Saturday, November 18, 2006

Tasering Incident at UCLA

Rod Long has an article here on an incident at UCLA: Campus police repeatedly administered electric shocks to a student (note his Muslim-sounding name) who failed to show his ID at the customary 11:00 o'clock ID check. As he was attempting to leave the building, he objected to one of the police officer's grabbing his arm. That's when the violence (all perpetrated by the police) began. Even according to police statements (contested by witnesses, one of whom photographed the incident), the worst thing he did was to "go limp" when they tried to eject him from the building. (Some reports have the police saying that he requested others to help him. Apart from the fact that other witnesses apparently denied this, I would say this was clearly within his rights.) As their victim screamed and writhed on the floor, sympathetic onlookers stood "helplessly" by and argued with the police. Like Rod, I suspect that someone should have tried to drag the cops off of him, at least if they were not armed with lethal weapons. But put a uniform on a guy and suddenly the rest of us are "helpless."

You can see the hair-raising video of the event on YouTube.

I think the student's behavior in the video is exactly right. He says everything he says at the top of his lungs, to get as many witnesses as possible, and points out at every turn what the police are doing to him: "I've been tased for no reason! ... I was leaving! ... This is your Patriot Act! ... This is your abuse of power!" Note perfect. When you are being abused by the authorities, secrecy is in their interest. Publicity is in yours. Go thou and do likewise!

BTW as Patri Friedman points out in the Catallarchy blog, there is one good thing about this: we all should give thanks for these electronic technologies. which make it easy to record events like these. In the past we would probably never have heard of this incident, and even if we had, it would have been obscured by the fog of official lies and prevarications. No longer! Praise the Lord!

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