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UCLA settles lawsuit with Tasered student

UCLA said today that the university would pay $220,000 to settle a civil rights lawsuit filed by a student who was repeatedly stunned with a Taser gun by campus police after he refused to show his identification or leave the school library.

Mostafa Tabatabainejad, then a 23-year-old senior at UCLA, was in the library in November 2006 when a security guard -- conducting a routine check to make sure everyone present after 11 p.m. was a student or otherwise authorized to be there -- asked him to provide identification. Tabatabainejad, a U.S. citizen of Iranian descent, refused, saying later that he thought he was being singled out because of his Middle Eastern appearance.

When campus police arrived and asked him to leave, Tabatatabainejad refused to get on his feet and walk out. Much of the encounter was captured by students with cellphones or digital cameras. Some of the footage was posted on the Internet and widely viewed,  sparking a student protest.

UCLA’s acting chancellor brought in a police accountability expert, who found that use of the Taser had violated department rules. UCLA police and their outside expert cleared the officers of wrongdoing, but several of the accountability expert’s policy recommendations were adopted, including a ban on the use of a Taser on people presenting purely “passive resistance.”

In what was described as a joint statement from UCLA and the student, the university said the settlement would allow Tabatabainejad to “complete his UCLA degree and move forward with his career.” The statement said neither Tabatabainejad nor the university would comment further.

-- Gale Holland

Comments () | Archives (9)

Wow, so mouthing off and actively disobeying a Police Officer gets you $220k? Hope it was worth it to him.

this is ridiculous. This is what happens when you disobey the authority who is there to protect you.

tasers r expensive!

An excellent settlement for an obviously race-based attack using the taser, or what the UN calls 'an instrument of torture'. Should be a lesson-learned for decision makers everywhere. Taser torture is going to cost you dearly. Check your 'Use of Force' policies (hint: lawful 'force' is a noun, not a verb) and taser training, or keep your checkbook handy.

He hasn't finished school yet? At 25? Anyone want to take a guess on to whether he does or not?

Good. The cops came in and ONLY asked for the ID of the Arab-looking student. He refused, and they tasered him. It was caught on video and everything. Of course commenters everywhere were saying this was justified -- yet it looks like UCLA realizes it's in the wrong and settled the case.

If only paying for my college and first home could have been this easy.

If college are businesses -- then they should be careful about tasering their clients(students).

Note that the police accountability expert assigned to the case found that the use of the taser had violated department rules.

Click my name to read my blog. I cover lots of BS cases like this.

I go to UCLA, they ask EVERYONE for ID after a certain time. They were not singling anyone out.

Anyone who thinks the kid deserved it is a complete moron. This was a example of human rights abuse, and assault. The cops should be sent to prison.

$220,000 is the price of a complete lack of discretion on behalf of UCLA PD. Cops also have rules and policies to abide by, and when they don't abide by them the results are harmful or lethal (in this case, a harmless student was repeatedly attacked with a potentially lethal weapon).

IMO, the student could have gotten a much larger decision if he hadn't settled it.


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