17 November 2006

Tazered at College

Clearly, this kid is resisting. Yes folks, passive resistance is still resistance and can require police to use force. The video starts with the guy yelling at the police don't touch me and the kid absolutely refuses to stand after several commands. That is going to cause some sort of physical intervention. Personally, I think they probably should have grabbed the guy, cuffed him, and dragged him out. Anyway, I'd really like to know what happened before the video started to make the campus police come after this guy. I doubt they are there just to harass some kid.


Steve Armstrong said...

Police Officer: “Leave now.”
Student/Suspect: “Fuck you.”
Other Students: “Why are you abusing him?”


I especially loved it at the end, when one student gets in one officer’s face and the officer tells him to walk away. When the student doesn’t walk away, the officer says, “Walk away, or you’ll get tazed too.” The student looks at the officer, decides that he isn’t joking. The student looks at the first student being lead away in handcuffs, and then he slinks away.

Moral of the story: When a police officer tells you to do something- DO IT.
If the officer is wrong, you can address that LATER.
Sue him and the department and the city/university LATER.
But, make no mistake- in a battle between you and the entire police department over whether you’re going to obey an officer’s command: YOU WILL LOSE.

I’m not saying its right or wrong, it just IS.

Ken Lammers said...

As the video starts the kid is yelling at the top of his lungs "Don't touch me!" over and over. I take from this that the police tried to move him without the taser. I'm not convinced the taser should have been their next step. Still, some sort of aggressive force against him was coming and I doubt the situation would have evolved much differently if they'd slammed him to the floor and drug him out the whole way.

Steve Armstrong said...

I totally agree, Ken... absent the Tazer, the police officers have three options for use of force:

1) To physically subdue the student with “hand to hand” fighting
2) To use a nightstick or baton to strike the student into compliance
3) To use a chemical or pepper mace spray on his eyes

All of the above options may have caused anything from bruises scrapes/scratches and irritated eyes to broken bones. The Tazer is billed as a non-lethal weapon (as are the nightstick and mace) and instantly incapacitates the suspect. As someone who has actually been “Tazed”, I can say that one ZAP is all it would take to get my mind right.

The Tazer makes scary noises and causes the person to scream like a little girl, however, there is no bloodshed or broken bones. Of course, complying with the lawful order of a police officer is also a good alternative.

Anonymous said...

I had heard about this, but I hadn't seen the video. Here's the backstory.

Ken Lammers said...


Thanks for the link. Whoever wrote the story should have listened to the recording first. The officers are clearly telling the kid to "get up" before they taze him. That would indicate that he was not walking out as the article states (not fussing at you Bill, just commenting on the article).

Anonymous said...

Ken- Particularly now that you're a prosecutor, it's all the more important that you help spread the word for police work that is humane, just, and follows the Constitution.

Whether or not the first tase was justified -- which I think it was not -- the subsequent tasing was entirely unjustified, including the failure of the police to give their assault victim enough time to get over the physical and psychological harm and debilitation from the first tase to be able to stand up and leave.

In my view, the police who tased this student were not sufficiently trained, and perhaps should not have been hired in the first place.

I've blogged in further detail about this matter at the following links: http://markskatz.com/blog2/serendipity/archives/97-UCLA-police-assault-student-multiple-times-with-taser..html and http://markskatz.com/blog2/serendipity/archives/87-Police-tasing;-police-dogs..html .


Anonymous said...

Well Steve, hilarious, huh?

Quite frankly, it should be obvious to any adult of good will, common sense and a basic understanding of the ideals this society was founded on, that there is a rapidly growing problem with police attitudes.
I guess the student should be glad that he wasn't shot dead, wouldn't be the first one. In which case he couldn't "address that later".
I suppose Ken would say, as he has in the past, that he doesn't blame the police, they do what they get away with. Wrong. Everybody who upholds and perpetuates that type of system bears responsibility. This includes you. I urge you to rethink your position, the onus is NOT on the citizen, it's on the people in whom citizens have vested their power, their trust and their tax dollars.
Besides being unnecessarily physically harmed, you seem to think it's perfectly acceptable for that student to have to expend his money and his time to file a lawsuit. What did he do to make it absolutely unavoidable to treat him like a dangerous criminal? As you seem to understand, he challenged the cops' "authority". We can't have that, can we?

Steve Armstrong said...

Martin said:
1) “there is a rapidly growing problem with police attitudes.”
2) “What did he do to make it absolutely unavoidable to treat him like a dangerous criminal?”

I’ll try to address these gems one at a time. As to the first statement- WHY is it do you think Martin that police have “attitudes”? Gee, I wonder. I guess it couldn’t possibly have anything to do with coming into contact (daily) with those people that society had deemed as problem. Remember- this cop-with-attitude wasn’t patrolling the library looking to bust someone for overdue fines, he was summoned. He was summoned by campus staffers who were having a problem. The police were called because someone broke the rules and was causing a disturbance. When asked to follow the rules or leave, he chose to continue to break the rules. Once the police officer arrived and asked him to follow the rules, he not only continued to break the rules, he decided to carp about the Patriot Act and that evil war criminal Bush. Nice.

As to your question of “What did he do to make it absolutely unavoidable to treat him like a dangerous criminal?” The answer is simple. The moment the student refused to obey a lawful order from a uniformed police officer trying to effect an arrest- he became a CRIMINAL. Now, he didn’t rob a bank. He hadn’t shot anyone, but he was still – say it with me – breaking the law.

He first broke the rules of the university. He then disobeyed a lawful order from a police officer in uniform. This constituted a crime (trespassing) and he was therefore subject to arrest. I’m sorry if this crime isn’t serious enough for you, Martin- but I’d love to hear exactly what YOU would have done to remove this person from the library.

As a former police officer myself (now in law school), I have already mentioned the police officer’s options. I’m sure that you would be the first to cry police brutality if/when the cops had tried to physically restrain/remove him or use their nightstick (possibly causing injury/bruising/broken bones) or a chemical/pepper mace.

In this situation and especially in Los Angeles where the Martins of the world are quick to first accuse the authorities of abuse, these guys are trained not to offend. So, when this self-important little prick decided the rules didn’t apply to him – and neither do the laws enforced by the university or the state – gets zapped, I find it extremely hilarious.

The only thing that was hurt/bruised/injured by the TASER was this kid’s ego.

So, tell us, Martin- You’ve got the badge. You’ve been called to help. This person needs to be removed from the library. What do YOU do? You’ve asked him to leave. He’s refused. What’s next, Martin?

Please tell us.