Saturday, November 18, 2006


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The title might help me relate to, oh, every goddamned college student in California lately.

I'm a raging liberal, but even I am getting a little steamed at the way UC students have faulted the UCPD in this situation, claiming an abuse of power. Let's go over some of the key issues, and I hope they are quick, because I gotta get ready for trouncing USC sobbing quietly in the corner.

1) If the officers felt threatened by the advancing crowds, letting students who are coming close know that they may also be tased is justified. The officer was giving the warning that if someone were to interfere with law enforcement, those folks would also have to be dealt with. The police statement mirrors what's seen in the video: the officers were vastly outnumbered by a very responsive and vocal student community.

You can whine about getting "threatened" all you want, but like it or not, the police have a job to do, and need to let you know the consequences of interfering with their job if you are perhaps contemplating it. Looking at the way many have responded to this event ("I WOULDA JUMPD THOSE COPZ!"), I'd say the warning was an important one.

2) With given policy, tasers can be used to attain compliance from passively or aggressively resisting individuals. The initial tase was fairly justified: an unidentified suspect resisted police and started screaming when the police tried to hold him. After the suspect is handcuffed, he still refuses to comply, and is tased multiple times thereafter. The alternative to tasing to attain compliance in this situation (his body would "go limp" and make it easier to transport him outside) would be to wrestle him down and drag him out. Given he wasn’t compliant at any point during the incident, why should the officers assume he would now comply in cuffs? He wasn’t acknowledging their clear directives, either in actions or in words.

Also important to note is the danger to both parties, not just the police. Given that the suspect is handcuffed, he would not be able to draw a weapon should he have one, but physical resistance could very well lead to more injuries to his own body, such as by falling head first on the tile. The situation provoked a judgment call, as officers ought to be used to, and the outcome fell on what the officers decided. Given what we know of the circumstances, it’s hard to honestly be angry at them, for it seems theirs was a logical call.

3) I'm not entirely sure I like the taser policy. But that's a different beast of a topic entirely. I'm seeing lots of arguments from folks who are not distinguishing between policy and action. However you want to go about responding, please understand that regardless of your feelings on police wielding tasers or how dangerous tasers can be, these officers were following their department's policy. You can protest the policy, but that does not also correlate with protesting the officers's actions involved.

4) There is little to no evidence that this incident is a hate crime, other than the suspect being Iranian-American. The CSOs followed normal policy, the suspect disobeyed police and started screaming when they tried to stop him from leaving without using the taser, the officers warned him approximately 70 times throughout the situation that his noncompliance would result in more electric shocks. There's a much better chance that this guy simply got what was coming to him. That's not an asinine statement at all.

Saying that this is a hate crime shits all over the concept of hate in our society. Wanna know what a hate crime is? Savagely beating and sodomizing a teenager for being Hispanic, all the while shouting racial epithets, is a hate crime. Lodging a bullet in the head of a Muslim mother of 6 in Fremont, while she walked down the street with her 3-year-old daughter to a nearby elementary school, is a hate crime.

That the suspect is not white in this case does not make this a hate crime, and it shames all of us collectively for college students to be claiming it. We have a wealth of hate and apathy to be actively addressing in our communities, and the only thing that can come from protesting this incident in the name of racial equality is deterrence from that duty.

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