Student tasered for asking too many questions

Andrew Meyer, 21, apparently stepped out of bounds at a public forum with Senator John Kerry in Gainesville, Florida on Monday. His unwillingness to stop speaking lead him to be overpowered and then tasered.

The video can be viewed here.

While it’s true that Meyer did resist arrest, at the time of the tasing he was being held on the floor by 4 police officers. He had offered to walk out on his own two feet and was told he had no choice. Apparently his unwillingness to stop shouting was the offense that lead to the use of the taser.

Interestingly, Senator John Kerry did not seem to take offense to the question, and droned on in the background, trying to get the audience’s attention to answer the question posed by Mr. Meyer.

Some students grew anxious and told the police officers to stop when the taser was used.

Do you think his actions merited the use of brute force? And if not, why do you think everyone sat back and made no waves? Fear of authority? Fear of being arrested themselves?

The question posed to Kerry that seemed to invigorate the police was this: “Were you a member of skull and bones in college… as Bush. Were you a member of the same secret society?”

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26 thoughts on “Student tasered for asking too many questions

  1. Ugh. Are you sure you want my comments on this? I’d hate to take over your blog. Feel free to edit for length.

    1. Probably could have been handled differently. In my view, tasering was out of line (a arm bar would not have been, however; purity of unarmed combat and all), but I don’t think it’s the sign of the “OMG Amerika Police State!” Cock-up before conspiracy, I say. Sometimes jackasses (students and badged) are just jackasses.

    2. What an annoying blowhard, eh? His questions were so important, he just had to be allowed to speak A. after the last question of the forum was answered, B. after his time was up, C. ask multiple questions and D. be all snarky (You won! Isn’t that great? You can read along with me, in your book! When you hear….bah!). He certainly wasn’t winning any friends.

    3. When the crowd cheers when you are “escorted out”, you’ve lost. Let them carry you out, and walk home. Jeebus, has he never been arrested before? There are rules, you know. Creating a scene is a sure-fire way of having people decide against you, whether your path was correct or not.

    4. I’d say most the audience kept quiet (not all; someone was cheering, others were concerned) because Mr. Meyer wasn’t them. There are great moral reasons for helping your fellow man, but really very few practical ones. Especially if due to point 2, they didn’t care much for him anyway.

    5. I’m all for freedom of speech; like Kirkegaard, however, I’m even a large fan of exercising freedom of thought, and questioning that which is around. Whether that be questioning commonly held beliefs, questioning what’s been read in a book, questioning the rules of public forums, questioning decisions made by police, or questioning the motives of a student.

    -Molo

    PS: Oh, I have the superpower, like Crow T. Robot, to guess the number of turkeys it takes to fill any given volume of space. It comes from eating turkeys. Raw. Meme = Complete!

  2. Jees..
    I think it’s a bit harsh. Getting arrested and tasered for talking to much or asking “inapropriate or wrong” questions. I mean I know the guy resisted arrest but why where they arresting him in the first place? Did he insult John Kerry? And if he did, does that have to leed to arrest. Why doesn’t it lead to shutting down the mic or saying “Now, now mr. Meyer, calm down a bit”…
    And I think the crowd kept quiet because they wern’t expecting it and for fear of getting arrested themselfs.

    Here you go, my humble opnion!

  3. O, and by the way, Kerry didn’t seem to mind. That police women all of a sudden decide to arrest the guy.. Kerry could have chosen not to awnser the qeustion right?

  4. I wonder why they are so touchy about Skull and Bones, etc.? Think perhaps they are feeling the heat and getting a little nervous about Truth and Justice finally standing on their own two feet…

    Here are some pivotal insights into the nature of the Bush/Cheney crew, it’s cohorts, and their long-term deceptions. Keep digging for the truth, much is purposely buried and hidden behind the apparently obvious…

    Why use the number 36, in Thursday the 13th’s speech?

    Want to know the true significance of the number 36 in Bush’s speech? There obviously are not 36 countries fighting in “Babble on.” So why did our Bonesman President use it in his speech Thursday the 13th?

    Discerning the truth about the USA

    Peace…

  5. I think this guy was trying to incite a crowd that had no interest in being incited. He should have just shut his mouth upon realizing he did not thave the support of the crowd. I don’t think the taser was necessary in a 4 on 1 fight but on the other hand you don’t tell the police to get away from you. The most interesting part is how this is being portrayed in the media. CNN and MSNBC headline is “student tasered at Kerry event”. Left leaning sites report “student tasered after asking about Bush impeachment”. I’m not sure the nature of the question had anything to do with the tasering. You would need to hear all of the questions Sen. Kerry was asked before this guy’s to make that determination.

  6. Molo! you did come out of the woodwork; glad to see you. Yes, I really wanted your opinion. Some facts that have come to light since I posted this… A. Apparently the police officers didn’t like the look or the tone of what the kid was saying outside of the forum, so they followed him in and shadowed him, waiting for him to step out of line. B. The comments in this video weren’t complete. He made reference to Clinton’s ‘blowjob’ before continuing on to the other questions when the officers decided to act. And the applause, it’s a little ambiguous because the kid was being taken but Senator Kerry had also just stated that he wanted to answer his questions. So they might have been clapping for the kid getting hauled off, or they might have been clapping for the senator. It’s hard to tell with the crappy little cell phone videos.

    At any rate, I think it’s interesting that public opinion of the kid on the scene factors into whether people reading this story think the kid got what was coming to him.

    Celia- Yes, general opinion seems to hold that he made a critical error when he did not allow himself to be escorted away peacably, however most people agree that the taser was not necessary since he was subdued and overpowered at the time of its use. Likely the police officer who used it did so out of emotion, be that embarrassment or a plain old power trip when Meyer would not be silent.

  7. Well put Molo, Seven Star… go outside sometimes.

    We don’t get to see the lead in to this unfortunately, but the guy was obviously trying to cause an incident. Monopolizing the microphone and so on. He wasn’t being arrested at first, it appears he is simply being escorted away from the microphone. If that was campus security nobody would comment. “Time to shut up now butthole.” But, since there is a former presidential candidate in the room you get secret service. Yay for you!

    Just screaming “WHY ARE YOU ARRESTING ME!!!?!?!?!?!?!” does not make you “under arrest.” He keeps saying that, but they are not reading him his rights or cuffing him, just moving him out of the area. I do that with my kids when they fight with each other, “ok, come on. you are going in the other room now.” I am not arresting them, I am defusing the incident by asking one to play a different game somewhere else.

    So they try to escort him out. He keeps trying to break away from them. More people come, still just moving him towards the door, no cuffs, no beating with a nightstick, no firehose, just STFU and GTFO. Nope. He keeps getting hysterical and resisting. You clearly hear him getting warned once they hold him down, “Stop resisting or we will taser you.” He calms down a bit, and then starts his tantrum up again. You can see him trying to physically break away. Then finally, “No don’t taser me!” and then, ba-da-bing.

    Tasers do get overused right now, but they do their job. It certainly stopped this guy’s tantrum and probably prevented him from getting shot. If he had broken away and rushed the stage, what do you think would happen? The Secret Service do not fuck around.

    I would say that this guy is unbalanced, and probably was unable to control himself. That being the case, tasering is still preferable to the lead consequences if he had been allowed to get worked up to the point of making some kind of move that would have to be interpreted as hostile towards Mr. Kerry. Again, If he had just shut up and let them end his tirade on the microphone, none of this would have happened. He dug his own hole. He had two choices, leave the room and maybe get a Latte and bitch to his hippie friends about oppression by the man, or get tasered and go to jail.

    He chose… poorly.

  8. Slothboy- Hm. The police officers aren’t secret service, you mean secret service was on the stage? Also, I didn’t get the idea the kid was violent, just boorish. He didn’t make a move to rush the stage, he tried to get away from those who were holding him.

    If the student had posed a threat your comments make sense, but I believe action was taken against him for being annoying and spouting unpopular view points in an an antagonistic manner. And that’s a different scenario all together.

  9. I thought I had read in the lead in that the secret service were the ones taking him down. My mistake.

    But again, he was being annoying and was being escorted from the premises. That is clearly, totally acceptable.

    He then started to make a scene and try to break away from the police officers. That is never, ever acceptable. That will get you shot. Especially in the presence of a government dignitary. Again, he wasn’t being arrested. He was screaming about being arrested but that was not the case. Screaming about something doesn’t make it true.

    He gets tasered but prior to that he also never. stops. fighting. Even after a clear, calm, warning.

    I maintain that he pushed the incident to that conclusion.

  10. He wasn’t just being annoying; the man before him was going to ask the last question of the forum, and Mr. Meyer complained. He was then allowed to speak. Ok, that’s fine. That happens at every public event I’ve ever seen; there’s always one more.

    Now, there are 3 types of “questions” asked at these events: Can you clarify blank; But what about blank; and Thanks for the mic, it’s bully pulpit time. That’s fine; this is to be expected.

    However, two things which happened are generally considered against the rules: speaking over your alloted time (it shows disrespect for the audience and for the speaker to whom the question is going to be addressed) and asking more than one question at a time. That shows disrespect for the moderator, the audience and the speaker to whom the questions are going to be addressed.

    It is at this point reasonable to cut the mic and escort the man back to his seat. But, after checking with former security guards I know, the moment a person thrashes around and throws an elbow (didn’t connect in this case) the person is now threatening, and must be subdued.

    So, it’s no so much what Mr. Meyer said, it’s his actions afterwards which placed him in a situation where force was going to be used in subduing him. Unlike Sun-Tzu, he did not know the battlefield, and therefore was unprepared for the consequences of his actions. I still don’t think a taser was the best answer, but if you’ve ever tried to subdue someone who’s resisting, it’s damned difficult. And if he got away and injured someone (a possibility in every situation), then it’s security’s ass in the sling.

    See what I mean about comments, though? Slothboy and Molo just took over. I’ll try to behave from here on in, though.

  11. I can’t watch the vid at work, but I would say (and agree with the above who say) that you should never be tasered for speaking your mind (though you can be escorted out for causeing a scene), but if he threw an elbow, he turned it into a fight.

  12. I am responding to SlothBoys comments. Police cannot shoot at you unless their lives are threatened. So OBVIOUSLY if he ran away, he would have not been shot. maybe tackled but not SHOT. This isnt the “hood” were people get shot for being stupid. there are rules, which sometimes the police forget, and obviously in this case the police were wrong. He was being escorted out, not arrested, and then receive charges for resisting arrest. what arrest? When i was younger i was playing in the snow and threw a snowball at a car, which happened to be seen by a officer. I was an idiot and ran and later got charged with resisting arrest and projecting a missile at an officer (two felonys). Judge dropped everything because the police handled the situation wrong (10 cars, 6 people on feet and 2 dogs) searched for me and the dog attacked me. When i was 16 years old, does this kind of force sound necessary? Yes i was resisting, but does this sound necessary? In meyers case, does tasing sound necessary? he resisted being escorted, yes dumb, like me. but he wasn’t being arrested in the first place and the used unnecessary force. officers should be dismissed with no pay.

  13. Actualy John Kerry asked the police to “calm down” The situation could have easily escalated to where the students would have tried to interfere with the “authorities” and we might have seen another {“Kent State) He actually had some verfy intelligent questions….I think the student body at UF is brainwashed into political correctness.

  14. How can anyone defend what the police did? There were four of them holding him down and they still electro shocked him. He should sue them all. Also, the fact that Kerry did not step in shows he is a pussy and never fought hard enough for the presidency.

  15. While it is true there were 4 officers on Meyer that does not mean that he was totally subdued. At the end of this video it is clear he is actively resisting the officers placing him in handcuffs. An officer is trying to get his left arm into the ‘cuffs and Meyer repeatedly wrestles it back to his side. So what is the greater offense? Breaking Meyer’s arm to get it into the handcuffs or tasering him into submission?

  16. What kind of police state are we living in when a person cannot ask legitimate questions of our elected representatives! If the questions are controversial or unpopular are we to be arrested or jailed? It is sickening to see the spineless, pathetic student body and faculty just sitting there watching and cheering for the thug police officers as they remove Andrew Meyer from the auditorium, clearly violating his first amendment rights. If I had been there, I would have been greatly interested in hearing Mr. Kerry’s response to these “very important questions”. It is sad commentary to see so many young intellectuals without a clue! It is no wonder we have allowed our government officials to lead us into an unending, illegal occupation. Is this what our universities are teaching our youth? These kids make me puke!

  17. Too much, although too much force is probably typical for events where high profile speakers are present. The limits of what is known about this are so painfully clear on a fecking camera phone though…

  18. OK…finally got to see the video. As stated above, the video doesn’t show the whole incident, but based soley on the video, I’d like to change my answer.

    Simply posing a question, even a snarky one, whould not get you escorted (which is what they were trying to do…not arrest, but escort) out of an event. And while it is usually not a good idea to fight with police, one can not just sit while one’s rights are clearly being violated.

    So…

    Was the protestor being an ass? Probably.

    Should he have been escorted out? Not based on this footage.

    Was he right to start screaming “help me! Help me!” and fight back? Yes.

    And honestly, the taser did seem almost to be used as a punishment in this case, and not as a legit means of subduing him. But that’s a call I’ll never have to make…whether to use a taser or not. I’m not trained, I don’t know the criteria.

  19. As you all have likely heard by now, the student has a record of causing scenes and had apparently given his video camera to a friend to record the take down, which was exactly what he wanted to happen. He got his wish…including the tazering, which put him on national TV. Mission accomplished. What a yay-hoo.

  20. Celia- Yes, he released a statement about it. I’m trying to find the transcript. Kerry has had a lot of criticism and a little praise for how he handled it. Many people who saw how kind of non-starter he was in the crisis are feeling sort of glad he didn’t become president.

    I donno what’s worse though, someone who doesn’t react with force or someone who overreacts all over the place and pushes his will through, like our current president.

    mannabozo- See, I kinda can’t see wishing injury on anyone in the situation. If the indignance comes out of them showing brute force to someone who was trying to speak, wishing injury on someone you don’t even know doesn’t seem like a reasonable response.

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