Sunday, November 19, 2006

UCLA Student Brutally Tasered

Further adventures in America's public relations with the world: the video above, taken on a student's camera phone, shows an Iranian-American UCLA student Mostafa Tabatabainejad getting shot with a taser at least five times in a UCLA library for "failing to show student ID". The video is pretty fucking disturbing.

For those who say the guy should have just left? Try doing that as you're getting tazed.

This apparently happened on November 14. I had no idea about this until my brother, who's at college on the East Coast, told me about this. Gives you some idea about how much press coverage this has received in the MSM. Meanwhile, the virtual community on the internet, across the world, seems pretty outraged about the video.

The incident is disgusting. Tasered multiple times for failing to show student ID on a random ID check in a library? I want to think that the wild spread of this video through YouTube augurs a new era of accountability, but imagine the videos not shot, of the acts of Americans in secret, dark places we don't even know about, and may never know about.

Oh, and don't worry, there are those who are making sure no one gets the idea that this incident had anything to do with Tabatabainejad's race. In fact, one finds David Lazar, Vice-Chairman of the UCLA Republicans, blaming Tabatabainejad for the incident:
In my opinion, he was asking for it.

When Mostafa Tabatabainejad refused to present his BruinCard in Powell Library when asked during a routine check by Community Service Officers, scoffing at them and police, it created an uproar, the fallout of which has graced airwaves and prompted headlines internationally.

Whether or not the police used excessive force, there is no doubt that the student showed a blatant disregard for UCLA's regulations and police authority. . . .

We now know, in hindsight, that Tabatabainejad was not dangerous, but he might have acted in such a way to make the police worried about potential danger. People should take this into account before jumping to conclusions.

Regardless of whether or not the police used excessive force, we should all agree that Tabatabainejad is at least partially to blame for his less-than-brilliant behavior. . . .

There is even a protest planned for today, taking issue with the police handling of the situation. On the Facebook page he created for the event, third-year business economics student Combiz Abdolrahimi calls for the protest on grounds that racial profiling was responsible for the situation.

But attempts to paint this as an issue of racial profiling really stretch the facts. I – who by no means look middle Eastern – have been asked to produce my BruinCard by CSOs.

If I then refused to comply with the directions of the CSO – being asked to leave – I would fully expect to be treated somewhat roughly by the police. . . .
This has got to be one of the most idiotic, insane, and thoroughly repellent editorials I've ever read. "[H]e was asking for it"? Young Republicans are apparently drinking deeply from the cup of Ann Coulter's wisdom.

If you feel like discussing the article with the bright-eyed young and conservative Lazar, he can be reached at


ivanomartin said...

This seems to be a pretty clear case of grossly excessive force. If the police want him to get up and leave the library, how is repeated tazering supposed to advance that football?

That said, you have not presented any evidence that the student's race played any role in this incident. The video does not offer any information as to the genesis of the dispute, and there is nothing in the video supporting allegations of racial bias on the part of the cops.

For me, a disgusting video, but not for the reasons you claim.


Octopus Grigori said...

I had the same thought -- what would this guy's race have to do with this?

But then I considered, would the cops have tazered a blonde, blue-eyed co-ed five times? Would they have tazered David Lazar five times?

I don't think so. I do think the police saw a dark-skinned Iranian male as a threat and were therefore more likely to take the extraordinary, and otherwise entirely unexplainable steps of tazering a handcuffed student five times. (And to some degree, I don't entirely blame the cops. I blame the culture of mass-produced hatred and demonization of Arabs, Muslims, and Persians we live in here in America.) You probably have another explanation. (Perhaps the guy, handcuffed and on his knees, was a threat to library safety.)

We'll simply have to disagree once again. We just see the world completely differently from where we sit. You, predictably in my mind, side more or less with David Lazar. I, also predictably, side with the student protesters and see racial discrimination, where you see no evidence of racial discrimination.

(BTW, what evidence would I be able to present you from the video? Would they have to call him a "towelhead" or terrorist?)

I think it's funny that I knew to expect this response from you (and even thought to make a note in advance in the post for you) -- just as you probably could have predicted to the word my response to this incident.

To some degree, we've fallen into predictable camps, stuck in a perpetual religious/racial Crossfire. Perhaps, sadly, it's true what some people say: none of us can ever really get beyond who we are, we are forever stuck in our primitive mindstates of clans and tribal affiliations.

sepoy said...

I spent sometime on the UCLA campus back in the early 90s. At least then, one's race had a lot to do with whether one got batonned.

Anyways, o.g. your MSM link would be fairer this way

ivanomartin said...

Ron--if you want to stick yourself in the realm of "primitive mindstates" or "tribal affiliations," knock yourself out, bro. But don't paint me with that brush. I'll also thank you kindly not to lump me in w/ straw man Reb Lazar, w/ whose words I found precious little agreement.

Of course, anti-Arab/Muslim/Persian (while you're lumping people together) hatred and demonization exists widely in the U.S. There were many well-documented bias attacks in the post 9/11 "MSM," as you call it, and surely as you note, such attacks continue today w/ a frequency not reflected in the MSM. And it's quite possible that the cops here were motivated by such hatred. My point is that there simply is no evidence of that in any of what you post, a point which, if I read you correctly, you concede.

Anyhow, let's start talking about something we can all agree how amazingly weird that Kramer Laugh Factory clip is.


Octopus Grigori said...

Thanks, Sepoy. Have made that correction.