Thursday, November 16, 2006

My alma mater

Yes, the UCLA police repeatedly tasered a UCLA student who forgot his student ID and was a little too slow leaving Powell Library. I used to think that cameras and video capability were superfluous on a cell phone, but this YouTube video has convinced me otherwise. The statement from Acting Chancellor Norman Abrams is noncomittal, as might be expected at this stage. But there should be a policy preventing the use of force, not to mention weapons, when police are not themselves threatened.

Watch the video. A nice touch is when an officer threatens to tase a bystander asking for his badge number.

I'll be sending a letter to Chancellor Abrams today. Other UCLA alumni might consider doing the same, or emailing him at

Update: Here's a May 2005 GAO report on the use of tasers by law enforcement, including policies in selected departments. Referring to Figure 3 on page 8, I would classify the student's actions as "Resistant (passive)," which at almost all of the cited departments would not justify the use of a taser.

Update 2: Apparently, the UCPD's meritorious service award is called the Taser Award.

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