. And act. Demand accountability.
University of California, Los Angeles Police Department
Chief of Police, Karl T. Ross
310-825-1633 [email protected]
601 Westwood Plaza, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1364
(310) 825-1491
crossposted to JVoices

6 thoughts on “UCLA Cops Taser Student for Refusing to Show ID

  1. They’re connected. Oppression is very much connected. If you look at the history of the rise of the prison system it is during reconstruction and post-reconstruction after the passage of the 13th amendment — in fear of the loss of the white nation state. In fact when you look at felony disfranchisement laws particularly around the vote but also employment, etc you see the language that was used in the early 1900s was just that–the call for maintenance of the white nation state….and the connection again of the local to the global–he can see this connection as he says this is your patriot act, which again was signed in place post 9/11 when the profiling particularly of people of arab descent increased, of detention and deportation, of the use of IDs to profile everyone increased while the US of our going out and proclaiming we will spread our “democracy” across the “east”–it’s all tied together and all tied very much into the history of imperialism and white supremacy.

  2. ehhhh. I dunno about this post. From the background research I did on this incident, this kid was a spoiled, likely drunk, frat-type. He was talking shit to the security guard in order to provoke a fight. He wanted beat and got beat. Just ’cause he was Persian does not make this some sort of racist-imperialist incident. The campus cops are just kids like him (not really the UCPD, as alleged in the post), and likely didn’t receive the training they should have. This was a case of excessive force, and no more. Let’s not blow it out of proportion

  3. I think it’s important to not think incidents are just incidents, but rather to contextualize them because they are more often than not reflective of, and symptematic of, deeper, historical systemic problems.
    Yes, I’m making broader links, some that people may not agree with or often make or see, and I’m doing that because I think it’s important to question why we want to “deflate” something, to make it seem like it isn’t representative of larger problems. In some ways to try to make it digestable. There’s nothing digestable about that video. Really the screams are horrifying, and the kind of violence that this person experienced is not isolated. People experience it everyday at the hands of police and military. Your assumption may be correct about the guards not having training–that doesn’t make it ok for them to brutalize someone, nor does it then excuse the fact that we have a system that perpetuates this type of training of the police (or even lack of training). This is the third time recently the LAPD’s violence has been exposed because it was caught on video. This violence is endemic of larger problems in our society and a representation of systemic violence.

  4. There is a problem of attracting at least a slightly disproportionate popuation of sociopaths to law enforcement, and enabling them to channel it into their vocation. Racial incidents and violence are, on occasion, a further way to express and justify their psychotic behavior. Candidates need better evalution and the police force better and independent monitoring.
    But the idea that this is emblematic of a large attempt for “maintenance of white supremacy and the white-nation state” is absolutely as absurd as it is shrill. Oh, and Happy Thanksgiving. This is not the only great nation in the world; there are other ways, and we should consider some of the progressive social welfare policies in place in such nations as Sweden and Canada. But I, for one, am quite happy to live in the greatest city of this country, and remain horrified at the anti-Americanism that exists in segments of the far-Left.

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