Review Condemns Use of Stun Gun on UCLA Student

LOS ANGELES – University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) officer Terrence Duren is facing the unpleasant consequences of using a stun gun on a student in the library last November after a report concluded he violated the school’s use-of-force polices and a video of the incident appeared on YouTube.

On November 14, 2006, an officer stopped 23-year-old senior Mostafa Tabatabainejad during a routine student ID check at Powell Library. Believing he was targeted for his Middle Eastern appearance, Tabatabainejad allegedly refused to show his ID or leave the building. Tabatabainejad claims one officer grabbed his arm and another dragged him toward the exit. He also says he was shot with Tasers at least three times, once apparently while handcuffed.

During the struggle, a student captured images of Tabatabainejad screaming while he is shocked and ordered to stand. Although a previous report concluded Duren had not violated school policy by shocking him, the outcry after the images appeared on YouTube prompted a second review by police accountability expert Merrick Bobb.

In a 77-page report, Bobb said not only that Duren violated UCLA’s policies, but that the university’s policies are already too broad compared with those at other schools. However, he added that Tabatabainejad could have avoided trouble by producing his ID in the first place.

Tabatabainejad filed a federal lawsuit against the university, police and multiple officers claiming they violated his civil rights and the Americans with Disabilities Act. He claims in the lawsuit that he has bipolar disorder.

Police Chief Karl Ross and Norman Abrams, who left his post as chancellor on July 31, said UCLA police will review the school’s policies for potential revisions.

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