ID or Leave ... Nah, Tazer
November 23, 2006
This did not happen to me. This did happen to someone in the U.S. recently. I've tried to stay as close to the facts that I do have as possible, though I can't be absolutely positive of that.

I am in the library computer lab. My school has random ID checks served to help keep the homeless out of the library after hours. Our computer lab is open later than the library itself ... so long as we get into the lab before the library closes, we can stay and work.

There are tons of students here with me. We're all working, and as I finish and am on my way out of the lab with my backpack, I am suddenly asked for my ID by campus police/security. That this is a random check and they do this randomly to everyone. No one else has been asked, but my skin marks me as from the middle east. I'm tired. I'm frustrated.

"Show your ID or leave."

I go to leave. I tell them I'm leaving. I also tell them they should check some random white students, too, if they're really being "random" about it all.

Apparently they are tired and frustrated and perhaps angry as well. Maybe they're scared of me. I don't know. But now they have pulled out tasers and handcuffs and they insist on seeing my ID. I don't know why I don't show it. It would be easier if I would. But I'm tired of the constant suspicion, the funny looks. I'm just tired of it all. I've read about non-violent procedures. I think, maybe, tonight is the night. It's a scary thing ... but so is all of this constant suspicion.

"I'm leaving, just as you asked."

They are following me, they still want my ID. I don't understand why they are hounding me like this. They put hands on me and finally tired of the stress, tired of the harassment, tired of going along with every little thing, I go completely limp. Non-violent. The opposite of what they expect of me, I'm sure.

The first blast of the taser takes me completely by surprise. I hit the ground and I can't help but scream. I didn't expect that much pain.

"Here's your Patriot Act, here's your fucking abuse of power!"

I'm crying as they taser me again and begin yelling at me to stand up. I've been hit by several 3-5 second blasts of electricity. I can't do much but cry and scream. I can't believe how much this hurts. And they're doing this in front of 50-60 other college students. I thought this was how you were supposed to do civil disobedience and be safe about it. These guys, they don't care. They just want to hurt me. I was leaving like they asked.

Now they're shouting at me to stand up! I can't hardly move after the taser, much less stand up. Everything hurts and feels like rubber. I'd only fall over again. Students have been gathering around me. They're demanding the cops' badge numbers and information. I don't know if they give a crap about me, but at least they can see this situation isn't right.

But I guess these guys are really scared of me. Because I can't count how many times I've been tasered. Don't they know it takes at least five full minutes to be able to function again after a taser blast like these? Five to fifteen minutes. It can't have been that long. They're handcuffing me now and I still can't hardly move. Another taser blast while handcuffed? What do they think I can do? Why are they doing this to me? I can't do anything to them ... and I never threatened them at all. I was non-violent ... I did nothing ... I was leaving when they told me to show ID or leave. Why pick on me?

I'm dragged out of the building limp, in pain, in handcuffs. Part of me wishes I'd just shown my ID. Part of me is glad that I stood up to this. I'm tired of getting picked on.

And all I can think is that while I can see that other Americans were trying to help me even though they didn't know me, the police over-reacted. And probably because of my skin. I know that some people in Iran will use this to solidify their hatred of the U.S. ... and that some Americans will use this to further solidify their suspicions of anyone with "middle-eastern" skin.

I am hopeful, however. There were American students standing up for me. There is good here ... there is working together here ... even through the pain of this incident, there is hope. We can work together. There can be discussion instead of knee-jerk reaction and fear.

-- LA ... quotes at least two articles about the real event.
Again, this is a fictionalized version of events based on the articles I've read and the bits of the video which are visible (it was caught on a video cell phone and uploaded to YouTube).
I don't pretend to speak for Mostafa Tabatabainejad ... he can do that himself, I have no doubt. I put this fictionalized account out here to show one set of possible motivations. To put a human face on what goes on. To remind us that for all of our differences, our reactions are much the same and we are much more alike than we sometimes would prefer to think.

Posted by Red Monkey at November 23, 2006 8:32 AM | Never Underestimate the Power of Human Stupidity | | StumbleUpon Toolbar Stumble |


Manic said:

This guy is lucky someone filmed it and a lot of people saw it, but many people don't have this kind of luck. Police brutality is surely on the increase, certainly with pepperspray and tasers who really really hurt and leave no mark for a doctor to see. These people who were harassed by the police nowadays have no evidence of what has been done to them. That's why taser and pepperspray should be limited and maybe even abolished, not because they can't do good, but because they can do much more harm. Harm not only fysically, but also against democracy and against a country where you are free to speak out and not to have to worry if a police men will taser you down once you are in the ally behind auditorium.

November 23, 2006 12:58 PM


Brian Gilham said:

I agree with Manic's comment, and don't really feel the need to expand on it much. However, I have had the non-pleasure of witnessing a student being tasered in front of my very eyes. I'll tell you this -- despite it's "less-lethal" status, it's still one of the most brutal things I've ever seen inflicted upon another human being. It was a similar situation..student was handcuffed, then tasered roughly four times.

November 23, 2006 2:44 PM


MsDemmie said:


I have seen many reports of this incident ........ whatever happened about innocent until proven guilty.

It is a sorry world we live in these days - driven by a culture of fear.

I wish you a happy thanksgiving X

November 23, 2006 5:35 PM


Ali said:

I have "Middle Eastern" skin, I am a Muslim and I feel really sad about the events that took place in UCLA. IMO I think the campus police were trying to prove a point to themselves that, "Yeah, hey we can do anything we want here" and of course it's easier to "label" someone as being suspicious they just need to look like a "middle eastern" who displays peculiar behavior like leaving a library when asked to or worse getting on a plane to travel somewhere. I'm referring to the six imams that got kicked off U.S Airways in a very humiliating way because someone thought they heard them say something about the war in Iraq, 50% of U.S population says something about that war, and they prayed while waiting to be boarded on the plane.

Frankly, I'm sick of being labeled. Get off me!

November 24, 2006 9:08 AM


Smash said:

Part of the problem is the media too, with their scare-mongering tactics. Like here , after 7/7 tube bombings, there was scandal and fright and fear instilled in people against asian men carrying backpacks. People wouldn't go near them on the train or anything. Then of course you get the cops that are dicks... Smashxxx

November 26, 2006 8:38 AM
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