UF Student Tasered
And John Kerry just keeps talking...
A University of Florida student was tasered and arrested during a forum for John Kerry on Monday afternoon, September 17th.
The student who was tasered by campus police is Andrew Meyer, a 21-year-old telecommunication senior and former columnist for the Independent Florida Alligator. He's been charged with a third-degree felony for resisting arrest with violence, according to a University Police Department report, which could mean up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.
At about 1 PM, Kerry was at the end of a forum at University Auditorium, and audience members were allowed to ask questions at a microphone, but they had one minute and only one question was allowed, out of deference to the others present. The person in front of Meyer was told he would be the last person to speak. Meyer spoke out and said he was upset with that, so Kerry gave him the OK.
When he took the mike, Meyer asked Kerry several questions, including why Kerry had conceded in the 2004 presidential election, why not impeach President George W. Bush now, asking “President Clinton was impeached because of a blowjob, why not Bush?” He went on to ask whether Kerry was a member of the Skull and Bones secret society at Yale University. At certain points he seemed to be addressing his fellow students more than Sen. Kerry, as can be seen in this NBC news video. When reminded that he was only supposed to ask one question, not three, Meyer responded, "He's talked for two hours. I think I can have two minutes."
Let's not even get into the comment about Clinton, but being rude, talking beyond his allocated time and not accepting the one question rule was his first mistake.
At that point members of ACCENT, the student group sponsoring the event, asked campus police to escort Meyer out, and at first, students could be heard cheering as he is asked to leave. but Meyer refused, and when officers tried escorting him, he resisted. That was his second mistake.
Officers only partially got handcuffs on him. At least four police officers at a time tried to remove Meyer from the forum, and he yelled for help and asked "What did I do? What have I done? What I have I done? Get away from me. Get off of me! What did I do? ... Help me! Help! " The campus police repeatedly threatened to user a Taser on Meyer if he did not comply, but he continued to resist being handcuffed. He was then tased, which prompted him to scream and writhe in pain on the floor of the auditorium.
Resisting the officers after they were trying to handcuff him was his third mistake.
He now faces two charges: resisting an officer with violence and disrupting a school assembly, and is scheduled to appear in court at 9 AM Tuesday. Within hours of the arrest, articles about it and video of the entire incident were posted by friends on Meyer's Website, The Andrew Meyer. His site also has what is referred to as 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.
As officers escorted Meyer from the auditorium into the lobby, Sen. Kerry went on to explain that he did not think there was sufficient evidence of voter suppression to justify contesting the 2004 election. Kerry looked on, but did not offer to intervene, just urging the audience to "cool down." And before you make any judgment calls, watch this video posted by the Gainesville Sun. You can also hear Kerry make what sounds like a joke about Meyer: "...unfortunately he's not available to come up here and swear me in as President..."
Please also note that the University of Florida campus police were well aware that numerous people were videotaping and shooting photos of the incident, yet not once tried to interfere. A number of photos of Sen. Kerry's visit and the incident can be seen here on the slideshow posted by the Independent Florida Alligator. along with their coverage of the story.
University police have stated that they are going to investigate the incident to make sure the use of the Taser gun was legitimate. "The police department does have a standard procedure for when they use force, including when they use a Taser. That is what the internal investigation would address -- whether the proper procedures were followed, whether the officers acted appropriately." said university spokesman Steve Orlando.
Don't even like to imagine the thought of a Taser firing 50,000 Volts up anywhere near my body, and can truly empathize with Andrew Meyer for having been on the receiving end of such a jolt.
But... had Mr. Meyer truly wanted answers, he might have chosen the best of his three questions and asked them of Sen. Kerry instead of choosing to embarrass himself (and the University) by mocking the Senator with a profane and childish diatribe that was completely self serving.
When it became clear to the organizers of the event that this individual had no intention of asking a question in a civil, respectful manner, and only intended on making an insulting, rambling speech, they did what they had to. ACCENT, the people responsible for bringing Kerry to the University of Florida, turned off his microphone. stating they cut it off because he used profanity, most likely the blowjob comment.
This isn't censorship, nor is it an infringement on ones rights. Freedom of speech certainly protects this guy from making a fool of himself by making degrading insulting remarks in front of a well known politician, but ACCENT and The University of Florida also have the right to remove the individual from their forum for being such a jackass in front of their guest, especially when the event was at an end. Every fall, fans at UF football games are removed from the stadium for being vulgar and unruly. This is exactly the same thing.
People make it seem like the police just went up to him and zapped him with the Taser for asking a legit question. Watch the videos carefully, as I have done. The guy was being a complete buffoon, and when the event sponsors decided he had embarrassed himself and the University enough in front of their guest, they asked him to leave. The police were simply doing their job when ACCENT made the decision to stop his ranting. He refused, shoved an officer who was escorting him out of the building (which is assault) then further resisted arrest. He was repeatedly asked to calm down and comply, and was warned of the consequences if he refused. He acted like a utter, belligerent fool, and was treated with appropriately. None of this would have happened had he asked his question like a mature adult. None of this would have happened if he would have sat down when the officers approached him, or quietly walked out of the venue. Freedom of Speech does not give him the right to act like a lunatic.
I can truly feel for Andrew Meyer for having been on the receiving end of such a jolt from that Taser, but if he has followed the examples of those who had preceded him to the microphone, it wouldn't have happened in the first place.
And shame on John Kerry for not showing any leadership here, not making any attempt at stopping this fiasco. Just a word and he could have helped avoid all of this.
It is a shame that so many people in this country refuse to take responsibility for their own actions.
Police announced this morning they will release Andrew Meyer. Alachua County Judge Mary Day Coker had ordered the student released on his own recognizance because he has no prior history and because he is a student. Meyer has promised to appear for all his court dates. His parents and other supporters were in the courtroom during the arraignment, but didn't talk. Students are protesting the treatment of Meyer by police and had scheduled a noon rally on campus.
Police are recommending charges of resisting arrest with violence, a felony, and disturbing the peace and interfering with school administrative functions, a misdemeanor, but prosecutors will make the call. Meantime, the University has said that it will review whether the officers used excessive force.
John Kerry issued a statement on Tuesday in which he stated that he regretted that a healthy discussion was interrupted and that he had never had a discourse end that way in 37 years of public appearances. He also said he hoped neither the student nor police officers was injured.
"I believe I could have handled the situation without interruption, but again 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," the statement said.