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Petition to Ban the Use of Taser Guns by UCPD

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Instructions: 1. IN ORDER TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THE INCIDENT AND THE ISSUE, SEE LINKS TO VIDEOS ON THE RIGHT 2. MAKE SURE YOU SIGN IN WITH YOUR UC EMAIL SO THAT THEY KNOW YOU ARE PART OF THE COMMUNITY November 16, 2006 Mr. Robert C. Dynes President University of California RE: Petition to ban the use of taser guns by UCPD Dear President Dynes: We the undersigned have been shocked to learn about the tasering of UCLA student Mostafa Tabatabainejad. The video recording of the incident, which to our embarrassment and dismay has been widely seen over the internet (as of today with over 9,000 hits), clearly shows that the repeated tasering of this student was not only uncalled for, but amounted to the use of electric torture in exchange for police compliance on a legitimate member of the UC community. As members of the UC community, we oppose the use of taser guns by UC police. Contrary to common assertions that taser guns save lives and are humane tools for police work, recent studies show that they put people at an unnecessary and unacceptable risk of death. Up until this day, 189 people in the U.S. have died as a result of taser gun use. Taser gun manufactures claim that in most cases these people died due to a pre-existing medical conditions or because of involvement with drugs. However, clearly these people would be alive today had they not been tasered. According to a Canadian study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, the use of stun guns such as the taser presents cardiac risks that require further investigation in humans. Also, a study published in the peer-reviewed Journal of the National Academy of Forensic Engineers found that stun guns are 39 times more powerful than manufacturers claim, raising new questions about their safety. The authors concluded that the shocks are powerful enough to cause fatal heart rhythms. This is precisely why other organizations like Amnesty International and the ACLU have called for a moratorium on police use of the taser, as well as an independent inquiry into the potential dangers of this weapon. The use of taser guns also constitutes a cruel and inhuman form of punishment, as the video of Mr. Tabatabainejad screaming in pain testifies to. These guns deliver a 50,000 volt shock to the nervous system. The electrical pulses induce muscle spasms meant to immobilize and incapacitate suspects, causing them to fall to the ground. Taser guns can also be used in \'drive stun\' mode as a close up stun weapon, which is specifically designed for pain compliance. Amnesty International reports that taser devices are frequently used overseas to torture and interrogate people such as political prisoners. On Tuesday, November 14, Mr. Tabatabainejad was shocked several times, each time three to five seconds, including after he was handcuffed and posed no imminent threat to police officers. The officers involved kept asking him to move but they did not verify whether Mr. Tabatabainejad was physically paralized, something taser guns are designed to do. Instead, they continued to punish him with more electric shocks. We understand that the UC police has a job to do and that they need protection. Nevertheless, we firmly believe that tasers are not adequate tools neither for protecting police officers nor for serving the UC community. Conversely, they make police work more difficult as they change the relationship between police officers and students into one of fear and lack of respect for officers who may be seen to be committing police abuse. Because of this, the undersigned firmly request that the UC Administration take the following actions: 1. Permanently ban the use of taser guns by the University of California Police Department. 2. Form an independent review board that will investigate the tasering of UCLA student Mostafa Tabatabainejad at Powell Library on Tuesday, November 14, 2006. This investigation should also be transparent, so that we as a community know what happens in every step of the process. We do not believe that a UCPD investigation would be sufficiently impartial. We would like this independent review board to evaluate if the events that transpired that night constituted an abuse of police power by the officers involved. Also, we would like the board to investigate allegations that police officers threatened to taser other students who asked to see their badge numbers. 3. This independent review board should also review and recommend changes to policies regarding verification of student status by UCPD officers. Clearly, Mr. Tabatabainejad is a student of UCLA and UCPD officers should have pursued other means to verify his student status upon learning that he did not have his ID in his possession. They should not have forced him out of the library because he did not have a student identification. He had every right to be working there. 4. Consider setting independent review boards in every UC campus with the assigned role of independently investigating serious allegations of police abuse. 5. Drop all charges against Mr. Tabatabainejad and extend a formal apology to him for the physical and emotional harm done to him that evening. We firmly believe that as a university community, our mandate is to create knowledge that improves our world, not blindly follow how things are traditionally done. The fact that other police departments in the U.S. use stun guns should not dictate what UCPD officers do. We believe the UC community should reject the use of taser guns and seek ways for providing police officers with tools that will allow them to do their job humanely, fairly, and that will guarantee their safety as much as the safety of students and other members of our community. That is why we demand that the UC President, the Board of Regents, and the UC Chancellors take the above listed actions. Sincerely, The Undersigned Petitioners (see attached e-signatures)


Coalition to Stop the Use of Taser Guns by UCPD


Video of the incident: Video: Keith Olbermann on UCLA Tasing Video: Keith Olbermann interviews Mostafa\'s Lawyer LA Times: For UCLA taser cop, not the first violent incident,0,1459046.storycoll=la-home-headlines Text, Audio & Video (from Democracy Now/ Amy Goodman): UCLA Police Repeatedly Taser Handcuffed Student For Refusal to Show ID, University Orders Outside Probe Video: Demonstration at UCLA for Taser Incident by UCPD Eyewitness Account: On the UCLA Tasering Editorial by UCLA Student Newspaper \"Daily Bruin\" on the incident \"Death by Taser: The Killer Alternative to Guns\" Online Exclusive]: UCLA community gathers to protest Taser incident, campus violence Questions raised about safety, regulation of Tasers Community responds to Taser use in Powell [BREAKING NEWS]: Student shot with Taser by UCPD officers UCLA Students Demonstrate Against UCPD Taser Use For more information about Taser guns, go to: For more videos on tasering, go to:
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