Friday there was a student demonstration protesting the Tasering of Mostafa Tabatabainejad by UCLA police. The Digger also happens to be a long time big city cop. The Digger suspects the UCLA coppers would have done much better if they just jumped, handcuffed Tabatabainejad, put him on his feet and quickly pulled him by his beard out of the building.
Now some students want to participate in the investigation and recommendations regarding the incident. Perhaps these kids should relax and see what happens with the criminal allegation Tabatabainejad is facing first. The civil courts are the best way to examine and deal with the allegations of excessive force.
There is a compelling reason for the students and general public to see or examine every single document, report or other recording connected in any way to this event. Don’t expect that to happen because of California’s overly restrictive public records laws.
Having seen the video, read and watched the various news reports there appears to be no evidence of wrong doing by the UCLA police. The same can’t be said for Tabatabainejad’s conduct. You can read the actual Penal code section involved here.
The ultimate questions for the students, cops and school are, can the police demand to see a student’s identification to investigate a possible trespassing offense? Can the police arrest a person that either can’t or won’t produce identification on campus property? Can force be used to effect the actual arrest? Unfortunately for Tabatabainejad the answer to all these qusestions is yes.
Next is the vague issue of racial profiling. Was Tabatabainejad singled out for enforcement action simply because he is or appears to be an Arab? Trespassers come in all shapes, sizes genders and national origins. There appears to be no basis to suggest profiling was involved. Arabs don’t enjoy a special exception or immunity from the laws of California.
Not long ago a laptop computer was reported stolen by a student using that library. Of course there is a history of difficulties with trespassers committing crimes against students and their property at UCLA. The presumption must be that the police were protecting the students and the school when they arrested Tabatabainejad. Tabatabainejad was not hospitalized or injured so The Digger must ask, What’s the big deal here?”
The importance of this event other than to be a learning experience for students is way overblown.
The Daily Bruin covered the demonstration and posted a video report.
Here is a real Taser video where the device was used perfectly.