Remember when Taser International said that their products would save law enforcement officers from having to use guns? UCPD were caught on video camera Monday night using the weapon four times on a student who refused to show ID in the main library.
The video and other witness accounts in today's Daily Bruin contradict the police version of events that the student was physically struggling and encouraging others to join in his "resistance." One officer threatened to use the Taser on another student who asked for his badge number.
Meanwhile, Assistant Chief of Police Jeff Young defends the officers by saying that Tasers are safer than batons. This is, of course, not true. More importantly, it is pointless. Police are not supposed to use batons to beat people for non-compliance with verbal commands or to threaten those who ask for their badge numbers.
Young also says that police didn't know the suspect was not armed. Unfortunately, police never actually know a negative fact like that, even if the suspect is naked, so accepting Young's argument would give police a right to do pretty much whatever they wanted.
I hope that UCPD takes a close look at its training and use policies and disciplines the officers. A surprising number of my classmates seem willing to defend the officers today, but I guess we didn't get here by questioning authority.