Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Video: Student Tasered at John Kerry Forum

officer.com has a longer version of the video which offers more context about what happened directly before and after the tasering.

A University of Florida student was Tasered and arrested after trying to ask U.S. Senator John Kerry about the 2004 election and other subjects during a campus forum.

Videos of the incident posted on several Web sites show officers pulling Andrew Meyer, 21, 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.

"He apparently asked several questions - he went on for quite awhile - then he was asked to stop," university spokesman Steve Orlando said. "He had used his allotted time. His microphone was cut off, then he became upset."

Well, university spokesman Steve Orlando, if you actually watched the second video you'll see that Meyer did not go on for "quite a while" and that he "became upset" not because his mic was cut off but because he was grabbed by a police officer just after he asked his Skull and Bones question. Nothing like obfuscating the facts to try and place blame on the victim.

And speaking of blaming the victim, who obviously didn't need to be tasered considering the mass of police officers who descended upon him, the AP has now modified its original story (which I linked to above) adding this:

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) -- A university student with a history of taping his own practical jokes was Tasered by campus police and arrested after loudly and repeatedly trying to ask U.S. Senator John Kerry questions during a campus forum.

The questions he asked Kerry sure seemed dead serious to me and there's no way anyone could conclude that what happened was about trying to instigate a "practical joke".

The AP article continues:

Meyer has his own Web site and it contains 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.

To which I say, so what??.

Meyer spent the nite in jail and was released on Tuesday morning.

Meyer was arrested on charges of resisting an officer and disturbing the peace, according to Alachua County jail records, but the State Attorney's Office had yet to make the formal charging decision. Police recommended charges of resisting arrest with violence, a felony, and disturbing the peace and interfering with school administrative functions, a misdemeanor.


Andrew Meyer's site

The Miami Herald spoke to Meyers' grandmother.

John Kerry has released this statement:

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 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. I asked the police to allow me to answer the question and was in the process of answering him 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.

I don't know how Kerry couldn't have heard the cries from Meyer to the police not to taser him. Then again, Kerry is so in love with the sound of his own voice, it's quite possible that he wasn't even paying attention.

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