Sunday, November 19, 2006
From LATimes.com:/YouTube.com: The UCLA student stunned with a Taser by a campus police officer has hired a high-profile civil rights lawyer who plans to file a brutality lawsuit.
The videotaped incident, which occurred after the student refused requests to show his ID card to campus officers, triggered widespread debate on and off campus Thursday about whether use of the Taser was warranted. It was the third in a recent series of local incidents captured on video that raise questions about arrest tactics.
Attorney Stephen Yagman said he plans to file a federal civil rights lawsuit accusing the UCLA police of "brutal excessive force," as well as false arrest. The lawyer also provided the first public account of the Tuesday night incident at UCLA's Powell Library from the student, Mostafa Tabatabainejad, a 23-year-old senior.
He said that Tabatabainejad, when asked for his ID after 11 p.m. Tuesday, declined because he thought he was being singled out because of his Middle Eastern appearance. Yagman said Tabatabainejad is of Iranian descent but is a U.S.-born resident of Los Angeles.
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."