Friday, November 17, 2006

for a chilling video of a UCLA student being tasered by campus cops for not leaving the library fast enough, go here. the video is handheld and probably some kind of camera phone, so there is more audio than there is video. plus, you get to hear other students being threatened with tasering for asking for badges and names. it runs about 5 minutes.
added: the student is now claiming through his lawyer that he felt he was being racially profiled (because he is of Iranian descent) and refused to show his student i.d. for that reason. at UCLA, the cops (who are LAPD, not campus) do random sweeps at night through the library to ensure that only students are using the library. non-students are told to leave. he evidently was told to leave when he wouldn't show i.d, but didn't immediately. when the cops came back by he was on his feet and walking towards the exit. the resulting confrontation began when one of the cops touched him in some manner and he yelled for the cop to not touch him.
two questions:
1) why didn't he just show his i.d. in the first place?
2) why did the cops feel the need to become violent so quickly?
looking through the comments and blogs written by people present it seems that the cops are claiming the student provoked them by resisting and was trying to get the other students to help him. the students present are writing that this was absolutely not the case. they feel he yelled in order to draw attention to what was happening, but not to incite anything.
some people are claiming that is an act of civil disobedience, but i am going to wait until all of the facts are in before assessing any kind of blame or noble act here.
one thing i do know for sure based on the audio is that, if the cops didn't tase him and only "stunned" him, the only difference between tasing and stunning is stunning allows you to scream like crazy (in the movies, people who are tased just freeze up and fall to the ground).
third question:
does anyone besides me feel that the police in general are becoming less like the "thin blue line" and more like the "thick steel curtain" in terms of living within a siege state?
i mean, what prompts a cop to tase a student 7 or more times in a campus library in front of numerous students for no more reason that the feeling that the student was passively resisting arrest?
p.s. on a sidenote, the UC Davis campus police have decided to place decoy backpacks around the campus and keep them under surveillence in order to arrest people who might take them. does this sound like entrapment? this info was in a memo sent out by the campus police (on their website, i believe). are they having a surge in backpack thefts? or are they looking for people to arrest? anyone with information on this, let me know.

i have to say that i've been less than thrilled with the tactics of the Fresno police for some years now. i think that, in general, they do a fine job under heavy scrutiny, but the couple of friends i have on the force do tell me that the cops here have an "us against them" attitude. and "them" includes all civilians. and when jerry dyer opens his fat gob and tells the press that he expects his cops to be ambushed and shot at by gang members they are trying to weed out, i feel he is trying to justify a shoot first mentality.

finally, email Sony and let them know what you think of it releasing a very limited number of new playstations, knowing full well that lines would be blocks long and violence would ensue. while you're at it, call up our local BestBuy and chew them out for knowing they only had 35 of the sets and let the lines grow too long to control. what fucking idiots all the way down the line on this.