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Berkeley: Assert Control over UCPD--Stop Police Brutality

Monday, November 20, 2006
12:00 PM - 2:00 PM
Event Type:
repost from facebook
Location Details:
Steps of Sproul Hall, UC Berkeley at Noon, and then to California Hall at 1pm.

This is a reposting from facebook. for those w/ accounts see:


If you aren't already aware of this, now is the time. On Wednesday November 15th, a student at UCLA was repeatedly tased by members of the UCPD even after he was subdued and under control. A video of the incident is available on YouTube. It is incumbent upon all students to watch this video--the agonizing screams combined with the embarassingly obvious fact that this student was helpless and harmless in the face of at least four officers with training under their belt, must make your blood boil. (

Some have classified this event as "unnecessary" or "excessive." Beyond any doubt, this is the case. But it is very important to understand that what happened at Powell Library at UCLA last Wednesday was nothing less than torture. By definition of the law, torture is the infliction of physical pain on a suspect who has already been apprehended. According to the law, torture is an "act committed by a person acting under the color of law specifically intended to inflict severe physical or mental pain or suffering (other than pain or suffering incidental to lawful sanctions) upon another person within his custody or physical control" (18 USC 2340).

The implications of this abuse of power are not limited to the UCLA campus only. Though UCPD's on different campuses have different administrations, they often share and exchange personnel, especially when large events like football games are planned. It is therefore possible that the same officers involved in this incident could one day be responsible for your safety and your welfare on this campus.

It is also not a hopeless cause. The UCPD falls under the direct control of one of our Vice Chancellors, and thus under the control of Chancellor Robert Birgeneau. Student pressure can force the following demands to be addressed and met:

(1) A call by the relevant administrators for the immediate dismissal of all officers involved in the incident. The officers who tased the student, and threatened to tase the surrounding concerned students who simply asked for the officers' badge information, are clearly operating on morally unsound grounds and should be removed. The other officers who witnessed the repeated Taser shots failed to undertake their responsibility to the student population and intervene in their defense.

(2) A promise by the chancellor and other relevant administrators never to allow use of Taser guns on this campus.

(3) The establishment of an independent commission, composed of at least 50% student membership, to review:
- UCPD training procedures
- UCPD policy for initial contacts
- UCPD policies for crowd control and the use of and escalation of force
- UCPD policies on the use of racial profiling

These demands may be amended or added to over the course of the weekend, and are subject to further review and criticism. If you have objections, please voice them.

What happened at Powell Library at UCLA could happen to any one of us, anywhere. The incident occurred ultimately because the student was not carrying his ID card. How this simple shortcoming, which many of us have also been guilty of, escalated into the application of excessive and unjustifiable force in the form of torture is a mystery.

Our protest will take place on Monday Nov 20 at 12pm on the steps of Sproul Plaza. UCPD offices are located in the basement of Sproul Hall. Bring your selves, bring your friends, and act responsibly.
Added to the calendar on Sat, Nov 18, 2006 1:47PM
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