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Kerry Responds to Taser Incident

Cable news is all over the story of the Andrew Meyer, the 21-year-old University of Florida student tasered by university police, after he refused to stop questioning Sen. John Kerry about the 2004 presidential election.

Video (like the one below) show officers pulling Meyer away from a microphone after he asked several questions of the Massachusetts senator. Our sister Post-Newsweek TV station in Miami, WPLG-TV "Local 10" is even running a Web poll asking users if they think the student deserved to be tasered.

There are some important things worth noting BEFORE you watch the video:

1.) Before Meyer is tasered, audience members can be heard applauding the police as they move him away from the microphone. Kerry staffers we spoke with say University of Florida officials told them the student has caused a fuss at similar events before, thus the clapping from members of the audience.

2.) Sen. Kerry was in town giving a lecture on foreign policy. The event was scheduled to last one hour, and had already run about 90 minutes by the time Meyer got to the microphone, according to a Kerry staffer.

3.) In some versions of the video, you can clearly hear Sen. Kerry say he will answer Meyer's questions. Kerry's office made it clear he has a policy of answering questions from anyone who asks at these types of events.

4.) Sen. Kerry's office issued the statement below:

"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."

Check out the video below, and get other angles from MSNBC, CBS, and CNN.

VIDEO | Raw Video: Student Tasered at Senator's Speech

UPDATE 3:34 p.m. ET: There's now a Faceboook group in defense of Andrew Meyer, called, "Don't Taser Me 'Bro!"

-- Ed O'Keefe

By Ed O'Keefe |  September 18, 2007; 12:58 PM ET Congress , Miscellaneous
Previous: Hillary Clinton's New Health Care Ad | Next: Gingrich In Second Life

Comments

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None of the four comments noted above in ANY way justices tasering a student asking a question at a university-sponsored event. I have worked in a university environment for over 30 years, from Harvard to, now, the University of Central Florida (not to be confused with the University of Florida, where the tasering in question took place). I can safely say there is never a speech or a forum where somebody doesn't ask a rude question or hog the microphone or annoy others in the audience. I can also safely say that I have never witnessed six police officers drag one student out of such an event and taser the student in order to "subdue" him or her. When we do get to such a point, we really are living in a police state, as I have feared for some time.

Posted by: Dolores Hajra | September 18, 2007 1:49 PM

I think the police did their job correctly.

One video shows the police repeatedly asking the resisting student to stop resisting, and allow his hands to be handcuffed.

The student of course did not stop resisting until after being tasered.

Note: the kid was a big lad and easily broken free of two police officiers who first tried to pull him from the mic. It took six officers to subdue him.

Posted by: Petras Vilson | September 18, 2007 2:17 PM

Kerry's response to this incident was pathetic. But then he couldn't even defend his own military record when challenged by a bunch of draft-dodging, chicken hawks.

Posted by: Lilly | September 18, 2007 2:26 PM

Blaming Kerry in any way for this participant confrontation and outburst is ridilucous. This was poorly handed by both the student (instigator) for not complying with police and remaining obstinant escalated it and the fact six officers cannot control the situation without a taser shows poor skills.

No one likes to see the authorities abuse their position but that is not applicable here. The student is responsible for the outburst and escalation.

Posted by: Your Conscience | September 18, 2007 2:28 PM

I would be very careful about saying that the audience was applauding his removal. From my point of view, they were applauding his statement. Please re-consider your post.

Posted by: Will Sweeney | September 18, 2007 2:30 PM

Florida-style democracy:

http://youtube.com/watch?v=CheY0jYXJjY

Posted by: Singing Senator | September 18, 2007 2:30 PM

Uhh, Petras, what right do the police even have to cuff the guy? He may be a fanatic, he may have been annoying people, but the proof is on the tape. The kid isnt militant and posed no threat to anyone. A big lad? Huh. Was he swinging his fists? Weilding a weapon? There were like 5 cops around him with bill clubs and electric tasers. Give me a break. This kind of behavior signifies the onset of a military junta in this country. As long as we continue to spend a trillion a year on defense/"security", and discourage the right to civil freedom, we are going down this path...

Posted by: Martin McFriend | September 18, 2007 2:31 PM

I agree. The audience definitely seemed to be applauding his statements and questions. Then again, in Florida we were responsible for "electing" Bush in 2000. What do we know?

Posted by: Bingo | September 18, 2007 2:34 PM

I hope this brings about a serious dialog about tasers. Having a weapon that causes pain (USUALLY) without permanent harm gives the police more power to intimidate people out of exercising their constitutional rights. The student may have been annoying, but he was not a threat to anyone. However, the reaction of the police is yet another indication that it is our democracy that is truly under threat.

Posted by: Sarah | September 18, 2007 2:35 PM

How do we know that the audience wasn't clapping for Meyers and th questions he was asking. You have no idea who the audience was clapping for but I see that you are trying to slant the article saying that people were against Meyers from the beginning. That's great journalism right there.

Posted by: steve | September 18, 2007 2:41 PM

wow, ironic that a democracy criticizes a citizen for asking "too many questions." not to mention that Kerry, the guest of honor, didn't think there were too many questions. did this kid monopolize the microphone for 20 minutes? a student body asking too many political questions of its political guest - if only every university could be so lucky.

Posted by: chart | September 18, 2007 2:43 PM

Morale: never try to ask questions "famous" people don't like, else "Police will do the correct job". No freedom for speech in forum

Posted by: Me | September 18, 2007 2:45 PM

Yesterday was Citizens day. The anniversery of the ratification of the US Constitution.

Congress shall pass no law " " free speach.

Can you fill in the empty space. A student tazzered for exercising his constitutional right. Petra this is not nazi germany or Iran, Iraq, India, Pakistan. This is America. If that had been my son and I was there, I would have picked up anything at hand and defended my son from the assualt he was enduring........... This is a blatant assault on a student by law enforcement. Abject losers the cops are!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: James Joyce | September 18, 2007 2:45 PM

From what I saw from the video it appeared that the police moved in immediately after the student asked a pro-Bush anti-Kerry question. I would like to ask if the man was persecuted because of his political position?

Posted by: Dave | September 18, 2007 2:45 PM

anyone who thinks that tasering this young man was appropriate might as well roll up in a ball and let the government kick you around. the man didn't do anything wrong. the only reason why he was resisting arrest was because he DIDN'T COMMIT A CRIME!!!!! how can you people be so stupid not to see that? they could have easily told him to sit down and shut up..or leave the place completely. But to tackle him and tase him?? Are you serious? How can you find this justifiable?? For asking a few questions? AND OH MY GOD...he took 2 WHOLE MINUTES ASKING THEM?!?!? HOW DARE HE!! Good Lord, you people are a joke...and so were those cops. Andrew asked them why he was arrested and they said he CAUSED A RIOT. Definition of RIOT: "a public act of violence by an unruly mob". WHO'S THE MOB!? The 21 year old college student asking a question? Or the 9 cops surrounding him, holding him to the ground and tasering him? I mean, if I was arrested, tackled to the ground and tasered, I'd be scared that they'd take me away and hurt me too, who wouldn't?!!? GET IT THROUGH YOUR THICK SKULLS PEOPLE, HE DIDN'T COMMIT A CRIME, HE SHOULDN'T HAVE BEEN TASERED. EVERYONE HAS THE RIGHT TO ASK QUESTIONS AND TO HAVE THEM ANSWERED. John Kerry wanted to answer the question and they wouldn't let Andrew listen!! And how the hell does John Kerry not know he was being tasered when he clearly yells for mercy from it?!? I can't believe almost 50% of the people who took a poll thought he deserved it. I guess everyone who voices their opinion that may be different from the majority must be put down. They aren't welcome here in the good ol USA.

Posted by: Lauren | September 18, 2007 2:45 PM

I'm really shocked...i'm italian, so i'm not involved in US Politics, but such a fascistic way to act...

Posted by: marckuck | September 18, 2007 2:46 PM

If they are going to start tazering people for rude and obnoxious behavior, can we start posting some of those cops in the movie theaters? How about grocery lines? Shopping malls during holidays? Most every concert event? well.. you get the idea.

Posted by: Bhodie | September 18, 2007 2:46 PM

The little kid from Weston got what he deserved. The 2004 election is over and the question about Skull & Bones was totally off base.

Posted by: Jorge | September 18, 2007 2:48 PM

To those of you who think the police were doing their job correctly because they asked the student to stop resisting, you are completely wrong. The student was resisting an unconstitutional arrest.

John Kerry, although he said he wanted to hear the question, is still a weakling for not speaking out against the actions of the police.

This is an outrageous example the erosion of our free speech.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 18, 2007 2:49 PM

Agree that Kerry's response was pathetic and that this goes to show that he is not a leader but a strategic bystander. He is probably the only one in the room that could have diffused the situation. It's scary when questioning your charges and unjustified removal constitute resisting arrest. He's lucky he wasn't shot.

Posted by: Sim | September 18, 2007 2:50 PM

O'Keefe's 4 alleged justifications for this event are so off-point....They have nothing to do with the event and are obvious attempts to "make it OK" that a kid was arreseted and then tasered for questioning his arrest. And his crime: speaking in public.

Posted by: tugty | September 18, 2007 2:51 PM

This is part of a long slide downhill that the US has been making in recent years. This has happened before, but those who do not learn from history are forced to repeat it.

Us foreigners note (and can talk freely about it) that while America tries to act as the world's cop when it comes to human rights, US human rights violations at home and abroad are multiplying at an alarming rate.

Posted by: JanJaap | September 18, 2007 2:51 PM

I was there when the student was tasered. To clarify, the event was scheduled for 2 hours(from noon to 2 P.M.) not 1 hour. The event was ending early, and some students who had been in line to speak were agitated that so few questions were taken. That said, the student did make an outburst which was uncalled for and he refused to follow the rules, i.e. wait your turn to talk. Even so, the tasering was not necessary as the student was already being held down by several officers and was pleading with them not to taser him. this is another unfortunate case of police using force where it is not necessary.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 18, 2007 2:52 PM

he didn't commit a crime he didnt have a weapon a student tazzed was not necessary
they should have just pulled him outside away from the forum.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 18, 2007 2:53 PM

what ever happened to freedom of speech. As long as Sen Kerry was trying to answer the question, the police were out of line.

Posted by: ronald | September 18, 2007 2:54 PM

When individuals are acting in an agitated manner around political figures it's not unusual for police / security to escort them from the area. No, it's not illegal for him to ask a question, but they have to act in the manner that they feel best serves the safety of the figure. Just from watching the video, I can see why they felt he might do something unexpected as he's behaving confrontationally.

That said, once an arrest is beginning even the ACLU will tell you...never resist arrest. If you do, the resistance becomes the problem, not the initial infraction. Once you start fighting the police or resisting arrest the situation is only going to escalate.

Posted by: Tempo36 | September 18, 2007 2:54 PM

More proof that the police don't seem to understand the very Constitution that they're supposed to uphold. I'm much more afraid of the cops than terrorists.

Posted by: Stephen | September 18, 2007 2:54 PM

Hello What Country are we living ? If student ask question to the senator, he gets handcuffed and tasered, what a non sense, where is human rights and we go complaing about the China and third world county. It has SHAME on us, the arrest is made for no reason and tasering, guy cried for helped and not a single chicken got up and helped him. Welcome to DEMOCRACY

Posted by: Sam Adam | September 18, 2007 2:55 PM


This is definitly an all too common sight that is being pushed under the rug in the current administrations post-patriot act dictatorship (it IS a dictatorship). The validity of Andrew's question is of unimportance. First of all, everything he said is correct and always will be. That is for the American public who still support this administration to always have on their hearts. However, the most important idea that is being threatened here is another continued complete obliteration of our freedom of speech. The administration (shown never capitalized for a reason- they deserve no official notice) has set up this country to be their own personal war machine using the police and military to keep the people subdued, even, and especially, if it means by use of force. The campus security should never even have the authority of police, for whatever facade they have live their life in thinking they have power is ridiculous. They are strictly there for the SAFETY of the students. Andrew did nothing wrong- with hands in the air he was CLEARLY not initiating violence. This is a disgrace. Those officers should be the ones thrown in jail. No PAID VACATIONS. No LOSING THEIR JOB. They deserve to be tasered in the chest and then THROWN IN JAIL. Andrew had that happen to him and for SO MUCH LESS. THESE POLICE ARE CRIMINALS. THEY DO NOT EVEN DESERVE OUR RESPECT ANYMORE. THE PEOPLE OF THIS COUNTRY MUST TAKE IT BACK.

Posted by: David Buzanski | September 18, 2007 2:56 PM

I agree that the first two points made above do not warrant this type of force by police. The student's reaction to police, I believe, was appropriate given that his actions were not unlawful - though, perhaps, were annoying to some. This type of behavior on behalf of police, especially UNIVERSITY police - a university ideally being a safe place for the exchange of ideas - is despicable.

Posted by: M. Seif | September 18, 2007 2:56 PM

Kudos to the University of Florida Police in their response to Andrew Meyer. This was not the first time during a public discussion that Andy pressumed, because he knows how to yell, his voice was the most important one. Just because this guy has read Allen Ginsburg and scored a 1400 on his SAT's doesn't mean he is entitled to a prolonged disruption of a senator's speech. He is certainly not entitled to resist arrest. If he had been a homeless man outside a liquor store acting the way he was, police would have rightfully responded the same way and, be sure, the event would not have ended up on CNN.

Andy, I'm sure you're busy with lawyers and the ACLU, but I'll offer you advice anyway: If you don't want to be tasered, then A) try outsmarting your interlocutor rather than screaming over him, B) simply stop being a public nuisance (remedies include friendships and dating), C) resort not to the Toys-R-Us temper tantrums of your youth when interacting with the police, D) be sure the delivery of your insights on the country's foreign policy does not conflict with the basic civil laws of a university.

Posted by: Ryan | September 18, 2007 2:57 PM

Why did Senator Kerry not stop this? I wonder what would have happened if I a 68 year female would have asked the same questions? I would like to ask them also. This kid did not deserve the treatment he got. Obviously they were laying for him and had him tagged so when he said the words "Skull and Crossbones they grabbed him. Tasers should be taken away from overly gung-ho police. This country has a fear mentality to everything thanks to the neo-cons and their actions and beliefs and constant lying.

Posted by: Trudy Marsischky | September 18, 2007 2:57 PM

"That said, once an arrest is beginning even the ACLU will tell you...never resist arrest. If you do, the resistance becomes the problem, not the initial infraction. Once you start fighting the police or resisting arrest the situation is only going to escalate" that's cowardly. had he not resisted, this never would have made the news. it would all be swept under the carpet. i wish more people would have resisted with him.

Posted by: Chris | September 18, 2007 2:57 PM

I am absolutly sickened by this. It is time for a revolution in this country. I will not live in a Police state!

Posted by: Keith | September 18, 2007 2:57 PM

Despite Andrew Meyer's caustic approach, his actions did not warrant any degree of retaliatory police violence.

When such a heavy-handed response occurs - and when citizens support it - you know you're living in a police state, as Dolores aptly says.

Posted by: Ben | September 18, 2007 2:58 PM

Kerry comes off looking horrible in this situation, and this is coming from a someone who actively campaigned for the guy in 2004 and who has admired him for many years. First of all, I agree with the first poster above who said that the kid should not have been arrested, let alone tasered, in this educational forum. Second, with that in mind, Kerry could have diffused this situation once started, but he failed to do so. His campaign claims that he tried. Fine. But he still failed. And if President Bush had committed the same failure (frankly, he has), or the president of the school had done so, I would be just as critical. This was a pathetic display -- by the obnoxious student, by the over-reacting police, and by the would-be leader of the free world standing who ineptly let it all happen.

Posted by: Paul | September 18, 2007 2:58 PM

@Your Conscience

Please, these people call themselves, "Leaders". He should have got down off the stage and requested the police let the questioner sit down to hear the answer.

this country is going down the tubes.

Posted by: me | September 18, 2007 2:58 PM

I think every one of those cops should be shot in the head. There is absolutly no reason that student was tazed other than the police lost their temper. I can't believe no one in the audience came to help this poor man.

Posted by: Andrew | September 18, 2007 2:58 PM

First of all Kerry is an employee of the citizens of this country (IE.Senator). And any employer has the right to question the employee. Second, the University forum is the one place where one has a constitutional right to debate. (I see major law suit on infringement of freedom of speech). Third this is the right place to ask questions of a politician that are not canned such as the idiotic questions asked at debates. Fourth does anyone remember when Kerry made a statement that he discussed the US policy with foriegn governmnet officials during his campaign? And when he was asked as to who he had these discussions with by a voter, he responded by telling the voter "It is None Of Your Business as to who I talked with"
It is beyond me as to why the people of Massachussetts continue to vote this coward to a senate seat. Gee did I say coward??

Posted by: Anonymous | September 18, 2007 2:58 PM

My kids are not allowed to visit the USA. Here in UK we fought the nazis and we STILL hope not to see one of them again.
Your country is sad, freedom is no more your goal.
Where is ONE, omly one place in the world where someone dream of the USA?
None alas.

Posted by: Ian from London | September 18, 2007 2:59 PM

Agree with Lauren! She is 100% on the money.

This is a kid. He was just asking a question. He was totally in control. He is a journalism student for heavens sake. This is a learning body.

For those who think going beyond one minute is ground FOR TERMINATION you must be a certifiable idiot (or a mindless cop). (Same thing really). "We do as we are told " gestapeau morons who never stop to ask what the hell they're doing.

Kerry's response was truly pathetic. He should resign his post for NOT REPRESENTING PUBLIC INTEREST, JUSTICE, NOR FREE SPEECH.

He is a kid. He is just asking a question. Going over your minutes is NOT grounds for getting tasered. Pay close attention to how many times people go over their minutes. People in the audience go over their minute ALL THE TIME. All the time. Whoever organized this thing at that school ought to be fired, and all the officers put on leave. And Kerry should do us students a favor and not show his face in public again.

KERRY YOUR A LOSER! (For not standing up to a kids rights) LOSER!

Posted by: KerryIsPathetic | September 18, 2007 2:59 PM

When police ask you to do something, DO IT. That is the law. If you don't agree with it, you will have your day in court. If you choose to fight the police (by resisting and not complying) they will fight back. It really is that simple. The kid got what he deserved.

Posted by: Jake | September 18, 2007 3:01 PM

Some people argue the boy caused problem, because he kept resisting when told to stop resisting so that they could handcuff him. Obviously, he is only college boy, and totally panicked when bunch of police force trying to handcuff him.

Give us some break.

Posted by: J | September 18, 2007 3:02 PM

Unlike some of the above comments, I do know and understand the law...like inciting, trespass, assult of a law enforcement officer, resisting...when given a lawful command even for a reason you may not agree with at the time, you must comply. Let the courts figure the rest out later. I saw officers doing the job as it is prescribed in law.

Posted by: gary madderom | September 18, 2007 3:02 PM

This is the 4th video I have watched -- thanks. The angle of this shot clearly shows that the kid had stepped AWAY from the mic, to receive an answer, and the cops moved in for NO reason. Kerry is a liar when he says he didn't know about the tasering -- that's the bull they tried to feed me when I called his office. I am so ashamed I ever gave money to this man!

Posted by: jaxon | September 18, 2007 3:03 PM

Disgusting. Amnesty International has called on the end of using Tasers as there have been over 150 deaths from them.

This is a sick use of power, and it people must be held accountable.

Posted by: Nathan | September 18, 2007 3:04 PM

i am more outraged by the fact that all these so call liberals sat there in silence, scared like sheeps (except for a lone woman, that i can hear in the background.) i mean, where the hell is their convition, or better yet, principles?
a young man excersing his right to free speech, get arrested and tased, and they all just sat there. how sad is this.

Posted by: jenesus | September 18, 2007 3:06 PM

The US has created an image internationally of dealing with any opposition to its policies by the use of force rather than diplomacy, and this case seems to illustrate the perception at a domestic and individual level. I say this a UK Brit who has lived in the US previously.

For those of you who live in the land of the free and the home of the brave, you might ask yourselves how much freedom you have left, and what constitutes bravery.

I'm not familiar with what right the police have within a university building, and whether any guidance had been given to them in advance as to how to deal with issues like the one that occurred. Perhaps this line of questioning should be pursued.

As the gentleman from Italy said, the reported response by the police smacks of a fascist regime's response to unwelcome behaviour. I hope that some closure is reached and lessons learned.


Posted by: David | September 18, 2007 3:06 PM

What was his real CRIME? I am not a Kerry fan, but I was under the assumption that we still had some FREEDOMS! The Blue Mafia or Gestapo that Bush and our leaders favor have got to be stopped. What is next, tasering someone who talks slowly or has a stuttering problem? We see this conduct EVERYDAY on the TV. It is almost always RULED JUSTIFIED. They are killing or maiming almost as many people as the Drug dealers. I bet my LIFE, had he been an ILLEGAL INVADER he would not have been touched.

Posted by: rickrack | September 18, 2007 3:07 PM

This is the first anyone has reported that Meyers "barged" his way to the front of the mic. Campus Police can be seen harassing Meyers as he delivers his question, then they cut off his mic. Meyers is then shoved into the aisle and defends himself from being unduly manhandled by harassing Campus Officers and is finally gang tackled. He repeatedly pleads to be allowed to exit the auditorium. Instead he is held to the floor and Tasered.

Posted by: John Sheehan, Oak Park, IL. | September 18, 2007 3:07 PM

They were escorting him out and he resisted all the way and then started getting physical and ordering the police to back off....If you ever want the police force that we pay for to be effective, you can't allow that to happen. If for some reason he had a gun and was this belligerent and shot somebody, some of you would be railing and wondering why the police didn't control the situation sooner. It's up to school officials and security to provide order and safety at gatherings like this. This kid also had some problems before and maybe mentally unstable. The police could have been keeping and eye on him and trying to prevent someone from being hurt...Police are usually damned if they do and damned if they don't. Hasn't everybody learned by now that you don't resist the police. If you feel you were unjustly treated, you can take it up later.


Posted by: truthseeker | September 18, 2007 3:08 PM

The use of electrocution as a means of controlling debate in Universities is a novel idea. i am sure Big Brother would agree. Faster and faster America seems to be becoming Orwells vision, Airstrip one is not far behind. And remember these use full words WAR IS PEACE, FREEDOM IS SLAVERY, IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH

Posted by: JF. U.K. | September 18, 2007 3:08 PM

Wow. Here we go again. Another discussion blaming Kerry. For what? People like Lilly in this forum move away from the real issues by poking at Kerry for what - "draft dodging?" Pathetic. The student took a long time setting up the question and the University moderators cut him off, not Kerry. Then the police abused their power and attacked him. It is the university's fault. This is not a democrat-republican issue, so calm down...

Posted by: jcat007 | September 18, 2007 3:09 PM

The bottom line is that this guy was silenced for the content of his speech. He may have been obnoxious, long winded, and slightly incoherent, but he's still got First Amendment protection. When we allow a disapproving public -- and, even more dangerously, armed police officers -- to start deciding who gets to talk and who doesn't, then we're in big big trouble.

Posted by: Bardwell | September 18, 2007 3:09 PM

The cops in this country are OUT OF CONTROL

Posted by: Pete | September 18, 2007 3:10 PM

Was the boy arrested? I think not. I think he was being 'escorted' away, and had every right not to be detained unless he was arrested. Anyone who saw the sick grin on the face of the beefy white policeman who looked up into the tv cameras after repeatedly tasering this boy with 50,000 volts, knows exactly what the real scenario was. Even if he was disturbing the peace, since when is that an offense that requires corporal punishment? Wake up folks---what happens to the least of us, happens to you.

Posted by: Peter Coyote | September 18, 2007 3:10 PM

the police have no right to touch anybody. Asking a question? What do we have left if the police can drag you away and taser you asking a question for some crummy Q&A.

Police touched him. That is assault.

Posted by: jeff | September 18, 2007 3:10 PM

Cleary Andrew Meyer, was being very disruptive during MR. Kerry's speech. This young man appears to suffer from some condition......the police felt it necessary to use the taser to I don't probably place the handcuffs on him. I can only imagine that if he was that excited during the speech, how much adrenaline was running through his body. If you have never tried to hand cuff someone before, don't assume that it is an easy task. Six officers responded to the incident to help isolate the event and prevent it from getting out of control. If the police did something wrong, it will come out during their internal investigation.

While free speech is a right under the constition, so do others have right not to be disrupted. We have laws, you break them, you are disciplined.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 18, 2007 3:11 PM

OUTRAGEOUS! What have we come to when the very act of democratic discourse is prevented and brutally repressed?

Posted by: Robert Tilley | September 18, 2007 3:11 PM

I failed to mentioned though that it was kind of fun watching a total Democratic train wreck.

Posted by: truthseeker | September 18, 2007 3:13 PM

If the police ever violate my constitutional right to free speech by attempting to arrest me illegally, I will resist that arrest to my death.

Give me liberty or give me death.

Posted by: dave | September 18, 2007 3:14 PM

What about freedom of speech? I am appalled at the blatant misuse of police power. I would have expected that kind of disregard for constitutional rights at a Bush forum. Welcome to the police state that we have been warned of in the past. I shudder to think what it will be like for my toddler grandchildren if citizens don't wake up and assure that this is not allowed to continue.

Posted by: Merresa | September 18, 2007 3:14 PM

The student was intentionally trying to create a scene, and he succeeded, and he got what he deserved. Students like this (and anybody at a university knows people like this) are total egotistical idiots. The student cut ahead of the others and began by intentionally causing a disruption. Anyone with the slightest bit of civic-mindedness would have behaved the way this clown did.

Anyway, it is the thankless job of the police in such a situation to restrain someone who is disrupting the presentation. If the person only then creates more of a disruption, the police are within their rights to use force to arrest him. If he still will not calm down, sorry, but it's standard operating procedure to tase the idiot. I wouldn't wish a tasing on anybody, but it was necessary and the student brought it on himself.

The amount of posturing going on by the student, by the blogosphere, and by the media is disgusting.

The only reason that everyone is excited about this situation is it happened at a university, where police are regarded as evil and it is the right of every clown to disrupt everything to his heart's content (apparently). And because it was caught on video.

The icing on the cake, and this was absolutely priceless, was the student calling "Help!" and "Can't anybody do anything?" when the police (you idiot) were trying to arrest him. Basically, he was playing up his part as the victim to the absolute hilt. He was completely in the right, and anyone who would enforce the rules against him had to be restrained themselves--by who, you loser? What a complete idiot.

Posted by: Tom Paine | September 18, 2007 3:14 PM

1. Its frightening to know Jorge exists.
2. frightening to know a Presidential candidate would let the Nazi show progress.
3. Truly frightening to know someone in charge of that audience uses EXCESSIVE UNREASONABLE UNCALLED FOR force against a person there just to ask a question. HELLO! This is a university. Ever heard of Free Speech?

As stated by the 30year Harvard gal, people ALWAYS go over their alloted time. Always. What? You want to start taking the tasers out for some rule someone just made 10 minutes prior to the speech?

THEN you need to have the FEDS come in, stand on your foot and read you excerpts of the US Constitution. I dont know which country you Gestapeau cops you think your living in, but give me your names, i'll have the feds pay you a private visit.
"The little kid from Weston got what he deserved. The 2004 election is over and the question about Skull & Bones was totally off base.

Posted by: Jorge | September 18, 2007 02:48 PM "

-----
"My kids are not allowed to visit the USA. Here in UK we fought the nazis and we STILL hope not to see one of them again."

----
Please, these people call themselves, "Leaders". He should have got down off the stage and requested the police let the questioner sit down to hear the answer.

this country is going down the tubes.

Posted by: me

Posted by: CALLinTHEFEDS | September 18, 2007 3:17 PM

Mr.University of Florida President,

He was assualted plain and simple. Nothing you say can justify the actions of these brownshirts.............

Posted by: James Joyce | September 18, 2007 3:17 PM

The constitution?? never heard of it. -shrub

Posted by: sad but true | September 18, 2007 3:17 PM

Police in various jurisdictions -- Miami, New York, Portland -- have been gassing, beating and otherwise assaulting peaceful anti-war and anti-globalization protestors in the streets for some time now, without a peep from the national press. Suddenly, a pro-Bush student gets tasored by some overzealous campus cops and it's big news.

Your liberal media at work.

Posted by: Peter Principle | September 18, 2007 3:18 PM

Why was there a police intervention in the first place?

Posted by: Chuck Billy | September 18, 2007 3:18 PM

He wanted attention, he got it. Snide, arrogant, full of himself. Who cares about the last election or the paranoia of secret societies. Get over it. Doesn't mean the Barney Fifes of the college security field had to overreact that way.

Posted by: Bob409 | September 18, 2007 3:18 PM

Hey Dave, you idiot, the student's "constitutional right to free speech" was hardly being violated. He was disrupting the proceedings. Nobody has a constitutional right to skip to the front of the line and start shouting questions and otherwise making an ass of himself.

Stop posturing, you maroons.

Posted by: Tom Paine | September 18, 2007 3:19 PM

When I was in college, schools did not have tasers. Back then, they used water cannons, Billy Clubs, and real guns on protesters. Kids today have it too easy -- no draft, no double-digit inflation, no gas lines, no corporal punishment, no exercise, and no discipline. They will never amount to anything. Just look, after 35 years they can't even put another man on the moon! They are too busy playing video games. China and India will rule their world.

Posted by: Joe | September 18, 2007 3:20 PM

The kid was being an idiot. His questions were irrelavent and were only meant to cause a ruckus. Then, when asked to leave he immediately threw his hands up and started yelling instead of getting out (or even sitting back down). Had he just left when asked, he wouldn't have gotten tasered. But if he had, then his immature, undignified way of making a point would have failed. So he got EXACTLY what he wanted to happen. I hope he thinks twice next time he tries to act like a pompous opinion-leader.

I get so embarrassed for people who don't have the mental capacity to realize that there are appropriate ways of acting, and inappropriate ways. Who cares about this kid's free speech rights? He was acting inappropriately.

Posted by: Justin | September 18, 2007 3:21 PM

What justification is there to taser someone who is already handcuffed and surrounded by several police officers? I hope this kid sues the hell out of the police!

Posted by: Josh | September 18, 2007 3:22 PM

Hey people. He wasn't being arrested when he started to resist. The cops were escorting him out and he blared out "why are you arresting me?" He was arrested for resisting. I get escorted out of places by police all the time. They never arrest me b/c I don't start flaying around like a moron. Be careful what you wish for.

Posted by: Owww! | September 18, 2007 3:24 PM

Sorry to disagree with many here, but this kid was being a self centered immature jerk. With rights come responsibilities. If his agenda was really to ask a question, he could have done that without the pompous front end rant. I think his plan was to create a disturbance focused around himself, and in that he succeeded. Don't blame the police - they were dealing with an out of control individual in a public forum who refused to listen to their requests. He continued lead the escalation, complete with obscenities, forcing them to do the same. Freedom of speech does not guarantee your right to be a boring nut case at a public forum in front of a US Senator.

Posted by: Bob F. | September 18, 2007 3:25 PM

Kerry's political career is over. It ended in disgrace because he failed to stand up for the most important American value. (He could have easily stopped this incident, but chose not to interfere.) I hope Kerry's weakness does not reflect negatively on other Dems.

Posted by: SEN | September 18, 2007 3:26 PM

One account of this incident online states that Meyers entered the room with 4 or 5 officers in tow. This implies that there was an incident even prior to the question, and prior to what can be seen on the videos. Even if we assume the officers had reason to arrest or take Meyers into custody before he made it to the mic, the entire scenario seems bizarre. It would mean the officers suspended their pursuit of Meyers while he asked his question, and then resumed as soon as he had finished on the mic. At NO POINT during any of these videos can we hear or see any officers telling Meyers that he's being placed under arrest, nor do we hear his Miranda rights being read. I believe that this is an important part of the officers "doing their jobs". In addition, one angle even shows one of the female cops pointing what looks like either a gun, or pepper spray, at Meyers. In the middle of this public event. He was unarmed. It's obvious this kid is annoying, but he still has the right to be that way. It's not against the law. I'm sure I would have been alarmed to have 5 officers tackling me at a public event without knowing why, and what would be even scarier would be to watch people looking and laughing complacently as it happened. He's a rabblerouser who has exposed the exact reason why people should be speaking up more. They want us to go quietly.

Posted by: Aaron, NY, NY | September 18, 2007 3:27 PM

The guy posting at 3:11PM "clearly Andrew Meyer"

Why don't you unplug from the matrix already. Freedom of speech. The cops touched him after he asked a question. What right do the cops have to touch anybody?? Your problem is that you believe cops and the government rule over the people. The US constitution(you spelled it incorrectly BTW) was created to limit the powers of government, not to limit the rights of people. Thats one huge reason why the USA was created. The USA was created to get away from a busybody authoritarian government crushing citizens for talking freely.

The cop had no legal right to order him to stop talking. Once that cop layed a hand on that guy, the cop was in the wrong. Cops have no right to touch a US citizen.

God I pray for freedom, do not let individual freedom guaranteed by God and the US constitution perish.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 18, 2007 3:27 PM

While I admit the video troubled me greatly, the worst thing to witness is the long list of people who are desparate to make sure their need for order is protected by their keepers. Sad little zoo creatures, in love with your masters and proud to defend them, as they lock up another voice that won't sing unison. You think that's civic virtue! It's the worst kind of funny, in the saddest sort of way. Homo domesticus, railing at individualist "liberals". Delicious.

Posted by: rick | September 18, 2007 3:29 PM

Be Quiet are you bleeping nuts............

THE COPS ASSUALTED THE YOUNG MAN NO MATTER HOW YOU CUT IT. HE WAS A REAL THREAT!!!! THIS IS A&B Committed on a citizen by law enforcement for speach.

A protected Constitutional Right!!!!!!!!

Anyone who justifies the actions of the cops is pathetic!!!!!!!!!!

Who disturbed the peace.....?
Who prevented who from speaking....?
who grabbed who for speaking ?
who tazzered, who.......
should we go on.....

Mr. Unversity President, Excuse me they should all be fired...............
This is bleeping insane AMERICA!!!!!!

Posted by: James Joyce | September 18, 2007 3:29 PM

Jeff says: "Police touched him. That is assault." That has to be the most inane thing I've seen in this forum, and basically shows the level of mental ability we're working with here. Police have the authority to touch people, when they are restraining them. That's why we call them "police," Einstein. And they can also tase people who are resisting arrest. If they couldn't, how else would they bring criminals in? What a bunch of posturing idiots.

Posted by: Tom Paine | September 18, 2007 3:29 PM

Hey 3:27 poster, anarchy doesn't work. Get in line.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 18, 2007 3:30 PM

Its a shame!!! we talk about the other countries and how their government and police take law in their own hand and here we see clearly there is no difference...The only difference between the 2 worlds are the cowards in the audience who sit and let this happen...over and over in many instances where the police used over and unnecessary force and everyone just watched...SHAME ON ALL OF THOSE WHO JUST witnessed this...the difference in other countries is that everyone would have rushed to help the unjust force...ITS a SHAME!!!! no one cares of course until it happens to them...wake up AMERICA and take back our country from these dictators....WAKE UP!!!

Posted by: Concern Citizen | September 18, 2007 3:31 PM

This is a bold violation of this individuals God given right to free speech which is acknowledged in and protected by the First Amendment. Further it is a violation against all of us.
This individual had the legal right to ask at a legal assembly , in a public forum a valid question that many of us would like to have had the opportunity to ask.
Mr. Kerry willingly made himself available to be asked questions and by his own statements was even willing to answer this individuals though they may be controversial. Mr. Kerry did not pull the plug...I would like to know who did. That person should be the one that was arrested.

My concern is that the media will focus on the tasering as to whether or not it was justified because the individual was resisting arrest and not on the fact that he may have been arrested for asking the wrong questions. I would like to know why Mr. Kerry conceded so quickly in an election that may have been rigged. Did being a member of the "Skull and Bones" secret society have any bearing on his decision to concede to his fellow "S & B" Brother ?. Rumor has it that requests by fellow members can not be refused without suffering dire consequences much worse than being tasered.

Posted by: Robert | September 18, 2007 3:31 PM

Exactly James Joyce.

Who touched who?
Who grabbed who?
Who prvented who from speaking?
Who tazered who?

Posted by: Anonymous | September 18, 2007 3:32 PM

Thank goodness we didn't elect Kerry if this is the respect he give for the rule of law. This one person evidently cut the line and monopolized the question answer session, to the cost of those behind him in line. If the authorities will not enforce social rules where the violation of those rules directly and negatively affect others then we motivate other citizens to take the law into their own hands. We create a situation in which those at the back of the line might need to bring their own tasers. Down this road lies rule by bullies and the strong over the timid and the weak. Any society that expects to protect civil liberties must protect it's citizens not only from abuses by the government but also from abuses by other citizens. Most citizens who belong to a minority group are intimately familiar with this need.

Posted by: Wayne Joerding | September 18, 2007 3:32 PM

This kid wasn't asking questions. He was making provacative accusations in the guise of asking questions, which is an entirely different thing. I'm sure he got exactly what he was looking for. There was nothing new or very intelligent in what he was saying, and it was his manner, not the content of his diatribe to which the police reacted. This is not a free speech issue, i.e. morons do not have the right to vent upon people simply because they hold political office and are standing in front of them in a public forum. The public official has rights, as do others who want to hear the official's answers to legitimate questions.

Posted by: Russ Thayer | September 18, 2007 3:32 PM

Hey Justin,

Is a fly buzzing round your head??

Posted by: James Joyce | September 18, 2007 3:33 PM

Right or Wrong?

Facts:

1) Police had no legal reason to take custody of the man
2) The man did resist a direct order from an officer verbally and physically
3) Backup arrived and 6 officers had the man subdued on the ground
4) After the man was subdued he was then shot with the stun gun

Blatant abuse of power and excessive force were used on this man. Who was the man a threat to face down, no weapon, with 6 officers on his back? Force is legally only allowed to be used if the person is a threat to his/herself or others.

Posted by: Lawson | September 18, 2007 3:33 PM

>>From what I saw from the video it appeared that the police moved in immediately after the student asked a pro-Bush anti-Kerry question. I would like to ask if the man was persecuted because of his political position?

Good lord, what country do you live in? The persecution comes from the right in this country, not from the left. Would you accuse the Jews of 1936 Germany of "persecuting good Nazis for their political positions?" Maybe you would, but it would be baseless and ludicrous to the extreme. So is your "question."

Posted by: Max Black | September 18, 2007 3:34 PM

A clear case of "undue force" being used. The student was annoyings, but the punishment both inappropriate and unwarranted. The officers need to be disciplined. The student already was!

Posted by: Jeremy | September 18, 2007 3:35 PM

this is in response to an earlier post by James Joyce. I do agree with your comments, however what I didn't agree with was your inclusion of India within the "axis of evil" states. I believe if this incident had happened at an IIT or a University in Delhi, the fellow students would have given the police a good "beat down" of their own....Indians love their freedom, and would raise hell if it were trampled upon....

Posted by: Sal | September 18, 2007 3:36 PM

Fact is, kerry is a COWARD for allowing this to happen. He is weak and lame. This makes me stop to think, would he have been a good president?

Posted by: jonah | September 18, 2007 3:38 PM

Why is this discussion verges on absurdity? The most important lesson from this is that our leaders are incapable and unwilling to stand up for real American values. Kerry issued a statement which seems a poor excuse for not stopping the police. All he had to say: stop immediately, I'll answer his question.

Kerry has no fire in him to stop our country's discent into Fascism.

Posted by: SEN | September 18, 2007 3:38 PM

Some of you say the Police did their job, fine. The problem is, it took that many officers to cuff one student? Oh yeah, and he was tazed before he was cuffed by five officers. How hard is it to take someone OUT of the room to diffuse a situation. That was all they had to do, but they went over the edge on this.

Kerry is a fool, which could have easily calmed everyone in the room down, some President he would have been.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 18, 2007 3:38 PM

i agree that the applauding is for the comment.. not the police, this is rediculous, no one should be arrested for asking a question, the "POLICE" or campus officers did a horrible job here, they should have just let Kerry answer the kid or say, no comment. campus officers should never touch a student for speaking... and they call themselves police...

Posted by: Anonymous | September 18, 2007 3:40 PM

"From what I saw from the video it appeared that the police moved in immediately after the student asked a pro-Bush anti-Kerry question."

Do we really believe that the kid was removed based on the fact that he asked a pro-Bush question? I sure hope not. The guy was being a menace; before, during and after his question. That is the only reason he was removed. Not because they were protecting Kerry from thinking.

Nope, it's getting too cold for flies.

Posted by: Justin | September 18, 2007 3:40 PM

I agree with 3:38. Why didn't Kerry intervene?

Posted by: SEN | September 18, 2007 3:41 PM

no, no officers can touch you. There was no reason to "escort him out" You cant touch anyone for talking.

Wake up, he didn't do anything.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 18, 2007 3:41 PM

Russ Thayer, I'm glad you're around to judge what's intelligent and worthy of being asked (or accused provocatively) of a public official. So you were bored or didn't want to hear what the kid had to say? He was speaking and presenting his point/questions in a manner different from how you would do it? Guess he doesn't have a right to that. I hope the Washington Post doesn't "cut your mic" on this board. Because I think you're within your rights to sound off here. Even if I disagree.

Posted by: Aaron NY, NY | September 18, 2007 3:43 PM

It was not a pro-Bush question. It was indeed anti-Kerry. And Kerry proved the student right.

Posted by: SEN | September 18, 2007 3:43 PM

To devil's advocate for a moment: Does this guy have a right to be belligerent at the microphone? He sounds angry and accusatory asking his "questions" - is he really addressing the senator, or is he making a statement? It doesn't sound like he was interested in the senator's responses at all. If not, then his comments may have been inappropriate for that forum. It was a place for a dialogue, not for making around claims and accusations.

Also, a slightly finer point of distinction: I don't think he was "tazed". Barbed darts were not shot into his body. He was struck with a stun gun momentarily, forcing him to cease resisting long enough to get handcuffs on him... That being said, it was a bit much. Six people should've been able to just pick him up and carry him outside.

Posted by: juice | September 18, 2007 3:44 PM

My son graduated UF. I felt like throwing up when I saw this. I am so ashamed of Florida right now & I have lived here all my life. Those Univ. police need frigging brain transplants & I hope that family sues them blind.

To the writer going on & on about Kerry: you just don't get it do you. For god's sake this isn't about Kerry it's about trying to muzzle an individual's right to speak. His questions were within the norm. I didn't hear any students applauding the police; I heard them screaming in horror. And all this article is concerned about is that it made Kerry look bad--well, you managed to do just that.

Posted by: MichelleH | September 18, 2007 3:45 PM

I might be mistaken.. but in order to be under arrest.. shouldn't your rights be read first?? After watching the video several times.. I never once caught sound of his rights being read to him.. In that case, how was he resisting arrest?......And I agree that he could have handled himself better while presenting himself to Kerry, but shouldn't every attitude be expected when the mic is open for questions?? Honestly, what happened to freedom of speech??? Maybe next time they should send out a warning to everyone advising them that if a form of expression is presented during questions, they are fair game to be tasered...

Posted by: Ocala Fl | September 18, 2007 3:45 PM

What is particularly frightening about this incident is not the police reaction. It is the inane howling that is coming from the Left. The Brownshirts had about the same kind of understanding of basic civics displayed here.

For you Einsteins who need a civics refresher:

1. The right to free speech does not mean you are free to disrupt any proceedings anywhere.

2. Yes, the police have a right to restrain you if you are disrupting the proceedings in a public speech. If they didn't, we wouldn't have speeches, we would have shouting matches featuring posturing leftists.

3. Yes, the police have a right to touch you, when they give you an order they are legally permitted to give you, and you resist.

4. Yes, the police have a right to tase people who are resisting arrest. Yeah, it hurts, but it seems better than bashing people over the head, or doing whatever else is necessary to get people to calm down and cooperate with their arrest.

Posted by: Tom Paine | September 18, 2007 3:45 PM

Why should he even be getting arrested for asking a question at a public forum when there was no sign of a physical confrontation about to occur? Other than when the police stepped up to the student. Kerry even was about to answer his question until the police stepped in and attempted to take him outside. Regardless of if the student "has done this before and was annoying to other people." This brings up some serious questions about why the police believe that they have the right an ability to interrupt a public discussion especially when, once again, Senator Kerry was about to answer the question purposed.

Posted by: Luke | September 18, 2007 3:45 PM

The university hosted an event with specific guidelines for asking questions. If a person violates those rules the University Police have the right to ask the person to leave the property. When the person does not leave they are committing a criminal act thus leading to the arrest.

When the a person resists (as this punk did) he gets tasered. He got what he deserved.

Posted by: Aaron | September 18, 2007 3:48 PM

5. (for Ocala Fl) Yes, you are mistaken. The police do not have to calmly take a moment to read rights even while someone is continuing to commit an offense, such as public disruption. The rights can be read after the person is restrained.

Stop posturing.

Posted by: Tom Paine | September 18, 2007 3:48 PM

Arresting and tasering were not only an abuse of power--- they were completely unnecessary.

It would have been much easier to simply cut power to the microphone he was using. An organizer could announce it was time to give someoone else a chance, and offer another mic to the next person in line.

You'd think the organizers of a big event would have considered beforehand what they'd do if any of the questioners monopolized the mic.


Posted by: Erica | September 18, 2007 3:48 PM

I watched the video and thought the young man was very aggitated. If I was in a public place and a person started to act in an way that seems volitile, I would want the police to handle the situation. It looked like his next step was to rush the statge. I swear the participants in this forum would agree with his constitutional right to confront Mr Kerry any way he seemed fit.Once you are asked by an officer of the law to calm down your behaviour, you must comply. my protection depends on the police handling this type of situation. He seemed dangerous.

Posted by: omegaman | September 18, 2007 3:49 PM

That was a pretty horrible thing to watch. The student had the right to ask questions in a public forum and to not be hassled and then abused by police. Senator Kerry has come a far way from leading peace marches if he allows a person to be beat down right in front of him as if its Chicago in 1968!

Posted by: Kendal | September 18, 2007 3:49 PM

I would make several points here:

1. It appears to me that the guy is there to instigate. His first question sounded like it may have been legitimate, but the other two - impeaching Bush? Kerry as a member of Skull & Bones? These aren't legitimate questions, and appear to me to be designed to instigate.

2. He claims he's being arrested before anybody says anything about arrest. They move to escort him out of the auditorium. He resisted. In my opinion, they gave him every opportunity to leave the building. They warned him if he kept resisting, then he would be tasered. He kept resisting.

3. The guy's entire demeanor is confrontational and belligerent. He was not tasered for asking a question, he was not tasered for being obnoxious, he was tasered because he refused to comply with the officers orders, and refused to be escorted from the building.

The officers, entrusted with the security of the event, have every right to escort whom they choose from the building, for whatever reason. Whether that reason is ultimately good or bad is not the point in this case - the point in this case is that he CONTINUED TO RESIST. He was asked, warned, and then told, and he did not listen one time.

I suspect that the officers followed a strict procedure in their actions. I also suspect that this guy was there to make a scene. He was there to deliberately provoke some kind of drastic response.

Posted by: Alex | September 18, 2007 3:50 PM

Who cares how this reflects on Kerry? I don't. But I care how our other leaders would react in a similar situation. I'll bet that majority would fail miserably, just as Kerry did.

Posted by: SEN | September 18, 2007 3:51 PM

That's true. Had the power been cut off he would have thanked Kerry for his time (even though no one could hear him) and set down politely, waiting for an appropriate outlet for his opinion.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 18, 2007 3:52 PM

The University Police had no right to arrest this guy after saying what he said. What they needed to do is give him a warning to stop yelling his questions at Sen. Kerry and at least give Kerry the chance to answer one question before moving on to another one. If he wouldn't stop after that then they should have arrested him, and if nessesary, taser him, but thats only in an exteme circumstance. Another thing, if police are telling you to do something, do it, you are NOT going to win. If you think you can scream and struggle your way away from police you're really stupid. The best thing you can do is comply with them and wait until you have your lawyer present before you argue with them.

Posted by: Dustin Calkins | September 18, 2007 3:52 PM

I am reminded of Rodney King and Wenyi Wang.
I am also reminded of the now deceased artist Jason Sprinkle who amused me very much by welding a giant sized ball and chain to the ankle of Seattle's Hammer Man sculpture in front of the Seattle Art museum in 1993. (The sculpture was much better with the addition! They should weld it back on in tribute of Jason!) I think all of them were arrested for disorderly conduct and resistance- I think it's great. Hope this student lives long enough to contribute something even greater to his art form.

Posted by: Korina | September 18, 2007 3:53 PM

You guys must not have watched the video that are crying about this kid getting tasered. He was a FOOL, If he woulda just stopped flailing his arms and shut up he wouldnt have got tased. They warned him 3 times... cmon... just shut up unless this is what you wanted to cause.

Posted by: ugh | September 18, 2007 3:53 PM

OK, I've had enough. I start reading the comments, and I stopped after hearing that these cops should be "shot in the head" and after hearing that Kerry(!) was to blame for what happened. Those comments are what happens when you let John Q. Public open their mouths in a public forum---they let their agendas run roughshod over the facts.

Here's the facts. The young man was asking questions about the 2004 election, three years ago and the now-dead issue of impeachment. He asked about he and Bush's membership in some secret college organization, and he was beginning to disrupt an event, something that people already say he's done before to the point of being a nuisance. The police stepped in to remove him, and he resisted, so they tasered him. They caught it on video.

Since Kerry didn't taser the nuisance himself, he's nowhere close to being to blame for any of this. As this forum shows, just because you have an opinion doesn't mean that opinion is worthy of public expression. As for claims the guy is a Republican who was censored, from the AP: "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." Sounds liberal to me. And as for the cops, they were doing what we all cheer about when a suspect of unlawful activity (disturbing the peace) resists and the police have to act.

The incident is much ado about less than nothing. What's disturbing is everyone using their agenda to publicly state facts that are wrong in order to suit their own opinions, and to blame everything and everyone except where the fault lies: in the actions of a little boy who wanted to be mischievous for the sake of aspiring to be a Borat and embarrassing public figures for his amusement.

there's a lesson for all here: think before you speak, think before you act, and, in this forum, think before you post.

Posted by: Tom | September 18, 2007 3:54 PM

Maybe the students tone and reaction was out of line, but those 6 or 7 officers were dealing with a student whose biggest conflict in life was probably with a bully in third grade. They could have subdued him and removed with out the use of any thing more than a pair of hand cuffs. Good gracious. Typical over reaction by over compensating types. This wasn't the streets of East LA.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 18, 2007 3:54 PM

PS, the statement I posted in my prior was from Tyler Antar, and can also be read at the Michelle Malkin website.

Posted by: eecee | September 18, 2007 3:54 PM

Tom Paine,

The issue is whether the cops had any cause to arrest him in the first place. If they did not, then they did indeed commit assault, just as if they had pulled out a gun and shot him without cause, it would have been murder.

While it's pretty stupid to do so, you do indeed have the right to resist an illegal arrest. The proper analysis of this incident flows from that. If the arrest was legal, the cops were (probably) within their rights to taze him as he was not really complying. If the arrest was illegal, then it was an illegal assault from beginning to end and the police will end up paying BIG damages.

I do not see on the tape what a possible charge could have been that would have made the arrest illegal. Disturbing the Peace, perhaps, if he jumped the line but that's a pretty lame, especially if, as it looks like on the tape, the police moved to arrest him only after he asked an embarrassing question rather than when he jumped the line.

This whole incident seems inexplicable. Maybe that Bush memo on organizing rallies that surfaced a few weeks ago got incorporated into the police training manual . . .

Posted by: Anon | September 18, 2007 3:54 PM

As a student at UF, I am shocked at the way in which UPD handled this situation. Are we to fear the police state even in the halls of education? Should we fear to speak up and speak out against the corruption engulfing this beloved nation? Thank god for those cameras and for the little attention these issues get. Just imagine how many times a day the police trample the rights of American citizens and no one sees, no one hears. This must come to light! How can we speak of justice and democracy to the Iraqi people? Look at our situation: how different have we become from the secrete police states of Nazi Germany and today's regimes like the Taliban and Iran. Let us not forget what makes us different: The United States Constitution. A Government of the people, by the people, and for the people!!!!

Posted by: harel | September 18, 2007 3:55 PM

To clarify: the tasered party has a website, and the AP said about it: "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."

Posted by: Tom | September 18, 2007 3:56 PM

Get it right, the student's original offense was that he cut into the front of the line. And there is some question also that he arrived with police officers in tow already.

It doesn't matter that he was shouting disrespectful questions. He was deliberately violating the rules of the dialog, and the police were trying to help enforce those rules. When he continued to make a public disturbance, and got even wilder, the police THEN essentially had grounds to arrest him.

Posted by: Tom Paine | September 18, 2007 3:56 PM

Communist China does the same thing with people who don't stop talking "when told" to except they then send the person to a mental hospital for 5 years where they watch "educational" videos 24 hours a day.

In the the DPRK they moved on to just shooting people when they don't stop talking.

Seems the University of Florida is at a point where they start electric shock on people who don't stop talking. My God, I am so sick to my stomach....Where is America?

sick.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 18, 2007 3:56 PM

Shocking! That child has a legal suit against those idiots if he wants one!

Posted by: Pinky | September 18, 2007 3:57 PM

No matter how obnoxious the questions might have seemed, there is no justification to handcuff somebody who is exercising his right to FREE SPEECH in the so-called land of the free, and then subdue him with a stun-gun. Shame on Kerry! He never asked the police to keep their hands off the youngster; that would have done the trick. Good thing he never made it to the presidency... although...frying pan or fire?

Posted by: Carolina Winter, Argentina | September 18, 2007 3:57 PM

I think this is awful. Someone should have done something. It is sad when our fellow Americans sit by and do Nothing while someone asks questions and gets tasered for it. Kerry wants to be our President. Kerry, who sits by and watches his own people get arrested for no reason and forced to suffer physical harm for NO Reason. I do not see how anyone can trust a man with our country, who can sit back and watch an innocent young man be man-handled and abused right in front of him. Everyone in that theater should be ashamed of themselves for having no soul or courage.

Posted by: Chan | September 18, 2007 3:58 PM

Four out of ten (in the poll above) think the student should have been lit up. Assuming the respondents were mostly American, democracy in this country is in deep trouble ...

Posted by: Jan Tik | September 18, 2007 3:58 PM

this does not apply to free speech it works if you a lib looking to get in the news second the police have every rite to subdue someone who resist arrest which he was and they dont want to grapple with him he could get one of there guns and i do remmber the so called peacefull demonstations in the 60s some citys took 20 years to recover from a mob fire boming turning over cars looting i guess thats peace on whos terms not the ones that lost property. and history repeats its self the fall of an empire at the hands of its own people we are no longer the united states of america we are the land of loosers cowards.and worst liberals.

Posted by: w tobias | September 18, 2007 3:58 PM

The students were applauding the questions he posed and not his being removed from the microphone, as mentioned above. In any case, it is very rare to see someone as "real" questions and demand "real" answers from a public official. I commend him for being a real American, by demanding his right to voice an opinion, however unsavory it may or may not be. We are not a police state. He was handled by a police officer before being arrested and without having committed a crime or demonstrating himself to be a threat to anyone. His response was never more than defensive. Very very sad.

Posted by: Richard | September 18, 2007 4:00 PM

that's right people, get ready to snoop on your friends and neighbors, look out for "suspicious" activity and report those who practice our unalienable rights, were in it now and very deep! That's right, continue watching the new season of desperate housewives and american idol....you know that ice cold case of coors is only $12.99, and along with NASCAR, it's a very intoxicating experience....(enough such that Bush had won a 2nd term) pass out and then wake up in a world out of an Orwell novel. Soon, if this type of incident were to happen again, that student will not leave custody and would never to be seen again!

Posted by: Sal | September 18, 2007 4:01 PM

w tobias,

You don't think they could have subdued and removed that kid without putting the volts to him. The female officer could have probably done it herself.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 18, 2007 4:01 PM

We are the People... want our leaders to uphold the right to free speech when it does not incite or threaten an imminent crime or violence. We will take our country back at elections.

Posted by: SEN | September 18, 2007 4:02 PM

His mic was cut off. His question continued by asking if Kerry was in Skull and Bones with George Bush. There's one angle online that shows this happening. As soon as his mic is cut off, the officers grab him. Also, I've read (and please correct me if you were in attendance and I'm wrong), that questions were limited to 2 minutes. He stays under his 2 minutes, even while being harrassed during his questions.

Posted by: Aaron NY, NY | September 18, 2007 4:02 PM

"The public official has rights, as do others who want to hear the official's answers to legitimate questions."
Ah Russ, dude...... He did ask legitimate questions.... I suppose we need a commision do determine legitimate questions and those that are not legit. The fact that Kerry did answer while the "kid" was tazzered I quess does not matter. Hey if Kerry did not take issue with the question, why should the cops, or adminstration, or you????

Tazer a kid for speaking...... Abject bleeping loser....................

Posted by: Anonymous | September 18, 2007 4:02 PM

If he really wants to make a difference, as so many readers are fooled to believe, he needs to study politics, run for an office, and change the system. Throwing a temper tantrum does nothing.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 18, 2007 4:03 PM

This kid is a hero and had more guts asking sharp questions. He will get a good lawyer thank God for the rest of us. Next time it could have been you.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 18, 2007 4:03 PM

I'm not sure why any other citizen, including commenter Alex, would feel that it's appropriate to judge whether someone's questions are "legitimate" in terms of being able to ask them in a public forum. Absolutely Meyer seemed like he was there to instigate. And he's sparked an interesting discussion during a time when protesters and dissenters are being beaten, intimidated, investigated, and jailed without charges. This kid is annoying, and he may have offended many of the attendees, but he did it legitimately and legally as far as the videos show.

Posted by: Aaron, NY, NY | September 18, 2007 4:03 PM

Although the police officers were earnestly operating by procedure, their actions fit a traffic stop and not a public forum involving freedom of speech. Whether the student or police made certain wrong moves, even idiots have freedom of speech...

If freedom of speech is so negligible, then
cinema clerks ought to be carrying tasers instead of flashlights.

Posted by: Ryan T. | September 18, 2007 4:04 PM

Hey Anon, you genius, no of course the cops didn't have cause to arrest him in the first place. They did have cause to remove him from the building, though. When he refused to obey their perfectly justified order, they physically escorted him--still without arresting him. When he still refused to cooperate, that's when he was arrested.

Anyone who actually watched the video and has half a brain can see all this.

Posted by: Tom Paine | September 18, 2007 4:05 PM

I hope not all the policemen in the US act like this. I can't imagine something happening like this in Belgium. There wouldn't even be 5 police officers in a square mile around the place to start with. And arresting someone for "inciting a riot" when he is just extending is time to pose a question is just wrong. In the students place I would sue the pollice officers and would consider even torture/abuse charges. This is just unacceptable.

Posted by: Jeroen | September 18, 2007 4:05 PM

Had the video been in black and white and looked old, I would have confused it with the work of the Gestapo.

Posted by: Jack | September 18, 2007 4:05 PM

Hear that? A guy from Belguim is laughing at the USA. Land of the Free? For Gods sake, where are we headed?

Posted by: Anonymous | September 18, 2007 4:08 PM

"The university hosted an event with specific guidelines for asking questions. If a person violates those rules the University Police have the right to ask the person to leave the property."

Just wanted to correct/clarify this.

As the U of F is a public university, they cannot legally impose guidelines regarding the content of the questions. They can impose reasonable restrictions on the manner of asking questions e.g., limiting questions to two minutes.

Withing those kind of content-neutral rules, people are free to ask anything they want, as rudely as they like.

Posted by: anon | September 18, 2007 4:08 PM

It was not a pro-Bush anti-Kerry question.

He said, "Are you a member, were you a member of Skull & Bones in college (with) Bush? Where you in the same" ... (then the microphone gets cut off here) ... "secret society as Bush? Were you in Skull & Bones?"

He asked at least two other questions. You can hear all of his questions on a YouTubes video entitled "Andrew Meyer--Tasered by Police".

This is the only video I've seen where you can actually hear Andrew asking his three questions. They were intelligent questions. I wouldn't categorize them as a rant or diatribe. They were intelligent questions delivered in an passionate yet agitated manner. Andrew was definitely excited, but why not let Kerry to answer the questions?

This is an attack on our constitutional freedoms. And I have a feeling that the directive for the attack came not from the police officers but from another source. What source could this be? Notice that Andrew's microphone was not cut off until his third question was aired asking Kerry if he is a member of Skull & Bones along with President Bush.

Posted by: Concerned From Hawaii | September 18, 2007 4:09 PM

The guy was a jerk, probably a right wing scum bag, but still, the cops were being a heavy handed as usual.

Give someone a little power and they abuse it every time.

Posted by: Titus | September 18, 2007 4:10 PM


This is outrageous.
The Cop should be fired
and should and never allowed in law
enforcement.
--Put up Banners during Gators home game
shown on National TV---
This incident is no different than
the stuff they do in Communist China
or any Middle Eastern nation.
Again
--Put up Banners during Gators home game
shown on National TV---

Posted by: FreeCitizen | September 18, 2007 4:10 PM

What a bunch of bullcrap posturing, that's really what's frightening about this. You're acting like brownshirts yourselves.

The student wasn't arrested for what he said. He was asked to leave, when he cut ahead of line, and continued to harangue the speaker for longer than the prescribed time, and refused to give up the microphone. That's why his mic was cut off and he was told to leave.

THEN he was escorted out, and he resisted, like the fool idiot he obviously is.

ONLY THEN was he arrested.

Got it?

Posted by: Tom Paine | September 18, 2007 4:11 PM

During Vietnam the Ohio national quard fired on and killed demonstrating students at Kent. Today we tazer them..........

We send men and women to die in war to secure oil, tazzer those who exercise constitutional rights, while Bin Lauden and Al Qaeda still exist. It is beyond me!! Just what America's founders envisioned???? What heros the cops are!!!!

Posted by: Anonymous | September 18, 2007 4:13 PM

Were you actually there to witness this Mr.Tom Paine?

Posted by: gville | September 18, 2007 4:14 PM

He started the incident, give me a break lady!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: Anonymous | September 18, 2007 4:15 PM

Jeroen, get off your high horse. Belgium and Europe has a bad record of censorship.

Here's what your socialist mayor of Brussels has done

http://sioe.wordpress.com/2007/08/10/sioe-recommends-to-sign-petition/

Posted by: Tom Paine | September 18, 2007 4:16 PM

At the beginning of this video the female officer repeatedly looks for a cue to remove the student. I have more questions than this video can answer. The text introducing the video mentions that the student jumped to the front of the line to start asking these questions and this particular student was known to cause "incidents" before. This suggests that the police were asked to remove the student by someone off camera who gave an visual cue to remove this particular student because his manner or questions went over the line. I have seen stuff like this before and usually they are heard and answered and generally embarrass themselves. The problem with this situation was that the questions about impeachement and skull and bones seem to have been considered out of bounds before this student had a chance to set himself up as a victim. So was the student arrested for the questions or for speaking out of turn? No one can argue that his treatment or his behavior after the police intervened was unusual. He clearly thought that he had some Constitutional right and he was wrong.

Posted by: rich Rosenthal | September 18, 2007 4:17 PM

gville, no I have watched the video closely and read news reports. All of which supports what I've said

Posted by: Tom Paine | September 18, 2007 4:17 PM

Ugly, our society is violent and power is corrupt. The behavior of a police state.

Universities don't need to Taser students... Should Tasers be banned on University Campuses? ------> http://www.youpolls.com/details.asp?pid=535


.

Posted by: PollM | September 18, 2007 4:17 PM

"I might not agree with what you have to say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it..." -Voltaire

If this was truly meant to be a public forum then the man had every right to ask his question regardless how slanted.
What happened to the Patriots of this great land? Where have all the real Americans gone? so so sad... nothing left now but a bunch of cattle that expect the "magic hand" of the government will protect them and keep them safe even from their own civil servants- Our founding fathers must be spinning in their graves-

Posted by: Lawson | September 18, 2007 4:19 PM

Yes, the kid is obnoxious, but what right do the police have to pull him away from the mic in the first place? That is the part that really pisses me off. Why are they pulling him away?

Once you're in a wrestling match with police... c'mon, get real, what do you expect to happen? You know that cannot end well. I think we're a little over sensitive to the whole police brutality thing. Maybe the taser was a bit over the line, but it's not that outragous. Again, I don't think they should have put a hand on him in the first place, but once they did and he fought back, all bets are off.

It seems everyone is outraged about the taser, but shouldn't we be more outraged about someone being pulled away from the mic in our precious 'free' country?

Posted by: mb | September 18, 2007 4:19 PM

Why not a single member of the audience intervened, protested, screamed... etc. I take it back you can clearly hear one woman screaming on top of her lungs. I'd like to associate with people like that; people who are not silent lambs.

Posted by: SEN | September 18, 2007 4:19 PM

Sen asks, "Why not a single member of the audience intervened, protested, screamed"? I'll tell you. Because it was obvious to the people who were there that the kid was speaking out of turn and was not exercising any rights at all.

Sorry, your right to free speech doesn't give you a right to disrupt a public presentation.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 18, 2007 4:22 PM

"no of course the cops didn't have cause to arrest him in the first place. They did have cause to remove him from the building, though. When he refused to obey their perfectly justified order, they physically escorted him--still without arresting him.

Tom,

It doesn't work that way. If the police didn't have cause to arrest him, they didn't have cause to remove him, especially not from a public forum.

The police do not have carte blanche to detain anyone they want to. They must have specific legal authority to do so. If, as you say, the cops had no cause to arrest him in the first place, i.e., he had violated no law, the police had no authority to remove him from the building. They could, of course, ask him to leave voluntarily but he had no duty to comply.

Posted by: Anon | September 18, 2007 4:23 PM

@ Tom Paine:
1) I'm not in favor of the decision of the mayor of brussels either. I don't know how you decide that I would support that.

2) I do not characterize all US policemen for this behaviour. I ask the question because I don't know.

3) In this instance the policemen are wrong. Even though the student is out of time, even though he tries to get attention at such meetings, arresting him is just to strong. And using tasers is even worse. In a democracy you need to talk to these people to you know. Nothing justified the actions of those policemen. Certainly not the tasers: there were 5 policemen on top of the guy.

Posted by: Jeroen | September 18, 2007 4:23 PM

Sure Thomas Paine,

Are flies buzzing round your brain?

Posted by: James Joyce | September 18, 2007 4:23 PM

actually it does and happens even in electoral debates...

Posted by: Lawson | September 18, 2007 4:24 PM

It looks like "chase rage" to me. The young man was not being very pleasant or cooperative, but he endangered no one. The officers achieved their objective, which was to clear the young man from the microphone. If he was being placed under arrest, he should have been advised of the cause for detaining him. He is asking for this repeatedly while the officers tell him to shut up. It is nauseating to see someone who has already been subdued, with six armed people on top of him, tased simply as punishment for not being "cooperative." In Los Angeles, we call that CHASE RAGE.

Posted by: Algernon | September 18, 2007 4:24 PM

Did you know that tasers are used in slaughter houses to move the animals "along?"

Posted by: SEN | September 18, 2007 4:26 PM

I love how this single incident is being twisted into evidence of a "police state". The liberal mind at work....

Posted by: SRP in Pittsburgh | September 18, 2007 4:28 PM

Anon, sorry, you're an idiot. "If the police didn't have cause to arrest him, they didn't have cause to remove him, especially not from a public forum." That's just dumb. The UNIVERSITY police, who are there to enforce a necessary forum protocol, have every right to escort someone from the building. How else are protocols enforced?

"The police do not have carte blanche to detain anyone they want to. They must have specific legal authority to do so." The police were ejecting the idiot from the building. They only arrested and detained him after he refused to go.

Posted by: Tom Paine | September 18, 2007 4:28 PM

@ Jeroen.

I quote: "I can't imagine something happening like this in Belgium." I just assumed you were in favor of the good Mayor's decision, because Belgium officials are always in the right, and the evil U.S. is always in the wrong. You mean you aren't as bigoted as you seemed at first? That's good to know

Posted by: Tom Paine | September 18, 2007 4:32 PM

Spin doc's paradise. If not for those pesky mobile phone cameras we'd be already living under Neo-Nazi regime.

Posted by: SEN | September 18, 2007 4:33 PM

@ Tom Paine:
You just assumed wrong then. And who said Belgian officials are always in the right, and US officials are always in the wrong? I didn't. I'm not bigoted, maybe you should try to read a little better.

Posted by: Jeroen | September 18, 2007 4:37 PM

You have the right to free speech. Unless, of course, you're dumb enough to actually try it!

Posted by: Joe Strummer | September 18, 2007 4:38 PM

Torture of a student before a public servant at a public hearing in violation of free speech and human rights, and preventing the Senator from answering questions which would hold him accountable. Torture is sickening to watch, and this was indeed sickening.

Posted by: lee.watkins | September 18, 2007 4:42 PM

Oh, for those halcyon days in university when for me it was either black or white. I don't go along with the tasering, but some students could use a boot or two. The student clearly resisted the police.

Posted by: Diogenes | September 18, 2007 4:43 PM

Let's play a game: Facts and Politics
(1)(a) Facts: Neither the Senator nor his staff were in charge of the security. The University of Florida police were the arresting officers charged with the mandate to provide security at the event. The Senator repeatedly offered to answer the student's questions, but apparently the University police made a different and independent determination - the student must be removed and arrested because has first abused the microphone privileges and then became a threatening nuisance.

(1)(b)Politics: The Senator is placed in a negatively light and impossible predicament because he appears to have (i) failed to prevent or tacilty accepted the use of violence by authorities to suppress speech; (ii) demonstrated his weakness by allowing others - the student and the authorities - to control the situation; and/or (iii) linked himself to yet another strange and ultimately demeaning event.

2(a)Facts: The student violated understood protocol for submitting questions by skipping line and transforming his question into a tirade calling into question the order of the event. While rude, this behavior is not cause for an arrest; humiliation is a worthy punishment. However, the student then began to resist arrest by physically quarreling with the police officers. The degree to which this resistance results in arrest is within the discretion of the officers. Remember: an arrest is an accusation, not a determation, that a crime has been committed (see conviction). Certainly, the police officers through their behavior aggravated the situation. Nevertheless, as persons trained in non-violent protest would recognize, the student should have not resisted his arrest. This would make challenging and discrediting the police use of force a clearer objective and easier task. Undeniably, the use of a taser, which has been demonstrated to result in death in some instances, appears unreasonable, especially considering the number of officers governing the arrest and the very context of the event - a question and answer period following a speech/lecture at a university. The police were not preventing a violent crime, or seeking to quell at violent person. It was reasonably forseeable that the student's disturbing behavior could have been resolved by simply removing him from the arena.

2(b) Politics: Either you believe the student: (i) deserved tasering -- likely meaning you are one of the participating policemen, a fascist, enjoy mutilating small animals, have no friends or prospects for romance, played football while taking roids, were beat by your father, attend a mega church, or were a former roommate of the guy (favorite movie: Clockwork Orange); (ii) deserved being arrested, but not tasered -- likely meaning you work in education, understand the action and consequences of arrest, remain reasonably detached, played baseball, feel easily threatened by 21 year old pimple faced Gator fans, attend Catholic church, or recently broke up with the guy (favorite movie: The Das Boot); (iii) did not deserve to be arrested, but he should be removed/forced to stop ranting -- likely you are a suburban mom, volunteer on weekends except on Sunday while you are at a Baptist service, play soccer or tennis, pay tickets, but speed anyway, or lived in the same dorm as the guy (favorite movie: The Fugitive); (iv) should have been untouched, un-reprimanded and allowed to rudely rant -- likely you live in the city, rent, play ultimate frisbee, skip line at DC United games, hate your Dad, but only because he ignored you, or slept with the guy (favorite movie: Apocalypse Now, but only the final half-hour).

Posted by: Jus Cogens | September 18, 2007 4:49 PM

Why did the person writing the article only mention the comments of Kerry's staffers? Did he attempt to question others in the room? Did he/she think Kerry's staffers wouldn't try to spin the story to keep Kerry from looking bad? Not only was Kerry pathetic, but the person writing the article was equally pathetic.

Posted by: albert | September 18, 2007 4:49 PM

My parting shot, a quotation from the Washington Post.

Andrew Meyer, a senior in journalism and communications, was questioning Sen. John Kerry about why he didn't contest the results of the 2004 election. When his diatribe on secret societies, Iran and a mysterious "yellow book" ran over the one-minute mark, his microphone was cut off. Unconcerned with this violation of civilized Q&A decorum, the 21-year-old Meyer continued to speak, sarcastically thanking the organizers for cutting of his microphone.

Officers approached him several times to wrap it up, but he declined. University Police then proceeded to remove him from the auditorium.

Posted by: Tom Paine | September 18, 2007 4:50 PM

OK, I would like to talk about racial disparities in our judicial process, and abusive practices by our law enforcement.

Here are my thoughts. I would suggest...what are...you..Don't tase me, bro, don't AUUUUUUUUUUUGH OOOOOOOOOOWWWWWW!!!!!! WHAT DID I DO?

Posted by: Frater Titus | September 18, 2007 4:50 PM

:) Jus Cogens. hilarious.

Posted by: Aaron Ny, NY | September 18, 2007 4:53 PM

First, an update from FOX,

Police are recommending a felony charge for disrupting a public event. Prosecutors will make the call.

I'm pretty much a law-and-order kind of person but I can say, unequivocally, that the police are desperately hoping to cover their own butts here. No prosecutor, apart from, possibly, Matt Nifong, is going to look at that tape and file a felony charge.

Second, Tom Paine, I've been perfectly civil to you, I see no cause for your rudeness, not everyone who disagrees with your, ah, interesting legal analysis is an idiot.

In the interest of those reading along, I'll explain, once again, that the University police, whether in all caps or not, are bound by the same rules that bind all police. They cannot arrest him or eject him because he asks a rude question, even if that question is "disruptive." State actors cannot control the content of public speech. Period. This concept is at the core of 1st Amendment jurisprudence.

Stick to your pamphlets, Tom.

Posted by: Anon | September 18, 2007 4:55 PM

Police? These ninnies are little more than glorified security guards.

Posted by: Phil | September 18, 2007 4:56 PM

I have seen and heard my fair share of obnoxious questioners at forums like this on a university campus, but I have never seen it escalate into a mess like this. I don't feel it was Kerry's fault, and I don't believe the police officers involved would have heeded any actions on his part to stop them. Was the use of a taser necessary? I don't even believe it was necessary to ask him to step away from the mike, as he had stepped away himself (or it appeared that way in the videos I have watched). He was not being violent or threatening in any way.

Posted by: Laura | September 18, 2007 4:59 PM

First, I'll play the part of the devil's advocate here and justify to at least some extent the officer's use of force. The simple fact is for the their own safety someone who is physically resisting arrest should be subdued quickly so the situation does not escalate any further. If you resist arrest in a manner like this student, you can be subdued with force. However, these officers allowed this situation to get out of control by initiating force in the first place. The questions being asked were legitimate albeit perhaps somewhat pointed. Nevertheless, in an academic community with a senior leader in the US Senate in an open forum this is exactly the kind of free speech and involvement we should want to see. All the police would have had to have done was rationally diffused the situation, calmly and professionally said to the student that he needed to allow Mr. Kerry to answer the questions he's been asked and allow others to have the opportunity to ask their questions. This kid articulated his questions well enough to suggest he would have responded much better to that tactic than forceful removal. In terms of struggling when being handcuffed, I can assure you that people who are unaccustomed to being arrested become very emotional when being physically handcuffed. For a young college student who very well may have never been arrested, this was likely a very scary event and he was surely fearful as he was being mobbed by half a doze armed police, forced to the ground, and eventually tased all for exercising his right to free speech and organized assembly. That's not what he had anticipated was going to be the result of his questioning I'm sure.

Posted by: Andy | September 18, 2007 5:01 PM

Oh my god the poor victim!! His rights have been violated!!...Typical left-wing brainwashing of our youth being done by our higher education....THINK YOUR OWN THOUGHTS KIDS...KNOW THE FACTS THAT YOUR COMMENTS ARE BASED ON...SEEK THE REAL TRUTH FROM MULTIPLE SOURCES

What about the right of the other people in the audience who had questions? What about the right to assemble in a public forum and feel safe?
Stop crying about 'excessive force' and grow up! This kid could have delivered his questions/statements so much more effectively if he had remained calm and composed. As you could see no one in the audience wanted to be associated with this guy because he has a reputation on campus for being a jerk at events like this. Based on their protocols and the law, the police acted appropriately.
I sure hope this incident will make others think before they act.

It is supposed to be about POSITIVE CHANGE, not NEGATIVE ATTENTION.

Posted by: Cherie | September 18, 2007 5:01 PM

Saying that Kerry should, or COULD, have done anything about this besides issuing a statement of regret is simply claiming to know more about the situation than anyone who wasn't there could know at this point. Also, who CARES what the audience was applauding. Grow up, folks.

Posted by: Mobedda | September 18, 2007 5:03 PM

I think there are several elements involved in this situation.

One involves the student exercising his right to free speech, which I feel he was allowed to do...

Another involves how long do you let a person who is not respecting the other attendees by operating on his own agenda, disrupt the proceedings... A question and answer session is not license to move to the front of the line and not give up the microphone...

Still another involves defining an appropriate police reponse to a person who is not cooperating with a legitimate request from a legitimate person making the request...

I think there are differences of opinion on all three topics and there are many combinations that detemine a person's final view on the subject.

I think that allowing questions from an audience is appropriate and that the questions should be handled the way I've always seen them handled at meetings and conferences where you wait your turn and one person asks a question at at time and you give up the mike to the next person. This is the way people who are interested in hearing the answer behave. People who want to make a point, behave badly like this guy did, and should be removed when they abuse the privelege.

The video that I think is important is that when the police asked him to leave, he backed away in a non-violent manner, but he still didn't leave... so when one or two police officers were going to help him to leave, at that point he started resisting and the situation escalated to the appropriate level of force in order to permit the proper officials to carry out their proper duties....

A legitimate request from a legitimate police officer is not like a request to your friend to bring you a beer... It is not optional.

If this guy had not resisted in every area, attempting to run his own agenda, then this entire situation could have been avoided...

If this guy had respected the rules of the event and the authority of the police who were charged with maintaining order, it would not have happened...

The guy was clearly out of line in my view. In another day, he would have been hammered with batons if he resisted, so I think being tasered is certainly safer for the guy as well as the police....

To those who feel that his rights were violated in some way, I would ask you to consider what any public event would be like if everybody in attendance were permitted to run their own agenda.... It might be entertaining, but you wouldn't get much done...

Posted by: Rich | September 18, 2007 5:05 PM

"I don't feel it was Kerry's fault, and I don't believe the police officers involved would have heeded any actions on his part to stop them." -- You're right officially, Kerry doesn't head the executive branch, and has no power over police. BUT, do you think campus cops would have enough balls to continue if a Senator says no and asks the audience for support. EVEN this is not the most important point. Washington is full of politicians who don't stand up for the people. What are we going to do about that?

Posted by: SEN | September 18, 2007 5:05 PM

That's really kind of the Post to make sure we knew that the student deserved it before we pass judgement.

Sad the Post doesn't use such disclaimors in their Editorials:

"Before reading this article, please note that the Editor has been diagnosed as medically insane."

Posted by: Tom in Indy | September 18, 2007 5:08 PM

Anon, not only are you an idiot, you're a pompous, posturing idiot--one of the worst kinds. No further brain cells should be wasted upon you.

Posted by: Tom Paine | September 18, 2007 5:10 PM

Paine, Loser................

Posted by: Anonymous | September 18, 2007 5:10 PM

These officers had no right to this. The person in question showed no signs of anger or aggresion towards anyone in the room. He may have been load and annoying to some however under the circumstances I wouldnt blame him. America - land of free speech?

Posted by: Andrew - Australia | September 18, 2007 5:11 PM

I haven't been able to find any coverage of Kerry's answer to the kid's questions. The poor guy doesn't even get any respect for his questions from anyone - I'd think he'd appreciate a little more focus on the content of his questions and less on the context.

Posted by: Peter | September 18, 2007 5:12 PM

...SEEK THE REAL TRUTH FROM MULTIPLE SOURCES... hopefully you recognize that FOX, FOXNEWS, etc. are the same thing.

Liberal stands for liberty. Both seem to be a foreign concepts to Kerry.

Posted by: SEN | September 18, 2007 5:13 PM

American politics are truely amazing - it's more like Saudi Arabia for putting down dissenting voices!

I guess it's not the land of the brave (it really needs 6 police officers for 1 unarmed man?) and the home of the free [speech].

Posted by: Dominic | September 18, 2007 5:14 PM

Sometimes in order to get the message across to the brainwashed masses ,you have to break a few rules just like are current administration does anyway. We all have the natural god given right to voice our opinions in a so-called free society. The police are highly trained and psychologically conditioned when they wear the badge. This surely happens in a lot of places and now more than ever. Our constitution is being torn to pieces by these tyrants. We are slowly being coerced to adjust to these new conditions. I GARUNTEE IF ALL THOSE AUDIENCE MEMBERS STOOD UP FOR THAT GUY THERE WOULDN'T BE MUCH OF A PROBLEM!!! But no, we all just let them bring us to our graves...SUCKS

Posted by: WhyUs? | September 18, 2007 5:16 PM

Who let all of this riff raff into the room?

If I had my way....I'd have all of you TASED!!!!!!

Posted by: Ttitus | September 18, 2007 5:23 PM

I wonder how we will all manage to continue to live together in the same society. I did not total up the sides, but there seems to be such a clear delineation between the liberal response to these events, the desire for freedom of speech and action and the desire for justice, and the conservative response, queue up, do as you are told and obey authority.

I for one hope that I am never so fearful that I will allow myself to be dragged away without being "tased". Yes, of course, you aren't going to win, but I still aspire to live in the land of the free and the home of the brave, not the land of order and the home of the obedient.

Posted by: SAL IN SLC | September 18, 2007 5:24 PM

While this student was rude, the Police actions in this case are out of proportion to the students behavior, especially when taken in context (a student at a Q&A on campus), and make the United States look like a Police state. One might have expected this in the Soviet Union, but not here. Whatever happened to The United States Constitution and Freedom of Speech? While it may be taught at the University of Florida, it certainly is not practiced. I can not imagine a situation in which an unarmed student should be tasered. Tasers are highly controversial weapons since they are potentially lethal. There are many deaths associated with taser usage and in my opinion tasers should only be used when an officer or the public is in real and imminent physical danger. The use of a taser in this case is really Police brutality, and raises serious concerns about how Police everywhere use this very dangerous weapon. A taser is a weapon and it usage should be treated accordingly. We must ask ourselves: Would it have been acceptable for the Police to pull out a gun and shoot this kid? The answer is obvious - NO! The fact that the Police did not treat the taser with similiar caution is alarming. Sadly, this incident looks like a 2007 version of Kent State and serves as a grim reminder that little has changed.

Posted by: Mary | September 18, 2007 5:24 PM

Perfect note, Titus. Right on the head!

Who let all of this riff raff into the room?

If I had my way....I'd have all of you TASED!!!!!!

Posted by: Ttitus | September 18, 2007 05:23 PM

Posted by: SAL IN SLC | September 18, 2007 5:26 PM

Kerry claims he did not see the tazzering? Funny, the video show Kerry in the background as the student is being tazzered and the female starts screaming.

Hardball hit it on the head. Censorship and facsism. Real American values at work in America. Anyone who approves of the campus police's action, quite frankly is compromised in the head.........

Posted by: Anonymous | September 18, 2007 5:28 PM

This kid is the result of baby boom parents who:

1. Don't pay attention to their kids while they annoy other people at
2. Want to be their kids friend and not provide any discipline or structure at home.
3. Bad mouth teachers instead of supporting them when they say little johnny has a problem acting out in class.

This kid is a punk. There was clearly a history of bad behavior (like his holding the "He's Dead" sign on a street corner when Harry Potter came out). I love how people are always so quick to bash the cops when they don't have all the facts. Yes, there are bad cops, but there are also lots of punks like this who just want to try to be funny and act out.

This kid needs help, he's a pathetic loser looking for attention. He really has no right to interrupt this meeting and make a scene. For all of you high and mighties, I hope he makes one of you his next target so we can see how you feel when confronted by such an annoying bore.

Posted by: none | September 18, 2007 5:29 PM

A boot stamping on a human face forever.

Posted by: Orwell | September 18, 2007 5:30 PM

To Cherie, I don't believe applying electric shock to a student on a university campus who is being non-violent is appropriate. The entire ordeal was perhaps 5 minutes, at least it appears that way from the video. Let's assume without using the taser this kid occupied 15 minutes and was generally disruptive but in a manner clearly protected by the Constitution as free speech -- would 15 minutes of protected although disruptive speech have been too high a price to pay to uphold the very essence of a free America? I personally think not, but we are all of course entitled to our views.

Also, I think it's important to take this event in context. This is a university setting. This is not a nationally televised public debate or a structured business conference. This is a question asking segment of a speech delivered primarily to students and other academics. I'm happy to know there's a 21 year old student out there who, for whatever reasons, gets involved with issues like these and has the guts to stand up for what he believes even if it's unpopular (which honestly I think there were at least some in the audience that were applauding him and that his views aren't really unpopular at all).

You said "This kid could have delivered his questions/statements so much more effectively if he had remained calm and composed." yet now his questions have been heard by millions of people all over the world and will likely continue to be heard for at least days and I'm sure longer to come. I think his approach has proven very effective.

To Rich, I agree that when issued a request or command by a legitimate police officer you must obey. His only mistake was not obeying these commands. You don't get to elect when to obey an officer's commands and when not to and that point can't be argued. My concern is fundamentally did these police officers handle this situation professionally? Does a student exercising his free speech have an obligation to ensure he doesn't offend anyone as to cause his removal by police? Or do police have a responsibility to ensure they know how to properly handle a disruptive audience member?

There are two ways to analyze this incident, closely considering all of the technical facts and points of laws or in terms of generalities. The technical consideration certainly supports that the police were within their rights in handling the student. However, in a broad consideration of the entire incident I am greatly disturbed by a student articulating what Mr. Kerry himself referred to as "important questions" in a manner consistent with his right to free speech and in no way breaking any laws who ends up surrounded by 6 police officers on the ground screaming for help and ultimately being tased especially after saying he'd leave if he was left alone. That bothers me. Certainly Mr. Kerry is capable of responding and handling this students questions himself without the need to use the police. At least that's my opinion.

Posted by: Andy | September 18, 2007 5:33 PM

Posted by: chris | September 18, 2007 5:36 PM

Disgusted in general with a population so obedient that they think it makes any sense at all for their authorities to use physical force on someone asking a question of a senator... but I must respond to the several people posting here and insisting that you should NEVER resist arrest. "You should submit, and let the courts deal with it later."

Wow.

So, if they have uniforms, I should lie down and let them rape me with a broom-handle, perhaps. I can file a complaint later.

On the contrary, you should NEVER submit to physical assault from anyone, whether they have a uniform on or not. If you may have committed a crime, an arrest that involves charges and the reading of rights is one thing. But if I am being assaulted by six burly guys with weapons because I SPOKE OUT OF TURN, I will defend myself by absolutely any means necessary.

We all should.

Because exactly the kind of frightening, police-state crap that we saw today needs to stop now.

Posted by: David | September 18, 2007 5:42 PM

freedom of speech sue

Posted by: Anonymous | September 18, 2007 5:45 PM

Fascit methods. It is appalling to witness a police force intervene in an open debate and reduce one of the participants to silence. The student might have been wrong in using more than his allotted time, yet there is no need for brutal force to correct such a behavior. Many other ways could have been used in forcing the student within his allotted time. His fellow students could have done it easily if they wanted him to stop. Booing is the first thing that comes to my mind. Going to the extremes, even a good fist fight between students could have been healthier than having the police meddle with the issue.

The intervention of the police has the taste of fascist methods in a troublesome deterioration of freedom of speech and democratic values. It is the simple idea that the police can intervene even when the law has not been broken that is unacceptable. It is the passive acceptance by the general audience that a case like this deserves the use of violence that is scary. Those that believe in freedom cannot accept these acts of suppression.

Posted by: Giordano | September 18, 2007 5:47 PM

Ed O'Keefe- your reporting is way LAME. What's with the editorializing and telling us what to think about the video and your interpretation of events in the video before we see it? What kind of journalist are you? Are you a bad journalist or a wanna-be propaganda artist? Try being objective and objectively reporting the facts- that's what good journalist do- you seem to need a MAJOR refresher course.

Posted by: Please fire O'Keefe | September 18, 2007 5:53 PM


Absolutely sickening. A university should be the one place left in an increasingly fascist country where the questioning of officials should be encouraged. I fear for this young man; he's a j-school student in an era of media sheep and will be crucified by his so-called peers once he's out in the world. And God forbid any attempt to think creatively. I've spent a lifetime in the media & talked to young journalists from Africa to Bosnia about the sacrifices they will endure to have one iota of the latitude to question authority we've all but thrown away in this country. This event is Big News because it's on a video, not because the average citizen -- or most newsrooms -- stops to consider where we're heading. Sickening.

Posted by: bj in kentucky | September 18, 2007 5:55 PM

What's with all the hysteria. This is a regrettable incident where the police appear to have over-reacted, but it doesn't appear there were any deaths or permanent injuries. Campus police are typically not the most highly trained, skilled or paid. Police should probably be screened for steroid abuse.

Going to a public meeting with then intent raise a bit of a ruckus is a totally respectable use of freedom of speech. But when the police show up and tap you on the shoulder, it's time to cool it and give somebody else a chance to complain.

To our good friends in Europe, that's how its done in the USA. The police almost never arrest a heckler, as long as he leaves when requested. You get your say, but you're not allowed to monopolize the event.

All in all, probably not a wise use of the stun gun, but hardly proof of a police state. Calm down folks.

Posted by: MartyL | September 18, 2007 5:55 PM

"Petra this is not nazi germany or Iran, Iraq, India, Pakistan. This is America.

If that had been my son and I was there, I would have picked up anything at hand and defended my son from the assualt he was enduring........... This is a blatant assault on a student by law enforcement. Abject losers the cops are!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: James Joyce | September 18, 2007 02:45 PM "

James : India is world's largest democracy and more free wheeling country. The police force over there doesn't carry Tasers. Please get yourself educated lest your ignorance shows.

No wonder brawns like you and Bush who think might and force is better than using brains and intelligence are stuck in Iraq.

Posted by: Annoyed | September 18, 2007 6:08 PM

It's ironic that a political figure famous for his own youthful protests and civil disobedience would be so callous and unconcerned with the treatment of this kid who was only doing what Mr. Kerry brags about doing himself in his youth. Shame on you John Kerry, your response to this incident is an indictment of your stated personal beliefs.

This kid wasn't being pro-bush he was questioning and accusing Kerry of not standing up to Bush and the republicans in 2004.

The kid was trying to be disruptive, no doubt, but the question one should ask themselves is what is the appropriate response of the authorities. Once he was on the ground, which is questionable in itself, he was clearly posing no threat. The use of the taser was clearly unwarranted. He wasn't posing any danger to himself or the 6 officers who had him handcuffed and subdued.

While, the reaction of the police is disturbing to say the least, I'm most troubled by Mr. Kerry's spineless response to the incident. The young man was questioning Mr. Kerry's convictions and he was obviously right to do so.

Posted by: justin | September 18, 2007 6:11 PM

I keep hearing people say he was being arrested for resisting arrest...

but what was the original arrest for, asking awkward questions?

Posted by: SteveMc | September 18, 2007 6:12 PM

As a citizen with 10years of Military and Police experience and having been in all kinds of "tough" situations I can say this is NOT how this situation should have been handled. These officers are just a product of their training and experience. When reviewed it may be found that they operated within their use of force policy however my argument to that would be -

Was anyone ever in danger from letting this kid speak?

I would suggest to everyone out there that a simple tactic I was taught but not used in this incident (coined "verbal-judo") would be a much better approach to take.

I have seen first hand from within the Cowboy attitude that prevails within units. So many officers are "looking" for a fight rather than doing everything in their power to avoid one. Rather than De-escalating the incident they provoke confrontation. That is what I see with this incident.

I wish the kid the best of luck in the lawsuit that should be coming from this. And I believe rightfully warranted.

Posted by: Jimmy | September 18, 2007 6:13 PM

the US is becoming a scary place to have an opinion.

why is it necessary for 6 or 7 cops to hold a guy down and then tazer him? didnt they have him in cuffs and under control?

it's ridiculous and i hope he sues

Posted by: anon | September 18, 2007 6:23 PM

>guy cried for helped and not a single chicken got up and helped him.

Sorry.. All the non-chickens are overseas right now. Please call back later.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 18, 2007 6:26 PM


The WashingtonPost is owned by a North Korean Cult leader. Look it up for yourself. Your attempt to smear this kid with your bullet points is shameful. If anyone deserved to be tasered that day, it was the cops and Kerry. They should all be Tasered repeatedly until they answer his questions completely. How did we forget that officials are public servants, and servants aren't supposed to be tasing the masters.

I'm kinda shocked nobody helped the kid at the time. Not even a thrown chair?! C'mon.

Posted by: Ryan | September 18, 2007 6:27 PM

What if you knew her and saw her dead on the ground--how can you run when you know?

It's too late now folks, it slipped away from us between 1970 and 1980.

And Tom Paine must truly be rolling in his grave to have his name assumed by some lickspittle whip kisser.

Posted by: Robbie | September 18, 2007 6:28 PM

Anyone who has ever been on the receiving end of a Taser can tell you that this weapon produces excruciating pain. According to a recent CBS report, Tasers have been associated with at least 70 deaths. In terms of force level, a Taser ranks just below a firearm. From the video, it appears to have been used more to try and shut the kid up (which it did - minus the begging and screams of pain) than to counter any real threat that the loudmouth posed to six police officers (or anyone else). Regardless of whether the original attempt to drag him out of the hall was justified, the use of the Taser in this situation is indefensible

Posted by: Hawk | September 18, 2007 6:30 PM

Kerry should have stopped it....I would have in the same situation.

leave the kid alone, whether you disagree with him or not!

Posted by: shocked | September 18, 2007 6:30 PM

Tasers are dangerous and can in fact be deadly for a certain percentage of the population. They should therefore only be used in a situation where someone is under threat.

This clearly was not the case here, with 6 police officers on top of the guy and him armed only with a book.

SUE

Posted by: star | September 18, 2007 6:36 PM

Watching the video and seeing the police action makes me sick. This kid was up there trying to get some attention, and maybe grab the limelite for a few minutes. What's his crime? If they don't want people asking silly questions, then don't even have an open mic. To me it looks as though there are a pack of police officers waiting to pounce on the first defenceless kid who makes a move. Why are there 6 police officers on this kid in the first place? This reminds me of the video's we watch about dictators and police states oversea's. I never thought I would see a kid at a unversity in America tasered and hauled away by police for hogging the mic during a political Q and A period. Stunning.

Posted by: Ryan | September 18, 2007 6:38 PM

Randi, you need to harp on Kerry until he is backed into a corner. There is no excuse for this. It goes to show that Kerry is just another Bush.Time for him to go, and someone like you with the power of the airwaves can make it happen.
Please do Randi.

Posted by: Alfred | September 18, 2007 6:39 PM

People who think this was exceptable, read "Animal Farm". It's not too long and an easy read. People who are not vocal are ran over with power. Don't be a sheep, be a leader. Invoke your American right to speak out. If you think that right is only under certain cercumstances. It can eventually disappear. Don't be an idiot people!

Posted by: UNCC-student | September 18, 2007 6:40 PM

The news tapes only show Meyer hollering AFTER the police grab him. Watch the whole event on UTube and you will see that he was perfectly rational and asking pertinent, if annoying to Kerry, questions until the police grabbed him and started wrestling him out of the room. I would yell, too.

Posted by: Georgia | September 18, 2007 6:41 PM

Kerry was just speaking. The kid had a question. So what if it was annoying? Those fat pig cops are getting what they deserve with being suspended. Hopefully the young man will serve the campus police with a lawsuit soon, drag the through the mud and send them to the poor house.

Total overuse of force.


And to Cherie, you are a fool. Positive change doesn't mean change from a free society that neo-cons love to jaw-flap on about, to a society where free speech is only free if you're asking the right questions. Do see the following holdings:

*Chaplinsky v. New Hampshire, 315 U.S. 568 (1942)

*Schenck v. United States, 249 U.S. 47 (1919)

*Gitlow v. People 268 U.S. 652

Student did not libel, incite riot or use speech that constituted clear and present danger. You fail to see that exercising our rights is the highest honor to those who fought for them. You seek to glorify America, while taking its guiding document off at the knees.


Idiots.

Posted by: Shula | September 18, 2007 6:42 PM

Have they lost their friggin' minds in Florida? The police were ready to arrest this guy the second his tone became sarcastic.
History may not be my strong suit, but I suggest we dig up Francisco Franco and give Florida back to Spain!

Posted by: Brian | September 18, 2007 6:45 PM

I don't think a taser should be used after a suspect is restrained. In this case, the kid appears to be dominated by the officers when he is tasered. Looks to me like the police officers let their adrenalin get the better of them.

Posted by: Matt | September 18, 2007 6:46 PM

This looks like the student set this up. He had done similar stunts showing mock outrage with other lecturers to post on his shock-joke website. You can tell that the police had this guys number because as he's talking, they're only a few feet from him, so they know to expect something. If he knows anything about Senator Kerry, he would know about his involvement with Skull and Bones. If the student was serious about really wanting an answer, he should have been less confrontational and more focused. This was no kid, look at how big he is. He is bigger than three of the cops and only the black cop subdues him. Anyone who defends this guy has been duped. End of story.

Posted by: blarsen | September 18, 2007 6:52 PM

I am not un-american and don't agree with the country direction but what is occuring in the country un-american.

Posted by: MATT IN NM | September 18, 2007 6:52 PM

We should be surprised that in FLORIDA that somoene was tased for exercising free speech? In the state where those in charge fought to shut down the vote recount for president in 2000. In the wake of a president who shuts out dissenters from all his speeches, political or not? We should be surprised in a country that traces yours and my emails (probably including this one)? Why? We stopped being a democracy in 2000 and we stopped following our U. S. Constitutioanl rights when George's Bush's crowd decided they are constitutional wrongs. And the irony is that their actions brought John Kerry in the middle of someting I know he would not condone or appreciate!

Posted by: Gelee | September 18, 2007 6:58 PM

So Blarsen doesn't like his looks, reason enough for a beating, he is big enough to take it. I dream of being on the jury when his false arrest and assault suit is heard. He may become the owner of UF.

Posted by: Robbie | September 18, 2007 6:59 PM

Mr. O'Keefe,

Please fully re-consider your statement, "Before Meyer is tasered, audience members can be heard applauding the police as they move him away from the microphone." You have changed the language of this sentence since your first post. I do not believe that you are being accurate with this statement. There are multiple opinions about what the applause were intended for. For example, look at how the Associated Press describes it:

FROM Travis Reed/AP:
As two officers take Meyer by the arms, Kerry, D-Mass., can be heard saying, "That's all right, let me answer his question."

Audience members applaud, and Meyer struggles for several seconds as up to four officers try to remove him from the room. Meyer screams for help and tries to break away from officers with his arms flailing at them, then is forced to the ground and officers order him to stop resisting.

Here the audience members are applauding Kerry's offer to answer his question. I do not believe it is responsible to portray the applause as simply condoning the police's actions. Please re-consider your post.

Thank you,
Will Sweeney

Posted by: Will Sweeney | September 18, 2007 7:06 PM

I am a tad to the right of center, not a kooliad kid of either party.

So with that in mind, KERRY IS NOT AT FAULT, I sure as hell didn't vote for him, and now wish I had, but I am hoping the the koolaid kids of the Republican party don't use this as some kind of proof Democrats SS types, that unfortunately for the time being can only be used on my party leader on the Republican side. I think Bush and company are nothing better then S.S. Monkeys with NO concern for America OR Americans

Posted by: MagicPanther | September 18, 2007 7:08 PM

The post woudl be a much better newspaper if it were to hire this young man when he graduates. Maybe the past 6 years of what has happened because of this government would have been far better exposed if YOUR reporters had asked more pointed questions

Posted by: Kansasgal1 | September 18, 2007 7:09 PM

I doubt the audience is clapping for him to be removed. The audience can be heard shouting "Let him go!" in the videos.

Posted by: dsyd | September 18, 2007 7:15 PM

Kerry failed to address the incident effectively, while it was occurring. He should have put a stop to it but he wasn't commanding enough, wasn't "presidential" enough. I guess in some strange ironic way this was the point of the young man's questions. Why didn't carry fight for those who elected him president? Why didn't he contest the results when he could have? Where was he as a leader then, and now, today, when he could have made a difference, he failed to act. There were some in the audience who stood up and tried to stop the tasering. But not Kerry. Kerry's published response is classic slick beltway speech, he has yet to answer the questions that still hang over his indecisive candidacy and his befuddlement at the tasering of free speech.

Posted by: Tony Lopez | September 18, 2007 7:26 PM

Kerry failed to address the tasering incident effectively, while it was occurring. He should have put a stop to it but he wasn't commanding enough, wasn't "presidential" enough even though he had a microphone in his hand. I guess in some strange ironic way this was the point of the young man's questions. Why didn't Kerry carry the fight for those who elected him president? Why didn't he contest the results when he could have? Where was he as a leader then, and now, today, when he could have made a difference? But Kerry failed to act, leaving behind him a huge mess that others have had to take action to address. There was a young woman in the audience who stood up and tried to stop the tasering. But not Kerry. Kerry's published response is classic slick beltway speech,but he has yet to answer the questions that still hang over his indecisive candidacy and his befuddlement at the tasering of free speech.

Posted by: Tony Lopez | September 18, 2007 7:30 PM

Robbie, did I say I didn't like his looks? My point is that this was staged. Did he need to be tasered. No. Did he need to be removed? Yes. He has since been bragging about all the hits his appearance has generated on his website. His intent was to be a youtube star, not to get an answer of any kind from John Kerry. This guy was an opportunist and while there is nothing illegal about that, he was the one that came out looking the fool as well as all his defenders.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 18, 2007 7:32 PM

I went to a small religious college (so some commenters might think we were *all* nuts). We had a couple of exceptionally odd students who "caused a fuss" at every event they attended that included an opportunity for questions and answers. One of the guys would bring of points with relevancy only he could see and provide references dating back a dozen years (i.e., "As was stated in Time Magazine December 18, 1972...") that would have uslisteners looking at each other, wondering if he could possibly have a photographic memory or could possibly be putting us on. The other guy dressed in white (basically, painters' clothing) and would call on the wrath of God no matter the topic (interestingly, his bibliographical note on Classmates says he had a brain tumor removed). To this day I remember the annoyance these guys caused, and I remember the patience with which the professors would answer them, placate them and cajole them into wrapping up and letting the next person have a turn. I can't imagine campus security even getting involved, let alone forcibly removing the individuals, let alone tasering them into submission.

A taser is only appropriate when someone is dangerous (not just objecting to be manhandled). Personally, I think ushering someone forcefully away is only appropriate when someone is on the edge of being dangerous. Obnoxiousness should be dealt with verbally.

Thank goodness John Kerry isn't running for president this time around. The spin that would be put on the video would have half the country believing he tasered the student.

Posted by: Sympthetic to Crazy Students | September 18, 2007 7:33 PM

The question was about :

"Kerry = Bush" Skull and Bones, Illuminati Bilderberg Bohemian Grove Christo-Fascists.

As usual, there was no response from the blue blooded theocratic archon, and conspiracy theorists have more justifiable meat now that one of them was tased for audaciously asking the subversive question.

Posted by: Frater Titus | September 18, 2007 7:35 PM

"Each person has the right to resist an unlawful arrest. In such a case, the person attempting the arrest stands in the position of a wrongdoer and may be resisted by the use of force, as in self- defense."

(State v. Mobley, 240 N.C. 476, 83 S.E. 2d 100).

Posted by: Frater Titus | September 18, 2007 7:40 PM

those cops can kiss their careers goodbye.

Posted by: wtf | September 18, 2007 7:54 PM

I have to play devil's advocate here because I think the legal discussion is a little misguided. Someone please correct me if you know more than I about first amendment jurisprudence or criminal procedure.

First thing that needs to be understood is that there are differing levels of detention: Traffic stops, for instance. Neither does handcuffing someone indicate an arrest. Hence you might be handcuffed and forced to sit on the curb while the police search your car during said traffic stop after detecting alcohol on your breath.

Complete freedom of speech is limited by public disturbance ordinances; and the police have the right to detain someone and remove them, using physical force if necessary, from a public setting if they are causing a public nuisance. For instance, people are removed from publicly funded ballparks for being drunk, heckling or jumping on to the field. People are removed from Congressional hearings all the time for creating a disturbance. At first the police were not arresting, but exercising their discression to detain what they perceived to be a public nuisance and removing him from that public space. There would be no question Constitutionality had he not been exercising political speech at the time.

When he started resisting, that raised the stakes to what is, apparently, a felony under Florida law. That's when the arrest (a formal allegation of criminal behavior) was affected. The police had every right to use "appropriate physical force", both for detention and arrest.

Second. This is NOT a Miranda violation. To begin with, there is no requirement to read someone their rights until they are restrained in police custody, which he clearly was not. This only makes sense since the person being detained has to actually understand the rights being read to them in order to consent. Furthermore, the police are under no obligation to read you your Miranda rights unless they are going to interrogate you, which they pretty clearly weren't going to do here. I'll quote from the unimpeachable Wikipedia:

'In the 2000 Dickerson decision, Chief Justice William Rehnquist wrote that Miranda warnings had "become embedded in routine police practice to the point where the warnings have become part of our national culture." Dickerson v. United States 530 U.S. 428 (2000). However, police are only required to warn an individual whom they intend to subject to custodial interrogation at the police station, in a police vehicle or when detained. Arrests can occur without questioning and without the Miranda warning -- although if the police do change their mind and decide to interrogate the suspect, the warning must then be given. Furthermore, if public safety (see New York v. Quarles) warrants such action, the police may ask questions prior to a reading of the Miranda warning, and the evidence thus obtained can sometimes still be used against the defendant.'

As far as I can tell, that raises only two legal questions. First, were his First Amendment rights protecting freedom of assembly and political speech violated? Essentially the University of Florida had provided a limited forum (one minute) for this speech. So the question here is at what point might his speech have crossed the line into public disturbance. This isn't an easy question. Was it when he barged to the front of the queue? When he asked the seemingly irrelevant and personal question about Skull and Bones? Was it when he went over the time limit? If not, at what point in time of his continuing histrionics would he have been considered to be a public nuisance? One minute after the alloted time? Two? Ten? Half an hour?

Point 1a) here is, if he was still exercising protected speech, he might be able to use unlawful arrest as a defense. Might. I have no idea what Florida law says here. Remember, when affecting an arrest or detention, the police have very broad powers.

The next question regards the use of "appropriate physical force" in regards to the taser. I would think this is pretty cut and dry in Florida law. The cops here would have had some procedure of escalating physical force required before the use of the taser. I'm inclined to think they probably followed that procedure since you can hear her request multiple times that he calm down or they will tase him.

Personally, I find the whole thing really, really disturbing, and think the cops probably acted too quickly and severely. But they did ask him to calm down and then leave before the whole thing got blown up. So you have a guy who got carried away, who then got called on it, and then broke the law when he tried to actively resist what was likely legitimate police action. At that point, I suspect he was fair game under Florida law for what eventually happened.

Like I said, I could be wrong in the particulars (someone correct me if I am). But calling this fascist or nazi or equating it to more than a singular incident is ludicrous. If you're comparing this to Rodney King, you clearly don't remember that video in which the police continued to beat a restrained and prone man solely because he was black. This is nothing like that.

Posted by: oxstu | September 18, 2007 8:00 PM

I am truly sorry that this level of force and violence was carried out against someone merely asking questions. Regardless of 'reasons' we can all watch what happened on the video. I think it is sickening to see that happening. The student verbalizing his disapproval of the way he was being handled seems completely normal and justified in my opinion.

Posted by: A Jacobs | September 18, 2007 8:05 PM

The kid went from idiot to victim all because the cops used the taser. So it takes an extra minute to get the second cuff on him? Who's the kid going to hurt with four big cops sitting on top of him? The ambulance chacers were waiting outside the jail. Once again, the city and the taxpayer will pay.

Posted by: Edd | September 18, 2007 8:20 PM

You know what I find frightening? When people post videos of police attempting to take someone into custody who is deeply agitated, combative, and in some cases, flat out violent, and then fault the police if they have to use force. He was asked to leave the podium... he refused. He was told he had to leave the auditorium... he refused. He was told to cooperate with the police... he refused. He had every opportunity to avoid what happened and to suggest otherwise is to ignore what's obvious from watching the video. This has nothing to do with freedom of speech or politics. It is simply an unfortunate case of an out of control, unstable college student and the segment of the general public that believes people who exhibit this behavior and refuse to honor repeated requests to comply shouldn't face any consequence for their actions.

Posted by: Frightening | September 18, 2007 8:25 PM

Fox noise reported the kid was charging the podium

Posted by: mule17 | September 18, 2007 8:36 PM

It is difficult to render an opinion due to the fact that the video is incomplete. Aside from the facts of the situation; the students record on campus, the arrest and resisting arrest, violent behavior, etc. The student didn't represent any threat until he was confronted by campus security. The Taser use was inappropirate, unjustifable and unwarranted. What is happening to free speech in our country? A sad day for America.

Posted by: Concerned 1 | September 18, 2007 8:44 PM

All you folks who call this a Free speech issue had better get a life. This crackpot wanted to get arrested and to make a scene. The police had no idea what he had in mind. So if you think it's free speech, go yell fire in a theater. I guess all you 18 year olds have not read the constitution yet

Posted by: Joe | September 18, 2007 8:55 PM

There are two types of views here:

1) that social order and control are paramount to maintaining civil society, and therefore trump the rights of the individual (most cops fall into this category). This is a fundamental principle of fascism.

2) that individual freedom is the hallmark of advanced democracies, and the power to curtail this freedom should be exercised only in cases of unequivocal need. This is a fundamental principle behind the U.S. Constitution (which at this writing has not been repealed).

Which America do you want to live in?

Posted by: Andy in Kennett Square | September 18, 2007 9:07 PM

Before making an intelligent, informed decision, there are a number of variables I'd need cleared up.

1) If the student in question did indeed barge in as a number of folks claim and if he was being followed by the Police, I'd like to know why they were after him. What did he do prior to this that prompted this apparent chase?

2) What was the actual itinerary regarding the conference? I've heard people state that it was only supposed to be an hour and that Kerry had gone over, and I've also heard others state that it was scheduled to go for two hours and had been coming to and early close.

3) What were Mister Myers' 'questions' to Senator Kerry? I'd like to see a recording of his time at the conference from start to finish in it's entirety.

4) Why do we assume some of the audiences were applauding the Police? Likewise, why do others assume they were applauding Mister Myers? What proof do we have to support these claims beyond what each individual poster feels is common sense?

5) Why did that many Police Officers feel it was necessary to 'Tase' someone who was not only in handcuffs, but forced to the ground. With that many able bodies, it should have been a simple matter to just lift him up and carry him to the nearest Squad Car.

I am of the opinion that the student in question was initially belligerent and seemed to be making a scene. From the overall tone and context of what he said (or at least the short clip we've been presented), I would guess that he was trying to make a political statement rather than actually address any real issue. In that sense, I feel the Police were in the right to ask him to leave. I also feel they were in the right in their attempts to restrain him when he began to resist. I would agree with everyone here in regards to someone restricting free speech if he had actually seemed calm and collected, but that doesn't seem to be the case. Instead, he appeared to be acting like a child. Because of that fact, I don't feel this is a matter of free speech; I believe it's a matter of blatant and unopposed Police Brutality.

As I've mentioned before, that many Police Officers could have physically removed him easily enough. There is never just cause to Taser someone who's immobile to begin with. As for the audience, I have to admit to feeling a deep sense of disappointment. That they would simply sit there and let it happen is appalling at best. I, at a mere twenty-two years of age, had hoped that my fellow man (and woman, of course) would be willing to stand up and say something if this were to happen next to them, and they didn't. They either sat idly by in the hopes of avoiding the potential wrath of the Police or, and this is what disgusts me...they felt that it was the 'right thing to do'.

It seems odd to me that anyone here would actually tell the rest of us that we should do any and everything the Authority tells us to do without question, especially when I take into account the simple fact that our United States were founded on the very basic principle that Government isn't always right. There are times when we should stand together and say "hey now, that doesn't seem right."

Does no one value courage over life? Have we simply given in to the fallacious assumption that we're not capable of individual thought? Are we really that far gone as a Nation?

Please don't misunderstand; I'm not promoting Anarchy in any way, shape or form. While it's a novel concept on paper, I can't imagine a way in which it could be successful in practice. I'm also not belittling the Boy and Girls in Blue who do a damned fine job. While there are quite a few 'Bad Cops' out there, there also exist some of the finest, bravest people we'll ever know. What I am saying is that we shouldn't simply believe every little thing that's fed to us by those in power. Sometimes you have to resist the Law because the Law (and those who claim to enforce it) is wrong.

Please think about everything you've read to this point. I don't want anyone here to blindly take sides for or against anything here. I feel one of the most important things we can do in our lives if to makes decisions for ourselves. If it's possible, I'd also appreciate it if the people who post after me could make an attempt to avoid slamming the people before me. There's no reason for this to dissolve into a name-calling match, and it feels like it's well on it's way to just that.

Posted by: David S. | September 18, 2007 9:18 PM

Hmmm, Haven't we seen this movie before? What was the name of it? Oh yeah, Gimme Shelter.

But a brilliant bit of casting here in the remake...

Black shirt goon squad as Hells Angels,

John Kerry as Mick Jagger - impotent witness to a hideous crime. He can't handle a half dozen rabid cops in a public spectacle like this?

The crowd was originally weed whacked hippies, "Wow, man! Bummer!"

But in the remake they're smug Republicans cranked on Bush Kool-Aid cheering the cops on.

And instead of Altamont and a cast of thousands, it's in a college auditorium (sort of like the "Night of the Living Dead" remake in the mall) where it can symbolize what kind of proto-fascist imbeciles this country's universities are becoming so adept at producing.

But, best for last... new twist on the ending.

While they drag the guy off to some black site in Romania, or say, Louisiana, Greenland's ice sheet let's go, the entire state of Florida gets Atlantisized and the only survivors are the few folks that at least raised their voices against the Gestapo - and the fewer that hit "Record."

Good night
and good luck

Posted by: RadioFreeSilver.com | September 18, 2007 9:29 PM

"Why did that many Police Officers feel it was necessary to 'Tase' someone who was not only in handcuffs, but forced to the ground."

Because he wasn't yet in handcuffs. He wouldn't let them cuff him, so they used a further method to force compliance.

Posted by: oxstu | September 18, 2007 9:47 PM

I want to say thanks for pointing that out because it does, in some perverse sense, clear that up, but it still doesn't make sense to me that they'd need to Taser him to get him in handcuffs. They clearly had the numbers needed to hold his arms in place while another Officer cuffed him and while it would have been simpler to shock him into submission, I don't see how it's justified. A Taser is an extremely dangerous, occasionally lethal weapon that shouldn't be put to use unless the person in question is an immediate threat to those around him. While Mister Myers was annoying, he wasn't physically abusive or violent.

So I assume, that is. I'd still love to see the full, unedited video.

Posted by: David S. | September 18, 2007 10:03 PM

Oh, and I'd also like to compliment you on your previous post, oxstu. That really cleared up a lot of little things I didn't quite understand and, to be frank, I had absolutely no idea where to start looking. Kudos on that!

Posted by: David S. | September 18, 2007 10:05 PM

This is Democracy??????????I came from Communism no difference.Where should I go????????

Posted by: dragan | September 18, 2007 10:09 PM

Its unfortunate that this had to happen.
He never was a real threat to anybody.

Posted by: roy | September 18, 2007 10:12 PM

Perhaps I am wrong, but the first amendment does not allow free speech in any context. It requires that government not interfere with freedom of expression. It does not extend to people saying whatever they want, whenever they want, however they want, or wherever they want. I don't know if the U of F as a state university qualifies as a governmental organization. I'd be interested in what a constitutional lawyer might say about the situation, if any are around.

Posted by: goldenbough | September 18, 2007 10:29 PM

Did anyone else notice cops drawing guns on him?

Posted by: JB | September 18, 2007 10:31 PM

The kid was lucky the cops only had tasers.
As Kerry supporters they would have all pulled out their real guns and shot the helpless kid to death for daring to ask King Kerry a question.

Posted by: Crazy cops | September 18, 2007 10:31 PM

There is no justification for the what has been done to the kid. Very unbecoming of a civil society.

Posted by: LiveInPeace | September 18, 2007 10:56 PM

Kerry, answer the questions publicly! You heard them, now answer them!

Posted by: sg | September 18, 2007 10:58 PM

Tasers were meant to be an alternative to lethal force. I saw no justification for lethal force - so they should not have been used.

Their only possible use is this instance is for torture or cops just getting their jollys off abusing a helpless kid...

Posted by: Taser killers | September 18, 2007 11:02 PM

Is this where our cherished freedom of speech going to?? We are becoming a police state ... our constitution is being trampled by all the idiots that robbed the presidency and congress ... what a shame! Oh yea, and what a twisted piece of journalism ha, I wonder... did AIPAC approve this for you??
Meyer, you are a true American hero ... thank you!!

Posted by: Ron | September 18, 2007 11:07 PM

I agree with those who think the kid got what he asked for. 1)He questioned the outcome of the 2004 election. 2) He implied that Kerry and Bush (thus, Dems and Repubs) are in cahoots and simply alternate the top Rube at whom the little rubes will throw their tomatos. 3)He insinuated that there is a ruling elite. 4) He successfully demonstrated that we have drifted, and continue to drift, inexorably, toward fascism - something we have no business talking about until the takeover is complete and we can finally shut-up about it(that is, be shut-up)completely. So, die kid.

Posted by: Sevachko | September 18, 2007 11:09 PM

Its always Florida

Posted by: chimpflop | September 18, 2007 11:12 PM

From the moment he stepped to the mic, the guy appeared a bit looney. He got worse, and was creating a disturbance. At that point the police are well within their rights to escort him out. (By the way, it sure APPEARED that the applause was in response to their moving him out, but I could be wrong.) He immediately resisted, and continued to resist all the way to the back of the room. He was surely inviting the crowd to intervene on his behalf the entire way, which sure looks like inciting a riot to me. Why did they tase him, people are saying, when there were so many cops. Tasing is effective, and probably was less harmfull than some of the other legal methods they had at their disposal. His statements and actions after he was in handcuffs ("They're going to kill me!") seem to show some level of derangement, and in fact served as confirmation that the police were acting correctly.

Posted by: DB | September 18, 2007 11:14 PM

"I get so embarrassed for people who don't have the mental capacity to realize that there are appropriate ways of acting, and inappropriate ways. Who cares about this kid's free speech rights? He was acting inappropriately."

-- Justin | September 18, 2007 03:21 PM

Inappropriately isn't the issue. What matters is the kid DID NOT act UNLAWFULLY.

Additionally, if the kid broke university rules of conduct it is a UNIVERSITY matter. NOT a POLICE matter.

Was the kid being an ego feeding pain in the butt? Yes, I won't argue with that. We had them at my college, too. None of them were TASERED for it! They were disciplined by the university: written apologies, university service, suspension, or expulsion.

Maybe the college kid acted inappropriately -- he's a college kid, what else do you expect? The police acted inappropriately when they used a weapon against a loud guy holding a book - - a badge is a responsibility NOT a license. THAT is the issue! The police overreacted.

The kid made a scene; he made an idiot of himself, he DID NOT incite a riot. THE POLICE INCITED A RIOT!

Posted by: B | September 18, 2007 11:22 PM

Have a close look at one of the videos. You can see a guy standing behind the student giving the "kill" sign. The Student's mic is cut and the cops jump him. During the "arrest" Kerry jokes about the student coming up and "Inaugurating" him. Disgusting

Posted by: sammy | September 18, 2007 11:24 PM

This is just disgusting!

Why would you taser someone for that? I mean come on!

Posted by: Anonymous | September 18, 2007 11:38 PM

I'm glad we're having this conversation because many, if not most, of these comments reveal that we need to brush up on our powers of observation and our self-restraint if we are going to succeed in holding civil discussions in digital venues like this. I am a bit surprised at the lack of reasonable thought in many of these postings. I also find a lot of people asserting "facts" that belong under "interpretation." Some of these conclusions astonish me.

First, this student, Mr. Meyer, was not simply asking a difficult question. This should be clear from studying the video. He was seeking to dominate the discussion for reasons I don't know. He was like a heckler. He made it clear he was not going to allow Kerry to answer. He even said that. He showed no intention of stopping his monologue and merely shouted louder -- and he was shouting -- when he was asked to pause.

Under those circumstances, the people running the forum had to do something. This was less an issue of free speech than social contract. We all hold responsibilities to each other, and certainly this fellow had little justification for disrupting the event in this manner. (Who was spoiling whose free speech, exactly?)

The audience may have responded for a mixture of reasons, but my perception is that they applauded the effort to move him away from the microphone because he clearly had used up his good will and the tolerance of those who were there. Mr. Meyer's performance struck me as a put-on, as a kind of prank to spoof Kerry and to denigrate the forum in general. I may be wrong. It's possible that he just got too worked up, but over-excited people generally aren't that good at maintaining a long rant. He seemed prepared, if not practiced. He was his own blow-by-blow commentator, well aware of the cameras. (I'll be interested to know if one of those cameras was there by plan to record the action.)

To anyone who claims that he was simply a naive student asking a question -- your passions are obscuring the obvious.

Second, I'm not sure why the campus police used a taser. The motive there, too, is hard to understand, unless they feared that Mr. Meyer, who had torn himself away from two officers' grip already once, might try to attack Mr. Kerry or others in the building. Mr. Meyer was on the floor and was resisting efforts to usher him out.

Was there a better way to subdue Mr. Meyer? I would think so. Moving him out less violently would have been less efficient, would have taken longer -- and that was probably the needed outcome.

I read people criticizing the use of force. I tend to agree. But look, we also should understand that in seeking more passive ways to sanction hecklers, or whatever this fellow was, we also are granting such people the ability to disrupt and ruin public events, based on whatever rationale they claim, whether moral or anarchistic or artistic or just self-serving (like some sophomoric prank on 'Jackass.')

Is that what we want? I'm not reading many thoughts on the implications of actions like these.

Sorry for the long post.

Posted by: GScott | September 18, 2007 11:43 PM

To RadioFreeSilver ; "Atlantisized" is the finest new word introduced (or at least, that I've come across)in a good while. Take heart, we'll all be eating roach crap by the end of the decade.

Posted by: Sevaschko | September 18, 2007 11:48 PM

always being around police officers you kinda learn the procedures. In no way were the officers in harms way. Yes he was resisting arrest but he was no threat. You can clearly hear in the video that he will get up and walk away. In my opinion this could've been avoided if they did just let him go. He isn't a criminal hes just trying to speak his mind. the government wants us kids 18+ to vote and start speaking our mind. If every time we speak our mind we get arrested and tased then im pretty damn sure were gonna stay hushed. In all what im trying to say this is clearly a freedom of speech issue.

Posted by: Raymond | September 18, 2007 11:57 PM

The police just grabbed him as he finished his question (OK it was lengthy, but I've been to many events and it was not atypical of many people in front of a microphone).

There was NO EXCUSE for the police to just grab on to him and pull him away. If it happened to me I would be surprised and outraged as the student, and would in the moment probably offer some resistance to their fascist behavior.

Posted by: mh | September 19, 2007 12:14 AM

Indeed, he asked the questions in a rather rude, patronizing manner, but that does not warrant tasering.

I believe, in that case, police action was entirely unjustified.

I am a university student myself. In my one and a half years as an undergraduate, so far I have seen plenty of outbursts like this one - perhaps a little rude-sounding and certainly hardly polite, but nonetheless respectful, nonviolent, and brave enough to touch on certain issues. Never have I seen an incident in which a student spoke out non-threateningly and was taken down with force simply for speaking too long - why did the police interrupt him in the first place? I can understand why they may have been a little rough with him for not instantly complying when they told him to settle down, but I believe he was right to protest the arrest.

I suspect, in about ten years, if this kind of crap keeps up, we will be calling the United States the Fascist States of America because it reeks of all fourteen characteristics. http://www.oldamericancentury.org/14pts.htm

Posted by: K.L. Dickson | September 19, 2007 12:56 AM

I have spent a good deal of today contemplating this incident. Is not the University or college supposed to be the one place where a person can engage in critical and analytical thought? My feeling is that every University was designed as a safe haven for free and possibly controversial thought. Think back to the Vietnam protests and it becomes clear that our way out of that mess was through the thinking of people such as Andrew Meyers. Why is the mere notion that Mr. Meyers tried to engage a man who ran for the highest office in the country with a real set of legitimate questions a problem? I do not understand. His questions were very relevant. Maybe Kerry was ready to answer them. In other words, a real and meaningful conversation was about to take place. This I fear was stopped because the questions were controversial. Furthermore, the questions were deserving of a little time for Mr. Meyers to fully explain himself beyond the allotted time and possibly requiring a little time for Mr. Kerry to fully reply. If any University allows the free flow of ideas and critical analysis to break down - - then where can the common man (all of us reading this blog) ask these questions? Do we really believe that just because he is known as a practical joker that we should discount his questions? At that point, we might as well say that all practical jokers are useless miscreants, which they are not. If this were the case, then the comedian Robin Williams should be tased for making the movie "Man of the Year", because it crosses the line. What about Michael Moore? Tase him too! See how absurd this is starting to sound. Should we discount him for his website being critical of concepts such as the Iraq War? Ridiculous. This is slander to the millionth degree. MANY OF US IN AMERICA are critical of this war...and for good reason. So why should I discount his questions based on this criteria? In other words, let Andrew ask his questions and let John answer. This is what Democracy was created and sustained for - - so that we can voice our thoughts, opinions and ideas. Democracy was not created in order to be suppressed by Police State tactics. Mr. Meyers if you read this - - I applaud you! I DO NOT CARE IF YOU ARE A PRACTICAL JOKER...this is an absurd criteria to judge you on...I do care that you are asking questions that are relevant and that I too want to hear the answers to your questions. A friend said to me today...didn't this type of thing slowly creep up in Germany in the thirties? I am almost afraid to answer that question even in my own head. Let's give the kid a break - - he's just a modern day protester protesting in a way that makes sense to him. This is why he is ok in my book. You know we need to really look at this incident and feel concern - - what if he was killed by the tasing? Is this where we are now as a country? I hope not. One last thing...as an adult I have no time at work to talk about Iraq, elections, etc. This is where I spend the majority of my day. My head is buried in my work - - and at home we must take care of the family - - where and when can we engage in this type of conversation that Andrew was seeking? For many of us, the place and time for this type of discussion was in the University...let free speech reign because I believe this is one of the primary purposes of the University. Peace

Posted by: Give the kid a break? | September 19, 2007 1:07 AM

As a law student, this incident makes me sick to my stomach. This guy did absolutely nothing wrong. Say what you want about what he's done before - that is open to interpretation. Say what you want about him going over time and the length of the event - that doesnt justify his 1st amendment rights being TRAMPLED.

And the nerve of this newspaper - showing liberal bias - to try and slam the kid with what are supposed to be "objecctive" facts just to set the scene. This kid did nothing wrong.

Posted by: Washington Post is Making Excuses | September 19, 2007 1:19 AM

Did anyone else notice that in the beginning of the struggle one cops had his gun drawn on the student?

Posted by: Hawkins Davis | September 19, 2007 1:40 AM

This was insane and a disgrace to the values our country was founded on

the kid was attacked by police for asking a question? What happened to free speech?

Posted by: Jesse | September 19, 2007 2:12 AM

How can anyone possibly ever voice their opinion without facing an onslaught of police brutallity anymore!!! It is pathetic to see the voice of the public being walked all over, things need to change

Posted by: Chris | September 19, 2007 2:48 AM

We might want to get democracy in the USA before we attempt to export it to Iraq.

Posted by: Democracy | September 19, 2007 2:50 AM

Everyone is asking, "should the student have been tasered?" The fact is that the student shouldn't have been even approached by the cops in the first place. Sure he was a little annoying and grabbed a couple minutes of microphone time but he presented no threat to anyone in the room at any time. He stated that his questions required some background information and was wrapping things up when the cops grabbed him.

This is a classic example of the overstepping of police powers. "To serve and protect" huh? What exactly were they protecting us from...the student's questions..someone acting a little annoying? The cops should all be fired immediately and the student released with a public apology. There are a lot of great people serving as police officers out there, but I've met more than a few who by nature are power hungry control freaks. These are exactly the kinds of people who should NOT be allowed to be police officers. It shouldn't be about the adreneline rush of asserting power, it should be about "serving and protecting."

His 3 questions were addressing what should be on every true American's mind reagrding the current state of affairs in our downward spiralling country. Kerry had no problem with the questions and was ready to answer them. Kerry should have stood up for the student asking his questions and told the cops to back off, afterall, it was Kerry's event and if he doesn't mind the student then let him be.

Posted by: George | September 19, 2007 3:09 AM

I have read every comment on this blog. Some I agree with, some I disagree with but understand the reasoning, and others I wish would learn to think before they typed. Just a few points that I'd like to make.

First of all, all those people who are referencing the Nazis and Gestapo-I wish to God that all the Nazis did was taser people. It's not the same thing, and that's actually really offensive.

Second, I'm a recent public university graduate, and I have seen many students like Mr. Meyer . They come to events such as these with agendas. They have quotes, statistics, and rarely allow a speaker to answer. They view Q & As as a platform for their own beliefs. That's why my interpretation of the videos I've seen are that students were applauding him being taken away. No one likes seeing or hearing students like him interrupt events.
As a student who has also helped plan lecture forums, I can tell you that universities have strict guidelines in place. Oftentimes, the speaker has his own guidelines as well. I can guarantee that before the event, students were told not to give speeches, to keep their questions short, and probably warned that if they didn't comply, the moderators would cut them off and there would be the chance of police escorting them out.

Third, what freedom of speech? I'm sorry, but we're students. Students don't have freedom of speech at school. Schools constantly have the ability and power to halt freedom of speech, usually through censorship. Most schools just hesitate to do so.

It's a hard thing to look at. We go to university to learn, grow, critically think, challenge ideas and authority. There are correct ways and places to do this. It's bad form to interrupt a professor's lecture or to start a debate with a professor at the expense of others.

Does that mean he should have been tasered? No, of course not. But students have been tasered before. At my university, at other public universities. Where was this outrage when a student at UCLA got tasered last year?

Posted by: Courtney | September 19, 2007 5:07 AM

Just a comment from an Australian reading about this story:

Your National Anthem talks about the land of the free - you lot boast about your freedom of speech. This guy was knocked back for some questions. The Senator was prepared to answer them so why the big deal of shutting him up so quickly???

You lot don't have freedom of speech nor do you celebrate it. Just look at how many of you bagged the Dixie Chicks for speaking their mind!

We look at your country and seriously wonder why you envy yourselves ... because we certainly don't!

Posted by: Kate | September 19, 2007 8:50 AM

I agree the whole situation was handled badley. From what I know of University Police, they are indeed 'deputized' but not trained to the same level as, say, state police officers would be. I work with beat cops regularly and have seen better handling of folks who were much more agitated. That said, with the exception of the tasering (which was completely out of line) it looked to me that the police were acting according to how they were trained.

Its definitely not Sen Kerry's fault, but what I find interesting is that the man (who I voted for) with 4 purple hearts, who jumped from the boat and rushed into the jungle persuing the enemy couldn't jump off a stage and step in and diffuse the situation. Clearly not the man he was 40 years ago, but then again neither am I.

Upon reflection what I find most troubling is I would have probably sat in my chair and done nothing.

The venue being a university campus didn't help. Developmentally, students run the gambit from little more than bratty children to sage elders. Keep in mind that the police have to deal with all of them, and not all of them were taught to be curteous and respectful by their parents. Yes we have free speach, but their are the responsiblilites that go with them (don't shout fire in a theatre, etc.) and while I don't think that line was crossed here it was definitely impinged upon. The police should have backed off a bit and let Kerry and the moderators handle things.

Despite the adult appearance these are basically kids in the midst of figuring out who they are and what they stand for. The university is suppose to be a place to encourage that, not a mill for turning out uniform consumers of crap from Walmart.

As for the rumors of the police state, be careful. I'll bet dollars to donuts of it was 1776 and Jefferson himself was on that stage chances are someone doing the same thing would be dragged away and tarred & feathered - or worse. And Jefferson might have had to dodge a tomatoe or two. Its just they didn't have YouTube in those days.

Posted by: John L. | September 19, 2007 9:11 AM

I posted earlier, and want to add more thoughts. FYI I have checked the computer I am using to make sure that I won't get tased from making the following comment. I have heard that the student ran into the debate and cut in line as cause for his removal. (And some other slight variations as well.) Why did the police not protect Sen. Kerry from the student when he initially ran in. He could have a gun or a bomb. If he did cut in line why did not the police arrest him then. Instead the police waited until he asked his question and then attacked him and "tortured" (maybe that is not the right word, perhaps that is only for US soldiers in Iraq)the student.

Posted by: Dave | September 19, 2007 9:35 AM

If Mr. Kerry was not prepared to hear the college students' political views then he should not have provided a microphone for that purpose. Truly a coward for allowing this to happen during one of his political speeches, and loses four votes from our Republican family members.

Posted by: Kerry from Bonita | September 19, 2007 11:36 AM

give me a break the guy refused to comply when told to stop. he is much bigger than the officers around him. he obviously wanted to grandstand and cause a rucus. YOU who believe otherwise spend too much time at colleges and universities and not in the real world. good job officers.

Posted by: skrent | September 19, 2007 12:49 PM

usa = facists.
believe it.
sad sad sad.

hard to believe citizens applaud and approve this type of treatment. sad sad sad.

Posted by: paul | September 19, 2007 1:09 PM

Hmm, the 'police' are looking off to the side and seem to be getting a cue to remove him when he initially is asking a question. A bit erratic, but it doesn't look like their intent was actually to arrest him... just escort him out. The crowd claps well after they start- they could be clapping his question, but its too far removed from the question to easily say that.
He starts physically resisting early. As some have said, you DONT RESIST ARREST. Whoever made the claim of a 'young college kid' being an excuse worries me. My daughters 8, she knows better.
If whats been said about him causing this ruccus before is true, then he knew what he was doing, and was doing it as a stunt.
Was his freedom of speech violated? He asked his question in an open forum, he went past his alloted time- the forum for him at least was only so long.
Were his civil libterties violated? Possibly. He resisted arrest, so I see little issue with the 'police' using physical force to remove/subdue him. I don't think their initial intent was actually arrest- I don't know but it's immaterial for what we see isnt it?
When they had him pinned and effectively subdued I do take issue with them tasering him at that point... you can't hear anyone trying to talk him down... instead it looks to me like they pretty much just inch to him and taser him... thats just creepy.
I find it strange people have such a weird blurring of 'police state' and simple respect for the police- allowing him to be escorted out would have been succumbing to a police state?
Also- I'm not a kerry 'fan by any means, it woulda been wonderful for him to hop down and diffuse the situation (like I said the police didn't seem to be talking to him)... but maybe he trusted them to know something he didn't? Which given their looks off camera in the first shot, I kinda get the feeling they did.

Posted by: KenK | September 19, 2007 1:51 PM

What I saw on YouTube was the Students applauding Andrew for his previous comment, NOT the Police! I never once heard the police ask Andrew to please remove himself quietly, they just grabbed hold him to drag him out of there!

Posted by: Tell The Truth! | September 19, 2007 2:58 PM

Please tase him again, bro!

Posted by: J | September 19, 2007 3:41 PM

Goodbye Bill of Rights, Hello Police State 2007

Posted by: Joe Safety | September 19, 2007 3:57 PM

So an unruly person should never be removed from a event... ever?

Posted by: Kenk | September 19, 2007 4:17 PM

After 27 years of theocratic fascist domination of the republican party, you now awaken to hear the blood thirsty cheers of the christian right who have consistantly supported totalitarian regimes and police states since days of the deified Roman Emporer Constantine and the rise of Feudalism.

Abrahamic religion and Democracy are incompatible. Always has been, and always will be.

They will silence us all soon enough.

Posted by: Gnostic Titus | September 19, 2007 4:30 PM

This is criminal!!! This student posed no physical threat! Since when is exercising our right to "freedom of speech" illegal? I wish more people would speak up and expose these politicians for what they are.
These cops should be executed! How is it that these so called "authority figures" are so ignorant to the fact that most of us have video cameras on our phones? Do they actually think they can get away with this type of brutal abusive behavior? If we all don't band together and make a stand, we will eventually have ZERO rights.

Have you seen the UCLA student taser case? Incredibly disturbing.

Posted by: XX | September 19, 2007 4:57 PM

His questioning was not "unruly", it was simply unpopular. The crowd wanted him gone? So what? That's why the Greeks wanted to limit mob rule - being annoying or a thorn in the side of a politician is NO EXCUSE for the level of force used to subdue the student. He was indignant, and rightly so, for not being given his turn in an open forum.

So many politicians get away with so much because they try to boil everything down into oversimplified talking points. So his questioning was long-winded - still not an excuse to limit his rights. I mean, we are supposed to be the pinnacle of freedom. That's what our soundbite President says too - Al Qaeda hate us for our "freedom." Freedom of speech is not a convenience, it is a Constitutional right.

Posted by: not a reason to taser | September 19, 2007 5:15 PM

The US Constitution -

quote:"just a goddamned piece of paper." -- GeorgeW. Bush

Posted by: nuQler ostrich | September 19, 2007 6:11 PM

I am shocked to see that people think that the police were justified! Do these people even know what the Constitution says (or whats left of it).

The scary thing is, this is not something new. This is just one of the first times it has been discussed in mainstream news. Citizens asking the tough questions have been ignored, escorted out and arrested since Bush was in office. Anyone who questions the war, Bush policies or the events of 911 have been horribly abused in too many circumstances to mention.

People need to stop ignoring these questions and starting paying attention to why they are being asked! People are ignoring the fact that their Constitutional Rights are being taken away from them one by one on the basis of "National Security". In order to have anyone pay attention to some of the questions, you have to get arrested. That has been the only way anyone has even paid attention to these questions. If they would just answer them in the first place, we would probably have a lot less of this.

Of course the kid resisted arrest! There was no reason to arrest him, let alone tase him! From what I have read and seen, he was on the microphone for longer than needed. So escort him out! That is all they had to do.

Out of curiosity, did Kerry ever answer the question? Is he a member of Skull & Bones? Why doesn't he support a Bush impeachment? If Clinton can get impeachment proceedings, Bush should be easy!

The people demand an investigation into the Bush Administration. They should get one. We need some political candidates that will stand up and speak for the people. One that will answer our questions. One that will stop police brutality. One that will answer the tough questions.

Isn't that their job?

Posted by: Kristina | September 19, 2007 7:41 PM

US Constitution
Where did you get the supposed quote from?

Posted by: Kevin | September 19, 2007 8:50 PM

there is a big defernce between defiant and violent. he posed no threat to anyone. you taser someone who poses a threat to the people around. he committed no crime there for should not have been under arrest to resist.in this country we have fredom of speach,even if you don't like the questions being asked or the statment they are making. anyone who doesn't like shound go live in a communist country,they agree with you.

Posted by: jason | September 19, 2007 9:20 PM

Why didn't John Kerry intervene?

I think he wanted that kid to get arrested because of the question he asked. Notice how he offered to ask the question after the police had started the arrest. A courageous man would have jumped off that stage and saved a 21 year old kid from this mess.

No, John Kerry knew exactly what he was doing. He knew he could condemn the actions of the police, in print, after measuring public opinion. His actions were politically brilliant but morally bankrupt.

Posted by: Brian Brady | September 19, 2007 9:34 PM

i am suprised that people actually think that it was correct for the campus police to taser him, by using the argument that he resisted arrest. The point is that he was mishandled right from the beginning, the campus police had no right to pull him away even if his questions were controversial, he should have been given a chance to be denied an answer by Mr Kerry and if he had kept on insisting that Mr kerry respond, that might have been an appropriate time to escort him out of the building after warning him what would happen if he resisted leaving the building. I believe proper procedures should be followed when handling sensitive situations. Thats how innocent people get shot and mistreated when police act with following proper procedures. The student had a right to ask his question was even given an opportunity to wait to ask his question. There wasnt even a chance for him to recieve a response before he was dragged away. That would be shocking to any person especially a in school, where that kind of brutality would not be seen.
i believe there could have been a better way to diffuse the situation by the police if they wanted to stop his line of questioning. Diplomacy and tactfullness should have been used. Raw display of power was not necessary unless he was threat to the others a weapon used or he had incited violence.

Posted by: worried | September 19, 2007 9:40 PM

I want reply to Courtney who I think sounds like a very reasonable and intelligent person. I just want to continue the conversation. Inevitably, the whole point of this incident is to spark the very conversation we are having. I believe your comments about the numerous references within this blog to the Nazis and the Gestapo (including my own) is a good reminder of keeping things in perspective. Although, the notion that the freedom to speak one's mind can be suppressed by means such as this is very alarming and should be a warning sign that something is happening that needs our attention. Yes, maybe it is not up to par with the horror of the Nazis, BUT in this democratic country, freedom of speech is a BIG DEAL...it is one of the principal foundations of our country. Look around closely. Extraordinary rendition, the loss of habeas corpus, wiretapping on our fellow Americans is happening right now and the debate is minimal at best amongst the common people (us). If this kid can cause this amount of stir, then he is doing his duty as an American, regardless of whether we love his methods or not.
Also, as far as your comment that students like Mr. Meyer exist and at times they are annoying...THAT IS GREAT! None of us are the same...so be proud if you think his approach is wrong...but remember he has a right to say what is on his mind as do you and I. This is Democracy 101! Further, I disagree with your opinion that no one wants to hear or see students like Mr. Meyers at events such as this. In that case, then Martin Luther King Jr. and his nonviolent protests should have never happened. I HIGHLY DOUBT MANY WITH PRIVLEDGE IN AMERICA WANTED TO HEAR A PEEP OUT OF DR. KING AT THE TIME...but look at the end result...it is unfathomable to think of the state America could be in right now if not for Dr. King speaking up for those who were oppressed! Think hard about this last statement! Think about how some at the time may have viewed Rosa Parks, the lunch counter sit-ins, the Vietnam War protesters prevalent on University campuses (hint, hint), John Lennon and Yoko, the Abolitionists, those who asked for safe labor practices and a ban on child labor. My guess is people at the time might have viewed those incidents with the same disdain as the opinions being voiced at Mr. Meyers. In the end though, are we better off as a country that these people stirred it up as Bob Marley so eloquently states? You bet we are!
In regards to your thoughts on Universities and invited guest speakers at Universities having strict guidelines in place on how to handle an intellectual conversation, I think there is a core issue here that is misconceived. The University is meant and intended to be the place for students (young people) to give speeches whether long winded or not, and also the University is the type of place in which students should NOT be warned about complying with these demands or else! The University is the place for our nation's future to learn, grow, question, ponder, DEBATE, peacefully protest and question authority! Plus, remember the Vietnam War protestors were not following University policy...they were breaking the rules and being disruptive for good reasons. We must not allow our Universities to be controlled by any mechanisms that do not encourage these ideas mentioned above. Courtney, you also state that as a student that you do not have freedom of speech. Ridiculous...the mere fact that you think this concerns me greatly not with you...but with the system in place! If it was not for this freedom of speech, we would still be stuck in Vietnam...bringing democracy to East Asia (sound familiar). We got out of that quagmire due to the use of freedom of speech and those willing to realize that it is our right (the common man) and duty to make sure our country follows the wishes of the people. Remember, the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial branches and the Media (the 4th and most disappointing branch of our all important Checks and Balances) are here to serve usn and protect us, not the other way around. Be fearful that one day we may wake up and realize that we are at war with Iran (for example) and that the draft is back. Then when people ask "How could this happen?", I will remind myself that Mr. Meyers did say something, along with Mr. Moore, John Stewart and the rest willing to question the rules. Think hard about this too.
One last note, you think interrupting a professor's lecture to in other words start a debate with a professor at the expense of others (the students) is a bad idea. I do not agree at all. These schools are a hallmark of democracy. They attract people from all over the world because debate is allowed. The whole reason that a professor should be teaching is for these types of moments in time - these are golden moments for teachers and if they are not golden moments then retirement or a new profession should be considered highly by these professors. Thanks Courtney and I hope you realize I enjoyed debating with you. It is my passion and purpose to do this because this is what America is about. Peace.

Posted by: Give the kid a break? | September 19, 2007 10:27 PM

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government
for a redress of grievances."

That includes schools!!

Posted by: Tim | September 19, 2007 10:35 PM

"The kid was being an idiot. His questions were irrelavent and were only meant to cause a ruckus. Then, when asked to leave he immediately threw his hands up and started yelling instead of getting out (or even sitting back down). Had he just left when asked, he wouldn't have gotten tasered. But if he had, then his immature, undignified way of making a point would have failed. So he got EXACTLY what he wanted to happen. I hope he thinks twice next time he tries to act like a pompous opinion-leader."

What the heck are you talking about? He read a book, so he had some questions for Mr. Kerry. Big whoopa!

Posted by: Tim | September 19, 2007 10:54 PM

First I must say that I am not John Kerry's biggest fan. In addition, I am a UF graduate as well. However, I have watched the video feeds of this man's arrest, and his behavior after leaving the auditorium, and his mental stability is very much in question. He claims, after leaving the auditorium, that "he has friends that know he is there.". He also expresses fear that they(the police) will "kill him".
I do not agree with the police tasering him, or cutting him off in the middle of his question. However, his behavior before, during, and after the indicent, does make one wonder if he is not altogether "there", and may be in need of some counseling.

Posted by: Michelle | September 20, 2007 1:37 AM

It is absolutely rediculious that this is recieving the press attention that it has. Any resonable person who has seen the video would realize that when Meyer was confronted by the police he became beligerant and refused to comply with their orders and resisted with force in which case it is perfetly reasonable to expect that measures such as peper spray or tasers would be used to subdue such a suspect. The only thing that Mayer was attempting to do was to take attention off of Kerry and direct it upon himself. As much as I dislike Kerry he still has right to the benefit of having his forum in which questions can be asked and answered in a civil manner. When people like Mayer disrupt the procedures of polite society it is concidered disturbing the peace, a crime in every state. He is now learning correct behevior the hard way.

People who think that this is the only way to make their points are simply ignorant and uninteligent and are unable to make a point any other way. Mayer got exactly what he deserved given the circumstances and this should not be recieving the news coverage that it is.

Posted by: Bryan | September 20, 2007 1:48 AM

Regardless of what the student said whether it be rude or not there is no reason for the police to remove him from the event. If he had attempted violence or something of that nature drag the sucker out and taser him. Don't do all that crap to him when he was just talking. (FREE SPEECH ANYONE)I hope all the involved police lose their badge and get sued for every dime they have over this.

Posted by: rabz | September 20, 2007 1:50 AM

I think he was right for questioning Kerry the way he did, it's time for people to start putting the political system on the spot even after everything that is going on with the war and in today's society.

Free speech is what we are all about and the university police handled the situation wrong, Kerry was prepared to answer the questions even though the student was being aggressive there was no reason for the way it was all handled!

I'm appalled!

Posted by: George | September 20, 2007 2:09 AM

There's a lot of people on here who pretend to know the Constitution, but actually don't. Let's have a review lesson, ok?
Constitution says:
CONGRESS shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech.

Notice the capital letters. Congress cannot restrict freedom of speech, but other people can, particularly when you are on their property. Let's use an analogy.

You come into my house, and in my living room I happen to be treating Senator Kerry to dinner. You ask him, "Senator, would you like some pork?" Misreading your statement as something sexual, I say, "I don't like what you said. Leave my house." You refuse. I call the cops. They come and try to arrest you. You resist arrest. They taser you. Now, you tell me. Do you think in this case a judge would listen to "freedom of speech" as a reason for you to remain in my house against my wishes? Does it matter even that I misunderstood you? No, it doesn't.

This student does not own the university auditorium by the mere fact that he pays tuition. The university owns it. And the university can set down whatever rules it sees fit for people to remain on its property. If you don't like it, FREEDOM OF SPEECH means you're allowed to go host your own event, or post your own blog, or newspaper, or journal, or shout from a public street, or write the Senator, or whatever the hell you want. But when you're on someone else's property, you obey their rules. If you say something I don't like and I get the cops to kick you out of my house, you cannot use "freedom of speech" to stay.

In addition, for those worried about FoS, what about the freedoms of the other students he cut in line?

People always seem to judge with 20/20 hindsight. Do you really think that group of cops was standing around the mic waiting for someone to arrest for a bad line of questioning? Come on! Wake up! The kid had obviously been causing a ruckus before this edited tape begins, because he had the cops around him before he even started speaking. How do they know this wasn't about to be a repeat of Virginia Tech? That killer liked the camera as well. We judge with hindsight, but not even half of you would have the courage to make the correct decisions in the second-to-second timeframe.

If you want to resist arrest, you do so by going limp, and making them carry you out of there, and then you fight it in court. You don't push the cops off of you and act like a lunatic. The taser was used to protect everyone involved. Sure it hurts a lot while it's being used, but you're recovered in just a few minutes. Would you rather they dislocate his shoulder forcing him into handcuffs? Or perhaps have a cop get an elbow to the face? We have come a long way from knightsticks, my friends. You should be thankful of that.

This prankster had every chance to play by the rules. He showboats and cajoles and all the while he thinks HIS freedom of speech is to the exclusion of others, and HIS desire to be in the auditorium overrides that of the owner. We have laws protecting those other 300+ students' freedom of speech -- and they were enforced.

He deserved what he got, including the charges. Comparing this to Rodney King or the Nazi's shows a GLARING lack of understanding for what human suffering is.

Having your family disappear in the middle of the night -- that's suffering. Having your face smashed in with a knightstick -- that's suffering. Getting a little zap that you recover from in 5 minutes? That's an effective non-violent resolution.

Cheers to the cops. Job well done.

Posted by: Michael | September 20, 2007 2:11 AM

Everyone keeps saying that the student went crazy after the police apprehended and that's why he got tasered but the problem at hand here is that he was only utilizing his right to SPEAK FREELY!

Yes his questioning technique was a little much but Kerry was very prepared to answer and started to when the police thought that the student went a little overboard.

He only went nuts when he was unsure of what he did wrong, which was NOTHING!!!!

Posted by: Randi | September 20, 2007 2:15 AM

Does it not scare you that you might be escorted out of a venue for asking "the wrong questions?" Stop the rubbish comments that he was tasered for taking 2 minutes longer than allowed, that he interrupted another student to make his comments (he is a journalist student ... it is what journalists do)!

Start standing up for your rights to speak your mind and have your opinions. This young man had some concerns and asked questions to ascertain whether his concerns were justified.

Kerry wanted to answer these questions. Where was the justification of the over-reaction?

Stop Stop Stop applauding the reaction. Unless of course you are willing to live in a country where you are forced to keep your opinions and concerns to yourself or only reveal in a private conversation. This young man had the opportunity to ask some powerful questions to someone who could provide some powerful answers. Good on him for taking the opportunity.

People state that the student just wanted to stir a reaction ... so what!!! Kerry was prepared to answer the questions and probably would have done in a dignified manner.

Stop over reacting to everything! Your country makes a massive deal over minor things. This student asked some questions and was tasered as a result. 1984 come to anyone elses mind???

Just stop and think what road you are taking your country down if you support and congratulate the reaction to a journalist student asking questions. Just imagine that tomorrow you are surrounded by police who are forcibly removing you from somewhere for no reason that you can think of ... will you try pause them for a second, get your personal space and reason with them? Will you say, I am unsure what I have done but please let me leave on my own? Logical reactions!!! However, you who support the student getting tasered did respond this way and you are bagging him for it.

A journalist who asks questions ... my goodness, what will happen next? Pigs fly?

Posted by: Alice | September 20, 2007 9:44 AM

resisting arrest (even if its an unlawful arrest) be asure you're going to get taz'd, pepper'd, beat the hell up w/ a baton, or shot... cops don't know who you are, what you got, and what your capable of

lesson to learn: listen to what the popo's say (avoid getting taz'd) then sue later for taking away your civil rights... $$$$ you think those vids of resisting arrest are going to look good in court.. hahaha

Posted by: Jerry | September 20, 2007 10:54 AM

I think the most telling part of this story is in people's reactions. On one hand, I relate to the anger felt at the police when seeing this kid begging not to be tased and the police doing it anyway. Yet even in this case, it's worth asking where inside us this anger is coming from.

On the other side it becomes even more telling. It's one thing if people calmly backed the police while claiming this is an unfortunate incident. But some people are downright applauding the fact that Meyer was tased, explaining their glee with statements like "he deserved it" or "he got what he had coming". I would expect such statements from teenagers, but these are grown adults literally joyful and vengeful over a college "prankster" being treated with violence.

Where does such a response come from? That's what I look at in my post at Emotional Responses to the Andrew Meyer & John Kerry Incident. I think this country has a lot of growing up to do around issues of power, authority and healthy expression of anger.

Posted by: Howard | September 20, 2007 12:55 PM

This kid got what was coming to him. He's known around campus as being a smarta___ and he was just up there to make a scene. I remember when the new Harry Potter book cam out earlier this year, he was standing in the busiest intersection in town hold a huge sign that read "HARRY DIES!" Maybe after this little incident, he'll grow up.

Posted by: Crystal | September 20, 2007 1:13 PM

Eh, if someone sat in the town square (if such a thing exists anymore) shouting at the top of his lungs he'd eventually be removed. Frankly his right to 'free speech' would not have been restricted if he'd conformed to the set rules of the venue. It wasn't the content of the questions people, it was the way he delivered him. Journalists 'dont' get away with pushing other journalists out of the way and shouting questions at the president, nor should they. But they should be allowed to ask their questions.
Someone asked it before, Ill ask it again, what about the person he shoved out of the way (supposedly, I have no video proof of it so it may as well not have happened)? What about their rights to speech?
You divide into a weird downward spiral if you tout the freedom of speech here, since by that logic, the entire auditorioum could have been shouting questions at him... and it woulda been useless.
Another paraphrase- the freedom of speech does not imply that Mr Kerry or the School had to provide the forum for him.

Posted by: Kenk | September 20, 2007 4:12 PM

Kenk - pushing someone out of the way is not worth tasering someone for!!!

The police apparently had an agenda when they got there!!!

Stop justifying this!

How scary to be an American right now! Look out ... step out of line and here comes a taser!

Posted by: Hamish | September 20, 2007 5:53 PM

In the course of reading the litany of responses, I was overwhelmed by the following fact. The student's intention was clearly to disrupt the exchange of ideas. He was not interested in conversation; he was interested in bullying the speaker. His behavior during the whole course of the event is clearly an indication of this. In no way do I condone the use of excessive force. However it bears noting that any such event where a politician or speaker comes to share their ideas with the public, it is simply never acceptable to be purposefully disrespectful. To do so debases the credibility of the questioner.
As for the individuals who cite this an another example of the fact that the U.S. has degraded into a police state need to reexamine what they think they know of world history. Any individual who chooses to resist arrest by an person charged with maintaining order is opening themselves up the use of force. To resist arrest and then cry brutality when force is applied is a hypocrite.

Posted by: Joel | September 20, 2007 7:19 PM

Absolutely fire the President of that University! why would the 1st Police Man drew a real firearm in the first place?
And we taped this, and we allowed this?

Posted by: Anonymous | September 20, 2007 7:21 PM

For sure terminate the squad commander of those officers, who and why? would an officer draw a real firearm on this event? and it was done? watch the video properly.
And we allow this!!! and we video taped this!!! a nation of COWARDS.

Posted by: ManuelMestrada@AOL.com | September 20, 2007 7:24 PM

For sure terminate the squad commander of those officers, who and why? would an officer draw a real firearm on this event? and it was done? watch the video properly.
And we allow this!!! and we video taped this!!! a nation of COWARDS.

Posted by: ManuelMestrada@AOL.com | September 20, 2007 8:36 PM

Tom Paine, your comments made me laugh and shake my head. What goes around, comes around. And one day, if you ever have your rights violated like this young man, I hope you remember how you defended the government. What this man did was a nuisance, but it nowhere near deserved this. What's next in our society? Shall we start tasering and revoking rights from citizens because they're disturbing the peace? What's next, we start taking away rights from people we don't like? The Holocaust wasn't so far from that.

People, enough is enough!

Posted by: Sarah | September 20, 2007 9:41 PM

Quote from C. Robert Biondino Law Firm - "http://www.beat-the-da.com/PracticeAreas/Top-5-Things-to-Do-if.asp"

"Ask why you are being arrested. You have the right to know the charges for which you are being arrested. Make law enforcement explain, without surrendering your right to remain silent...simply say "Why am I being arrested."?

...

He asked. He didn't get a response. It seems that his right was violated. =/

Posted by: Jon_901 | September 20, 2007 11:59 PM

How could the police possibly answer why he was being arrested??? They had no real answer ... he was being a nuisance.

If people did not stand up and make a nuisance every now and again we would keep no one accountable.

Think about how Black Rights came about. Think about how Women's Rights came about. People caused a nuisance for others ... imagine if they had just been tasered and it was swept under the rug.

Has no one noticed that his questions still have not been addressed? This is probably the real reason for his quick silencing.

People ask the hard questions to delve deeper. What did you want him to ask Kerry? What his favourite food is? Probably a safer option.

Posted by: Sam | September 21, 2007 5:19 AM

None of the four comments noted above in ANY way justices tasering a student for wearing a blue shirt at a university-sponsored event. I have worked in a university environment for over 30 years, from Harvard to, now, the University of Central Florida (not to be confused with the University of Florida, where the tasering in question took place). I can safely say there is never a speech or a forum where somebody doesn't wear a blue shirt or hog the microphone in a blue shirt or annoy others in the audience by wearing a blue shirt. I can also safely say that I have never witnessed six police officers drag one student out of such an event and taser the student in order to "subdue" him or her. When we do get to such a point, we really are living in a police state, as I have feared for some time.

Posted by: Blue Shirt | September 21, 2007 11:30 AM

To Joel, who stated that: "As for the individuals who cite this an another example of the fact that the U.S. has degraded into a police state need to reexamine what they think they know of world history."

Just FYI, I am a Master's candidate in European history of the 20th century, currently working on my thesis, which discusses the Weimar Republic in Germany. I do not throw the term "police state" around lightly.

Posted by: Dolores Hajra | September 21, 2007 1:33 PM

To Blue Shirt,

Please don't use my words, without citing me. This post from 11:30AM today is obviously mine verbatim (first post in the blog)with the words "blue shirt" inserted several times. I'm not sure I get your point, but please cite me when you quote me. Thanks.

Posted by: Dolores Hajra | September 21, 2007 2:09 PM

I commend the police for keeping cool with this kid. The force could have been greater.
What upsets me most is that police are left with the task of having to teach these kids how to act in public. Shouldn't this be the job of our educators. They make the big money and yet some kids today act like they come from a third world society. I am extremely upset with the college professors that condone this behavior. We can't blame the kids if this conduct is what they are teaching in our schools. The problem needs corrected and this correction should start with our teachers.

Posted by: Civilized thinker | September 21, 2007 3:06 PM

These actions were indefensible. Tasered for asking a tough question? Anyone who thinks the student deserved this is a brainless stooge.

Posted by: Wake up | September 21, 2007 4:22 PM

Just goes to show how brainwashed some people are. If that had been you asking a question and being tasered for no reason, pretty sure you would resist to. Pretty sad that some people thinks its a justifible response to someone asking a question they don't like. AND oh yeah SHAME ON YOU JOHN KERRY! What a scumbag you totally could have helped. Police state needs to be stopped.

Posted by: Genna | September 21, 2007 8:27 PM

Filthy cops. They all should be fired and presecuted. The kid may be a PIA, but he did nothing to warrant being treated that way by the "police". Kerry was attempting to answer his questions.

One commenter here wrote "the people running the forum had to do something." I do not see in any of the videos that "the people running the forum" did something, I see the police going crazy.

I am a victim of unprovoked police brutality myself. If you haven't been, yet, watch your back, and your front.

Posted by: Legal Taxpaying Citizen | September 22, 2007 12:08 AM

I concur, Kerry was pathetic in this situation. Well done to the brave student. His comments reached the headlines even though we already know Iraq is in a bloody horrible mess.

Posted by: bob | September 22, 2007 2:52 AM

Joel said: "As for the individuals who cite this an another example of the fact that the U.S. has degraded into a police state need to reexamine what they think they know of world history. Any individual who chooses to resist arrest by an person charged with maintaining order is opening themselves up the use of force. To resist arrest and then cry brutality when force is applied is a hypocrite."

Excellent point my man.

This is so ironic!

Most people writing here obviously have sophomoric knowledge, at best, of civics, police procedure, and history. And yet they keep pretending to know it all. They don't realize that if you really want the rule of law, you've got to look carefully at each situation, not leap to stupid conclusions. ("His free speech is being violated! He was tased because the cops didn't like what he was saying!" What a steaming pile of bullcrap.)

If you are the type that just leaps to conclusions about how evil the police are, or how this proves the United States is fascist, or if you're the sort who uses this sort of incident to posture and to advance your daft political views, then let me tell you something buddy. You are the ones moving this country, and the whole world, toward fascism. Europe is even worse you know, it's very scary. Fascism needs and feeds off of that sort of mindless groupthink. If you want to oppose fascism, grow up and think more carefully, college boy, and oppose every kind of groupthink. The left, which loves this incident because it gives them such a great opportunity for posturing, are the current specialists in lockstep groupthink. They will take every opportunity to lie and distort and whip people into a frenzy. Its their modus operandi. Just keep that in mind when you read all the stupidities here and elsewhere.

Posted by: Tom Paine | September 22, 2007 12:28 PM

"Tom Paine, your comments made me laugh and shake my head. What goes around, comes around. And one day, if you ever have your rights violated like this young man, I hope you remember how you defended the government. What this man did was a nuisance, but it nowhere near deserved this. What's next in our society? Shall we start tasering and revoking rights from citizens because they're disturbing the peace? What's next, we start taking away rights from people we don't like? The Holocaust wasn't so far from that."

Why Sarah. If I didn't have absolute faith that you were a peace-loving, gentle soul, I might think you actually -wanted- me to be punished by the government for my views.

Sarah. I am a bigger enemy of the government and injustice than you could ever dream of being. I just don't have your simplistic, posturing, self-serving story of why the police did what they did.

Posted by: Tom Paine | September 22, 2007 1:04 PM

Why isn't there any mention of the book here, Greg Palast's Armed Madhouse?

Posted by: Dave Bell | September 22, 2007 9:46 PM

Does anyone know what Kerry's responses to the kid's questions would have been?

It's a good thing we're staging a "war" for the alleged sake of "freedom and democracy" in another country, while here in the US censorship is the up and coming trend. What pathetic irony.

Posted by: Iggles02@aol.com | September 22, 2007 10:20 PM

I just thought I would add another perspective to the mess...

If you go to finance.yahoo.com and enter the ticker for exxon mobil (XOM), they advertise this very video... check a few other companies, and youll see they are the only ones...

This is just another example of the corruption we live in.

Posted by: read between the lines! | September 23, 2007 1:47 AM

Last night at dinner, the waitress dropped her tray and our dinners on it, many people in the restaurant applauded. Should I take it to mean that they were HAPPY that the waitress dropped our dinners? That they disliked me and were glad my dinner was on the floor? That they believed that the waitress should throw EVERYONES dinners on the floor? Could it just be that people never lose that childish stupidity to applaud when someone screws up or gets in trouble, or laugh when someone is injured? That some in the audience applauded doesn't mean they approve of violence as much as they are childish and think it was humorous that Andrew was getting into trouble.

Posted by: Daiseyland | September 23, 2007 6:02 PM

Hey, where's that human rights crew Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton doing a million man march for rights?

Oh wait, those clowns are RACISTS masquerading as crusaders. You better believe the nonsense we'd be hearing on the news had that been a BLACK student.

Where are you, Jesse Jackson?

Posted by: GeorgeBushSux | September 23, 2007 8:57 PM

They are all traitors! Have you seen this?
Why are these people still in office?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wBUkxvfL_eE&eurl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww%2E911blogger%2Ecom%2Fnode%2F11503

Posted by: Anonymous | September 24, 2007 1:59 PM

CFR / NAU & 2008 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES


"The Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) is the American Branch of a society which originated in England and believes national boundaries should be obliterated and one-world rule established." -Carroll Quigley, member of CFR, mentor to Bill Clinton


"The main purpose of the Council on Foreign Relation is promoting the disarmament of U.S. sovereignty and national independence and submergence into an all powerful, one world government." "...the very substantial research facilities of the CFR are put to work to develop arguments, intellectual and emotional, to support the new policy..." "...and to confound and discredit, intellectually and politically, any opposition." -Admiral Chester Ward, former CFR member and Judge Advocate General of the U.S. Navy

Who is a CFR / NAU member?

Which Presidential Candidates are for One-World Government?


Republican Fred Thompson

Republican Rudy Giuliani

Republican Mitt Romney

Republican John McCain

Republican Jim Gilmore

Republican Newt Gingrich

Democrat Hilary Clinton

Democrat Barack Obama

Democrat John Edwards

Democrat Joe Biden

Democrat Chris Dodd

Democrat Bill Richardson


Is there any difference between Republican and Democrat when they have the same goal?


Go to www.cfr.org (Council of Foreign Relations Website). Do a search for: Sovereignty and Globalisation. Take a look at CFR President Richard N. Haass' article "Sovereignty and Globalisation. Check the membership and involvement of all the candidates. See For Yourself!


So called free trade deals and world governmental organizations are a threat to our independence as a nation.

We MUST withdraw from any organization and trade deal that infringes upon the Freedom and Independence of the United States of America!


It's not politics as usual. Research and Vote Wisely. Too Much Is At Stake....

Posted by: Anonymous | September 24, 2007 2:07 PM

So was Kerry actually in Skull & Bones or what?

Posted by: rk | September 25, 2007 9:37 AM

What a horrible and slanted article on this event. First of all, the author's four bullet points to "consider" before viewing the video, serve no purpose than to influence the viewer to the conclusion that the police acted justly, which they did not.
Did it ever occur to the author that the students were applauding for the opposite reason than suggested? Perhaps they were applauding Mr. Myers' straight forward and risky questioning. I'm sure young, politically motivated, students can handle the slight disruption, and as one myself, I know that nothing pisses me off more than seeing fair questions sanitized, and dissenting views silenced by police force.

One last question for you Ed. is there a problem in such situations for people such as Mr. Myers to ask tough questions?

everything that happened in response to his questions was abhorrent and wrong and it's difficult to imagine on what grounds Mr. Myers was initially to be detained. Sure, he was resisting arrest, but are we to assume that his heated questioning constitutes a public disturbance? Certainly not, for that to be true it would have to be displayed that his questions truly disrupted the lives others in a public setting. The arrest was so wrong in the first place... he simply should have been allowed to finish his question and Kerry should have been allowed to deal with the situation as all good politicians do.

Posted by: vellvoot | September 25, 2007 12:06 PM

A 2,000 word article, Seven CIA Veterans Challenge 9/11 Commission Report

Official Account of 9/11 a "Joke" and a "Cover-up", appeared today on OpEdNews.

The article details severe criticism of the 9/11 Commission Report by seven CIA veterans and their calls for a new investigation. A brief quote from each of the individuals featured in the article appears below.

Please help disseminate this critically important information.

Raymond McGovern, former Chairman of the National Intelligence Council and 27-year CIA veteran, "I think at simplest terms, there's a cover-up. The 9/11 Report is a joke."

William Christison, former National Intelligence Officer (NIO) and former Director of the CIA's Office of Regional and Political, and 29-year CIA veteran, "We very seriously need an entirely new very high level and truly independent investigation of the events of 9/11. I think you almost have to look at the 9/11 Commission Report as a joke and not a serious piece of analysis at all."

Melvin Goodman, PhD, former Division Chief of the CIA's Office of Soviet Affairs and Senior Analyst from 1966 - 1990, "The final report is ultimately a coverup. I don't know how else to describe it."

Robert Baer, 21-year CIA veteran and specialist in the Middle East, who was awarded the Career Intelligence Medal upon his retirement in 1997, "Until we get a complete, honest, transparent investigation ..., we will never know what happened on 9/11."

Robert David Steele has 25 years of combined service in the CIA and the U.S. Marine Corps. Second ranking civilian in U.S. Marine Corps Intelligence from 1988 - 1992. Member of the Adjunct Faculty of Marine Corps University. "I am forced to conclude that 9/11 was at a minimum allowed to happen as a pretext for war. ... I have to tell anyone who cares to read this: I believe it. I believe it enough to want a full investigation that passes the smell test of the 9/11 families as well as objective outside observers."

Lynne Larkin, former CIA Operations Officer who served in several CIA foreign stations before being assigned to the CIA's Counter-Intelligence Center. There, she co-chaired a multi-agency task force, which coordinated intelligence efforts among the many intelligence and law enforcement agencies. One of twenty-five signers of a letter to Congress expressing their concerns about "serious shortcomings," "omissions," and "major flaws" in the 9/11 Commission Report and offering their services for a new investigation.

David MacMichael, PhD, former Senior Estimates Officer at the CIA with special responsibility for Western Hemisphere Affairs at the CIA's National Intelligence Council. Prior to joining the CIA, he served for four years as a civilian counter-insurgency advisor to the U.S. government, and prior to that was a U.S. Marine Corps officer for ten years. One of twenty-five signers of a letter to Congress expressing their concerns about "serious shortcomings," "omissions," and "major flaws" in the 9/11 Commission Report and offering their services for a new investigation.

--------------------

Travel restrictions on there way unless we do something about it.

This is unreal! Now is the time for us to coalesce with groups and people far and wide. We need to become a major voice.

A hearing is set for tomorrow on a proposed rule that in effect says that you will not be able to fly on commercial flights without first getting government permission.

"If you can, please attend the TSA hearings on Thursday (Grand Hyatt Washington, 1000 H Street, N.W. beginning at 8:00am). If you can´t attend in person, you have until October 22, 2007 to submit written comments through the Docket Management System . The docket number is TSA-2007-28572."

Here is the notice of the hearing which explains the proposed rule:
http://www.dailykos.com:80/storyonly/2007/9/17/9846/64393

And here is an article that gives background on this odious proposal:
http://dmses.dot.gov/docimages/p102/484384.pdf

The Nightmare of DHS´s *Secure Flight*
by Blue Patriot Woman
Mon Sep 17, 2007 at 10:34:23 AM PDT
Buried in the September 5 issue of the Federal Register, was a notice that this Thursday, September 20, the Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) will hold public hearings on their ¨Secure Flight Plan.¨
Come with me into a nightmare world where American citizens will have to obtain permission from the government before they can travel by air in the U.S.

Your government (meaning the Department of Homeland Security) is up to no good.

Beginning in February 2008, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will implement their ¨Advance Passenger Information System (APIS),¨ the gist of which is that you will need permission from the United States Government to travel on any air or sea vessel that goes to, from or through the U.S. The travel companies will not be able to issue a boarding pass until you are cleared by DHS. This applies to ALL passengers, US citizens and visitors alike. And how do you get said permission to travel? That´s for your government to know and you to never find out.

Now TSA proposes to do for domestic travel what APIS will do for international routes. That´s what I said: the new TSA rule would require that you obtain PERMISSION to travel within the U.S.

Here is the summary of their proposed rules, which seem so reasonable, couched as they are in the blandness of governmenteez [emphasis added].
The Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act (IRTPA) requires the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to assume from aircraft operators the function of conducting pre-flight comparisons of airline passenger information to Federal Government watch lists for international and domestic flights.
This rule proposes to allow TSA to ... receive passenger and certain non-traveler information, conduct watch list matching ... and transmit boarding pass printing instructions back to aircraft operators.
TSA would do so in a consistent and accurate manner while minimizing false matches and protecting privacy information.
Right. And I have a bridge in Brooklyn...
We propose that, when the Secure Flight rule becomes final, aircraft operators would submit passenger information to DHS through a single DHS portal for both the Secure Flight and APIS programs. This would [result] in one DHS system responsible for watch list matching for all aviation passengers.
Don´t you feel great knowing that your government will use economies of scale to protect you?
Edward Hasbrough states that these rules are more insidious than merely complying to demands for ¨Your papers please.¨ He states, The proposal ... require[s] that travellers display their government-issued credentials not to government agents but to airline personnel (staff or contractors), whenever the DHS orders the airline to demand them. But since the orders to demand ID of [certain passengers] will be given to the airline in secret, ... travellers will have no way to verify whether ... demands for ID are actually based on government orders.
Think about that: you will not be allowed to verify if the person demanding your papers is actually authorized to do so. In addition, the airlines or their contractors (or sub or even sub sub contractors) have the right, under the proposed rules, to do anything they like with your personal information including:
keep copies of your passport ... as long as they like, use it, publish it, broadcast it, sell it, rent it, or pass it on to whomever they please.... [T]hey would have no obligation to get your permission for any of this.
Aside from the privacy issue, this is the DHS. Their past performance is an indication of future returns and we can look forward to true travel nightmares beginning February 19, 2008. Just think about the mess that occurred when CBP demanded that travelers to Canada and Mexico have a passport. Multiply that by orders of magnitude to imagine what travelers will be facing.

If you can, please attend the TSA hearings on Thursday (Grand Hyatt Washington, 1000 H Street, N.W. beginning at 8:00am). If you can´t attend in person, you have until October 22, 2007 to submit written comments through the Docket Management System . The docket number is TSA-2007-28572.

The Identity Project at Papers Please is working to prevent your government from robbing you of your right to privacy in your movements.

--------------------

The fact that 7 former CIA agents have come out and questioned the official story of 9/11 is a big deal and everyone needs to know. Likewise when TSA and DHS decide that we need their permission to travel in this country we know it's time to act. Please tell them they are violating your Constitutional rights.


Posted by: Anonymous | September 25, 2007 3:44 PM

I think we oftentimes forget that being a jerk is not against the law. Maybe this guy has some sort of Dada-ist philosophy of cultural/political rejection. Maybe he's just a self-aggrandizing fool. In any event, if it's a private insitution, ban him from your facility. If it's a university, deal with him through the judicial/honor system of the school and set an example of what academic behavior should be like. But in no case whatsoever should law enforcement intervene in what is essentially some jerk acting like a jerk. I thank God that our laws protect my ability to act that way because if it didn't, I might get arrested for arguing with the gas station guy about him not giving me the right change, or yelling out my window at the guy who cut me off in traffic. You might not like me for what I'm saying, or the tone I take, but what if I'm right...? And what if I'm right about something important like politics or war? Then maybe the laws that protect me should protect everyone, even the jerk at the university event with a Senator.

Posted by: American | September 25, 2007 3:45 PM

statements made on this page range from omg how could thay to way to go.
my take is this..
yeah we live in a proto -facist state, we teater on hte edge. however, we have not been the "land of the free" for a long time, and i do not just mean since bush#2 b/c prez.
it sucks, and i might panic too, BUT if a cop is arresting you butt do what the heck they say, this kid had multible vidio that, if he had gone calmly he could have used to show how unfair it was and being censsored.
i watched multible versions of the event and do feel that the audiance was clapping at his leaving, the timeing is what i base this opinion on, though it would be great if the univ could find out the facts on this( i know it will not happen.. but..)
the woman screaming is, i believe from latter commens made on film his girlfriend,

and to be honest i would have been more inclined to side with the kid
IF
he did not make multible staements about the police killing him. and yeah he realy does... there is footage where they are taking him downstairs to the lobby.

they explain what thay are doing and why and he makes many parianod comments.

oh and i will not be coming back to this site and as such any flammers feel free to go off.. i have said my peace..
oh and just fyi
im liberal,own a gun, gay and dyslexic so if u think im conservitive..lol.. and if u crab about my spelling .. well.. Lmao

Posted by: segir | September 26, 2007 6:46 PM

I believe that the audience was applauding the fact that Andrew was able to make pointed questions which the mainstream media fails to make.. People are getting fed up with corporate media as well as the politicians who are generally far to the right on most issues (healthcare, foreign affairs, outsourcing etc..) compared to the general public and i think that is one of the reasons this story has become a big issue. Thanks to the internet people are able to pick up on these stories that the media would normally just make fluff pieces out of without being held accountable. Corporate media is losing their grasp on its viewers (almost everyone) and people are becoming more active..

p.s.:911 conspiracy theories are a distractive force, lets focus on real issues. What a joke just gives more ammo for mainstream media to disregard dissident thought as mere conspiracy therories when obvious truths with a lot of supporting evidence are pointed out (such as bush's preferential treatment during the vietnam war, the stolen elections in 2000, or the fact that corperate media restricts reporters in what they report and how they frame issues etc..). One day we will have a functioning democracy, peace

Posted by: Internet spurs debate | September 27, 2007 1:52 PM

Our country has supported over two centuries of political debates in public forums. In all these events, there was most likely, without a doubt, some very stirring and controversial questions being asked. This has been a foundation of our right to free speech. I would expect such an event to take place in a more socialist society, but to see our police overreact and create the hysteria, when left alone would have gone unnoticed. This is just another display of police abusing their authority because they feel above the law.
These police officers just opened the government to a "very possible" hefty law suit that will cost the american tax payers money, because of their stupidity and bad judgement. Another Sad day for America

Posted by: George | September 28, 2007 12:18 AM

Tempo36, you sir are an idiot:

"That said, once an arrest is beginning even the ACLU will tell you...never resist arrest. If you do, the resistance becomes the problem, not the initial infraction. Once you start fighting the police or resisting arrest the situation is only going to escalate. "


I agree with the part about not resisting arrest. Too bad that comment has NO bearing on this conversation.

When, at any point, did he break any law? Sure, he may have been rude. However, the police had no right to touch him. The organizers of the lecture/event should have cut his mic and said please sit down.

They should have tried to just talk to him calmy and say "you asked him your question, let him answer or we will ask you to leave".

None of this happened. Instead, watch the video. Kerry's staff gave the order for the police to move in and arrest the guy. Unfortunately, there was NO REASON for the arrest.

They tried some BS charge on him "disrupting a public event". However, they failed to realize that questions were allowed, and all he did was pose a question in an animated fashion. He broke no law, yet the police tried to arrest him unconstitutionally.

I really hope that he sues the police and Kerry. I hope that this serves notice that free speech is a right and that you can't just censor people like that because you don't like what they have to say.

Posted by: Matt | October 3, 2007 12:32 AM

This is an example of the acclimation process in preperation of loss of libertys. Soon we will be tasered for anything. Where if immediate submission is not experienced by the police they are in thier rights to torture you. He actually broke no laws and police should not of been there, he is young and passionate, these kind of debates always have someone who is a little out of line its normal, and almost expected.

Posted by: Daren | October 3, 2007 2:18 PM

As a university student I am disgusted and appalled at this brutal and unnecessary show of violence. The police had no right to arrest this student in the first place. Asking pointed (if annoying) questions at a public forum does not account for disturbing the peace.

It makes me sick that such a flagrant violation of free speech (not to mention police brutality) can occur on a college campus in this country in front of a room full of intelligent people.

Posted by: felicity | October 9, 2007 10:40 PM

All talk about the messenger -- Kerry rolled over in the 2004 election because he was a Skull & Bones brother of W. and the election was rigged --- lets discuss this not the tazering issue. Any one got proof that the above statement is not true -- PS , you can't disprov it by saying it's crazy, or that you can't believe it.. proof and facts about the questions asked by Andy that are even today not answered by Kerry?? And Andy was not asking a Pro-Bush question.

Posted by: Rick S | October 13, 2007 1:55 AM

The actions of the police were not a violation of free speech. Granted, the use of a tazer was questionable, but let's honestly take a look at the context of the whole thing. Kerry was there to deliver a speech on foreign policy, not his personal background. Further, it seems to me that Mr. Meyer didn't pay close enough attention to the 2004 election--Kerry lost, he is not the President. What is the logic behind berating him about his "Skull & Bones" connections? I think the police had every reason to get him away from the microphone. Yes, freedom of speech is a right of all Americans, however it is still circumstantial, we cannot exercise free speech in any way we see fit. What Mr. Meyer did was intrude upon a civil discussion between a politician and a group of students and from the videos, it appears as if the police politely and respectfully tried to get him to stop. What would you think if Mr. Meyer displayed the same behavior at a speech given by a peace activist, or an elementary school teacher? I'm assuming you would find it uncalled for, so why then is it ok to treat Senator Kerry that way?

On the note of the tazer, I won't even get into that issue. All I'm saying is if Mr. Meyer didn't want any trouble, he shouldn't have asked for it. I don't think we should be afraid to stand up for what we believe, quite the contrary, but there is a time and place to pick your battles and to attempt to prove your might at a Senator's speech about foreign policy by reprimanding nothing more than a conspiracy regarding his personal life is certainly not the time nor place.

Posted by: Alex | October 29, 2007 1:14 AM

Just to clarify one thing in my previous post, when I said the police politely and respectfully tried to get Mr. Meyer away from the microphone, I meant at FIRST. After watching the video once or twice, it seems that when the police felt his comments were pushing the limits, they clearly signalled it was time for him to stop. When he refused, even though they put their hands on him, it does not appear as if they harmed him. From my viewing, it seems like the police only used harmful force after Mr. Meyer was putting up strong resistance. I have not decided how I feel from that point on, but I wanted to clear up my last post.

Posted by: Alex | October 29, 2007 1:21 AM

Wake up America, Americans died for our freedoms, don't let their deaths be in vain,
Don't let history repeat itself.

silent freedom, is freedom silenced

Posted by: Jim | November 1, 2007 4:28 PM

To those who have argued that this is not a matter of free speech, nor a violation of our constitutional and supposedly unalienable rights from one of the youth of this country (and world) know that your children are coming of age in a daunting and terrifying world. Terrifying not because of foreign powers but because our own government is not for us or by us. Terrifying because our government spreads terror and we don't know when it will come back around to serve us our very own dish of American karma and we feel powerless because we don't know how to speak to our elders and peers asking, begging for ideas and solutions on how to make ourselves heard and how to fix our homelands government. We are no no longer the citizens of a democratic republic. We live under eerily fascist-like rulers, stuck in our permanent military economy, and it is petrifying BEYOND WORDS.

To those who will say I am a radical and that I am crazy I'm sorry that we have come to a point where discussion spews hate before compassion. It is truly disempowering. I hope that you may be shown the openmindedness and recognition of your fellow humanity that you have not yet been able to extend to others.

Above all, I want our descendents, yours and mine alike, to live in as beautiful a world as we have, as free a world as we would like to and believe in the hope that Justice and Life will continue to be values we hold close.

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Posted by: MypeBaryFrasp | December 8, 2007 11:21 AM

Kerry,
Why don't you answer the question?
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Posted by: oz | December 12, 2007 12:58 AM

I have but one question. If he was under arrest then why, even when I put the volume up on any video of the tazering, have I never once heared the police read him his meranda (might be misspelled) rights? and never said what he was under arrest for. but even if they did the fact remains that if 6 officers are incapable of removing one student without resorting to violence then those officers are clearly unfit for duty. and in addition the student was already subdued. He was on the ground being held down by multiple officers. If you can't put handcuffs on a person pinned to the floor then you are truely pathetic.

Posted by: AD | December 16, 2007 3:33 AM

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Posted by: MypeBaryFrasp | December 17, 2007 12:18 PM

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Posted by: MypeBaryFrasp | December 17, 2007 12:37 PM

I'd prefer reading in my native language, because my knowledge of your languange is no so well. But it was interesting! Look for some my links:

Posted by: MypeBaryFrasp | December 17, 2007 3:08 PM

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Posted by: MypeBaryFrasp | December 17, 2007 4:58 PM

John Kerry was so prepared to taser anyone who remotely could make him look bad!

Posted by: Vote for Kerry so we can get taserd more haha | December 19, 2007 2:05 PM

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Posted by: MypeBaryFrasp | December 19, 2007 8:57 PM

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Posted by: MypeBaryFrasp | December 20, 2007 8:43 PM

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Posted by: MypeBaryFrasp | December 20, 2007 10:19 PM

What I find strange about this whole fiasco is that Kerry NEVER answered the question. It seems that he took advantage of what happened as an opportunity to avoid answering the questions. I understand that he might have had to leave, but he was on CNN very shortly after... He has NEVER answered these questions, and I am surprised that the public eye is not more concerned about that factor. Let's do a recap of events here... a guy asked a few controversial questions to Kerry, then was arrested for asking these questions, then tasered, then after all of that the question was never answered. Justice? I think not.

Posted by: Matt | December 21, 2007 12:52 AM

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Posted by: MypeBaryFrasp | December 21, 2007 1:52 AM

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Posted by: MypeBaryFrasp | December 22, 2007 5:57 AM

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Posted by: MypeBaryFrasp | January 3, 2008 6:17 PM

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Posted by: MypeBaryFrasp | January 3, 2008 7:57 PM

I'd prefer reading in my native language, because my knowledge of your languange is no so well. But it was interesting! Look for some my links:

Posted by: MypeBaryFrasp | January 3, 2008 9:54 PM

I'd prefer reading in my native language, because my knowledge of your languange is no so well. But it was interesting! Look for some my links:

Posted by: MypeBaryFrasp | January 3, 2008 10:16 PM

I'd prefer reading in my native language, because my knowledge of your languange is no so well. But it was interesting! Look for some my links:

Posted by: MypeBaryFrasp | January 16, 2008 11:00 AM

I'd prefer reading in my native language, because my knowledge of your languange is no so well. But it was interesting! Look for some my links:

Posted by: MypeBaryFrasp | January 16, 2008 2:16 PM

I'd prefer reading in my native language, because my knowledge of your languange is no so well. But it was interesting! Look for some my links:

Posted by: MypeBaryFrasp | January 16, 2008 4:17 PM

Very good article! Thank you, master!

Posted by: debt | August 15, 2008 1:41 PM

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