No, I don’t know anything more than you do about the tasering incident at UCLA. But so far, I’m not happy.
* The account in the Daily Bruin is disturbing. Apparently the student was already leaving the library under his own power when he got tased.
* The video is appalling.
* The student’s name, Mostafa Tabatabainejad, makes it worse.
* I can’t think of any justification for using a taser on someone who doesn’t pose a physical threat, just as a way of making him go along with the police after he has gone limp. The obvious inference is that the student was being summarily punished for “contempt of cop;” I would have expected better of the UCLA PD, which is a pretty good outfit.
* The reported threat to taser a bystander for demanding an officer’s name and badge number would, if true, violate the Federal civil rights laws.
* The statement by Norm Abrams, the acting Chancellor, is pretty bad. It properly says that security matters, and it properly counsels against a rush to judgment. But it fails to say that UCLA expects its police to use only the necessary minimum of force, or that it was regrettable that a student who had every right to be in the library was roughed up simply because he’d forgotten his ID. Abrams, a law professor in real life, is, by reputation and from my contact with him, fair-minded and level-headed; it’s possible he was ill-served by his PR staff.
* On the other hand, Abrams’s statement does not express confidence that the cops acted properly, or offer any excuse for their apparent misconduct.
* There is, at last, good news. The University has hired Merrick Bobb, a veteran investigator of police misconduct, to figure out what went on. In effect this acknowledges that there are serious questions and that the UCLA PD can’t be entrusted with answering them. In any case, Bobb is a straight shooter, with no incentive to go easy on the UCLA cops if they behaved as badly as they appear to have behaved.
If I know more, I’ll post it.