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University of Florida Student Tasered at John Kerry Event

Andrew Meyer, a student at the University of Florida, was pulled from a microphone by police and led away before being tackled and tasered in front of an auditorium full of students as Senator John Kerry urged the audience to "cool down".

MeyerOther students in the auditorium can be heard objecting to the tasering and shouting "police brutality!"

Local 10 reports: "Meyer screams for help and asks "What did I do?" as he tries to break away from officers. He is forced to the ground and officers order him to stop resisting. Meyer says he will walk out if the officers let him go. As Kerry tells the audience he will answer the student's "very important question," Meyer struggles on the ground and yells at the officers to release him, crying out, "Don't Tase me, bro," just before he is Tasered. He is then led from the room, screaming, 'What did I do?' Meyer was charged with resisting an officer and disturbing the peace, according to Alachua County jail records. No bond had been set. Meyer was scheduled to appear in court Tuesday morning, a jail official said."

Says Lane Hudson in the Huffington Post: "He's clearly upset that Bush's Administration is clearly ripping the Constitution to threads, edging towards ANOTHER ill-conceived war, and that Kerry could have stopped it if he had forced the issue on the 2004 voter suppression reports. If more people were this passionate, then we might have a chance at bringing this country back from a state of absolute apathy in the face of corrupt government. This guy made the people in the room feel uncomfortable because of his passion and tough questions. Because of the uber sensitive environment that George Bush's 'free speech zone' society has created, everybody is on edge and thinks that free speech has gone away. I'm not sorry to say that most of America needs a reality check. Serious issues are before us and sober conversation with polite head nodding isn't gonna make anything better."

UPDATE: Meyer to be released by police.

UPDATE: John Kerry released this statement on the incident: "In 37 years of public appearances, through wars, protests and highly emotional events, I have never had a dialogue end this way. I believe I could have handled the situation without interruption, but I do not know what warnings or other exchanges transpired between the young man and the police prior to his barging to the front of the line and their intervention. I asked the police to allow me to answer the question and was in the process of responding when he was taken into custody. I was not aware that a taser was used until after I left the building. I hope that neither the student nor any of the police were injured. I regret enormously that a good healthy discussion was interrupted."

Student from Weston Tasered at John Kerry forum [miami herald]
Andrew Meyer [website]

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Comments

  1. Geoff, your opinion doesn't surprise me one bit considering the fact that you just endorsed police shooting people IN THE BACK for running away from a traffic charge or a drug possession charge.

    Are you serious? Do you REALLY think people should be subjected to being shot and killed for running away from a traffic charge or a drug POSSESSION charge or did you just have a brain fart?

    Posted by: Zeke | Sep 18, 2007 11:44:21 AM


  2. Just one more thing. Has anyone phoned Senator Kerry's office to see if he has a statement regarding the incident. Unfortunately I am unable to today, so just curious.

    Posted by: Andrew | Sep 18, 2007 11:45:10 AM


  3. I think there is more to the story than this video shows, and why the police ended up behind him.

    I am all for free speech, voicing the truth, no matter how hard it is to hear, but if you do it in this way, become tangled up in a confrontation with the police, you need to be prepared to deal with the consequences.

    I guess thats the way to really get your voice heard, make a spectacle of it, we would never heard about it otherwise, but like I said, don't cry foul on the police.

    Posted by: Geoff Hammerle | Sep 18, 2007 11:47:22 AM


  4. Geoff, sorry to beat a dead horse here, but your statement, "become tangled up in a confrontation with the police" suggests he invited the police action. It's like referring to a woman as having "gotten herself raped" or saying a shooting victim "got in the way of a bullet."

    Not to equate what happened to a rape or a murder, but your language clearly suggests that he invited the police to act in this way BEFORE they laid a hand on him. Which is to say he did something illegal or posed an imminent threat to the Senator's safety. Neither could be said by anyone who watched that video.

    Posted by: Mike | Sep 18, 2007 11:52:51 AM


  5. WOW Zeke! I have never endorsed shooting people in the back for taffic or drug charges. I like how you twist things around. Nice try though.

    Usually people end up running for stupid reasons, like having an ounce of some controlled substance in their car, when the police are just pulling them over some minor traffic violation. Then when they bail, a foot pursuit ensues, and in the darkness, there is always some confusion, the person is seen making a move that looks threatening to the officers (i.e. reaching into their pants or jacket) and the person ends up getting shot. This seems a mistake on all sides... And all resulting from the person running for to protect themselves from some minor viloation.

    Mike, he was not necessarily breaking any law, but he wasn't being arrested initially, just being escorted out because he hijacked the Q & A. I'm sure if I'm holding some event or whatever, I have a right to throw someone out of it if they are disrupting it. If I'm getting married and someone comes barging into the church and yells, screams, etc. I'm sure I would be in my right to call the cops and have the person removed. I don't know any of the legalities in this case, since it was on a public campus, etc. etc.

    But it still boils down to the kid's physical confrontation with the police.

    Posted by: Geoff Hammerle | Sep 18, 2007 11:57:55 AM


  6. Did he help matters by yelling and making a scene,no? But when did it become the rule that when a police officer says something we should all go quietly out of the room and be escorted away like sheep. We are American citizens who by nature are suppose to question everything. We are an armed soceity not because we love to hunt but because we are the final check against any government going too far in taking away our rights. Whatever happened to the sayings " Live Free or Die" now it is "Be Safe First and Free Hopefully Later"? This is a sad state of affairs when the people who should be standing on the highest platform screaming in protest are the ones yelling "if you don't like it get out of the country". Who are the real Americans anymore?

    Posted by: Ian | Sep 18, 2007 11:58:33 AM


  7. This is nothing short of an outrage. Seriously, whats wrong with this country?

    Does anyone remember what the constitution is and what it stands for? We have men and women in Iraq fighting and dying to protect these same rights that the government is ignoring. In this case, freedom of speech.

    Does anyone else feel like history is repeating itself?

    Posted by: Marie | Sep 18, 2007 12:08:59 PM


  8. Andrew, According to some of the articles like the school paper the student rushed the microphone taking it away from another student and he was using profanity. That would be reason for security to be concerned.
    That said, I know videos can be deceptive and this one is missing the beginning but I also don’t see where he cooperated with security. Also maybe no one helped because they saw the whole thing unfold and have a different perspective of what actually happen.

    Posted by: EMO | Sep 18, 2007 12:17:18 PM


  9. Bryce is an all American idiot. On a different note, I'm not a republican but all it takes is to listen to a Ron Paul speech to see the contrast of the times and how our civil liberties are for lack of a better term lost.

    Posted by: Rafael | Sep 18, 2007 12:17:51 PM


  10. It's a shame that with only one student surrounded by 4 or 5 police officers still felt they had to tazer him while he was on the ground and immobilized. That's just too much.

    Posted by: john doe | Sep 18, 2007 12:18:03 PM


  11. I live in Britain. Our police do not carry guns or tasers and we are treated by them with equal respect. We are not afraid of police in our country. They don't fight or beat us - yet they solve crimes faster and better than any other country in the world. We're protected and respected. We have the same terrorism issues as America. Our police are fighting jihadists and suicide bombers, not students learning their voices. I think America could learn a lot from the British Police Constables and Scotland Yard.

    Posted by: Luke Kennedy | Sep 18, 2007 12:22:02 PM


  12. EMO, point taken. However, in the video you can clearly hear Sen. Kerry address Mr. Meyer, and ask him for his question. The only 'profanity' that I heard was 'blowjob'. If you want to hear real profanity, please pick up a copy of the Starr Report.

    Sen. Kerry's office will be issuing a statement soon.

    Posted by: Andrew | Sep 18, 2007 12:25:07 PM


  13. I wonder if these same police would have tasered Kerry if he went over his time limit on his response?

    This whole situation is ridiculous on so many levels. The police were way out of line... an abuse of power. Hopefully the officers involved will be punished, but I doubt it, they will probably be dubbed heroes.

    This could have been prevented in so many ways.

    Andrew could have prevented this from happening by being more concise in his questioning, and actually listening at the end, (Kerry was answering him) instead of yelling.

    As someone already said, Kerry could have prevented this, by getting involved, calling the cops off, etc... but he didn't. He and the prospective candidates are under such scrutiny, I'm not surprised. (We all remember what a big deal the right media made out of Dean's "yell", don't we? It was the beginning of his undoing)

    And finally, the cops could have prevented this... by letting Andrew talk for another minute, or telling him quietly to listen to Kerry's answer, or by a hundred other ways than didn't involve force and a taser gun. Are the cops a little force-happy and like using their power? Duh. Have you ever met any in the US that aren't?

    It's a really sad day in the US when the citizens a brutalized for asking questions, when the "free speech zone" at any Bush speech is ten blocks away from where Bush is, and all the audiences are hand-picked. How many mothers of soldiers killed in Iraq have been arrested this same way, for just wearing a shirt with a disparaging remark? We're living in a different US now than we were eight years ago.

    -N.

    Posted by: Norm | Sep 18, 2007 12:34:47 PM


  14. As a UF grad, University Auditorium has been the site where many politicians are invited to speak. This was handled poorly by Kerry; he should have jumped in and agreed to answer the tough questions Meyer was asking. This forum has a long history, especially going back to the Vietnam War, of verbal confrontation. He certainly should not have been tasered. He was not combative physically nor was he threatening. Kerry should have diffused the situation. I remember in the early 1970's Hubert Humphrey being booed out of the hall because of his political stand to continue the Vietnam War. They would not dare to have done this then. Our rights to free speech have been eroded with Bush.

    Posted by: Priscilla | Sep 18, 2007 12:38:38 PM


  15. Thanks Andrew, I’ve been meaning to read that Starr report I bet it’s good. There seems to be a over reaction on both side in the video.
    Security could have handled the situation better but I’m not judging either side because it could come out that this kid was looking for headlines. Being punked is the “in” thing these days.

    I'm so over Kerry.

    Posted by: EMO | Sep 18, 2007 12:43:13 PM


  16. Dude deserved to be Tazed. I wanted to beat on him far earlier. Not because I disagreed with what he was saying - he wasn't saying anything meaningful. But because he was childishly disruptive.

    Police brutality is a real issue - nonsense like this is like the boy who cried wolf. He resisted legal commands of the police, and then resisted arrest.

    Its possible to be against George Bush, think John Kerry ran a useless campaign, and still be against gits like this.

    And for the idiot above who thinks british police don't beat people, what planet do you live on? Read the Guardian for christs sake.

    Posted by: Charles | Sep 18, 2007 12:49:59 PM


  17. Whenever I see cops on the street or on the road, I try to avoid them.

    Posted by: GT | Sep 18, 2007 12:51:19 PM


  18. WELCOME TO THE SOVIET STATES OF AMERICA!

    a few observations:

    1) Kerry is a whimp. I have to admit the GOP was right on that
    2) The studen'ts question was stupid but "inciting a riot?" Give me a break!
    3) This demonstrates the adverse selection in the police force: those who have a propensity for violence and power tripping are the most likely to apply for the job,.

    Posted by: ReasonBased | Sep 18, 2007 12:51:36 PM


  19. This fool got his attention that he wanted. He was being a fool and didn't handle the situation in a way that left any room for the police to do anything other than what they did.

    He failed miserably at making any point. He wanted and got attention. "Are you skull & crossbones?" A few too many late nights on teh internets for this one...

    His 15 minutes will be short.

    Posted by: Stilson | Sep 18, 2007 12:54:52 PM


  20. “This is the same reason people get shot running FROM the police when all they have to fear is a traffic charge or even some stupid drug possession charge.” -- GEOFF HAMMERLE

    Did I misquote you Geoff? Are these not YOUR words?

    If these are in fact your words HOW exactly did I twist your words?

    Would you care to explain to me just how a police officer can shoot a person running away from them without shooting them in the back?

    If that’s not what you INTENDED to say, or MEANT to say, that’s YOUR problem. Don’t get pissy with me just because I challenged what you SAID instead of what you MEANT to say.

    Posted by: Zeke | Sep 18, 2007 1:02:23 PM


  21. I have been arrested for civil disobediance. I knew going in that I was doing the wrong thing for the right reason and that I had a very good chance of being arrested. Andrew Meyer had to know that his breaking of the rules would not be tolerated and was willing to pay the price for the publicity. People will now hear his questions and think about them.
    People must be willing to take the consequences of their actions. Instead of belittleing the police for reacting to him, be proud that he was willing to break the law and be thrown in jail for what he believed in.

    Posted by: Mark Hastings | Sep 18, 2007 1:06:11 PM


  22. Where's the first part of this video? That's the question we should be asking, how do we know who went too far when we only see the portion of the video meant to create angry feelings toward the police? give us the whole video

    Posted by: Rob | Sep 18, 2007 1:17:25 PM


  23. Zeke, I think I explained myself well enough in the follow up e-mail the situations I was thinking of when I made my initial post. I do not condone people being shot, shot in the back, or wherever, for minor violations. Just think about all the situations we hear about that occur where the police end up shooting someone after a situation escalates when the person runs from them.

    I agree with Mark Hastings. Express your opinions, beliefs, etc. but you have to be prepared to live with any of the consequences from however you do it.

    I am very concerned there were five officers there and they still could not control him and had to tase him. That is definitely a failing on there part.

    In the end, the situation could have been handled better by ALL the parties involved.

    Posted by: Geoff Hammerle | Sep 18, 2007 1:17:27 PM


  24. Kerry Statement on Florida Campus Incident

    WASHINGTON D.C. – Sen. John Kerry issued the following statement today, in response to the arrest of a student at the University of Florida.

    “In 37 years of public appearances, through wars, protests and highly emotional events, I have never had a dialogue end this way. I believe I could have handled the situation without interruption, but I do not know what warnings or other exchanges transpired between the young man and the police prior to his barging to the front of the line and their intervention. I asked the police to allow me to answer the question and was in the process of responding when he was taken into custody. I was not aware that a taser was used until after I left the building. I hope that neither the student nor any of the police were injured. I regret enormously that a good healthy discussion was interrupted."

    Really? Sen. Kerry didn't notice Mr. Meyer being tasered? Really?

    Posted by: Andrew | Sep 18, 2007 1:19:12 PM


  25. There is no freedom of speech in United States. Public's passive response to the student's cries for help is a clear sign of brainwash we all get from our government through media. I am sure that FOX is not going to discuss this issue. They would rather yap about OJ Simpson or some other meaningless story. This is exactly what the COMMUNISTS did in Russia (USSR). It is an outrage!!! Kerry must apologize, and police should be disciplined. All Americans need to wakeup and see what is happening around us. This is the wakeup call.

    Posted by: Jack Craftsman | Sep 18, 2007 1:20:10 PM


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