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Melantrys’ Page » Blog Archive » Never forget to carry your student ID in America

Never forget to carry your student ID in America


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… especially if you look like your name may be Mostafa…?

Three days ago, at around 11:30pm on Tuesday night a UCLA student by the name of Mostafa Tabatabainejad failed to produce his student ID at a random check done by Community Service Officers in the CLICC Lab in Powell Library. Furthermore he allegedly did not leave in a timely manner.
Nevertheless he was said to already have been approaching the exit when the UCPD officers whom the CSO’s had called arrived. One of them grabbed the student’s arm.

Now, it may be unwise to yell “Get off me” in that kind of situation but getting tasered for that and tasered at least another three times for not getting up off the floor and going with the UCPD officers seems to be a rather… drastic… response to the young man’s behaviour.

Go see the movie documenting most of the incident on Safiyyah’s blog and make sure to follow the link imbedded in her post, as the Daily Bruin gives a much more detailed account of everything that happened than the rather bad quality movie does.

Small blame on the camera man or woman though, quite apart from a lot of people milling around, I guess the person did not wish the officers to realize that somebody was filming the incident.

According to UCPD Assistant Chief of Police Jeff Young the “drive stun” setting used by the officers involved “would not likely demobilize a person or cause residual pain after the shock was administered”. Contrary to that statement a study published in the Lancet Medical Journal in 2001 states that a charge of three to five seconds can indeed immobilize a person for five to 15 minutes, which - the Daily Bruin concludes - would mean that Tabatabainejad could have been physically unable to stand when the officers demanded that he do so. (Furthermore this type of stun has been known to kill people.)

But even if the stun did not immobilize Tabatabainejad, I can’t help but wonder if he might not simply have been too terrified to get up and go with these officers. After all, if they were not shy in using the taser repeatedly in front of the other students - not to mention threaten to taser another person as well when he demanded to see an officer’s badge number - what were they likely to do to him out of sight of witnesses? Hell, I know I’d have been scared of those officers.

I for one would be very interested in the officers’ reasons for their behaviour.

Was it “just” the overall fear of Islamist terrorism that led to a gross overreaction, was it common racism, or was it the tendency of some officers of the law to think they’re allowed to do whatever they please? Or maybe a bit of all three? The latter must at least have been part of reason or else there wouldn’t have been any threats against the student who was exercising his right as an American citizen by asking to see badge numbers.

7 Responses to “Never forget to carry your student ID in America”

  1. David Says:

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    I heard about this on CNN. It was just a brief segment. I didn’t know that the student was an American citizen, not that this should have happen to anyone! I think that this student can expect to collect a very large settlement from the school in the near future. Hopefully, some officers will be fired too!

  2. Kyubai Says:

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    Hey, Glad to read a new post…
    Well what can I say it is really strange thing that Muslims r to be feared but I think that it is more complicated than that, it seems that the world decided that it is easier to classify terrorism into a category and since that many of those terrorists pretend to be Muslims then why not Muslims to be that category and I don’t blame the world more than I blame my-self and all the Muslims that we didn’t bother to explain to others what is Islam and why we r Muslims until it is too late for anyone to believe us so we were known as a community of camel drivers who have severe acts against women and such things and believe it or not I know a person that is Called Mustafa too and he is a British citizen and he told me that in order to ease the pressure on him he changed one letter from his name to become Mustafi he didn’t do it cause he don’t like the name but just- and I quote from him- “I have to live there u know” so the only thing I can do now is to feel sorry that we’ve reached such a level…

  3. Melantrys Says:

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    Well, maybe they “just” enjoyed having that kind of power over someone and it had nothing to do with nationality/ethnicity.

    Nevertheless, the other problem exists, but I fail to understand how people can be so easily tempted to fall for generalizations and prejudices. In this supposedly enlightened age we should be able to have more common sense than that.

    I had some bad experiences with Turkish, Italian and black ppl, but - big surprise - so I had with German white ppl. Incidentally, I’ve had more bad experiences with Germans, so to hell with those fucking nazis!

    Oh bugger, I’m German myself. *heavily slaps own face for being a stinking German*

    Oh, and Kyubai, take care over there in Baghdad.

    *fails to see the improvement that a name like Mustafi is supposed to be*

    animmg?????

  4. aNarki-13 Says:

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    hmmm.. its not clear to me either.. however, the name now has a rastafarian ring to it.. :D
    anyway, categorizing people is the easiest thing in the world.
    thing is, we’ve become so anti-racist that we turned out racist ourselves!
    moral dilemma.

    why can’t we all just for once belong to the freaking HUMAN race?

    one world, one stinking blue-green rock floating in the middle of no-where.

    i hope we can all wake up before we become extinct.

  5. David Says:

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    One world, one people. I like the concept! I wish it could happen! Maybe what the world needs is a good old fashioned alien (of the extraterrestrial sort) invasion. Then, all human beings might scratch their heads for a moment and say, “The enemy of my enemy is my friend”! I’m sure we would all pal around until the entire race of three eyed tentacled freakazoids were mashed into blackened cosmocytoplasmic soup. After that and a few champagne toasts to victory among the new friends, I expect human nature will reassert itself and it’ll be back to business as usual. Still, I hope we someday all wake up too!

  6. Anonymous Says:

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    (The police office in question had been investigated for abuse several times in the past. He had been fired from a police job as well.)

  7. Lynnette in Minnesota Says:

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    I for one would be very interested in the officers’ reasons for their behaviour.

    Me too. It seemed excessive to me. Can anyone say Rodney King?–>

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