Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Tazorz!

I'm pretty behind on this story, but the internet's abuzz right now with conversation about this controversial video on YouTube. I'm going to provide the video but I must warn you that it is rather disturbing and profane. But this is something I think people need to see to be aware of the kinds of things that are going on.

The story behind this is that a 23 year old persian student named Mostafa Tabatabainejad refused (several times) to show his ID in his school library. (I guess under the grounds that the "random check" wasn't so random and he was being targeted because of his race, he thought.) So he refused to leave the library and the police were called. A confrontation began and they ended up tasering or tasing him (not sure what the correct terminology there is, but the point is they used a taser.) The footage, all shot with a random bystander's camera phone, shows the cops demanding again and again that the man "get up" and when he doesn't, (because, of course, the point of a taser is to incapacitate targets) they take it to him again and again. Several students ask the officers for their badge numbers, and near the end one of them tells an inquiring student to back off "or you'll be tased too."

Here's the footage:



As I said, this upsetting footage has been sparking a lot of conversation about police brutality and the use of stun guns, as well as racism. There is also a rumor circulating now that Tabatabainejad provoked the situation on purpose so he could sue the police. I question, though, how he could know that they would use excessive force. That said, it is likely that he was at least looking for a fight of some kind. Well, he got it.

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