One of the officers then grabbed his arm and Tabatabainejad indignantly demanded he let go, repeatedly shouting "get off me". This is the point at which a witness's video phone began taping. Inaudible words were exchanged between him and the officers and it seems he had for some reason fallen to the ground, they demanded he get up and when he did not they shot him with a taser.
Screaming in pain, Tabatabainejad stayed on the ground and then shouted "here's your Patriot Act! Here's your fucking abuse of power!" The officers seemed to be trying to restrain and remove him, saying "stop fighting us", to which he responded "I'm not fighting you, I said I would leave!" He's pretty pissed off at this point, and two students ask for the badge numbers of the officers.
Tabatabainejad, still on the ground and refusing to get up, then says "I got tased for no reason, I was leaving this god-forsaken place, you stopped me, you're abusing your power. Here's your... here's your justice at work, university students." Immediately after he finished, the officers, clearly unhappy with his diatribe, again demanded he stand up. After several requests and despite pleading from some students to stop, they shot him again, and then after more demands for him to stand up, tased him a third time and dragged him down the stairs. The crowd of horrified students pursued them into the lobby.
It's pretty much chaos from then on, and Tabatabainejad is tased at least twice more. Numerous students argue forcefully with the perhaps half dozen or more officers now at the scene. One of them is told "back off you you'll be tased too." Tabatabainejad is eventually haulded away in handcuffs.
However police claim Tabatabainejad refused to leave the building despite repeated requests, resisted, went limp when they tried to escort him out and "encouraged library patrons to join his resistence," and was therefore tased. They also claim the officers used the tasers on the stun setting. Tabatabainejad's screaming would seem to indicate otherwise. This account also contradicts the testimony of the witnesses. It's a shame the video didn't start earlier and wasn't more clear about the events.
It's also very annoying that the media continue to assume he refused to show his ID as being fact.
It's completely unbelieveable. Tabatabainejad was stupid to resist in the way he did and refuse to get up when they asked him, not to mention being oversensitive when they manhandled him and getting indignant and spouting inflamatory speech, but why the fuck does any of this justify shooting him with a taser at least five times? It's bizzare, absurd and sickening, and yet we have video evidence of it actually happening.
No amount of refusing to get up, verbal abuse or disobedience justifys repeatedly tasering an unarmed student, and threatening other students who asked for their badge numbers and argued with them? What the fuck? I'm surprised the students didn't just charge the officers en mass when they tased him the second time, I probably would have with only a few others.
Report from student media who first broke the story. Includes the video which can also be found on YouTube.
Report from the LA Times.
Update: LA Times reports that Tabatabainejad has hired a high-powered lawyer (Stephen Yagman) to represent him in a civil suit against the UCPD, accusing them of "brutal excessive force". The layer explains that Tabatabainejad did indeed refuse to show his ID to police because he believed he was being racially profiled.
"The lawyer said Tabatabainejad eventually decided to leave the library but when an officer refused the student's request to take his hand off him, the student fell limp to the floor, again to avoid participating in what he considered a case of racial profiling. After police started firing the Taser, Tabatabainejad tried to "get the beating, the use of brutal force, to stop by shouting and causing people to watch. Generally, police don't want to do their dirties in front of a lot of witnesses. He said Tabatabainejad was hit by the Taser five times and suffered "moderate to severe contusions" on his right side."
23-year-old Tabatabainejad is American-born but of Iranian descent.
Keith Olberman does his thing on Countdown and talks to a woman from the Daily Bruin who first broke the story.
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