The Digger has never been a fan of the Taser stun gun. They are a public relations nightmare in too many cases. The Westwood, CA, November 2006 UCLA library incident is an example where an 18-year veteran officer is battling the threat of unwarranted civil litigation. In this land the jury pool is polluted with extreme, Liberal cop haters. As for the UCLA officer’s continued employment, we suspect that’s shaky too in an academic institution top-heavy with the Liberal elite. The Taser carries the reputation with it of an ugly American past where cops used cattle prods on African-Americans to gain compliance in Southern states.
The Digger would not have used the Taser in that UCLA incident only because he fear the predictable outcry and circus especially when applied to an unruly minority group member. Nobody seems to care that the UCLA case like so many others only injured the pride of the so-called victim.
At the Orlando, FL 2007 SHOT SHOW, we met with Taser representative, Jay Keyhoe who is a Connecticut cop. Keyhoe showed us a somewhat new accessory for that Taser device. The Taser Cam is a small digital video camera that captures all of the behavior and sound from the suspect. Because of the built-in microphone the entire verbal exchange is fully recorded too. This device will would perhaps end any and all questions as to how and why the Taser was used.
We had known that Taser intended to offer the camera nearly two years ago but I have not seen that concept materialize until now. The Taser International website does not yet show this offering. Taser does have a full-page photo ad featuring this on the back cover of this months POLICE magazine.
We suspect that California’s goofy law against surreptitious audio recording even when it’s your own conversation will interfere with deployment of this accessory in that state. The device can be altered to collect only the video if necessary. There is a law enforcement exception to the law that may well allow that audio recording. Security people would not be exempt from that law.
We think that this camera apparatus will go a long way to defuse incendiary and misleading descriptions of the use of the Tasers in the future. I anticipate this will save officer’s reputations, jobs and taxpayer dollars used for defending bogus lawsuits.
It seems that our gun control groups are really unhappy with a Christmas tree ornament for sale at Urban Outfitters. They marched on the store with the national news media in tow, insisting these little glittery $6.00 handgun ornaments be removed from stock. Urban Outfitters declined the groups’ demand.
The predictable happened, as Urban Outfitters quickly sold them out on their catalog website. The unexpected publicity was good for business. As of this morning there were only a few left at their Westwood location as evidenced by the video below.
Gun control groups are responsible for the manufacture and sale of many millions of additional firearms because of the human condition that causes people to go out of their way to obtain what’s difficult to obtain. How can The Digger get these fine folks to demand a ban on a product or service he’d like to sell? Check out the video!
It’s located on the corner of Westwood and Kinross, Westwood Village’s very own Village Center News Stand. This is a great place to find nearly all of the popular newspapers and periodical magazines. That person browsing next to you just may be one of several recent patrons that include Nicholas Cage, Dustin Hoffman and Meg Ryan. It may even be actor, Tom Derek!
The Digger has always enjoyed browsing large news stands wherever he can find them but because of the Internet, paper publishing is selling to an ever-decreasing market. The days of these stands as we now known them are numbered. We just don’t know if we’re ready to call that progress.
Actor Tom Derek introduced The Digger to the “Pope Of Westwood”, the news stand’s manager, Karl Johansson. Johansson is a film character in his own right as he expertly takes care of the needs of his multi-national customers. Johansson gave us an interview along with a tour of his news domain. You can watch it right here!
During an 18-year career, a cop is bound to be involved in some action. That’s certainly true of officer Terrence Duren who is at the center of the overblown Taser incident with student, Mostafa Tabatabainejad, 23.
Duren had to shoot a trespassing vagrant in a campus study hall three years ago. Then there was a brawl on fraternity row where someone complained about Duren using excessive force. The complainers got the best of Duren who took a 90-day suspension avoiding dismissal.
There are always a percentage of ignorant people arrested for criminal activity that complain about the cop hoping that their complaint will somehow nullify the arrest. That phenomenon is much more prevalent with young people that deny or minimize the conduct that led to the arrest when explaining things to their parents.
Making smoke about the use of the Taser or suggesting racial profiling does not change three things, Tabatabainejad’s refusal to show ID, leave as ordered, and his failure to peacefully submit to arrest. Tabatabainejad put on a good show for the other students by getting Tasered but the fact remains he was uninjured.
A better approach to calling officer Duren on the carpet would be to examine Tabatabainejad’s conduct and whether he should be suspended or expelled as a student.
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.
Tuesday night the UCLA library was anything but a quiet place to study when Mostafa Tabatabainejad, 23 was questioned by a university policeman and asked for a student ID card. After a refusal the student was asked to leave the library. That escalated into an arrest situation. The library was filled with other students at the time.
Tabatabainejad was eventually zapped by a Taser Gun and began screaming. Other students began screaming too, and it quickly became a scene of chaos and bedlam. Another student captured six minutes of the circus on a cell phone camera.
The video shows no acts of anything more some students trying to hold court on the incident right then and there instead of the courtroom. Tempers were out of control and the cops sounded really officious and loud. Instead of the cops carrying their prisoner out they apparently kept shocking him demanding he get up and walk.
Had Tabatabainejad simply submitted to the arrest and fought for his rights in the courtroom he’d be in a much better position today. Resisting and obstruction of even an unlawful arrest is a crime and now Tabatabainejad is charged with a crime.
Campus police written response to the Taser controversy
The official Taser use policy at UCLA
Sit back and watch the video…