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Tasing at UCLA -- response from Assistant Vice Chancellor
From: David Farber <dave () farber net>
Date: Sat, 18 Nov 2006 18:27:41 -0500

Begin forwarded message:

From: "Craig A. Johnson" <caj () tdrs com>
Date: November 18, 2006 12:03:20 PM EST
To: dave () farber net
Subject: Tasing at UCLA -- response from Assistant Vice Chancellor


As an alumnus with advanced degrees from UCLA, I found this episode very alarming -- and wrote to the media relations shop.

I am sending my original note, the Vice Chancellor's response, and my further reply.

Please use if you wish.




To: "Public Comment" <publiccomment () support ucla edu>
From: "Craig A. Johnson" <caj () tdrs com>
Subject: RE: Suggestion for UCLA media relations

Dear Mr. Lokman:

I appreciate your prompt response and am pleased that you and Mr. Abrams are on the job investigating this very disturbing action.

Perhaps your policy of having students who have forgotten their IDs being subject to manhandling and, in this instance, "tased" by University cops should be re-examined. All reports indicate the student posed no threat, and was in fact voluntarily leaving the Powell Library. In fact, students being students, one would think that a mandatory ID presentation policy should be administered with a very light touch.

I and several of my fellow alumni look forward to hearing the results of the investigation.


Craig A. Johnson

I am responding to your message of concern regarding the arrest of a UCLA student at Powell Library and the use of a taser by the University of California Police Department. Rest assured this matter has the close attention of Acting Chancellor Norman Abrams, who has requested a swift and fair investigation with attention, of course, to due process concerns. I can assure you that student safety and treatment is a matter of the utmost importance to UCLA. As updated information becomes available, we will post it at www.ucla.edu, in the "News & Notices" section of the Web site.


Lawrence Lokman

Assistant Vice Chancellor, University Communications

Updated Statement from Chancellor Abrams

About the Incident at Powell Library

November 17, 2006

A number of students, parents and members of the public have contacted me to express their concern about Tuesday evening’s incident in which university police took a student into custody at Powell Library. Since the incident, I have been in close contact with the chief of police and have asked that the investigation into the actions of all involved move at the quickest pace possible without sacrificing fairness.

I am committed to our country’s system of due process which counsels us not to rush to judgment. It would be best if everyone, within and without the university, would withhold judgment pending review of the matter. I, too, have watched the videos, and I do not believe that one can make a fair judgment regarding the matter from the videos alone. I am encouraged that a number of witnesses have come forward and are participating in the investigation.

To parents who are concerned about the safety of their children at the university, student safety and treatment are of paramount concern at UCLA. Indeed, this incident arose out of a university policy that is designed to ensure student safety, which requires persons in the library after 11:00 p.m. to be prepared to identify themselves.

There are conflicting reports of what transpired in this matter. I am confident that the review process underway will lead to a complete and accurate story of what took place. We must let the fact-finding process take its course.

Norman Abrams

Acting Chancellor

From: Craig A. Johnson [mailto:caj () tdrs com]
Sent: Friday, November 17, 2006 8:18 AM
To: Campus Leadership (OMR)
Subject: Suggestion for UCLA media relations

Dear Media Relations:

Perhaps the administration should use this in their frequent calls for donations to the Alumni Fund, etc. I'm sure it would inspire many of us alumni to pony up. After all, who can't support random tasering on the UCLA campus?


Craig A. Johnson


Daily Bruin -- Wednesday, November 15, 20006

[BREAKING NEWS]: Student shot with Taser by UCPD officers
Incident occured around 11:30 p.m. in the Powell Library CLICC computer lab UCPD officers shot a student several times with a Taser inside the Powell Library CLICC computer lab late Tuesday night before taking him into custody.

No university police officers were available to comment further about the incident as of 3 a.m. Wednesday, and no Community Service Officers who were on duty at the time could be reached.

At around 11:30 p.m., CSOs asked a male student using a computer in the back of the room to leave when he was unable to produce a BruinCard during a random check. The student did not exit the building immediately.

The CSOs left, returning minutes later, and police officers arrived to escort the student out. By this time the student had begun to walk toward the door with his backpack when an officer approached him and grabbed his arm, at which point the student told the officer to let him go. A second officer then approached the student as well.

The student began to yell "get off me," repeating himself several times.

It was at this point that the officers shot the student with a Taser for the first time, causing him to fall to the floor and cry out in pain. The student also told the officers he had a medical condition.

UCPD officers confirmed that the man involved in the incident was a student, but did not give a name or any additional information about his identity.

Video shot from a student's camera phone captured the student yelling, "Here's your Patriot Act, here's your fucking abuse of power," while he struggled with the officers.

As the student was screaming, UCPD officers repeatedly told him to stand up and said "stop fighting us." The student did not stand up as the officers requested and they shot him with the Taser at least once more.

"It was the most disgusting and vile act I had ever seen in my life," said David Remesnitsky, a 2006 UCLA alumnus who witnessed the incident.

As the student and the officers were struggling, bystanders repeatedly asked the police officers to stop, and at one point officers told the gathered crowd to stand back and threatened to use a Taser on anyone who got too close.

Laila Gordy, a fourth-year economics student who was present in the library during the incident, said police officers threatened to shoot her with a Taser when she asked an officer for his name and his badge number.

Gordy was visibly upset by the incident and said other students were also disturbed.

"It's a shock that something like this can happen at UCLA," she said. "It was unnecessary what they did."

Immediately after the incident, several students began to contact local news outlets, informing them of the incident, and Remesnitsky wrote an e-mail to Interim Chancellor Norman Abrams.

With reports from Lisa Connolly, Derek Lipkin and Saba Riazati, Bruin senior staff.

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