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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. To all the faux-news watching, log-cabin, right-wing self-hating fags on this forum who cannot distinguish between preventing a real threat and brutally attacking someone who had finished asking question: I hope you get tasered during one of your GOP rallies. After the incident in LA and now this, it is becoming increasingly more likely.

    Posted by: ReasonBased | Sep 18, 2007 1:29:06 PM


  2. So he is not in America comment still stands. Half of you appear to share his view point. Welcome to the Soviet States of America...really? So from the posts above we are led to believe that it is perfectly acceptable to be a public nuisance and then when restrained by the police it is also acceptable to resist and then bitch when you get beat down? Bravo people, but fortunately for us people like you will never lead this country.

    Posted by: Bryce | Sep 18, 2007 1:48:55 PM


  3. Andrew,
    Thanks for the update with Kerry. I’m over Kerry but I think he’s tough enough to have handled this without the security if he wanted.

    Zeke,
    I must be missing something here. If you don’t mind, could you please clarify this Geoff conversation you two are having? The board has a lot of comments and I may have misunderstood something?
    You said: “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”
    You seem to have made this statement because Geoff said (copied from your post) “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
    If Geoff was ENDORSING police shootings wouldn’t he have used words like “people DESERVE to get shot running from police” or like “people SHOULD BE shot from running etc”.
    As is said I may have missed something and there are so many comments on this subject. I’m not sure what to think about this subject yet.
    Please excuse my grammatical errors. I’m not a prolific writer as I’m sure you can see. I do enjoy reading the pros and cons
    Thanks

    Posted by: EMO | Sep 18, 2007 2:10:01 PM


  4. Bryce, there used to be a time when the majority of Americans did NOT share your authoritarian views. However, judging from the posts here, it seems to me that too many people have been brainwashed by the propaganda machine.

    His question may have been silly and he might have taken too long to pose it. SO FUCKING WHAT? Kerry stated he wanted to answer the question and the guy was WALKING AWAY FROM THE MIKE when they attacked him. Moreover: police guidelines apparently state that TASERS can ONLY be used if the life of the arresting officers is in danger.

    This guy was on the ground with FIVE officers on top of him, handcuffed and with one of the huge officers having his knee on him. ONLY THEN did they applied electroshock therapy. For apparently taking too long to ask a possibly silly question!

    Sorry but if someone is a nuisance, we do not ELECTROCUTE THEM in this country, or well, we used to think it was wrong.

    I am disgusted by some of you people

    Posted by: ReasonBased | Sep 18, 2007 2:53:05 PM


  5. Resistance is futile. You will comply.

    Posted by: Princess Superstar | Sep 18, 2007 3:37:03 PM


  6. As someone who works side by side with the police everyday, I have to admit the police handled this very poorly. Regardless of whether the young man was disrupting the presentation or even committing a crime, the officers in the video did not do what all police officers are trained to do -- defuse the situation.

    I've seen good police officers talk someone drugged up with a history of violence down without the need to use any type of force. This is one of the reasons, I am nervous about the use of "less than lethal" weapons such as the Taser. While in many situation it is useful, I think as in this video, it starts to be used as not when it is appropriate but when it is just more expedient to solve the problem.

    Undoubtedly, the police in this case were motivated by feeling pressures to eliminate the disruption as quickly as possible as well as the students challenge to their authority in such a public venue. As a result, they didn't appear to try to talk to the student at all or make any effort to create a peaceful end to the situation

    I think in any other venue, this whole situation would have been handled differently. I know it could've been because I've seen police with much more disruptive individuals handle similar situations without the need to escalate it the way the police in the video did.

    Posted by: Ed | Sep 18, 2007 3:50:34 PM


  7. To Reasonbased and many others because I had the same questions:

    The YouTube video is getting the shit banged out of it right now because of this, but this is the writeup of a particular post from the video excerpt and it does indeed explain what went on before it would appear he was so innocently asking general questions.

    "I couldnt get to my camera in time to record his entrance, but this guy basically comes running in with 4 or 5 cops in tow and says he has been running around trying to get in to ask a question and the cops are going to arrest him for it. they almost do it then but Sen. Kerry says he will answer it. he then answers a previous question someone else asked (i cut that part out because it isnt important to this video) then the guy asks his questions and when he is done all hell breaks lose. to the cop haters: i have no doubt the cops were going exactly by the book, the problem isnt them, its the book! they were doing their job and looked just as confused as this kid (this isnt something that they deal with often)."

    Posted by: FizziekruntNT | Sep 18, 2007 3:53:03 PM


  8. The police were doing the right thing. This man ran into the building and up to the mic when he was clearly out of line. I'm sure the police weren't arresting him, but merely escorting him out of the room. For his benefit, he should have left without hesitiation when he shouldn't have been in there the first place. Then he was resisting the officers, causing a scene, and was, in fact, disturbing the peace. The officers have a right to use the taser if the person is resisting arrest. The officers even warned him to calm down or he would be tased. Don't act like he didn't have a choice, because he did.

    Posted by: Kat | Sep 18, 2007 4:11:19 PM


  9. Thanks for the clarification GEOFF. You did explain your statement better in your subsequent comment. Of course that was after you accused me of twisting your words for challenging what you actually said in the first comment, as opposed to what you meant. That was the point of my second comment.

    EMO, see above. Maybe I should have said "tacitly endorsed" instead of "endorsed". Otherwise, I stand by my statement.

    Posted by: Zeke | Sep 18, 2007 4:14:06 PM


  10. OK, This guy is definitely resisting arrest. Probably (but can't say for certain) disturbing the peace. You can always say your peice; you can't always interrupt a presentation, elbow your way to the front of the line, and start yelling like a lunatic when they shut your microphone off. The only thing worse than this guy's manners are his manners. Did he deserve to be tasered? Depends, but he definitely should have left rather than breaking the grip of the PO and trying to force his way back down the walkway at the end. I'd have a lot more respect for what he was saying if it didn't come out his ass like it did.

    Posted by: Patrick | Sep 18, 2007 4:17:59 PM


  11. FIZZIKRUNTNT, thanks for that update.

    That does make the police actions seem a bit less outrageous although I still think they over reacted with the tazer.

    Posted by: Zeke | Sep 18, 2007 4:19:03 PM


  12. NONE - NONE of this justified electrocuting a student for asking a question for too long! What part of "police guidelines state that tasers should only be used when the lives of the arresting officers are in danger" do you, KAT, not understand??? At which point was ANYONE's life in danger after all five of these officers were on top of the cuffed student?

    people like you should live in North Korea.

    Posted by: ReasonBased | Sep 18, 2007 4:23:14 PM


  13. One: Police guidelines state that GUNS should only be used when the lives of the arresting officers are in danger."
    Get your facts straight.

    Two: Like I said, the kid had a choice. He should have complied and not resisted arrest. AND they warned him.

    Three: People get shot by tasers everyday. Somehow, this one made top news. Why aren't you out protesting every single one of those shootings since you seem to be such an avid humanist.
    It seems to be, you'd rather be on the computer all day complaining about one that you'll probably forget in a week.

    Posted by: Kat | Sep 18, 2007 4:28:38 PM


  14. Luke Kennedy makes the UK police seem like a bunch of peaceful hippies. But they get carried away and engage in unjustified attacks, too. All police do this, in every country.
    http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2007/08/378936.html

    Posted by: chrisk | Sep 18, 2007 4:36:16 PM


  15. Actually, Kat, police use of force policies on Tasers vary dramatically between departments and states.

    He is a sample of seven departments from GAO report:

    The placement of the Taser on the use-of-force continuums of the agencies
    varied. Specifically, we found that the seven agencies placed the Taser at
    three different levels on their use-of-force continuums. As shown in table 1,
    two agencies—the Sacramento Police Department and the Sacramento
    Sheriff’s Department—permit the use of Tasers when a police officer
    perceives the situation as potentially harmful, as when a subject engages in
    assaultive behavior that creates a risk of physical injury to another. Impact
    weapons, such as night sticks and batons, can also be used in these
    situations. They include, for example, instances in which a subject attacks
    or threatens to attack an officer by fighting and kicking.

    Four other police departments—the Austin Police Department, the Ohio
    Highway Patrol, the Phoenix Police Department, and the San Jose Police
    Department—allow the use of Tasers at a lower level in the use-of-force
    continuum in situations that the officer perceives as volatile. This occurs,
    for example, when a subject is actively resisting arrest but not attacking the
    officer. The use of chemical sprays to subdue the subject is another
    option in such a situation. Finally, one agency—the Orange County Sheriff’s
    Department—allows the use of Tasers in situations that an officer
    perceives as tactical, such as when a subject is “passively resisting” by not
    responding to the lawful, verbal commands of the officer.

    The report also has a lot of other interesting information on Tasers.

    Ed

    Posted by: Ed | Sep 18, 2007 4:37:29 PM


  16. I forgot the link to the GAO article:

    http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d05464.pdf

    One other comment from the report:

    Officials we interviewed in all seven law enforcement agencies stated that
    they developed procedures and guidelines to help ensure the safe use of
    Tasers. The officials told us that they make every effort to use the Taser as
    safely as possible but cautioned that it can still be dangerous. As an
    official from the Ohio Highway Patrol stated, any time a Taser is used,
    “…the officer runs the risk of injuring the intended target. A Taser is by nature a weapon and carries with it inherent dangers.”

    Posted by: Ed | Sep 18, 2007 4:40:09 PM


  17. There also seems to be some variation in how the student got to the mic. This is from http://joemygod.blogsport.com

    "According to witness accounts, Meyer was in line at the microphone set to be the last to give Kerry a question, but he protested when the moderator told the person in line in front of Meyer that his would be the last question taken by Kerry. Meyer complained and Kerry agreed to an additional question. When Meyer exceeded his time limit but would not relinquish the microphone, the police attempted to remove him. As seen in the video, Meyer resisted, resulting in his arrest."

    Posted by: Ed | Sep 18, 2007 4:44:12 PM


  18. No excuse for tasering college kids / reads like a Fox comedy show, "American Dad" anyone? sad :(

    Posted by: Richard S | Sep 18, 2007 5:31:02 PM


  19. very "A Clockwork Orange"

    Posted by: Richie | Sep 18, 2007 6:08:13 PM


  20. I feel bad for the kid, but if they felt he was being disruptive or trying to "rabblerouse" they have a right to remove him, which is all they were trying to do - escort him out. Which is not in and of itself bad, but you have to deal with the consequences. However when he starts to fight officers, they had to subdue him somehow. He should have just walked out and they would not have tased him.

    Posted by: Matt | Sep 18, 2007 6:41:51 PM


  21. Welcome to America, baby.

    Posted by: Joe in CA | Sep 18, 2007 6:43:35 PM


  22. I saw it differently.

    I saw a kid boiling over with near anger at the mess our politicians - those so-called "public servants" - have made of this country.

    Then I see a police force using excessive force on a now riled up kid. Who gave them the nod to move on this kid? Somebody did! So what if he ran Kerry's Q&A over 10 or even 20 minutes. Who cares?

    And then there is Kerry. He has a stage and a microphone. Why didn't he use it to take control? Where was his authority? Leadership? He doesn't even raise his fucking voice!
    Standing there in his conservative grey, botonany 500, with his limp dick in his hand...oh wait...that was his spine! (And I actually voted for this war "hero"!)

    As for the whole "spirit of the times" >>
    http://www.zeitgeistmovie.com/

    Posted by: Mark | Sep 18, 2007 7:21:40 PM


  23. Sure looks like someone didn't want everyone to hear what he had to say.. Hmmmmm Paid leave? Isn't that more like a vacation?

    Posted by: Jason | Sep 18, 2007 7:33:17 PM


  24. Once upon a time, John Kerry was THISCLOSE to being president. He couldn't command a mic and a stage enough to get those officers to back down? He should have shouted for Meyer to ask his damn question, answered it and then if Meyer still couldn't shut up, they could haul him off. But to stand by and do nothing? Shameful!

    Posted by: Mary | Sep 18, 2007 7:38:22 PM


  25. So the guy with the biggest mouth willing to push people aside to take the Mic should be allowed too? All he had to do was stop and let Kerry answer his question. No officer should risk being punched or kicked because the kid won't stop throwing a fit. That idiot took the the right of free speech away form all the people he cut in front of and talked over. Those are the actions of a spoiled brat that needed some attention. He wasn't zapped because he spoke. He was zapped because he didn't know when to shut-up. He wanted to be shocked and you guys have all bought it hook, line and sinker

    Posted by: Greg | Sep 18, 2007 7:43:12 PM


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