There’s a YouTube torture video you have to see, if you can stand it. But first…
A common but false belief is that if you haven’t done anything wrong, i.e., hurt anyone or on the verge, then you generally have nothing to worry about as far as the police go. Of course, that’s demonstrably false. If you’re speeding on a country road with nobody for miles around, you can still get a citation just like if you run a red light in full-on city congestion. Such examples are endless.
It used to be — at leased it seemed — that such "misdemeanor" encounters with police were at least peaceful.
But it seems to me that policing and prosecution have become ends in themselves. These attract the kind of people who want to police and prosecute, but have not the slightest regard or passion for serving the public good of protecting the innocent from aggression and endeavoring to get to the truth and see honest and objective justice done.
Now, it increasingly seems as though the police are the predators to every extent they believe they can get away with. Bad guy, good guy, it doesn’t matter. The only thing that seems to matter is if they can get away with a brutal and emotionally charged encounter, at which point, they seem to do everything possible to provoke escalation, such that they can justify even more force.
And then you have the prosecutors. Incentives are not such that district attorneys are rewarded for getting to the truth and seeing to honest justice. No, the standard is whether they can get ’em or not; whether they can convince a jury.
The whole thing is a disaster.
And so you have this: torture by cops on the UCLA campus, tasering a student at least five times because he initially refused to show his I.D. for a random check, or leave the library (I assume he’s a paying student, so some sort of presumption due a customer might be in order). Then, once tasered and on the ground, he’s repeatedly tasered while screaming in agony because he either refuses to stand up, or can’t.
People: you have one very serious problem on your hands. There’s only one way this can resolve, and frankly, I’m a bit surprised — if not impressed — that the crowd of gathered students remained so composed yet insistent while the cops were barking their orders and carrying out their deeds. I sure would not be able to find any moral fault had those students torn those cops limb from limb. I’m glad they didn’t, for the students’ sake, and I’m gratified that they didn’t just bury their heads in books, not wanting to "get involved."
Update I: An MSNBC interview of the victim’s attorney. Now, of course, this is going to play out in some ways it shouldn’t, and there were seemingly a few bits of BS in that interview. But look: if the guy was being unruly, then it could have and should have gone down just like such things have always gone down for decades. The cops or some authority comes along and asks politely for the guy to leave, which is going to end the matter right there most of the time. If he refuses, then he gets hauled out by the armpits by a couple of strong men, whether he cooperates or goes limp, and then it’s the end of the matter.
What is clear to me is that the cops were looking for some supposed "justification" to use their "non-lethal weapon," and they were just not going to let the situation diffuse until they got their chance. Even after the first shot (of about five, give or take), the guy screamed "OK, I’ll leave" a couple of times. He also screamed: "I’m not fighting you." There was ample opportunity after the first shot and after every subsequent shot to diffuse the situation. But the cops consciously and purposely chose to agitate and escalate so they could taser the guy again and again.
Disgusting. I’m ashamed to even be called an American, anymore.
Update II: Of course, this is no surprise at all.
The UCLA police officer videotaped last week using a Taser gun on a
student also shot a homeless man at a campus study hall room three
years ago and was earlier recommended for dismissal in connection with
an alleged assault on fraternity row, authorities said.
UCLA police confirmed late Monday that the officer who fired the Taser
gun was Terrence Duren, who has served in the university’s Police
Department for 18 years.
Duren, who was named officer of the year in 2001, also has been involved in several controversial incidents on campus.
Equally unsurprising is the fact that he has been on the job for 18 years and is still on the job.
Duren said Monday that he joined the UCLA police force after being
fired from the Long Beach Police Department in the late 1980s. He said
he was a probationary officer at the time and was let go because of
poor report-writing skills and geographical knowledge.
1990, he was accused of using his nightstick to choke someone who was
hanging out on a Saturday in front of a UCLA fraternity. Kente S. Scott
alleged that Duren confronted him while he was walking on the street
outside the Theta Xi fraternity house.
Scott sued the
university, and according to court records, UCLA officials moved to
have Duren dismissed from the police force. But after an independent
administrative hearing, officials overturned the dismissal, suspending
him for 90 days.
Duren on Monday disputed the allegations made by Scott.
In October 2003, Duren shot and wounded a homeless man he encountered
in Kerckhoff Hall. Duren chased the man into a bathroom, where they
struggled and he fired two shots.
The homeless man, Willie Davis
Frazier, was later convicted of assaulting an officer. Duren said
Frasier had tried to grab his gun during the struggle. But Frazier’s
attorney, John Raphling, said his client was mentally ill and didn’t do
anything to provoke the shooting.
Duren […] was back on duty at the UCLA campus Monday night