University police officers used a Taser on a student repeatedly during an altercation at the UCLA library at 11:30pm November 15th. There was a video made by one of the students who captured only the end of the altercation with the student shouting profanities at the police and then screaming in pain when he was Tased.

What the video did not capture was that the student was asked to leave repeatedly and police had to be called in to ensure he left. When the police took him by the arm to escort him out, he began to physically struggle with officers and verbally berate them. In short, he picked a fight with police and found out the hard way why it is generally a bad idea to do so. Could police have tried to de-escalate the situation? Maybe.

Police stated that the student in question encouraged other students to join his one-man resistance, which likely led police to threaten the mob that surrounded the officers. The ACLU, of course, is calling the police’s actions an illegal assault and police brutality. Because the video on the web only shows the tail end of the confrontation, and then only mostly audio, many people have begun to jump to conclusions about the matter. One columnist for the Daily Bruin has cautioned against to rampant knee-jerk responses to the matter.

On a campus were arrests due to student disruption
seem regular
it is little surprise that police take verbal abuse by students seriously. The response to the tasing largely smacks of anti-police sentiment.

The student was asked repeatedly to leave by library security and refused. This led to the police being called. When the police tried to ensure he left, he began to swear, threaten, and physically resist them. There are only a small number of ways to force an unruly individual to do what you want. You could physically strike them and encourage a hand-to-hand combat situation with a police office, which would likely threaten their own safety. You could beat the suspect with a baton causing no small amount of pain and physical harm. Or you could use a Taser, on the settting which they used, to encourage cooperation. In all but the cases of individuals high on drugs, Tasers do not cause fatalities. They choose the safest option for an uncooperative individual.

You reap what you sow. The idea, mostly coming from the left, that the police must treat citizens with the utmost level of respect while insisting that it’s perfectly acceptable to verbally defecate on police officers and physically resist legitimate orders is absurd. He picked a fight with police and he lost. It’s that simple.

John Bambenek is the Assistant Politics Editor for Blogcritics and is an academic professional for the University of Illinois. He is a freelance columnist who blogs at Part-Time Pundit and the executive director of The Tumaini Foundation which helps AIDS orphans in Tanzania with education. He is the current owner of BlogSoldiers, a blog-only traffic exchange.

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