Sacramento Progressive Alliance
For immediate release: Nov. 18, 2006 For more information
Sacramento group condemns UCLA police assault on a student because his parents ( or grandparents) were Iranian immigrants.
Police from the University of California at Los Angeles on Tuesday demanded that a Sacramento area student Mostafa Tabatabainejad show identification while studying in the library and then assaulted him with taser weapons rendering him incapable of responding to their orders. Then, when he could not respond to their commands, they assaulted him at least six additional times with the tasers. Video of the event is readily available on You Tube.
We- the Sacramento Progressive Alliance- find it appropriate that the student is suing the University for violation of his rights. The student was assaulted based upon racial profiling. Defending the rights of individuals from abuse of authority “under color of law” is one means of limiting this behavior and protecting the rights of us all.
It is not clear if the repeated use of the taser was a deliberate act of torture or was it incompetence that the police did not know they were making demands that the student could not respond to. Use of a taser can prevent the subject from physical response.
A Taser delivers volts of low-amperage energy to the body, causing a disruption of the body’s electrical energy pulses and locking the muscles, according to a report by the American Civil Liberties Union.
According to a study published in the Lancet Medical Journal in 2001, a charge of three to five seconds can result in immobilization for five to 15 minutes, which would mean that Tabatabainejad could have been physically unable to stand when the officers demanded that he do so.
“It is a real mistake to treat a Taser as some benign thing that painlessly brings people under control,” said Peter Eliasberg, managing attorney at the ACLU of Southern California. “The Taser can be incredibly violent and result in death,” Eliasberg said.
According to an ACLU report, 148 people in the United States and Canada have died as a result of the use of Tasers since 1999.
It is the position of the Sacramento Progressive Alliance that terrorists can not destroy our democracy, but that we can- by simply allowing illegal assaults and torture to be used on persons based upon racial profiling because their parents were immigrants.
The number of times that the taser was used is important and is not covered in the television reporting of the assault. There might be a debate about the first use- but the six subsequent uses were torture.
Non-scientific polls on television stations and Youtube after the event revealed up to 80% support for the police action indicating wide spread acceptance of illegal behavior and torture.
The University of California is a tax payer funded institution, and the police at UCLA are public employees. If we accept this abuse of force we are giving away some of our hard won rights simply because a police officer, with minimal training, gives an order.
The police officers involved should be removed from duty (without pay) during the conduction of an investigation and police on all the campuses should be banned from using taser weapons until this matter is resolved.
The Sacramento Progressive Alliance is community based political action committee with over 1,400 members in the Sacramento region. For more information see: www.sacramentopa.org
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