A UCLA student is tasered by campus police, cell phone video goes viral, the incident becomes an international story – and PARC is entrusted with conducting the independent investigation.
In November 2006, UCLA campus police applied a taser to a UCLA student who refused to produce his student identification after hours in the main campus library. The incident was captured on cell phone video by student bystanders and posted on social media. The story quickly went viral nationally, received widespread media attention, and caused significant unrest and protests on the UCLA campus.
Scope of Work
The University of California hired PARC to conduct an investigation of the facts of the incident. It asked PARC to assess whether its officers complied with the campus police's use of force policies. The University also charged PARC to make recommendations for changes in policies, practices, and procedures that were implicated by the incident.
PARC's exhaustive investigation involved reviewing video footage, interviewing witnesses, surveying the scene, and consulting widely with leading authorities and experts on tasers, including the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) and the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF).
Rigorous Incident Review by Seasoned Experts. PARC engaged a distinguished team of law enforcement experts to conduct an exhaustive and detailed investigation into a high-profile incident – interviewing witnesses, forensically reviewing all available video footage, and engaging experts on less-lethal instruments.
Clear Policy Recommendations Based on Best Practices. PARC engaged with law enforcement officials, academics, police organizations, and the manufacturer of the taser to assess best practices and based its recommendations on in-depth, real-world experience.
Policy Recommendations Aimed Toward Managing Risk. PARC focused not just on what did and did not happen in one incident. Rather, it considered how the University could, through changes in policy and practice, reduce exposure to future risk when it comes to use of force and protest management.
Policy Changes & Innovations. The UCLA Chancellor supported PARC's recommendations and advised the head of campus police to fast-track their implementation.
Changing the Dialogue. Protests at UCLA abated soon after PARC's independent investigation was announced – with faculty, staff, and community members citing PARC's reputation as independent, objective evaluators as inspiring confidence in the University's response.
Culture Change. At the start of the project, PPB was resistant to the prospect of revisiting its policies and making revisions where necessary. With the help of multiple police chiefs, significant changes were made in use of force policy.
Increased Integrity of Internal Reviews & Investigations. The number of inadequately investigated or reviewed force incidents and civilian complaints declined following implementation of several of PARC's recommendations.
Review high-profile incident of student being tasered by campus police; determine whether officers adhered to use of force policy; and make recommendations for changes in policy, practice, tactics, and training.
KEY ISSUES ADDRESSED
Use of Force
Less-Lethal Force Instruments
Officer Training & Tactics
Critical Incident Review
"Report Criticizes Use of Taser on UCLA Student," L.A. Times (Aug. 2007)
"Officer in Taser Case Identified," L.A. Times (Nov. 2006)
"Passive Resistance No Match for Tasers," N.Y. Times (Nov. 2006)
"UCLA Launches Taser Probe," Chicago Tribune (Nov. 2006)