Mostafa Tabatabainejad, 23, alleges University of California, Los Angeles campus police officers used excessive force by repeatedly shocking him with the stun gun Nov. 14, according to the lawsuit filed Wednesday in federal court.
Tabatabainejad refused to show his student ID to a security guard during a check at the Powell Library because he believed he was singled out based on his Middle Eastern appearance, the lawsuit said. He is Iranian-American.
Tabatabainejad had agreed to show his card on the condition that the guard check the IDs of other students in the library, but the request was denied, according to the lawsuit.
As he was walking out of the library, Tabatabainejad said a campus police officer grabbed him by the arm and told him to leave. A second officer arrived and then dragged him toward the exit, where he was shocked several times.
Tabatabainejad said he tried to remain calm, explaining to the officers that he was a student and that he suffers from bipolar disorder. The lawsuit claims the officers violated the Americans With Disabilities Act and caused intentional infliction of emotional distress.
"He told the officers he had the condition and the officers' response was to Taser him and to hurt him rather to deal with him as a person with a disability," Tabatabainejad's attorney Paul Hoffman said.
The lawsuit, which seeks unspecified monetary damages, names UCLA, the campus police department and officers Terrence Duren and Alexis Bicomong as defendants.
UCLA's acting chancellor, Norm Abrams, said the university was pursuing an independent investigation along with an internal campus police department probe.
"Shortly after the incident, I urged everyone not to rush to judgment and to let the investigations take their course. We regret that Mostafa Tabatabainejad has filed a lawsuit at this time," Abrams said in a statement.