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Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The Gator Taser Debacle

Andrew Meyer, the 21 year old University of Florida student who was tasered by campus police last night, apparently has a history of taping his own practical jokes. I still find his treatment by police to be reprehensible, but have softened my outrage somewhat since learning more of the details of Mr.Meyer's prior behavior. Meyer was released from jail this morning on his own recognizance and refused all comment.

From an eyewitness account:

Senator Kerry announced he would take questions from the students. There were two microphones placed on each side of the aisle. One on my side and the other on Andrew Meyer’s side. Senator Kerry began answering the student’s questions from each aisle. Eventually it was announced that there would only be a few more questions answered. Since Meyer and I were both in the back of each line, it did not seem likely that our questions would be answered.

However, while Senator Kerry was responding to a student’s question, all of a sudden Meyer rushed to the microphone with cops in pursuit. At that point no one knew what was going on. Could he have a gun, a bomb? Immediately, Meyer began yelling into the microphone that he had been waiting in line forever and that Senator Kerry should “spend time to answer everyone’s questions!” Senator Kerry tried to calm the student down by telling him that he would “stay here as long as it takes to get the questions answered.” The police approached Meyer who began taunting them by saying “what! are you going to taser me? are you going to arrest me?!” The police grabbed Meyer, but Senator Kerry asked the police to let him go and that he would answer his question. Senator Kerry finished answering the other student’s question and then proceeded with Meyer. (*This entire scene is not in any video I can find so far. This is why 2 cops are seen right behind Meyer at the start of some videos*).

Videos of the Monday night incident, posted on several Web sites and played repeatedly on television news, show University of Florida police officers pulling Meyer away from the microphone after he asks Kerry about impeaching President Bush and whether he and Bush were both members of the secret society Skull and Bones at Yale University:

Meyer was asked to leave the microphone after his allotted time was up, but refused to yield the microphone. His mike was then cut, and police approached him for removal. It gets a bit murky here. In another video I've viewed, a man behind the police officers is making signals to someone just offstage and then nods and sends the officers forward. I'd be very interested in knowing who that person was, and what the communication was about.

Senator Kerry can be heard saying, "That's all right, let me answer his question." as Meyer was being restrained, but did not directly intervene. Could the Senator have defused the situation by demanding the release of Meyer? Perhaps, but it appears that he felt the police were in charge of the situation, stating "Whatever happened, the police had a reason, had made their decision that there was something they needed to do. Then it's a law enforcement issue, not mine,".

Kerry said Tuesday he regretted that a healthy discussion was interrupted and that he never had a dialogue end that way in 37 years of public appearances. He also said he hoped neither the student nor police were injured.

On Meyer's website are several "comedy" videos that he appears in. In one, he stands in a street with a sign that says "Harry Dies" after the latest Harry Potter book was released. In another, he acts like a drunk while trying to pick up a woman in a bar. The site also has what is called a "disorganized diatribe" attributed to Meyer that criticizes the Iraq war, the news media for not covering the conflict enough and the American public for paying too much attention to celebrity news.

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Blogger Parson said...

How many rent-a-pigs does it take to arrest one skinny college kid?


title="comment permalink">September 18, 2007 10:32 PM  
Blogger John Good said...

It all depends on who's behind the curtain. . .

title="comment permalink">September 18, 2007 10:41 PM  
Blogger Mary Ellen said...

Thanks for this information. I was watching some of the coverage on this on CNN and MSNBC. I had the feeling there was an awful lot that wasn't being said and the news trickled out slowly. Knowing that the guy was just asking for all the attention, putting up a blog to talk about afterwards and I also heard that he asked the police officers if there would be a camera at the police station-it sounds like he got just what he asked for.

Kerry handled it the right way.

My first inclination is that it was a right wing nut who was trying to make it look like the Dems or Kerry don't believe in freedom of speech.

title="comment permalink">September 19, 2007 12:37 AM  
Blogger Anon-Paranoid said...

It was a political event and no matter what he did he did not deserve to be tasered.

When will the people wake up and realize we are now living in a police state?

On another note if six guards can't remove him without using deadly force {Taser's can kill you}then they shouldn't be guards.

God Bless.

title="comment permalink">September 19, 2007 9:29 PM  
Blogger Stan Matuska said...

I believe if any (adult) person does not do what an officer of the law tells them to do, then the person is open for the next level, such as being tasered. Could they have restrained him without tasering him - probably, but there are incidents where they try NOT to taser, and the person punches the officer(s) or even worse, gets their hands on the officers gun. Had he just done what he was told, we wouldn't be talking about this.

title="comment permalink">September 20, 2007 7:47 AM  
Blogger Robert Rouse said...

It's all a bunch of crap. Kerry said he would answer the question. The freakin' rent a cops went nuts. The boy wsa not being violent. They had no right to taser him.

Had Reverand Lennox Yearwood just stepped out of line at the Capitol like he was told, he wouldn't have been jumped. But why should he? He was doing nothing wrong.

Had Media Benjamin from Code Pink not worn a shirt with "peace" in many different languages to the capital she wouldn't have been kicked out. For wearing a shirt! Is there a dress code at the capital, no!

Had Carlos Arredondo not been pushing around a cart as a memorial to his son then that screaming eagle who took his son's picture would've never beaten him. But he was simply exercising his right. The men weren't arrested, or tasered for tha matter.

Just because you ask too long of a question doesn't mena you should be tasered. It's malarky.

Did you know the "N" word has been banned in NYC? How can a word be banned? Not that I would use that word, but come on!

Wake up! Our rights are being eroded. Remember what we tell kids, "Just because an adult tells you to do it, doesn't make it always okay."

title="comment permalink">September 20, 2007 10:40 PM  
Blogger Robert Rouse said...

That was Sheri by the way.

title="comment permalink">September 20, 2007 10:40 PM  

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