November 17, 2006

Cops Taser Iranian American Student in UCLA

Would the treatment meted out to the student at UCLA have been different were he not a 'foreigner'. An Iranian American student was forcibly taken out of a university premise by cops for not being able to provide a student ID. The live video on this link brings to mind the Vietnam War protests of the yesteryears.The same video can be seen via 'you tube' on Sharique's post where I first saw it.

Update:
1.The University of California Police Department had this to say about the incident.

2.There was a protest at UCLA yesterday at noon, and there's one scheduled at UC Berkeley at noontime this coming Tuesday. The National Iranian American Council is protesting vociferously to the UCLA Chancellor, Mayor of LA, and the UCLA Chief of Police against this incident.

17 comments:

eshuneutics said...

Very interesting and worrying. There was a debate recently on tv (in the UK) about racial profiling. The American speaker was from a right leaning "think tank". The UK speaker was a liberal minded academic. The debate was easily won by the American speaker: she pointed out that racial profiling was a necessity, in security issues, and the UK were pretending not to agree with what they in fact already do. She was right. Racial profiling is just a new-fangled name for the racism that institutions and organistation already harbour. Racial profling--as a strategy--simply legitimises prejudice...prejudice that is already here (in the UK).

Sharique said...

The incident was no doubt shocking. I am now having serous reservations about my application to US univs now!!

@eshuneutics
I agree that, with the kind of global situation prevailing, racial profiling in necessary but then what are its limits? If you have seen the video then you would know the barbaric and prejudiced approach of UCPD. You can't torture any innocent but one is always free to cast doubt and thus make inquiries...definitely not the way it has happened in UK few months ago or perhaps this incident

Id it is said...

eshu,
Racial profiling has indeed become a trend in a greater part of the western world. Some countries are doing it blatantly and others are still trying to keep up the tolerant facade, like the UK, and are doing it in a covert way.

sharique,
I would reconsider that; not applying to US Universities. The USA, despite incidents such as these, still houses a tolerant and free thinking people. The fact that there is mass uproar in UCLA is proof enough that most Americans do not tolerate violation of human rights, regardless of race and ethnicity. Simply because we live in a post 9/11 America, where some deem it necessary to 'profile' people for security reasons, does not mean all Americans are in favor of racial profiling. What happened in UCLA is as shocking and unacceptable to Americans as it is to you.

I've linked to your blog for the live video of this incident. Thanks.

Sharique said...

I know and thats why i have high regards for the common American citizens. I love the openness and freedom of the society. I will apply, no doubt. But i often wonder why the US govt. behaves this way in spite of public outcries against wars, first in vietnam and then in iraq.

Thanks for the link.

eshuneutics said...

Sharique: I don't agree with racial profiling. I have seen the video and have friends who could tell stories about racial profiling at UK airports long before terrorist threats and the term racial profiling was current. I wholly agree with you. It is because it has no limits that it concerns me as a practice. But id it is happens to be right. In life we must be careful not to make the one incident into an indication of widespread abuse. One incident is wrong...but there are still many fair minded people out there in the USA and in the UK.

Id it is said...

sharique,
Not meaning to condone what the UCPD did, but do read my add-on for the UCPD version of this incident.
All of what the UCPD did was not out of line; it's a standard practice in all college/university libraries to randomly check student IDs after 11PM. Where the UCPD may have gone wrong could have been it's lack of randomness in its selection of people to check. Also, they may have overstepped in the measures they adopted to evict the young man; all that display of power would have been unnecessary if the UCPD had adopted a gentler stance, after all they were dealing with an educated individual attending UCLA.

Sharique said...

eshuneutics,
I know it is terrible to be singled out because of skin colour or religion but then spare some thought for the police even. I read the police explanation that id it is posted. Its clearly shows that the guy acted insanely. But then the use of taser can always be debated.

And i never will generalise this situation. This generalization is often the cause of trouble and is responsible for many conflicts. Communication gap you see and it most of the cases it is self-imposed...you wont interact with a particular group...

Id it is,
I agree that such checks are necessary. I can very well understand that picking an iranian can be a mere coincident. And then the big question, what is the limit of power someone should exercise given an opportunity. Even i face this situation often in the orkut community i moderate :)

Ajay said...

not having an id should not elicit such a response from the cops. Wish they would not act in such a manner unless they have solid reasons and evidences to support their actions

Kraak/Peixinho said...

I really don't understand where we are all going with these kind of behaviour... Can we have some respect, please?

Thanks for your visit on my blog! Very kind of you! :)

Hugss

Michael Manning said...

So sad. There has to be a peaceful answer that unites all of us.

Anonymous said...

I was horrified when I read about it. Too much force used, might have been diff if person was not ethnic?

sanjay jha said...

nameste id,
sad but true
jhaji.

Anonymous said...

taser is an extreme, but couldn't the student handled it better? He wanted to make a hero out of himself with his antics which can be best described as artificial and desperate to evoke sympathy. He could've cooperated with the authorities in the first place,after all its his fault.

What video phone was it? Indian investigative journalists should start using such technologies. Indian footage never seems clear.

MellowDrama said...

hmm..it is a thin red line and while I do not disagree with you one whit, Americans are paranoid and this kind of violence is absolutely unwarranted for.

Have you read Arthur Miller's FOCUS? Awesome book - about a man who discovers he has to wear glasses - unfortunately it makes him look like a Jew and the humiliation he has to undergo.

Speaking of foreigners in foreign lands, untouchability is still prevelant in India. Racial profiling is everywhere..sadly enough Indian rural miseries hardly get the media coverage that american university high-handedness does!

samuru999 said...

Makes me quite sad!
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Margie

Dr. Deborah Serani said...

Wow, this is shocking!

EXSENO said...

I tried to link to your video but it is no longer available, however if anyone is interested here is a long version of the video that is still available:

http://youtube.com/watch?v=AyvrqcxNIFs

Watch the whole thing, much of it is dark but you can here the speach. This man said he was leaving when approached, true or false I do not know.
It is my understanding that a person can not always jump to there feet immediately after being shocked, once again I do not know if this is true, but if you continue to watch you will find that it was so bad that the other students gathered around in his defense and asked one of the officers for some ID and he was also threatened. So it's kind of a scary thing.
I can't say one way or another if it was right or wrong, not being there, but I do think that a whole Library of students thought at least after the first shock of the Taser that to much force was being used as the man was tased several times for not jumping to his feet right away after each shock.

Would I be able to jump right up after being tased, would any of us? I don't know, I've never been there, Thank God.