Tuesday, September 18, 2007

explain to me again why we have police electrocuting college students?

video of the events in question are embedded at the bottom of this blog. it is probably best to view the video before reading.

Before i even discuss the practical details of this, why exactly is it that we have campus law enforcement electrocuting students in states as far-reaching as California and Florida. If it happens more than once, the problem is not the students. Even if the students WERE combatant, if we have a society which drives our student population to constant violence warranting usage of electric shock to control them, what does that say about the laws they don't agree with.

now that being said, let it be known that the two most recent victims of police electro-brutality that were caught on videocamera were outnumbered, unarmed, and made no threats or motions characterizable as violent or threatening, yet were still administered torturous electric shock to coerce "compliance", one of which happened last night without a clear explanation of whether he was being arrested, detained, or really any explanation at all. If you have just asked a moderator at a town hall function a question, even if your question is undesirable, and the moderator has aknowledged your question and you are seized anyways, without explanation, it is clearly outside the scope of police authority. Public universities such as this are instutions of taxpayer money, not private property, and all the benefit of the doubt goes to the taxpayer here. the police are responsible for explaining what their purpose is in physically confronting you. I'm inferring here to Andrew Myer's vicious electrocution yesterday at a John Kerry rally in gainesville at University of Florida. This mirrors similar policy errors in UCLA earlier this year, an atrocity committed against Iranian Mostafa Tabatabainejad who failed to produce an ID card in protest to what he felt was racial profiling.

With UCLA being a public university, the fact that students are required to show at all times an ID card goes against the very foundation of what makes America safe from Tyrrany. it is reasonable to ask someone for proof of admission to the University, if they are entering a premises, and to be denied admittance without the ID card, but for police to walk around the building demanding certain politically unsavory characters(in this case chosen by racial affiliation) produce identification even when they are leaving the building is criminal. He protested this so that other students could see what the campus rule was being used to do (honestly, do they really think a senior year American student of Iranian heritage is going to commit a terror attack after 11pm in a library that probably has 45 people in it? that is not a credible assessment of risk, so please realize that before you say that you feel safer for something like that happening.)

The line of brutality is clearly crossed in both cases, as the students are held down by numbers superior to them, who are supposed to be trained law enforcement, who deal with truly violent criminals(or should at least know how to). anyone watching the videos can see with their own eye that the people do not pose a serious threat of physical harm to anyone, especially not numerous trained, armed police officers. while being held down they are electrocuted, basically as a labor saving device to make it easier to get them to put on handcuffs. maybe these handcuffs would go on a little better after they were offered some miranda rights?

regardless of what you feel about the political implications of this, if you honestly feel that someone should administer electric shock to enforce school policies in college, I don't want to share a country with you. Personally, Andrew Meyers attitude when delivering his message at the event was not effective communication in the townhall forum; however his circumstance shows how the standard operating procedure for these police is out of step with the founding fathers vision of america, and closer to that of something out of 1984. we do not allow policy of law enforcement, especially low rank, bored, university law enforcement, to undermine our constitution. Regardless of what you feel about him, obviously the law should protect the ability to speak your mind, live free, far more than it protects law enforcements ability to electrocute-first-and-explain-why-your-detaining-later. Obviously they felt keeping social order at the Kerry event, was more imortant than protecting human rights. Another true criminal in this, is Kerry, only due to his failure as a public figure. If you enter into politics, you have a responsibility to maintain social order. As this event slipped out of hand, and the police went outside of the format (notice Kerry was recognizing his questions and right to speak, and was moderating, meaning that he clearly had the floor according to the order of the event), Kerry has a responsibility, due to his promise to help the social order and defend his constituents, to prove his ability as a public figure by restoring social order and demanding that the police not brutalize his image by torturing people who visit his rallies and ask him political questions.

videos below: please be warned these are graphic and disturbing. also NOTE, neither person is under arrest, nor is the nature of his detention explained by police prior to their usage of a taser gun.


Anonymous said...

okay, so these videos seriously made me cry. they really both did.
how could someone just sit back && watch the police do that to someone? for such stupid reasons, aswell. it makes me sick to know that i'm living in a country where this shit happens. there's no reason for what those officers are doing.

exactly the reason why i fucking hate cops.

Anonymous said...

At least neither of those guys got their legs broken. I know a girl from Lincoln who was protesting for the IWW in Rhode Island when some cops decided that they were obstructing the roadway, even though they had it cleared with the city beforehand. She apparently didn't walk to the sidewalk fast enough so one of the cops broke her leg. As in, broke it so it's bending the wrong way. She may never be able to use that leg. They were even trying to press charges against her.

You've probably seen this before but

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

I give up.

Anonymous said...

and thats why i hope that the majority of cops out there run into a gang member in an alley and get shot in the fucking face

feildmouse said...

as far as i know the police officers are required to be tasered before they actually go out and taser others....so it's not a lethal use of force
i don't necessarily agree that what they did was right, but a lot of people will say "i hate cops" one minute, and then go crying to them whenever they're afraid of someone the next
one of my best friends is a cop, and i would be awfully sore if someone were to wish death on him for doing his job

nicholas said...

that is the most disgusting thing i have ever seen.

PleaseGoSwallowAKnife said...

this kinda stuff really scares the shit out of me, because it seems like the sort of thing i'd do (referring to the comment the student was making towards john kerry). maybe college student stores can start supplying rubber bodysuits as a preventitive measure for things like this

Reverend Jeff said...

I have MANY problems with this... However, I'm not going to say "I hate cops." I prejudge them, sure, everyone does. First impressions: cop = insecure authoritative asshole... on the other hand, I know quite a few good ones, but it's assholes like this that could run the country in the next few years.
The saddest part? I'm betting they're more motivated than the American public.

We need to find a way to wake everyone up... and I don't know if books, movies, music, etc. is going to do it this time. We may have to slip into City 17 (yeah, it's a HL2 reference, so what?) to get the motivation to get back out again.

Anonymous said...

oh yeah, and those who say "I hate cops" are part of the reason they don't "serve" the public as much as they used to.
If everyone hated you, wouldn't you eventually become an insecure authoritative asshole?

Jason said...

Sensational language and outrage obscures your issue. The police on a university campus can escort someone off grounds if they're being disruptive, aggressive, or really seem they may become aggressive. Now, what people don't realize is that the use of a tazer, besides pain compliance, is to direct a person without really damaging them.

In the first video that guy started to stir things up intentionally, the police tried to escort him out, and you can see him jumping and impacting against the officers. Once they put him on the ground you can't see if he's resisting or not. The use of several officers there is to control all the limbs (So ideally there are at least five) so that the subject can't hurt the officers and so they don't have to hurt him. The assumption made by everyone was just that he wasn’t resisting, because he yelled ‘I’m not resisting.’

For the second video, I was tempted to watch it again and see how many times the police told him to stand up. A tazer will stop nerve signals while it is being used, afterward signals resume completely normally. Simply yelling 'I'm not resisting' doesn't mean you're not.

In both cases, neither of the students were being good little boys just minding their own business. In the first the guy was clearly fighting, in the second there's no telling from the video why it started. You can tell he wasn't complying once he was being recorded. So, let’s not pretend ‘the cops’ are randomly ‘torturing’ people. I can explain the levels of force and their justification further if requested.

I manage to go to class every day without encountering anything like this. If these two cases are abuses it’s not a conspiracy, it’s a couple of dicks. I find it more likely these cases aren’t abuses. These are more likely a couple of students who have taken their ‘fuck the police’ mentality further. I know in the first video to me that’s clearly it. If that first guy would have walked out quietly it would have been the end of it.

Barry Donegan said...

being a dick is not against the law. the moderator of the event gave him the floor, making his presence at the event lawful, the police are not the lessee of the building, they are there as security officers to protect Kerry, and should move when he requests.

they do not state their intention, that he is under arrest, or what he is being detained for when asked.

the then held him down, and electrocuted him when he was clearly restrained by numerous officers.

tasers are a very dangerous weapon which has been associated with fatalities in victims in some extreme cases. the officers in both cases were put on leave by their employers and investigations are underway. clearly this is not what would be considered legal even by their employers.

being a dick is not against the law.

Jason said...

No one’s suggesting being a dick is against the law. What I did say was “The police on a university campus can escort someone off grounds if they're being disruptive, aggressive, or really seem they may become aggressive,” which applies to this situation regardless of who gave him permission to ask questions. The campus police are there to do a number of jobs beyond just protecting a number of people. One of those functions is to preserve an environment where learning can occur. The student who was asking questions was doing so continuously. Kerry was apparently too dense to realize the guy did actually want him to answer. He wanted to make insinuations in a conspiracy theory format.

The student was neither being arrested nor detained but escorted out. The police don’t need to scream so that the cameras can her what they’re clearly doing. Initially he was not restrained physically in a way that would imply arrest and he was certainly not hand cuffed. The police tell people when they are being arrested, not when they aren’t. If they told people they weren’t being arrest our police would be very unnecessarily busy.

After he began resisting they did restrain him, no argument there. Ideally they should have had at least five officers on him. The reason for this is to prevent anyone (the officers and the students) from being harmed. I don’t see that as a bad thing. However, being physically restrained does not create compliance. Forcing a person to move into a position necessary for handcuffing to occur can seriously damage the body of someone actively resisting. The use of a tazer (not to be confused with electrocution which involves death. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/electrocution ) is used to create what is called pain compliance. Yes, it does hurt, what it does not do is actually damage the body. The use of a tazer is more humane than join manipulation.
“tasers are a very dangerous weapon which has been associated with fatalities in victims in some extreme cases.” I feel the need to address this specifically. People with pre-existing medical complications such as severe heart disease and pace makers can be killed. That in mind, the subject here was a young college student. Past that, he was actually resisting in a physically exhausting way. It’s clear he didn’t have any of those conditions.

“the officers in both cases were put on leave by their employers and investigations are underway. clearly this is not what would be considered legal even by their employers.” I must also respond to this directly. An officer that must use a weapon is immediately reviewed to make sure they do not abuse their authority. That fact is not making any sort of statement about their actions. Using ‘clearly’ in your argument implies that anyone who does not agree with you can’t catch things that are ‘clear.’ It’s a bad arguing tactic that poisons discourse. Neither of us can speculate how their employers feel about the event or their interpretations of the legality of it.

As a final note, I don’t like this situation either. However, blaming the officers only deflects attention from the actual issues. People are angry; at least some people are with some things. That’s important. This student being a raging ass and forcing the law enforcement on scene to have to put on a bad show for those attending is not important. If he’d have just stepped out instead of believing himself to be a messianic ‘prison lawyer’ then no problem would have occurred.

Reverend Jeff said...

I have to say I see Jason's point, but I still think the officers should have explained their actions to the guy.