Thursday, November 16, 2006


Here we go, making the news again…

Last night, an undergrad was at the main undergrad library studying. (You don’t need a UCLA ID to get into the library, as it is a public facility funded by tax dollars.) But after 11PM, security goes around and randomly checks people for their ID. The student did not have his BruinCard with him, and the guard asked him to leave. Campus police are called. No efforts were made to check that he was a student in another way.

(Here the facts get murky…Police report says student was being belligerent and uncooperative, eyewitness reports say that student was being cooperative.)

He is arrested, and while in handcuffs, he is tasered at least four times. When one student complains to police for excessive force and asks for his badge #, the police threaten to taser him as well.

(And by the way, the student is a student of color of Persian descent.)

My take…
It depends on what the real facts of the case are.

In facts most favorable to the police, I think that the police still overreacted. Common sense suggests that someone of student age dressed like a student who is studying at the campus library at 11:30PM is a likely a student (I know they’re going be naysayers, but come on…has being in law school eliminated the use of common sense?) Other efforts should have been made (i.e. run his name through the campus system) to ascertain his status as a student. At least 4 police officers were involved in the incident, and there was a single student. If he was being belligerent and refusing to leave, police might have had reason to arrest him. Taser him once maybe if he was really resisting. But these four trained officers, who presumably had control over this student (belligerent and all) felt the need to taser him not twice, not three, but at least four different times. The video shows that after he is shocked once, he is unable to stand. It doesn't make sense (at least to me) that police would shock someone in order to make him stand. And I think the police realized it eventually, as the video clearly shows that by the end, the student is limp from the taser, and had to be dragged out by two officers. And to refuse to give out his badge #, as mandated by law?

In facts favorable to the student…I don’t think I need to address that.

Here’s the Daily Bruin article, also with a condensed video of the incident:
Here’s the LA Times article:,0,4794591.story?coll=la-home-headlines

Being in law school, what do you think was the topic of conversation all morning? The law school consensus is that the University will be paying up. If the case settles before any legal action is taken, the school will pay. If it gets past summary judgment (and most likely it will), the school will be eager to avoid the trial and publicity and will pay up. And if it goes to the plaintiff-friendly juries of Los Angeles, the school will most definitely be paying something in the 7-figures.


Post a Comment

<< Home