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Tasered Open Mic Veterans for Truth
September 17, 2007 5:40 PM   Subscribe

Tasers are the new black. University of Florida student gets tasered while police try to restrain him for "disrupting a public event" at an open mic when he brazenly began dogging John Kerry about the state of the 2004 election, Bush's potential impeachment, and Kerry's affiliation with the Skull & Bones Society. Video of the incident here and here. Echoes from this incident a little less than year ago.
posted by Mach3avelli (476 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
And people say Kerry isn't an electrifying speaker...
posted by Poolio at 5:43 PM on September 17, 2007 [3 favorites]


This is pretty typical of modern law enforcement. They are unable to maintain order because they have no respect for the citizens they're supposedly sworn to protect. They barely see civilians as humans, which is why they will use a lethal weapon such as a taser on a fellow human being not to protect themselves or the public, but to force compliance via pain, because it's more convenient than doing their job.

Fuck cops. You can point to the "good ones" all you like, but until the day comes that they stand behind the public against the "bad apples" that mysteriously happen to infect law enforcement more and more, then in my eyes - in any real patriot's eyes - they're all bad cops.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 5:54 PM on September 17, 2007 [56 favorites]


The thing to remember is that tasers are supposedly an alternative to deadly force. Any cop who uses a taser in order to enforce compliance should be fired and given a jail term at the very least.
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:01 PM on September 17, 2007 [5 favorites]


He was asking a freaking question. Sure, he was irate, but since when is it illegal to be irate?

Bastards.
posted by Devils Rancher at 6:04 PM on September 17, 2007


Fuck cops.

YEAH MAN FUCK DA PO-LICE

:420:
posted by Mikey-San at 6:08 PM on September 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


The word "taser" just sends me into a bona-fide shit-fit now. Why can't people use a potentially brutality-reducing device in the intended manner? It seems like the only uses for pepper spray, rubber bullets, and tasers are fucking up protestors and silencing dissent.
posted by tehloki at 6:11 PM on September 17, 2007 [6 favorites]


Personally, I think Kerry was an absolute pussy for not trying to put a stop to it. He's definitely no Clinton.
posted by Mach3avelli at 6:14 PM on September 17, 2007 [13 favorites]


i saw this on television. despicable. wtf is wrong with cops these days? is dissent not allowed?
posted by brandz at 6:15 PM on September 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


Ah, sweet, sweet power, how we love you. We don't have to reason with or even listen to someone else. With a flick of finger, we can make them feel pain and in feeling the pain, remind them of the righteous of our line of thought.

Hurry up, oh beautiful neural implants, there are so many loose and broken cogs, so many people we have to fix.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:17 PM on September 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


Was this story posted here already?
posted by puke & cry at 6:18 PM on September 17, 2007


OK, these cops are real bastards and all, and what they did was terribly, terribly wrong -- but there's something about the sound of the overly privileged as they squeal in outrage, pain and surprise that makes me feel all warm inside.

After all, if it was just the poor and the powerless who got tasered, there'd never be *any* limits on police powers.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 6:19 PM on September 17, 2007 [9 favorites]


Herc and Carver from The Wire changed my view of cops forever.
posted by T.D. Strange at 6:22 PM on September 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


I am totally against the overzealous use of tasers, but christ, what an asshole. Whenever speakers field questions there is always 'that guy' who makes a total ass out of himself. The audience cheered when they hauled him away and I don't blame them.
posted by boubelium at 6:27 PM on September 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


YEAH MAN FUCK DA PO-LICE

:420:
posted by Mikey-San at 6:08 PM on September 17


I don't use drugs. I don't commit crimes. My hatred for law enforcement and their adoring public stems from their despicable, predictable abuse of power and the way in which developmentally stunted children with daddy issues like yourself cheer on their most brutal acts. But then if you were ever going to have a cogent rebuttal you would have posted it already instead of just embarrassing yourself.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 6:32 PM on September 17, 2007 [17 favorites]


Can't wait for the youtube mashup with holy grail.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 6:34 PM on September 17, 2007 [2 favorites]


A young man I went to high school with died last year, just after police used a taser gun on him.
posted by gummi at 6:45 PM on September 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


I know it's all fun and cool to be "Yo, the cops are oppressing us!" but you just can't act like a crazy motherfucker around a sitting U.S. Senator and not expect to get tasered. Good deletion.
posted by dhammond at 6:48 PM on September 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


Fuck cops. You can point to the "good ones" all you like, but until the day comes that they stand behind the public against the "bad apples" that mysteriously happen to infect law enforcement more and more, then in my eyes - in any real patriot's eyes - they're all bad cops.

Oh, please. My brother is a decorated cop (all for services to the community) and a very real patriot. You're generalizing in the worst way, so let me point you to one who has stood behind the public several times against your bad apples, and would do it again in a minute.

Used properly, the taser is a device that is designed to save the life of the person being tased and the officer using the taser. I am in no way saying that the taser was necessary in this instance, and the cop who did this deserves to be fired unless he can actually defend his use of the device (and really, the article seems a little biased - it says nothing to indicate why the cop felt it necessary to use the taser, and unless you were right there, you don't know if force was warranted. In the video, he's obviously resisting, he's being belligerent and he seems disjointed and off kilter). Observing both, I can't say whether or not I felt it was necessary - I wasn't in the fracas.

Fuck it - the taser has saved my brother's life more than once, so I'm pretty damn grateful for it.
posted by mewithoutyou at 6:51 PM on September 17, 2007 [3 favorites]


chyme: if you were ever going to have a cogent rebuttal you would have posted it already instead of just embarrassing yourself.

nice use of irony, there.

but seriously, four cops take down one man in a room full of hundreds of people, and no one does a goddamn thing. hand wringing isn't how democracy is done. power is vested in the police at the pleasure of the people and nobody lifted a goddamn finger.

maybe you people just aren't ready for democracy yet.

or maybe he deserved it.
posted by klanawa at 6:57 PM on September 17, 2007


It seemed to me that at least some of the audience was cheering for him, at least for the voting machine question, before he continued on his rant. Still, if this is an accepted treatment for hecklers at US colleges, well, so much for the atmosphere of learning. Dumb questions need smart answers and shaming. This is just barbaric.

Double boo on Kerry for not stopping the campus kops. What a pussy.

However, I can't fault the people standing around watching the cops manhandle and taser the guy. You know they'll do the same to you if they have an excuse. The way they're treating the guy, however, makes me feel no respect for them, even as a priviledged yuppie who's always had good experiences with cops. Optimus has it right, the cops are tasering the guy for their convenience. Notice how they spend only about 15 seconds in the hallway trying to arrest him, not even taking the time to talk to him as a human being, despite having him fully under physical control, 4 on 1. My first reaction on watching the video was to escalate the violence... sidekick the arresting officer in the head, then spin-hook the one standing next to her. Then... I don't know. Either that's a sign of bad police work, or I've got anger issues. :)
posted by anthill at 7:02 PM on September 17, 2007


My first reaction on watching the video was to escalate the violence... sidekick the arresting officer in the head, then spin-hook the one standing next to her. Then... I don't know. Either that's a sign of bad police work, or I've got anger issues. :)

Or you've watched the matrix one too many times.
posted by the other side at 7:05 PM on September 17, 2007


&uotI have a question. Let's say you are present when something like this goes down. Six cops on one kid. And then they bust out the taser. Is there anything any one can do other than idling by and recording? Can you get arrested for shouting expletives at a cop you feel is acting inappropriately?

I cannot believe some people here are conflating threatening questions to a senator as actual threats. This kid was full of nervous energy, is surrounded by cops during a question and answer session, and has his hand pulled around his back by one officer the moment he finishes his question. This whole incident is totally Kafkaesque. No one can be expected to challenge a former presidential hopeful in a public forum and then act rationally to him having his microphone shut off and being arrested on the spot in front of a room full of people. I'm sorry if you want to play that ;it makes me squeal that preppy boy got what he deserved", but this is fucking ridiculous.

These people should lose their jobs. If this keeps happening, frankly, the situation will escalate. In the beginning, in the favor of the police, but later down the line, at the expense of a civil society, and potential uprise. If being absurd means that six dumbass local cops can pile on you and fry your innards just to get control of the situation, frankly, if i'm anywhere near that, i'm about to get Falling Down on somebody's ass.
posted by phaedon at 7:09 PM on September 17, 2007 [12 favorites]


you know, screw kerry. the guy doesnt deserve to be president if he cant stand up to a few kampus kops.

christ, what an asshole.
posted by joeblough at 7:10 PM on September 17, 2007


Jesus Fucking Christ. Oh, wait. Will that comment get censored -- or, get me tasered?
posted by ericb at 7:15 PM on September 17, 2007


Phaedon has it right on. Asking a question at a town hall meeting gets me a little adrenaline spike, the good old verbal fight or flight response. I can see how just asking a question of a U.S. Senator, albeit an annoying and long-winded ramble, would kick the adrenaline up to police-report levels on its own.

What would be the right response as a bystander, given a willingness to go to jail for 'interfering with the duties of an officer'?
posted by anthill at 7:17 PM on September 17, 2007


Another video of the incident at UofF.
posted by ericb at 7:20 PM on September 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


However, I can't fault the people standing around watching the cops manhandle and taser the guy. You know they'll do the same to you if they have an excuse.

There were three of them.

I'm just saying.
posted by poweredbybeard at 7:20 PM on September 17, 2007


Can you get arrested for shouting expletives at a cop you feel is acting inappropriately?

Technically, no. That won't stop them from doing to you what they did to him though.
posted by puke & cry at 7:21 PM on September 17, 2007


"Were you a member of the Skull & Bones, the secret society to which Bush belonged?"

Reportedly when asked such a question a member must stand silent and exit the room. In this case, thugs take over, so that Kerry need not follow protocol.
posted by ericb at 7:22 PM on September 17, 2007 [4 favorites]


Well, what do we want? That kid was clearly going to hold on to the microphone until they dragged him out. They tried to remove him, and he kept fighting. Here's an idea--do what the cops ask you to do (and maybe file your Bill of Rights lawsuit later), or accept the escalation of force.

I don't think we want campus security tasing at will, or maybe at all, but on the other hand you can't have Joe Random filibustering every public event with a microphone.
posted by Nahum Tate at 7:23 PM on September 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


At any point after the cops began their attempt to remove this little asshole, he could have shut up, followed their instructions and dealt with the situation like a man. I have no sympathy for people who think that an improper arrest is license to resist. He seems to be anticipating the masses rising up to overwhelm his "oppressors" and set him free. Unfortunately for him, everyone else in that room was a lot smarter than he was. He was clearly disrupting a public assembly - his "question" was nothing but a bizarre screed, I thought they let him go on much longer than the might have - and consequently the police had every right to remove him from the premises. Once he established that he wasn't going to go quietly, he and he alone has to deal with the consequences.

I don't think he should have been tasered, that's where something like a Civilian Review Board becomes necessary. The cop with the taser should have to explain exactly why this kid was a threat that needed such severe methods, and if he can't, he needs to be suspended. But the little genius in question seems to be the type that pokes bears with sticks and cries when he gets mauled.
posted by Banky_Edwards at 7:23 PM on September 17, 2007 [6 favorites]


The Order of Skull and Bones -- Secret Yale Society.
posted by ericb at 7:23 PM on September 17, 2007


A few weeks ago I somehow found myself surfing "people being tasered" clips on youtube.com. And being a fan of the "Funniest Home Video" genre, I found them highly entertaining.

In all of the 6 or so videos I saw the person deserved it.

This one was funny, just for the donunt eatin' cop who fell over FOR NO REASON, right at the start of the foot chase.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uIY3TemTpaM



Here is a good comment from the 2nd youtube.com link from the FPP.

Can't believe we made it thru 5,000 years of civilization w/o tasers. How did the cops cope? Thank god they can now immobilize citizens and do whatever they want to them. Don't you wish you could bring tasers back in time and give them to the Nazis? Would have made their job SO much easier. German people would approve, like Americans, to stop people from disobeying their rulers. "We're all good nazis so why should we fear our cops?"
posted by uncanny hengeman at 7:24 PM on September 17, 2007


Today driving back to base on my ambulance my partner and I witnessed a motor vehicle crash. We hopped out and tried to take charge of the scene as best we could, to reach and assess each of the parties in both cars but wouldn't you know it the cars kept coming from both lanes, whizzing by, honking their horns, nearly hitting us several times. We radioed for police right away and they were there in under a minute to stop all traffic so we could treat our new patients and bring them to the ER.

This wasn't even the more typical crackhouse call where people see a uniform and start threatening you, this wasn't a gang-related shooting where you don't know who is carrying what in the waistband of their shorts. This was in a relatively small, safe suburb outside of Boston.

So yeah...um...fuck the police, man!

PS - I take the point about forcing compliance via pain and agree with so many of your criticisms. Do we know if these were municipal PD or were they campus cops? I am highly disturbed that a person was tasered for energetically asking questions that should be common to our discourse of a person whose job it is to respond to such questions. However never in my mind does the hysterical blanket proclamation "FUCK ALL THA PO-LICE!!!" come into that dialogue or this discussion. At least concede that the world is a little more complicated than that.
posted by inoculatedcities at 7:26 PM on September 17, 2007 [5 favorites]


So the kid was a douchebag. Who the hell cares? He was tasered (which is supposed to be something used in place of shooting someone). If it weren't for the taser, would they have shot him?
posted by spiderskull at 7:26 PM on September 17, 2007 [9 favorites]


A few weeks ago I somehow found myself surfing "people being tasered" clips on youtube.com. And being a fan of the "Funniest Home Video" genre, I found them highly entertaining.

Did you find the one of the cop getting tasered in the dick? I've been looking for that one.
posted by puke & cry at 7:27 PM on September 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


I have no sympathy for people who think that an improper arrest is license to resist.

And I'll have no sympathy for you when you get the police state you deserve.

Seriously, if improper arrest isn't license to resist, what is? What point in even having the word "resist"?
posted by poweredbybeard at 7:31 PM on September 17, 2007 [12 favorites]


do what the cops ask you to do

look at ericb's video. i see two cops look over, possibly take an order from a commanding officer, and then pull this guy's arm towards his back, without prior warning, in an arresting motion. No mouth movement, just an attempt at an arrest. Which happens to immediately follow probably the purest form of free speech - the dissenting kind. Did his unruly tone warrant an attempt at an arrest? Explain to me how a person who is speaking into a microphone with a book in their hand in an emotionally charged situation is supposed to react to two guards attempt to arrest him without explanation, AND THEN CONTINUE TO RESTRAIN HIM BECAUSE HE IS RESTRAINING ARREST.

"Why are you arresting me?"

"Because you are restraining arrest."

Explain this to me before i freak out.
posted by phaedon at 7:31 PM on September 17, 2007 [17 favorites]


inoculatedcities, I don't think anyone is making the hysterical blanet proclamation 'fuck all tha po-lice'.
posted by anthill at 7:33 PM on September 17, 2007


and by the repeated use of the word "restraining", i mean "resisting".
posted by phaedon at 7:33 PM on September 17, 2007


What a sickening outrage. Tasered for piping up loudly and not standing up when handcuffed.

His being repeatedly tasered while handcuffed and on the floor, Kerry doing nothing and the audience of onlookers watching helplessly reminds me of this short film, "The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism."
posted by nickyskye at 7:34 PM on September 17, 2007


Up here, anthill.
posted by puke & cry at 7:36 PM on September 17, 2007


The kid was a raging douchebag. The cops, however, should have picked him up and carried him (shouting, no doubt, and continuing thereby to give evidence of his douchebaggery) out of the auditorium. There were clearly enough of them to do so.

The Kerry hate, I don't understand. He is clearly still saying he will answer the guy's questions, he is trying to maintain some control of the situation, up until the point when the guy basically goes nuts. At that point, the police, for good or ill, have control of the situation, not Kerry. I don't think even a United States Senator is expected or is supposed to swoop down over the crowd and stop the police from doing whatever they are doing at that moment.
posted by yhbc at 7:36 PM on September 17, 2007 [4 favorites]


Taser to the groin! it works on so many levels!
posted by anthill at 7:38 PM on September 17, 2007


Seriously, if improper arrest isn't license to resist, what is? What point in even having the word "resist"?

Are you kidding me? Murder is illegal and there's no license for that, even if there is a word for it. Simply put, resisting arrest is a crime, even if the arrest is unwarranted.
posted by dhammond at 7:40 PM on September 17, 2007


Taser to the groin! it works on so many levels!

Wow, apparently there's more than one video of someone getting tasered in the junk. The one I saw was indoors and accidental.
posted by puke & cry at 7:45 PM on September 17, 2007


I'm actually not that surprised that a guy gets tasered for asking a question at an university (this isn't the first time this has happened at an US university, right?). What surprises me and makes me mad are the people who actually think this kind of savage behavior is ok.

You talk nonsense about a senator being present, that the guy was being a douche and make up all these lame and stupid sounding excuses when it's obvious that this is just wrong. And at an university? That's just incredibly sad and embarrassing.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 7:49 PM on September 17, 2007 [2 favorites]


Explain to me how a person who is speaking into a microphone with a book in their hand in an emotionally charged situation is supposed to react to two guards attempt to arrest him without explanation, AND THEN CONTINUE TO RESTRAIN HIM BECAUSE HE IS RESTRAINING RESISTING ARREST.

Well, fuck, if it was the Bible in his hand, there wouldn't have been any escalation at this event! After all, he most likely had some pussy-pink-gay-communist propaganda in his hand! And, to top it off, I bet he's a friggin' 'liberal arts' major!
posted by ericb at 7:49 PM on September 17, 2007


The cops used to just brutalize niggers and hippies. Now they’re tazering the piss out of white middle-class college kids and shooting niggers 50 times.
posted by Huplescat at 7:52 PM on September 17, 2007


A police officer shooting at a snake apparently killed a 5-year-old boy who was fishing at a nearby pond, officials said.
posted by puke & cry at 7:55 PM on September 17, 2007


I've watched all three videos, including the one on the NBC6.net link. The guy was just a huge prick. Amazingly enough, the police didn't like it when he continuing being such and just wouldn't STFU.

This is not the end of the world, and does not mean the USA is being taking over by fascists, and I say that as a good liberal.
posted by yhbc at 7:55 PM on September 17, 2007


Simply put, resisting arrest is a crime, even if the arrest is unwarranted.

Bullshit. Can anybody name this dude's crime? This guy isn't resisting arrest, this guy is resisting some fuckbags trying to push him out of the room. What crime took that warranted arrest? How is this guy resisting arrest, as opposed to resisting acts of violence that are perpetrated by people that happen to be wearing uniforms? Establish to me that a crime is being committed, and I'll buy that he is resisting arrest. Only then will I reduce my fury with this situation to "There are better ways to handle unruly students, and they don't involve a taser."

What if six non-officers - members of faculty, other students - pushed this guy out of the room? Where would fault lie then? Would you switch over the "oh, it's free speech" side? Absolutely power corrupts absolutely, goddamn it. Why the fuck do I have to rationalize my side, and these monkeys get to shoot first and ask questions later? When the fuck did I agree to that?
posted by phaedon at 7:56 PM on September 17, 2007 [20 favorites]


Simply put, resisting arrest is a crime, even if the arrest is unwarranted.

Sorry, I should have been more specific. I wasn't saying resisting unwarranted arrest is legal. I was saying it is ethically defensible.

Though the idea that ethical and legal aren't necessarily equatable might be a head-scratcher if you think that murder and resisting arrest are.
posted by poweredbybeard at 7:57 PM on September 17, 2007


inoculatedcities, scene safety! give flares a try, works every time and you don't need to drag a cop away from doing something possibly important. i've used them a ton and cars will seemingly always abide them.
posted by andywolf at 7:58 PM on September 17, 2007


Or, alternately, what phaedon (just) said.
posted by poweredbybeard at 7:58 PM on September 17, 2007


Fair enough, inoculatedcities, p&c. Fuck tha po-lice is in the house.

In the previous UCLA tasering of the student in the library, the report found that the officers "were out of policy [and] did not take advantage of other options and opportunities reasonably available to de-escalate the situation without the use of the Taser".

This was after the campus cops "developed a new policy, to allow the Taser to be used for pain compliance in drive stun mode against passive resisters. The revised policy also removed from the criteria for use of the Taser requirements that subjects be warned and given a reasonable opportunity to comply and that less injurious force options “reasonably appear ineffective or would present a great danger to the officer or subject"".

Apparently this policy was suggested by a law enforcement consulting firm and is typical of most police departments. I see PeterMcDermott's point.
posted by anthill at 7:58 PM on September 17, 2007


The kid was being loud, antisocial, and immature. In other wodrs, a kid.

Maybe tasers sometimes save cops' lives. None of those half-dozen cops was even remotely in danger as they pinned the kid to the ground. They applied a painful, potentially lethal shock to him simply to shut him up. How does that not qualify as torture?
posted by Artifice_Eternity at 8:00 PM on September 17, 2007 [8 favorites]


As a proud alum of U of F all I can say is there's only one thing worse than a campus cop - a campus cop in a hick town.

The campus cops at UF have dickall to do except write tickets for bicycling infractions and speeding tickets for going 2 miles over the limit. This is the most action they'll see all year.

BTW - this is the same brilliant bunch that pulled this crap.
posted by photoslob at 8:02 PM on September 17, 2007 [3 favorites]


You know, tasering has been sold as an alternative to deadly force; police departments wanting to adopt tasers for use usually sell the public/city council etc. on how "Well, if we have a taser, we wouldn't be forced to shoot so many people."

So, if four cops can't handle one unarmed, slightly manic guy - whom they already have under some degree of physical control - and if they didn't have tasers, they would have shot him? Really?

They used it for their convenience, and not to protect any member of the public, or Kerry. They should be fired.
posted by rtha at 8:04 PM on September 17, 2007 [3 favorites]


BTW, it seems everyone is ignoring the introductory text from the video taper on the YouTube link...

I couldnt get to my camera in time to record his entrance, but this guy basically comes running in with 4 or 5 cops in tow and says he has been running around trying to get in to ask a question and the cops are going to arrest him for it.

It seems like this guy was already in the middle of an altercation with the police, who had already threatened to arrest him. For whatever reason, they decided to chill and let the man ask his question. All he had to do was ask his question, say "thank you" and walk away. But he wasn't satisfied with just asking a question, he had to make a speech to introduce his list of questions. But he got his question in, and at that point the cops clearly intend to escort him out. Once more, he has a chance to go quietly and avoid any problems. But he's a self-righteous, self-entitled little prick, so he has to engage the cops in a game of "you can't make me leave." Just like everyone who plays that game, he lost.

Anyway, it seems that as usual, we're missing some important context from before the tape starts rolling. But don't let that stop you from denouncing The Man.
posted by Banky_Edwards at 8:05 PM on September 17, 2007 [3 favorites]


I've watched all three videos, including the one on the NBC6.net link. The guy was just a huge prick. Amazingly enough, the police didn't like it when he continuing being such and just wouldn't STFU.

This is not the end of the world, and does not mean the USA is being taking over by fascists, and I say that as a good liberal.


Thereby deepening my distrust of people who self-identify as "liberals."

So basically, you're not going to worry about anything that falls short of "the end of the world" or "the USA being taken over by fascists?" Because, you know, by that point, it's a little too late. Those are the sorts of things you have to stop before they happen.
posted by poweredbybeard at 8:07 PM on September 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


The book he's holding [via ericb's YT link] is Greg Palast's Armed Madhouse (excerpts here).
posted by cenoxo at 8:10 PM on September 17, 2007


hell, if reaching under a men's room stall for a free blow job is free speech, then surely this...
posted by andywolf at 8:13 PM on September 17, 2007


Utterly, utterly stupid.

When I was a kid, they'd just shut off your microphone and ignore you. Worked every time. Now they have to deliver pain.

I've interacted with cops in New York City over 25 years -- they're the only ones I can talk about -- and they've been pretty creepy really quite a lot. Sure, they do some good things but I've seen people beaten up by them for literally nothing or for very little more often than I can remember -- the first time was the first time I was here on my own, they were asking some African-American guy to dump out his alcohol and he asked, "Hey, why are you making me do this when there are people right over there selling drugs?" (this was Times Square in the early 80s) and they simply beat the shit out of him for no reason beyond that.


People like the kid in the video are compassionate, concerned individuals who are really, really angry at what's happening to this country. More power to them for yelling, someone should.

What many cops have forgotten is that they work for us. We are their customers -- even the criminals are their customers (if they didn't exist, we wouldn't need police services, would we?) Police should be forced into violence, they shouldn't just use it as a quick way to establish their control over the situation.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 8:14 PM on September 17, 2007 [8 favorites]


Double boo on Kerry for not stopping the campus kops. What a pussy.

you know, screw kerry. the guy doesnt deserve to be president if he cant stand up to a few kampus kops.


Kerry was in a position to exercise some leadership here. The kid was dragged away because he was perceived as being disrespectful to Kerry. If Kerry had stepped away from the lectern, and walked over to where the cops were hog-tying and tasering the student, are you Kerry-defenders saying the cops would have ignored him? No, they would have listened.

What was sickening about this video, aside from the wanton and undeserved violence against the student, was the sound of Kerry's patrician voice continuing, in reasonable, measured tones, explaining that he was going to answer the student's question because it deserved to be answered, while doing nothing to stop what was happening to the student.

You can really judge Kerry right there. If he had raised his voice, said, "Let the man go," it would have been over.

Kerry's behavior in failing to stop the violence is reprehensible. It's also a real metaphor for how fucking worthless most politicians are.
posted by jayder at 8:14 PM on September 17, 2007 [24 favorites]


They should be fired.

They will be fired, I am sure.
posted by jayder at 8:16 PM on September 17, 2007


If I was the Senator, I would have called off the dogs and let the dude rant for a minute or two or three. (On preview, what jader said.)

Meanwhile...back in Iowa... 3 university presidents: Give campus police guns
posted by jaronson at 8:17 PM on September 17, 2007


"Can't believe we made it thru 5,000 years of civilization w/o tasers. How did the cops cope? Thank god they can now immobilize citizens and do whatever they want to them. "

Are the people on YouTube really so clueless? Um, never mind. ... Duh, cops historically would beat the crap out of citizens who didn't play along. Billy clubs, saps, rubber hoses; these things are cliche for a reason.
posted by Mitheral at 8:18 PM on September 17, 2007


I also like seeing nude black men high on PCP being tasered.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 8:19 PM on September 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


"That kid was clearly going to hold on to the microphone" "this little asshole, he could have shut up" "He was clearly disrupting a public assembly" "The guy was just a huge prick."

Obviously civil rights activists need hotter, more agreeable participants to be tasered. Then we'd see the old `I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it'
posted by anthill at 8:20 PM on September 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


BTW, it seems everyone is ignoring the introductory text from the video taper on the YouTube link...

MeFites react without first getting all of the facts? The devil you say!
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 8:23 PM on September 17, 2007


Think about what a hero Kerry would be to campus activists if he had actually intervened in this dispute ... actually gone over and pulled the student away from the officers.

Remember the incident a while back, when Bush's security guard got detained by some overzealous security in a foreign country (I forget where)? And Bush walked over and physically pulled his guard out of the clutches of the foreign security officers. I was irritated at how all the conservatives got hard-ons for how "macho" Bush was in this incident ... but frankly, Kerry could have really shown some strength by doing something similar in this case. Instead, he showed what I am afraid were his true colors --- remained on stage, holding forth in his patrician voice, letting the police do whatever they pleased to the student.
posted by jayder at 8:25 PM on September 17, 2007 [3 favorites]


Yeah, my respect for Kerry just dropped like 10 notches. I mean, he just sits there droning on. Wtf. He could have easily diffused the situation.

Moron.
posted by delmoi at 8:30 PM on September 17, 2007


Banky, I'm not sure how him having had an altercation with police on his way in changes things much, if the issue is the unreasonable use of force.

He isn't yelling 'fire' in a crowded theater, and he isn't presenting a threat of violence. If he's "disrupting a public assembly", he needs to be asked to leave, and if the crowd wants him gone, they'll boo him out of the place.
posted by anthill at 8:31 PM on September 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


This shit ain't democracy. How did you fuck up so bad, America? - George Washington
posted by bobjohnsonmilw at 8:32 PM on September 17, 2007


Meanwhile...back in Iowa... 3 university presidents: Give campus police guns

Yeah, I actually live in Iowa. It was a big WTF moment, I mean they have tasers now, so what do they need guns for?

The irony is, A kid actually died in the 90s from being shot by a police officer by accident, it was late at night, downtown, and... right outside his parents store.
posted by delmoi at 8:35 PM on September 17, 2007


I know it's all fun and cool to be "Yo, the cops are oppressing us!" but you just can't act like a crazy motherfucker around a sitting U.S. Senator and not expect to get tasered. Good deletion.

Our country is in really fucking sad shape when people seriously think the presence of a U.S. Senator is cause for being less tolerant of free speech rather than more tolerant.

My vision of what a Senator represents is, you know, that a university would be embarrassed to punish a student's obnoxious question with electric shock, in the presence of a Senator.

There's a passage in the Bill Clinton biography, First in His Class, where Clinton, home from college on summer, went to a political rally and told a political dignitary (was it Orval Fabus?) that he made Clinton "embarrassed to be an Arkansan." Clinton said this, in public, in front of a bunch of people, and was about the same age as this student at UF. That episode is treated in the book, as an episode of courage on Clinton's part, and I think that is true. In today's political climate, Clinton probably would have been tasered.

(I swear that's my last comment.)
posted by jayder at 8:36 PM on September 17, 2007 [2 favorites]


Truly unnecessary taserage. More taser fun. Big boy gets tasered. Another one. Taser traffic stop. Hans Marrero takes a taser. To Catch a Predator + Taser mashup.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 8:37 PM on September 17, 2007


I also like seeing nude black men high on PCP being tasered.

Is there a website for that now.
posted by delmoi at 8:40 PM on September 17, 2007


Hmm, I wonder how inconspicuous a taser-resistant pair of long johns would be. There might be a big market for them once the 2008 election debates get underway.
posted by anthill at 8:42 PM on September 17, 2007 [2 favorites]



Bullshit. Can anybody name this dude's crime?


Florida General Code:

871.01 Disturbing schools and religious and other assemblies.--Whoever willfully interrupts or disturbs any school or any assembly of people met for the worship of God or for any lawful purpose shall be guilty of a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.

843.02 Resisting officer without violence to his or her person.--Whoever shall resist, obstruct, or oppose any officer as defined in s. 943.10(1), (2), (3), (6), (7), (8), or (9); member of the Parole Commission or any administrative aide or supervisor employed by the commission; county probation officer; parole and probation supervisor; personnel or representative of the Department of Law Enforcement; or other person legally authorized to execute process in the execution of legal process or in the lawful execution of any legal duty, without offering or doing violence to the person of the officer, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.

823.01 Nuisances; penalty.--All nuisances that tend to annoy the community, injure the health of the citizens in general, or corrupt the public morals are misdemeanors of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.083, except that a violation of s. 823.10 is a felony of the third degree.
posted by SweetJesus at 8:47 PM on September 17, 2007


monju_bosatsu, I don't see anything wrong with 'more taser fun', except that cops never seem to realize that getting tasered means you often can't stand up, or put your hands behind your back.

I have a modest proposal: To be certified to use a taser, the training program should include being tased yourself. If the risk of death is good enough for your target, it should be acceptable - people with heart conditions shouldn't pass a police physical. The education would be useful in more effectively handling taser aftermath.
posted by anthill at 8:50 PM on September 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


John Kerry once merited the begrudging respect of Nixon's White House for his effectiveness in protesting the Vietnam War. So seriously was he taken by Nixon and Haldeman that they targeted Kerry and his group with FBI surveillance, sent dirty tricksters like Chuck Colson after him, and encouraged John O'Neill (who decades later founded "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth") to dog him around the country.

It's hard to imagine that guy is this guy. The one who voted to authorize force in Iraq, who conceded a questionable election with nary a whimper, who drones on robotically answering a dissenter's questions as the dissenter is being arrested and tasered 50 feet away.

How can this be? My working theory is that John F. Kerry was secretly replaced with an animatronic facsimile sometime during the last decade. The relentless bastards got to him after all.
posted by edverb at 8:53 PM on September 17, 2007 [2 favorites]


Have any of the critics of this kids decorum ever seen a session of the House of Commons? It’s a lot livelier than anything on this side of the pond, and the kid’s behavior would be par for the course there.

But in America
In America, if the cops want to shoot you and you dodge and weave they can make you hold still and shoot you even more for resisting being shot.

That’s the law.
posted by Huplescat at 8:53 PM on September 17, 2007 [1 favorite]



There's a passage in the Bill Clinton biography, First in His Class, where Clinton, home from college on summer, went to a political rally and told a political dignitary (was it Orval Fabus?) that he made Clinton "embarrassed to be an Arkansan." Clinton said this, in public, in front of a bunch of people, and was about the same age as this student at UF.


He wasn't tasered because of what he said, he was tasered because he refused to relinquish his spot after his time was up. He acted like a righteous twat and got what campus security, a bunch of under-paid over-aggressive borderline thugs if I've ever seen 'em, tend to give those who act like righteous twats.
posted by SweetJesus at 8:53 PM on September 17, 2007


Our country is in really fucking sad shape when people seriously think the presence of a U.S. Senator is cause for being less tolerant of free speech rather than more tolerant.

Hypothetical: You are the campus organizer of a free public seminar about the benefits of earthquake preparedness. There's a Q&A period. Somebody takes the mike and starts droning about Bush and FEMA and Hurricane Katrina. It's barely related to the topic. And he won't stop talking.

I bet you'd eventually call for security. I bet you wouldn't think this was a "free speech issue" at all.

And if you claim otherwise, I wouldn't think you're being terribly honest...
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 8:54 PM on September 17, 2007


anthill: "monju_bosatsu, I don't see anything wrong with 'more taser fun', except that cops never seem to realize that getting tasered means you often can't stand up, or put your hands behind your back.

I wasn't really suggesting there was anything wrong with the clip. I just thought it was funny.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 8:55 PM on September 17, 2007


But he's a self-righteous, self-entitled little prick, so he has to engage the cops in a game of "you can't make me leave." Just like everyone who plays that game, he lost.

Well he was kind of a dick. But look, he clearly said "I will walk out of here, I will walk out of here," and "Don't Tase me bro, don't Tase me"

Despite my earlier complaints, I do feel a little for Kerry. I have to imagine he was, as the British say, gobsmacked at what was going on, and couldn't think of anything to say to calm down the police.
posted by delmoi at 8:56 PM on September 17, 2007


To be certified to use a taser, the training program should include being tased yourself.

I was under the impression that this did happen. Although that may just be in Ontario.

Although it doesn't doesn't seem to make cops any less brazen with tasers.
posted by dr. moot at 8:57 PM on September 17, 2007


I have a modest proposal: To be certified to use a taser, the training program should include being tased yourself. If the risk of death is good enough for your target, it should be acceptable - people with heart conditions shouldn't pass a police physical.

Actually a lot of cops do get tasered in their training, and pepersprayed.
posted by delmoi at 8:59 PM on September 17, 2007


Cool Papa Bell, I've been there, and the response was to boo him, and ask him to sit down. Not to start by grabbing his arm and twisting it behind his back. That's how it may end, not how it begins.
posted by anthill at 9:03 PM on September 17, 2007 [2 favorites]


Well he was kind of a dick. But look, he clearly said "I will walk out of here, I will walk out of here," and "Don't Tase me bro, don't Tase me"

I'm sympathetic to him, but he really has only himself to blame for getting in that situation in the first place. The people who do those security jobs for colleges tend to have have (in my experience) a tremendously inflated sense of self-importance combined with a rigid respect for authority. This does not combine well with extemporaneous hackneyed political speech.

I wouldn't have put my self in that situation.
posted by SweetJesus at 9:04 PM on September 17, 2007


Also a link to an Amnesty report about tasers. It's about Canada, so multiply how horrible it is in the States times 20.

CANADA: Inappropriate and excessive use of tasers

And some Amnesty USA news on Tasers.
posted by dr. moot at 9:06 PM on September 17, 2007


What a drama queen.
posted by peeedro at 9:10 PM on September 17, 2007


I also like seeing nude black men high on PCP being tasered.

Is there a website for that now?


delmoi: On an episode of Cops (which I don't watch religiously - it just happened to be on) this poor black fella, minding his own business, not a care in the world, obviously high, walking around bollocks naked in the burbs somewhere.

Basically the only reaction from the locals was everyone standing around going "ha ha!"

Then a bunch of police showed up. Tellingly, led by a female who was just FIXING for a confrontation. They got the guy all riled and panicky and delivered an extremely violent team smackdown.

It was disturbing to watch.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 9:10 PM on September 17, 2007


Ta-Z-Boy!
posted by fandango_matt at 9:11 PM on September 17, 2007


couldn't think of anything to say to calm down the police

He would have made one hell of a President, then.
posted by dobbs at 9:11 PM on September 17, 2007


There are ways to handle this situation. They did it wrong.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 9:12 PM on September 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


Thanks, dr.moot. Interesting reading. Notable quotes:
In October 2006, Paul Kennedy, chairman of the RCMP Public Complaints Commission expressed concern about how officers are using the taser, including how early on in a confrontation they are deploying the weapon. A month earlier, Victoria Police Chief Paul Battershill stated that he held "philosophical concerns about whether the police 'by themselves' should be defining where the Taser belongs on the force continuum... as various studies rapidly evolve, it may be necessary to change placement in the continuum and I am not convinced this can be done by police 'by themselves'."
posted by anthill at 9:13 PM on September 17, 2007


Need to take the tasers away from cops. They are ok as "gun alternative" but they aren't being used that way.

They are being used as easy way to subdue someone, like this guy they could have just carried out or the six year old they used one on in Miami.

I would rather they beat people with clubs, because they aren't going to do that in a college auditorium unless they really have to.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 9:15 PM on September 17, 2007


Cool Papa Bell:

Hypothetical: The kid was black. And, erm, the speech was held at Abu Ghraib.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 9:18 PM on September 17, 2007


Okay, seriously...

I can only hope that everyone here defending the police actions in this didn't actually watch the video, because otherwise I've lost any respect for you. I'm not exaggerating here, and I'm not going for effect. If you in any way feel that what occurred there was appropriate or justified, or that the student deserved it, or even that it's not "the end of the world," then you are what is so terribly, terribly wrong with this country. I'm not kidding.

This was a student with a rare opportunity to speak directly with a powerful elected Senator of his country, and a former Presidential nominee. He wasn't ranting - he was excited, but clearly had prepared information and specific questions he wanted to ask. Even considering his excited state, he was polite to both the Senator and to the police (that's what all the "thank yous" were about) and then the police decided that he'd gotten unruly - to be fair, he was being argumentative, but that's no crime at all - and physically assaulted him to handle him. He was making no threats, and no violent movements, and then they used force where absolutely none was necessary.

Here's the truly fucked up part: you can clearly see on the video that when they start to assault him, he puts his hands up, and then one of the officers yanks them down to pin him to the floor. At this point he starts to ask what exactly he's being arrested for, and the police pull him away without - as far as I can tell - answering him at all. At this point he says that if they'll let him up he'll walk out of the auditorium peacefully, which is when they pull out the taser. As he pleads for them not to use the taser on him, they decide that the only way to silence him is to use it. That's when we hear the screams of pain. (It should be noted that not all of the students stood by peacefully here; you can clearly here a woman yelling "why are you doing this?")

I don't say "fuck tha po-lice," nor do I think that way, in general terms. Most police that I've met have been honest, hard working people who do their best to protect the public good, and who would never be a part of something like this, and tasers have been great for saving the lives of not just police officers, but suspects as well. But tasers are like morphine - a godsend, provided that it's used for it's actual, intended purpose. Silencing an excited student asking honest questions isn't it.

So seriously, if you think that what you saw there was in any conceivable way "OK," then you need to reevaluate your sense of humanity and freedom and civil rights and justification for being a member of a human race that primarily exists in governed communities, because there's no possible justification you can give for this.
posted by Navelgazer at 9:18 PM on September 17, 2007 [35 favorites]


posted by furiousxgeorge [Tasers] are being used as easy way to subdue someone

That's what they're for.
posted by fandango_matt at 9:19 PM on September 17, 2007


Also notable for Canadians, is that Edmonton seems to be the place to get arrested if you want to be tased. Even 66-year old family lawyers can get a little multiple zapping.
posted by anthill at 9:25 PM on September 17, 2007


I mean easy as opposed to talking someone down or carrying them out, Matt, not easy as in push-button easy.

Shooting someone with a gun is pretty easy in THAT sense.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 9:25 PM on September 17, 2007


I'm sympathetic to him, but he really has only himself to blame for getting in that situation in the first place. The people who do those security jobs for colleges tend to have have (in my experience) a tremendously inflated sense of self-importance combined with a rigid respect for authority. This does not combine well with extemporaneous hackneyed political speech.

This is exactly what I'm talking about. The campus cops have inflated self-importance and whatnot, so it's the kids fault that he got tasered for speaking.

Seet Jeeesus, there's some good fascist logic.
posted by Navelgazer at 9:27 PM on September 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


boubelium:

I am totally against the overzealous use of tasers, but christ, what an asshole. Whenever speakers field questions there is always 'that guy' who makes a total ass out of himself. The audience cheered when they hauled him away and I don't blame them.

If you're saying that the guy only got tasered because he was an asshole -- then why didn't the cops just taser Kerry? He's the biggest asshole in the room, after all.

To ask the questions that everyone else ignores, you've got to to be a bit unsettling. It's a sad fact that you have to be a bit of an asshole to shake people up. 'That Guy' was the only one asking the hardball questions that we all should be asking.
posted by snakey at 9:31 PM on September 17, 2007


What was sickening about this video, aside from the wanton and undeserved violence against the student, was the sound of Kerry's patrician voice continuing, in reasonable, measured tones, explaining that he was going to answer the student's question because it deserved to be answered, while doing nothing to stop what was happening to the student.

Ditto. Never before have I been so glad that I didn't vote him.

I hate to say it, but President Bush would have probably said or done something much more reasonable, instead of pretending that they're not torturing some kid in the back of the room.

I used to defend Kerry to people who said he was a douchebag. No more.
posted by mrgrimm at 9:31 PM on September 17, 2007


As a rule of thumb, cops do not "talk people down." Cops tell people what to do. When people don't follow the directions given by cops, cops do not say, "Well, gee, let's talk calmly about why you don't want to put your hands behind your back." And that's usually when the Taser makes its appearance.
posted by fandango_matt at 9:31 PM on September 17, 2007


As a rule of thumb, cops do not "talk people down." Cops tell people what to do.

Actually, here they did neither, matt. They assaulted him as he tried to be cooperative, and then tortured him. It must be nice for you to be able to be cool with that.
posted by Navelgazer at 9:35 PM on September 17, 2007


"...cops do not say, "Well, gee, let's talk calmly..."

Oh, I'll bet they do more often than not. Are you sure you're not talking about TV cops?
posted by jaronson at 9:35 PM on September 17, 2007


Wow, where do you live so I can make sure never to move there? The only cops who go right to violence when they are in no danger are bad cops.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 9:36 PM on September 17, 2007


They will be fired, I am sure.

Cops almost never get fired. Not for DUI, not for killing unarmed people, not for stealing from the evidence locker. I'd be shocked if these thugs get what they deserved. Tasered even.
posted by the christopher hundreds at 9:38 PM on September 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


posted by Navelgazer Actually, here they did neither, matt. They assaulted him as he tried to be cooperative, and then tortured him. It must be nice for you to be able to be cool with that.

It must be nice for you not to read my comments, because I have neither referred to the incident in question, nor have I condoned the actions of the cops in the video.
posted by fandango_matt at 9:38 PM on September 17, 2007



posted by furiousxgeorge [Tasers] are being used as easy way to subdue someone

That's what they're for.


No, no it fucking isn't. Tasers are an alternative to deadly force. You taser someone because the alternative is shooting them. Using them to enforce compliance is assault and torture, no matter what kind of uniform the piece of shit thug holding the taser is wearing.
posted by Pope Guilty at 9:38 PM on September 17, 2007 [3 favorites]


The story you link to says tasers may have been involved in the deaths of 26 people.

The taser had been used on volunteers and the public 170,000 times by 2005, according to this Government Accounting Office Study (.pdf). That apparently is 26 deaths linked to 170,000 uses of the weapon.

Most cops who carry the taser must be tased themselves as part of their training.

The taser is part of the class of less-than-lethal weapons. Its use often replaces that of the pistol. It is simply inconceivable that my fellow liberals want a weapon which merely incapacitates rather than kills.

The protocol for use of the pistol is as follows. Fire center mass. The taser makes real practical sense for this country.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:39 PM on September 17, 2007


823.01 Nuisances; penalty.--All nuisances that tend to annoy the community, injure the health of the citizens in general, or corrupt the public morals are misdemeanors of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.083, except that a violation of s. 823.10 is a felony of the third degree.

Next time I fart in public I'll make sure there aren't any cops around me first.

871.01 Disturbing schools and religious and other assemblies.--Whoever willfully interrupts or disturbs any school or any assembly of people met for the worship of God or for any lawful purpose shall be guilty of a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.

Once again, next time I fart in public I'll make sure there aren't any cops around me first.

I will respect Banky's argument, however. I've been in public forums like this one before, and getting in line and making sure people get to ask questions in an orderly fashion is an important component to a public forum. Hell, I've seen protesters carried away rather violently for talking over candidates on stump speeches. This guy definitely did not go over any fucking "time limit". Give me a break. But if he did indeed bust into the room with four cops chasing him, well that is in its a problem. So how these bozos let this guy get to the microphone, twiddle their thumbs for a few minutes while this guy asks his question, and then tackle him after his last breath, is truly beyond me. I didn't know its cool for cops to delay an arrest because, well, I have some questions to ask the former candidate. It's fucking Bozo time, my friends. Strap on your red noses.
posted by phaedon at 9:39 PM on September 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


posted by jaronson Oh, I'll bet they do more often than not. Are you sure you're not talking about TV cops?

I'm sure that's the case. That's why I used the phrase, "As a rule of thumb."
posted by fandango_matt at 9:40 PM on September 17, 2007


Unless, of course, by time limit, you are referring to the moment when the female officer leaned over and probably whispered into this kid's ear to shut the fuck up.
posted by phaedon at 9:40 PM on September 17, 2007


Cops almost never get fired.

Wanna bet? Police are constantly getting fired or disciplined.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:41 PM on September 17, 2007


It must be nice for you not to read my comments, because I have neither referred to the incident in question, nor have I condoned the actions of the cops in the video.

matt: you're right, and I'm sorry. This has just got my blood pressure up. I shouldn't have misrepresented your comments.
posted by Navelgazer at 9:42 PM on September 17, 2007


posted by Pope Guilty No, no it fucking isn't. Tasers are an alternative to deadly force. You taser someone because the alternative is shooting them. Using them to enforce compliance is assault and torture, no matter what kind of uniform the piece of shit thug holding the taser is wearing.

Yes, yes they fucking are. Tasers are an alternative to deadly force. Cops taser people because the person is not complying with the orders the cop(s) have given.
posted by fandango_matt at 9:44 PM on September 17, 2007


Sounds like you need a taze, Navelgazer!
posted by anthill at 9:44 PM on September 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


Bullshit. Can anybody name this dude's crime?

Florida General Code:


871.01 Disturbing schools and religious and other assemblies.
....

843.02 Resisting officer without violence to his or her person.
....

823.01 Nuisances;
....


The fact that we have enough laws on the books to make every person in these United States a criminal doesn't mean they should all be enforced, and probably there shouldn't even be so many damn laws.

Personally, I commit lesser crimes and probably a number of misdemeanors every single day without doing anything morally wrong (and in fact, without ever having gotten in legal trouble), and I think the same is probably true of everyone in this thread. I'd have to go to the legal library for days just to enumerate how many times a day I'm a criminal. Hell, I'm not even confident to say I haven't unknowingly committed felonies, again with no moral wrongdoing.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 9:44 PM on September 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


SweetJesus: He wasn't tasered because of what he said, he was tasered because he refused to relinquish his spot after his time was up. He acted like a righteous twat and got what campus security, a bunch of under-paid over-aggressive borderline thugs if I've ever seen 'em, tend to give those who act like righteous twats.

If one finds your opinion twattish, might they be empowered to taze you without fear of reprisal?
posted by peeedro at 9:44 PM on September 17, 2007


You too, matt. *zap*
posted by anthill at 9:44 PM on September 17, 2007


posted by Navelgazer matt: you're right, and I'm sorry. This has just got my blood pressure up. I shouldn't have misrepresented your comments.

*Tasers Navelgazer* BZKZKKZZKZZZZKZKZKKZKZKZKZZZKZZZZ

SHUT THE FUCK UP! SHUT UP SHUT UP! SHUT THE FUCK UP! NOW! SHUT THE FUCK UP!

Uh oh. Whoops!
posted by fandango_matt at 9:47 PM on September 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


Wanna bet? Police are constantly getting fired or disciplined.

Don't they just get moved around to another precinct like Catholic priests. I guess in a way that is disciplined. They would have to start over, learning who else in the organization is just as messed up as they are. That could take weeks.
posted by Mr_Zero at 9:48 PM on September 17, 2007


Don't you feel so much better, matt? :)
posted by anthill at 9:48 PM on September 17, 2007


Ericb's video again. Cop number #3 to emerge in the video has pulled out a taser gun not even 15 seconds after letting this kid pose a question in a public forum. How the fuck do the police even let this kid get into this kind of situation?
posted by phaedon at 9:50 PM on September 17, 2007 [2 favorites]


*rolls on floor, screaming like a little girl*
posted by fandango_matt at 9:50 PM on September 17, 2007


Yes, yes they fucking are. Tasers are an alternative to deadly force. Cops taser people because the person is not complying with the orders the cop(s) have given.

The cops don't shoot people because they refuse to comply with orders. They bring them down using nonlethal force. The only time tasers are supposed to be used is when lethal force would be used. That is what "alternative" means.
posted by Pope Guilty at 9:53 PM on September 17, 2007 [2 favorites]


I bet you that not a single cop on the force would testify against the monsters who did this. In fact, they'd perjure themselves left and right to protect their own. It's hard to beleive that anyone can believe in the existence of good cops after watching this. I don't know a single one who would have stopped it, and neither do they. I just know a bunch of dellusional idiots who somehow think their family members and friends are not monsters when they wear the uniform. They are wrong and fuck the police just doesn't go far enough.
posted by allen.spaulding at 9:55 PM on September 17, 2007


posted by Pope Guilty The cops don't shoot people because they refuse to comply with orders.

Oh, yes they do, my friend.

posted by Pope Guilty They bring them down using nonlethal force. The only time tasers are supposed to be used is when lethal force would be used. That is what "alternative" means.

So you agree with me.
posted by fandango_matt at 9:57 PM on September 17, 2007


I bet you that not a single cop on the force would testify against the monsters who did this. In fact, they'd perjure themselves left and right to protect their own.

The traditional phrase is "The Blue Wall of Silence."
posted by Pope Guilty at 9:57 PM on September 17, 2007


fandango_matt, I'm talking about standards and practices- the rules the cops are supposed to be following. Do the cops behave in the nightmarish way that you're talking about? Absolutely? Is accepting it as normal anything other than reprehensible? In no sense.
posted by Pope Guilty at 9:58 PM on September 17, 2007


Don't they just get moved around to another precinct like Catholic priests. I guess in a way that is disciplined. They would have to start over, learning who else in the organization is just as messed up as they are. That could take weeks.


No. they get fired. In big city police departments, dozens of police are tasked with investigating violations of the rather extensive laws and general orders which regulate their behavior. Most general order books run hundreds of single-spaced pages and an officer can get fired for violating over a hundred different general orders.

Other officers face discipline at the station level. Police Discipline is a big part of what departments do.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:00 PM on September 17, 2007


Pope Guilty - yeah, but I don't think Blue Wall of Silence really captures the problem. I think of it as the Blue Wall of unaccountable rampaging rapist thugs.

And Ironmouth needs to learn exactly what police get disciplined for. It certainly isn't for things like this and civilian review boards are largely ineffective, captured, or ignored.
posted by allen.spaulding at 10:03 PM on September 17, 2007


The traditional phrase is "The Blue Wall of Silence"

This also is largely a myth. Before a police trial board, an attorney representing a city has the power to compel testimony from any officer. That attorney has the full time job of trying to get officers fired. Failure to testifyis a firing offense and there are IAD police who are actively seeking to get many busts just like every other cop. Except they bust cops.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:03 PM on September 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


Having watched all three clips a couple of times (the first cameraphone clip is awful and really doesn't show anything), some notes:

1) Someone shut off his mic just after the Skull and Bones question. Possibly it's because he asked way too many questions; regardless of everything that happened afterwards, I'm guessing whoever was running the talk turned it off because he was hogging the mic. So in terms of restricting his freedom of speech: no more so than anyone else who's rambled on too long at some campus talk.

Another possibility is the cops said to cut him off so they could take him into custody, if you believe the first clip poster's comment that the victim walked into the room with cops already in tow and looking to take him into custody for some prior violation.

2) It's hard to figure out exactly what happens when the cops grab his arm. Just before they do, one of the cops seems to be laughing at one of his questions (you can see this best in the second YouTube clip). Then his mic gets cut off, then he gestures to the cops, then they grab his arm (maybe after saying something to him, maybe not) and start to walk him out, at which point he goes apeshit.

Was grabbing his arm warranted? Hard to say; if the cops did indeed want to take him into custody for barging in, then it makes sense that they would grab him. If the cops just happened to be there and the victim was just asking a question, they might still have a reason based on what the victim said to the cops after the mic was cut off, but obviously that's a lot sketchier.

3) Shortly after they grab his arm, he resists, and in doing so he starts running towards the stage. If there's a key mistake made on the part of the victim, aside from generally acting hostile, it's this move. He was obviously agitated and struggling to escape custody, and moving towards Kerry could be construed as aggressive. Of course, that's only the view one would take at that very instant; it's pretty obvious in hindsight that the victim was just trying to get away from the cops and unlikely to storm the stage.

At this point, it's worth asking: if the arrest was irresponsible in the first place, how can he be charged with resisting arrest? But that's not really the point here. Even in the heat of the moment, there are ways to challenge the arrest without struggling to escape the cops. Even passive resistance, like the UCLA case, would've been a far better solution than actively pushing the cops away like the victim did here. The first rule when dealing with figures of authority is generally to be polite but firm: assert your rights but don't be an asshole about it.

4) After the victim pushes the cops away, they manage to restrain him instead. If you watch the NBC clip closely, one of the cops already appears to have a taser out and aimed at the victim from a short distance. Even with the active resistance, this seems premature. There were at least three cops in the auditorium; surely that's enough to keep someone under control physically.

5) The cops then drag the victim to the back of the auditorium, where he continues to flail and almost breaks free once more. That's when he gets knocked down to the ground. You can see the cops take out handcuffs in order to restrain him, and only after fumbling with those for a couple of seconds to they threaten to tase him. At that point the victim is still struggling against the cops and trying to get up, though he does say he'll walk out of here on his own. That's when he gets tasered. Members of the audience see the taser and react accordingly, though not exactly coherently (when I saw the first clip it wasn't even clear if he'd been tased because the sound of the taser was masked by both the victim's cries and the screams of a girl off-camera).

The UCLA incident seemed pretty clear-cut compared to this. The independent review of the incident commissioned by UCLA ruled the campus police used excessive force, and that policies regarding taser use were too permissive compared to other use-of-force policies in California. But there are major differences between the two incidents, mostly having to do with the victim's active resistance in this case versus the UCLA student's passive resistance. Is that enough to let the police off the hook? No. We hold police to higher standards because they wield more power than the average citizen; the victim's struggling and pushing did not appear to effect the cops' ability to detain him in any real way, and there's no reason why they should've tasered him, especially since they were already practically in a position to handcuff him when they did so.

That said, the victim here isn't completely blameless; even the independent UCLA review says the student could've done more to avoid escalating events, and the victim here was far more aggressive. I don't exactly buy that he was just excited; to me it looked like he was hoping for some sort of confrontation. As mentioned above, there were several points at which the victim could've calmed things down instead of escalating things like he did by struggling and trying to break free. That doesn't mean I condone the police actions, but this could've been handled better by both sides.
posted by chrominance at 10:04 PM on September 17, 2007 [2 favorites]


This also is largely a myth. Before a police trial board, an attorney representing a city has the power to compel testimony from any officer. That attorney has the full time job of trying to get officers fired. Failure to testifyis a firing offense and there are IAD police who are actively seeking to get many busts just like every other cop. Except they bust cops.

And when all the cops tell the same story, it doesn't matter that it bears no relation to reality.

I think of it as the Blue Wall of unaccountable rampaging rapist thugs.

OMG, dude, my x is a cop, and he's not like that! He told me so!
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:06 PM on September 17, 2007


And Ironmouth needs to learn exactly what police get disciplined for. It certainly isn't for things like this and civilian review boards are largely ineffective, captured, or ignored

My living is made defending police officers before their departments, city, state and federal agencies. I've represented dozens of law enforcement professionals in all contexts, including criminal, use of force and administrative proceedings. Police discpline is my profession.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:08 PM on September 17, 2007


anthill: Just tonight I spoke with a cop I know, whose Taser training video I've seen. Two more cops hold his arms while a fourth cop does the zapping. Apparently the manufacturer recommends doing this, so it's probably fairly common.

I don't agree with the argument being advanced that the Taser is, by itself, excessive force, or automatically exempt from being used to force compliance. There doesn't appear to be any actual law here yet, and most departments are designing their own policy. Certainly, tasering someone in front of hundreds of people is bad publicity, but I'm not sure it should be prohibited outright, nor do I want a crowd of people "voting" with their boos or their actions to overrule a bunch of professional cops, whether or not they're right. That's not democracy, that's mob rule.

The guy was a douchebag. He probably won't get charged with anything more serious than an ordinance violation (with compulsory fine), but he certainly earned being ejected. I think he must have wrangled some sort of "just one question" agreement, because by accounts he wasn't being admitted to the venue at all, at first. Then he goes and violates it by trying to ask three, and not even really waiting for the answer -- he's just trying to make a speech, and promote Palast's book. The organizers had every right to ask him to leave, and he didn't do it. He had every opportunity to actually walk out, but by the time he's begging to be allowed to do that, he's already lost, because he's ignored orders to comply and he's physically resisted and even tried to escape from the cops' clutches.

Thing is, he probably got exactly what he wanted more than anything else -- a scene.
posted by dhartung at 10:10 PM on September 17, 2007


My living is made defending police officers before their departments, city, state and federal agencies. I've represented dozens of law enforcement professionals in all contexts, including criminal, use of force and administrative proceedings. Police discpline is my profession.

I'm sure they were all innocent too, just like the cops in this video. You want to make a bet that nobody loses his/her job over this? I'll give you 3:1 odds.
posted by allen.spaulding at 10:11 PM on September 17, 2007


My living is made defending police officers before their departments, city, state and federal agencies. I've represented dozens of law enforcement professionals in all contexts, including criminal, use of force and administrative proceedings. Police discpline is my profession.

Eluding Police discipline, you mean.
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:11 PM on September 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


"Mr. Kerry, why didn't you stand up for what's right?"

"Let me answer that by not standing up for what's right..."
posted by jiawen at 10:13 PM on September 17, 2007 [3 favorites]


I'll give you 3:1 odds

That's pure fantasy. You have no actual experience with what you are discussing. You do not know anything about the use of force policies in that department or anything else.

In most cases of officer misconduct, it has been my experience that the officer truthfully reveals what occured in hopes of getting lesser discipline.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:15 PM on September 17, 2007 [2 favorites]


I don't exactly buy that he was just excited; to me it looked like he was hoping for some sort of confrontation. As mentioned above, there were several points at which the victim could've calmed things down instead of escalating things like he did by struggling and trying to break free.

Sorry. There were several points at which a team of six to ten officers could've calmed things down instead of escalating things like they did, including, if we are believe to the worst case scenario, allowing this young boy to burst in the room and create a tangible sense of panic in a room full of innocent bystanders who could've been hurt by a potential scuffle. If you don't buy this scenario, then the only other plausible explanation is that this guy was arrested because he exceeded his time limit. I don't see a winning hand for the police either way.
posted by phaedon at 10:16 PM on September 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


phaedon wrote: Bullshit. Can anybody name this dude's crime?

His crime was making a public outburst at a Government Leader. Making unapproved gestures, wearing unapproved garments or asking unapproved questions of Government Leaders is grounds for immediate arrest and detention.

This is the New America.

Ironmouth wrote:The taser makes real practical sense for this country.

Yeah, so do neural implants that give you a good shock when you think bad thoughts about The Leader. Hey, the only alternative is sending them to labor camps!

It's FPPs like these that convince me that we've begun the long, slow slide into facism even more than the FPPs about Iraq, Blackwater, Cheney, etc. Wanna know why? Because whenever some college kid gets electroshocked for mouthing off or, um, being a kid, an armada of otherwise intelligent Mefites swarm in and start saying shit like "Well the asshole deserved it! He was asking weird questions and disturbing the Leader's ambience! He should have complied with orders like a Good Citizen!" They say shit like that and can't even hear the sound of soldiers marching lock-step in their own voice.

It's those comments, above and beyond anything the Administration does, that illustrates how deeply the rot of authoritarianism has infected America.
posted by Avenger at 10:16 PM on September 17, 2007 [20 favorites]


Ironmouth, if you practice in DC then you might represent some of the cops against whom I'm pursuing a civil case. See, they beat the shit out of me when I was already handcuffed. Pretty common stuff, that. *

Your experience is pretty limited if you only see what the cops say and not what they do. 3:1 odds on the cops in this video. Take it or leave it.

* I know better than to believe that those cops would ever be called before a disciplinary board. I mean, forget the medical records or the AFP photographer who captured the whole thing. Cops will be cops, after all. Cops with raises, specifically.
posted by allen.spaulding at 10:18 PM on September 17, 2007


My living is made defending police officers before their departments, city, state and federal agencies. I've represented dozens of law enforcement professionals in all contexts, including criminal, use of force and administrative proceedings. Police discpline is my profession.

I did not know that you were so involved with the problem, and certainly you have a much better grasp on the issue than I do. Secondly, you must just be rolling in it right now. Are you so busy that you have to turn work away?

/snark

Please do not have me put on a list. Seriously.
posted by Mr_Zero at 10:22 PM on September 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


Also, for reference, the relevant part of the UCLA independent investigation report relating to the victim's role (page 52 of the PDF report):
Tabatabainejad did show poor judgment in dropping to the ground, staying there, and continuing to be as vocal as he was. Tabatabainejad called on students to respond to his plight. Although these efforts were unavailing, they contributed to the tense atmosphere.... Yet Tabatabainejad’s conduct, however dramatic or even operatic, never amounted to much more than relatively mild resistance and did not constitute cause for three deployments of the Taser.
I think the sentiment behind this paragraph applies to this case as well. Just because you think the student was being a douchebag doesn't mean you're automatically the supporter of a police state, and just because you think the police overreacted doesn't mean the student wasn't at all combative. It IS possible to hold opinions that don't skew to the extremes of the argument, you know.
posted by chrominance at 10:25 PM on September 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


My living is made defending police officers before their departments, city, state and federal agencies.

Does that mean you are a police union lawyer?
posted by well_balanced at 10:25 PM on September 17, 2007


No. Seriously, I am not kidding.
posted by Mr_Zero at 10:25 PM on September 17, 2007


posted by Pope Guilty I'm talking about standards and practices- the rules the cops are supposed to be following. Do the cops behave in the nightmarish way that you're talking about? Absolutely? Is accepting it as normal anything other than reprehensible? In no sense.

I agree.

I've known some cops--most good, a few very bad--and for the most part, they operate on a simple premise: Enforce the law. They're open to some negotiation but when a cop tells you to put your hands behind your back, if you don't shut the fuck up and do exactly what he or she says, don't be surprised when the cop decides you're not obeying the law and you need to be forced to comply with the orders he or she is giving--and you're gonna have to trust your old pal Matt on this--being forcibly subdued by cops is one of the worst things on Earth, particularly if dogs are involved.
posted by fandango_matt at 10:27 PM on September 17, 2007


Mental midgets. Traveling in packs. With tasers. That's all I see.
posted by phaedon at 10:28 PM on September 17, 2007 [2 favorites]


The type of incident described in this video is very rare.

An estimated 19% of U.S. residents age 16 or older had a face-to-face contact with a police officer in 2005, a decrease from 21% of residents who had contact with police in 2002.
Overall, about 9 out of 10 persons who had contact with police in 2005 felt police acted properly.
Of the 43.5 million persons who had contact with police in 2005, an estimated 1.6% had force used or threatened against them during their most recent contact, a rate relatively unchanged from 2002 (1.5%).

posted by Ironmouth at 10:29 PM on September 17, 2007 [2 favorites]


I wouldn't have put my self in that situation.

Well, pin a rose on your nose. If everybody thought like you we wouldn't even need a First Amendment would we? Navelgazer has it, and even thinking about this makes me so fucking disgusted with my country that...I don't even know what. What do you do with the fact a fuckhead you voted for is apparently cool with tasering away uncomfortable questions. So what if they're "crazy"? I'd agree with anyone that they were, but if Kerry was right and they "deserved to be answered" then they "deserved to be answered" with the person who asked being looked in the eye.

I have to wonder if there's anything about my country that's worth dying for. Hell, is there anything about my country that's worth a skinned knee?
posted by Doublewhiskeycokenoice at 10:34 PM on September 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


I did not know that you were so involved with the problem, and certainly you have a much better grasp on the issue than I do. Secondly, you must just be rolling in it right now. Are you so busy that you have to turn work away?

Like a great deal of actual legal work, there is far less money in it than you might suspect. A few large firms make insane amounts of money billing large entities at high rates. The rest of it is people trying to make small business work or working for the government.

However, I have been so busy that I have had to turn work away, yes. There are several thousand lawyers doing this type of work across the country.

I won't comment on my current employment situation, and who I work for.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:35 PM on September 17, 2007


Chrominance wrote: Just because you think the student was being a douchebag doesn't mean you're automatically the supporter of a police state,

Thats true. Maybe the kid was being a douchebag. Maybe all the best protestors are douchebags.

The problem here isn't thinking the kid was a douchebag. It's the idea that people we feel are douchebags should be electrocuted into a catatonic state and then dragged off by the Police to keep them from asking weird questions of our extremely sensitive and easily frightened leaders or generally ruffling the feathers of other Citizens in attendance. It's like a deleted scene out of fucking Brazil.

Have our balls become so shrivled and tiny that the idea of some harmless kid ranting at a Senator makes us applaud when the kid gets electrocuted and torn down by the Police?
posted by Avenger at 10:37 PM on September 17, 2007 [13 favorites]


dhartung nailed it. Those open-forum question-and-answer sessions almost always have a time limit per speaker specifically to keep the ranting to a minimum and allow everyone a chance to, you know, ask questions and have them answered. Moderators running Q & A sessions in a public forum--and especially with an elected official--are usually relentless about cutting people off at the time limit, because that's the only way to maintain order in those types of meetings.

What we're not seeing is how long the student was rambling at the microphone before someone informed him his time was up. When he didn't step down, the cops stepped in.
posted by fandango_matt at 10:37 PM on September 17, 2007


Fandango, ericb's video clearly demarcates when the student started speaking at the 5 second mark, when kerry points to him and says, "Sir." The student spends 1:30 on the mic and is promptly arrested. At a Q&A. On the mic. Flanked by cops. How does this even make sense to you?

Again, if there was any prior engagement with the cops that was not filmed, why was it not deal with prior to to giving this student the opportunity - for almost two minutes - to grill a senator in front of a packed house?
posted by phaedon at 10:46 PM on September 17, 2007 [3 favorites]


The problem here isn't thinking the kid was a douchebag. It's the idea that people we feel are douchebags should be electrocuted into a catatonic state and then dragged off by the Police to keep them from asking weird questions of our extremely sensitive and easily frightened leaders or generally ruffling the feathers of other Citizens in attendance. It's like a deleted scene out of fucking Brazil.

The way things are going, Brazil will be regarded as a documentary sometime in the future.
posted by Mr_Zero at 10:47 PM on September 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


The way things are going, Brazil will be regarded as a documentary sometime in the future.

Try "utopian fantasy". There's two ways that could be taken, and they both apply.
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:51 PM on September 17, 2007


If John Kerry had any aspirations to future political influence among young voters, I would say they are pretty much shot, after this shameful episode.

The fact that John Kerry continued pontificating, giving lip service to the importance of a young college student's impassioned question, while at the same time, the young man was tortured with a Taser in Kerry's presence, will surely be a black mark on Kerry's career that he will not be able to efface. I can't imagine him being taken very seriously from now on.

It's easy to look good when you're scripted. But moments like these really define a person.

I am shocked that so many MeFites think that speaking boldly, about matters of such profound public importance, is a crime that deserves tasering. Haven't you ever watched Senate proceedings? Senators exceed their allotted speaking time routinely. Any time you go to these political speeches where people are given open mics to ask questions, you always encounter these blowhards who talk too long ... that's the very nature of these events. You don't tase the offenders into submission, for god's sake. That's like tasering somebody for trying to sneak 13 items into the 10 items or less lane at the grocery store, and then saying, "What did they expect to happen, when they knowingly defied the rules?"
posted by jayder at 10:51 PM on September 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


jayder, you're making the same mistake that every other politically-aware person makes- assuming that more than 5% of the country is paying fucking attention.
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:57 PM on September 17, 2007


posted by phaedon How does this even make sense to you?

It doesn't. That's why I'm questioning it. I don't know what the time limit was to ask questions, or if you were allowed to just rant at Kerry. After the student ranted for almost a minute, I heard Kerry ask him, "Sir, what is your question?" and then to the cops, "No, it's all right" and then as the cops moved in, "Whoa, whoa, whoa!" So let's just stop all this ZOMG KERRY DINT DO NUTHIN TO STOP THE TASER HITLER OUTRAGE crap.

posted by phaedon Again, if there was any prior engagement with the cops that was not filmed, why was it not deal with prior to to giving this student the opportunity - for almost two minutes - to grill a senator in front of a packed house?

Well, we don't know if there was, but that's not really the point.
posted by fandango_matt at 10:59 PM on September 17, 2007


I am shocked that so many MeFites think that speaking boldly, about matters of such profound public importance, is a crime that deserves tasering.

I bet if the RIAA was the one doing the tasing, the tide would turn.
posted by phaedon at 11:00 PM on September 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


Also, a big part me of wishes the Gators' defensive line was sitting in the back row when this shit went down. Cool, collected, goal line formation.
posted by phaedon at 11:06 PM on September 17, 2007


I want to know what is so motherfucking wrong with America today that there are cops anywhere near the microphone at a public event like this. WHAT ARE THEY DOING THERE? If they want to go stand behind John Kerrey, fine. But who wrote the play where cops surround the soapbox?

And for all you whose vocabularies so usefully provide you with the words "douchebag" and "prick" to describe someone who embarrasses you AS COPS GRAB HIM AND FUCK HIM OVER FOR TALKING . . . I guess I know exactly where you'll be standing in every photograph of every brutality to follow.
posted by gum at 11:10 PM on September 17, 2007 [3 favorites]


dhartung nailed it. Those open-forum question-and-answer sessions almost always have a time limit per speaker specifically to keep the ranting to a minimum and allow everyone a chance to, you know, ask questions and have them answered. Moderators running Q & A sessions in a public forum--and especially with an elected official--are usually relentless about cutting people off at the time limit, because that's the only way to maintain order in those types of meetings.

What we're not seeing is how long the student was rambling at the microphone before someone informed him his time was up. When he didn't step down, the cops stepped in.


I have spent half my life in public lectures listening to people ramble on beyond their time. I've been the speaker, I've been the questioner, I've been the moderator, I've been in the audience. All sorts of noisy and embarrassing things happen, because that's what free speech is like. What planet do you live on where "when he doesn't step down, the cops step in"?!?
posted by gum at 11:16 PM on September 17, 2007 [5 favorites]


The sad thing about this video is how sad everything about it is. There is nobody to admire or even respect in it. The guy was a braying, hysterical jackass but that's not a crime. The cops had no business physically engaging the guy as quickly as they did, let alone the escalation of force that came after. The bystanders were pathetic for letting it happen with scarcely a murmur of protest, if that. And Kerry was a burbling, droning milquetoast.

That a group that size, of that composition, could apparently contain nothing but utter losers makes me wonder if we've lost ourselves as a society.
posted by George_Spiggott at 11:34 PM on September 17, 2007 [5 favorites]


And for all you whose vocabularies so usefully provide you with the words "douchebag" and "prick" to describe someone who embarrasses you AS COPS GRAB HIM AND FUCK HIM OVER FOR TALKING . . . I guess I know exactly where you'll be standing in every photograph of every brutality to follow.

Yes, please feel free to construct your straw men and paint everyone who doesn't completely agree with you as supporters of torture and a police state. I'm sorry, I forgot, there is no room for subtlety or complexity on Metafilter, either the police are fucking pigs or you fully supporting electrocuting someone's testicles.
posted by chrominance at 11:40 PM on September 17, 2007


Yes, please feel free to construct your straw men and paint everyone who doesn't completely agree with you as supporters of torture and a police state. I'm sorry, I forgot, there is no room for subtlety or complexity on Metafilter, either the police are fucking pigs or you fully supporting electrocuting someone's testicles.

Talk about strawmen. The choice as given was: either you think this kid wasn't asking for it or you are a brownshirt, or whatever he was implying. So, was he asking for it? Does calling him a prick serve any purpose other than to legitimize brutality? Are the families of the cops fair game?
posted by allen.spaulding at 11:47 PM on September 17, 2007 [2 favorites]


Asking difficult questions of a senator? That's a tasering.
Refusing to leave the mike when asked? That's a tasering.
Resisting arrest? That's a tasering.
Rolling around on the floor squealing in pain? Yeah, that's a tasering.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 11:50 PM on September 17, 2007 [3 favorites]


Yes, please feel free to construct your straw men and paint everyone who doesn't completely agree with you as supporters of torture and a police state. I'm sorry, I forgot, there is no room for subtlety or complexity on Metafilter, either the police are fucking pigs or you fully supporting electrocuting someone's testicles.

That is the strawest, most painted, least subtle, and simplest comment I have ever read on Metafilter.
posted by gum at 11:54 PM on September 17, 2007 [2 favorites]


He should never have worn that short skirt, he was asking for it.

wait what
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:56 PM on September 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


OK, I thought I was done, but I think I've started hating America again.

It's going to take me a while to spin the old gyros up to full rantpowering levels of kinetic energy, though, so I'll spare you any lukewarm attempts.

That said, Ben Franklin's old chestnut 'Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety deserve neither Liberty nor Safety' is, once again, depressingly appropriate.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 12:06 AM on September 18, 2007


The sad thing about this video is how sad everything about it is. There is nobody to admire or even respect in it.

George, that's not true. There are lots of places on this planet where people can't go listen to a political opposition leader give a speech and then challenge him with questions. Or simply sit in the audience and take it all in without reprisal.

To me, there are no rights more fundamental than the rights embodied in a public assembly like this. A speaker, an audience, and a questioner is to democracy like Holy Mass is to Catholicism, even if the priest is a moron, the congregation is a bunch of hypocrites, and the supplicant is a mortal sinner.

Cops at the microphone tasering embarrassing questioners is the absolute end of the game.
posted by gum at 12:19 AM on September 18, 2007 [2 favorites]


gum, I agree with you on your key point, but you're not getting mine. Yes, the people in that room are the heirs to the work of their forebears in creating a society that allows such gatherings to occur. But the people in that particular room on this particular occasion are another matter. The dude, the cops, the crowd, Kerry... sad remnants and inheritors of a value system they won't uphold. The guy himself isn't reprehensible (just rather absurd) but everybody else pretty much is.
posted by George_Spiggott at 12:28 AM on September 18, 2007


I'm sympathetic to him, but he really has only himself to blame for getting in that situation in the first place. The people who do those security jobs for colleges tend to have have (in my experience) a tremendously inflated sense of self-importance combined with a rigid respect for authority.

No, that's ridiculous. The people "to blame" are the ones that actually tased him. It's very clear that they could have let him go after he said "I'll walk out of here." No harm, no foul. I mean, that's the only metric that matters here.

I agree the guy is a dick, but that's beside the point. The punishment for being a dick should not be electroshock followed by criminal processing for "resisting arrest"

Yeah, I mean it was kind of funny to see some white frat-boy "Bro" thinking he had, like, rights and shit. But the bottom line is that he should have had rights. But he was acting like a normal human and the police took everything he did as 'provocation'. I mean, unless you treat the cops like wild animals that will use violence at the drop of the hat you deserve to be violently assaulted?

The result was as obvious as it was shameful obviousness is shameful.

Hypothetical: The kid was black. And, erm, the speech was held at Abu Ghraib.

I remember a Dave Chappell bit about his white friend "Chip" and discovering for the first time that not all people are afraid of the police. It's hard to imagine an average black person acting like that. Stereotypes, I guess, obviously there are exceptions, but in general I think Black people tend to understand what rights they don't have better then other groups.

Yes, yes they fucking are. Tasers are an alternative to deadly force. Cops taser people because the person is not complying with the orders the cop(s) have given.
posted by fandango_matt at 11:44 PM on September 17 [+] [!]


Cops do not shoot people for failing to comply with orders, they shoot people if they pose a direct threat to their lives, you fucking moron.
posted by delmoi at 12:28 AM on September 18, 2007 [6 favorites]


You remember that guy in your 10th grade class? The one with eyes like a dead sheep who was always talking about guns and ways to kill a person with various ninja death touches that he read about in his uncle's Soldier of Fortune collection? The one that was seething inside to dominate and bully but because he was too much of a pussy to engage in a fair fight he fulfilled his urges by talking big to his friends and furiously masturbating to rape fantasies? Yeah, he has a badge number now.

People don't become cops because they want to help people and their communities. That's why people become social workers. People become cops because they want to run with the biggest gang. People become cops because they get off on dominating.

(sweeping generalization based on the two people I know who became cops - both being complete sociopaths, my encounters with police, the handful of cops I knew growing up, and the basic social dynamics of monkeys that wear shoes. i've met one cop who seemed to be a decent human being. incidentally, he lacked the terrorstache that cops cultivate.)
posted by bunnytricks at 12:29 AM on September 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


gum, I agree with you on your key point, but you're not getting mine. Yes, the people in that room are the heirs to the work of their forebears in creating a society that allows such gatherings to occur. But the people in that particular room on this particular occasion are another matter. The dude, the cops, the crowd, Kerry... sad remnants and inheritors of a value system they won't uphold. The guy himself isn't reprehensible (just rather absurd) but everybody else pretty much is.

No, I take your point, too, depressing as it is, and as much as I wish you were wrong.

I just think that, even as you paint it, there's a shred of democratic holiness left in the fact that the stupid kid at least got his question out before the police tackled him. Sort of like taking communion before the thugs knee you in the stomach.
posted by gum at 12:32 AM on September 18, 2007


I could use some Norman Rockwell right about now.
posted by George_Spiggott at 12:40 AM on September 18, 2007 [4 favorites]


Was it impossible to handcuff this guy and escort him out? Or do American cops just reach for the easy torture device now when it looks like they might otherwise have to get their hands a little dirty?

I just discovered that you can buy your own Taser. I'm surprised, Tasers being dangerous torture devices and all. It must be an interesting option for some people. There must be times, I mean, when a citizen doesn't want to actually kill a police officer but, you know, the officer just won't follow a reasonable request and one is left no option but to induce the officer's cooperation.
posted by pracowity at 1:07 AM on September 18, 2007


Reminds me of a very recent event. Probably worse in that the guy did even less to deserve being physically assaulted by police. But not as bad(?) because no electricity involved.

Click the "RAW VIDEO" link on the above page.

And the comments section spookily similar in the "fuck tha police" vs. "he deserved a smackdown" arguments.

Apologies to the bigots here who aren't tolerant of this forum.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 1:11 AM on September 18, 2007


The kid was a raging douchebag.
As was probably everyone on Metafilter at his age.

The cops, however, should have picked him up and carried him (shouting, no doubt, and continuing thereby to give evidence of his douchebaggery) out of the auditorium. There were clearly enough of them to do so.
Or at least should have warned him, talked to him or something before getting all apeshit. Admitedly it is hard to hear, but it seems like there was no warning at all before cops began manhandling him. Natural course is to resist only because you might not even be sure who is doing the manhandling. Totally agree with the poster who said this was more about lazy cops who didn;t want to deal with an annoying person and wanted to perhaps "teach him a llesson" than about controlling a situation or safety.

Cops do not shoot people for failing to comply with orders, they shoot people if they pose a direct threat to their lives,
Mostly no, but you do have macho wannabes (who are often campus cops - not exactly the elite of law enforcement) who may cross the line, especially using a so-called non-lethal taser. There is controlling the sitation and enforcing compliance and there is the chip on the shoulder "you talking to me?" crap. This incident seems to put the cop in the latter.

Here is an example of GOOD police work. Cops basically gave him opportunities to cooperate, (far more than I would, actually) and weren't baiting him. He deserved what he got.
This link

I'm reminded of the New York cop I saw who told a young man who was refusing to get out of his about to be towed car that he can call the ACLU and take it all the way up to the supreme court , write the mayor, tell the judge, try to fight the stupid law, or complain all he wants to but if he didn't get out the cop would have no choice but to arrest him because that is what the stupid law says the cop must do and kid can forget about gov't jobs or student loans because of a record over something as stupid as this. Cop was polite but firm, almost fatherly. Kid got out. Wish I had a tape of that.
posted by xetere at 1:18 AM on September 18, 2007 [3 favorites]


That kid skipped his meds or something. I don't think he was dangerous physically, but he did seem to me to be more than a little unstable. This is what cops have to judge all the time--is this person gonna snap? I think the kid crossed over into the "yelling fire! in a crowded theater" area. Not that he would incite a riot, but his ridiculous rants had no place in that forum.

You can be passionate, forceful, even angry in a public forum like that, but not crazy. Crazy is a party-killer every time. Crazy gets you kicked out of everywhere, especially a high-profile place like this. So I think the cops should've removed this idiot from the premises (even though his questions themselves were essentially pretty good).

HOWEVER, the keystone kops in this country have got to stop using those fucking tasers with every single person they encounter. Whatever happened to the headlock? Cops from the beginnings of civilization until 10 or so years ago would've been able to deal with this situation: these cops couldn't.
posted by zardoz at 1:42 AM on September 18, 2007


You know, I've always been a bit bemused at the default reaction of US cops to anyone struggling at all - BAM, down on the floor, cuffed. Here in the UK, I've seen people being arrested multiple times, and they're rarely put on the floor, unless they're trying to kick the cops in the face or something. With the notable exception of demonstrations, where people get put down all the time (that's for another thread) there's generally an escalation from stern tone to cuffing in front of your body to cuffing behind your body to being wrestled down to the ground. Every time I see another one of these videos (and the fact that they crop up so regularly suggests to me that these kind of takedowns happen a lot more than their are people with video cameras standing around to record them), it nearly always seems to come out of nowhere - everyone's standing around, someone shoves someone else, then - SMACKDOWN.
posted by Happy Dave at 2:59 AM on September 18, 2007


Some of us will watch this and think the cops should lose their jobs. Bill O'Reilly will probably watch this and ask them to work security on his set.
posted by softriver at 2:59 AM on September 18, 2007


Of the 43.5 million persons who had contact with police in 2005, an estimated 1.6% had force used or threatened against them during their most recent contact, a rate relatively unchanged from 2002 (1.5%).

Hey, only 2/3 of a million people per year are getting the crap beaten out of them or threatened (by the government figures, mind you), so it's all good!

(Even discounting the normal problems with surveys - that they only include people who actually bother to answer a fucking survey, I wonder if their methodology included the millions of people in prison.)
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 3:25 AM on September 18, 2007


So the kid was a douchebag. Who the hell cares? He was tasered (which is supposed to be something used in place of shooting someone). If it weren't for the taser, would they have shot him?

That is just wrong. Tasers do not replace the police officer's firearm. If that was the case then why do they still carry firearms?

A taser IS a compliance weapon. It is used to subdue resisting and fleeing subjects to reduce risk of harm to the officer and any potential bystanders.

From the youtube video (written by the poster):

I couldnt get to my camera in time to record his entrance, but this guy basically comes running in with 4 or 5 cops in tow and says he has been running around trying to get in to ask a question and the cops are going to arrest him for it. they almost do it then but Sen. Kerry says he will answer it. he then answers a previous question someone else asked (i cut that part out because it isnt important to this video) then the guy asks his questions and when he is done all hell breaks lose. to the cop haters: i have no doubt the cops were going exactly by the book, the problem isnt them, its the book! they were doing their job and looked just as confused as this kid (this isnt something that they deal with often). (more)

There is more to this than what is recorded on video.

ALSO: The police officers WARNED him he would be tased if he did not comply with them. It is ridiculous to require police officers to stand around and wait for somebody to get over their tantrum to effect an arrest. It seems the student was going to be removed by the police anyway, so this should not have come as a surprise. He resisted the officers and became belligerent. He was warned he would be tased if he did not comply. He did not comply. He was tased. He should have complied. I don't believe resisting is legal anywhere in the United States. What is the issue here?
posted by C17H19NO3 at 3:44 AM on September 18, 2007


What was the question that came next? "Senator Kerry er um ah...what is your favorite color?"
posted by srboisvert at 3:57 AM on September 18, 2007


oooh i'd love to see some tasering at award shows!!

time's up douchebag! what? you wanna thank more people? *zap* take that. crying in front of millions? oh no you didn't!! *zapzap* haha!! that'll learn ya!

now those are the oscars i'd love to watch!
posted by canned polar bear at 4:25 AM on September 18, 2007


C17H19NO3: So they warned him. That isn't the point. The point is, he was not a threat to anyone. There was no justification to torture the guy with electrocution. Are you missing that part, or do you just think it's okay for cops to torture citizens that don't cooperate exactly the way the cops want them to cooperate?

Oh noes! The guy was an overly-excited douche!

ORLY? So, someone who actually gets upset over all that's going on, all the crap being done in his name, the lack-luster politicians, and dares to speak out about it, is a douche?

For he's a jolly good douchebag!
For he's a jolly good douchebag!
For he's a jolly good douchebag!
Which nobody can deny!
Hip, Hip!

Or, I don't know, can anyone explain why we all shouldn't be excited and upset and ask the difficult questions?

Xetere: You're quite right about that link being a great example of good police work. It's as if those police took lessons from the British, or something. They used friendly tones and language at all times. I'm not so sure the guy needed tasering, but I'm not sure he didn't, either.
posted by Goofyy at 4:25 AM on September 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


On an episode of Cops (which I don't watch religiously - it just happened to be on) this poor black fella, minding his own business, not a care in the world, obviously high, walking around bollocks naked in the burbs somewhere.

Hey, I saw that one too. It was on a special episode of Naked Cops, no shit.

But the dude was also:

(1) Huge
(2) Carrying a Crocodile Dundee size knife
(3) Had already cut himself a bunch of times and was slick with blood.

Good times all around.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 4:45 AM on September 18, 2007


I never thought I'd say I was glad to be under the jurisdiction of the PSNI, but judging by the actions portrayed in that photo I most certainly am.

xetere's example of "good police work" is much more acceptable to me.
posted by knapah at 5:17 AM on September 18, 2007


Oh, and for the record, the Northern Ireland police ombudsman believes that there is no need for the PSNI to carry tasers. The PSNI are also the only police force in the United Kingdom to routinely carry firearms.

Ombudsman says no need for tasers - BBC
posted by knapah at 5:24 AM on September 18, 2007


Fuck cops. You can point to the "good ones" all you like, but until the day comes that they stand behind the public against the "bad apples" that mysteriously happen to infect law enforcement more and more, then in my eyes - in any real patriot's eyes - they're all bad cops.

Optimus has it. Worth repeating. Fuck the cops. They are working for clampdown. In a police state, the police have outsized privileges and no accountability. Here we are. Fuck the cops.

And likewise, I don't care if there are some "good ones." The institution of policing in the USA is totally corrupt and fascist. The good ones are as much a part of the criminal justice industrial complex as any Justin Volpe types.
posted by spitbull at 5:34 AM on September 18, 2007


Will it take a real Kent State -- complete with dead bodies of white middle-class students -- to wake this country up again? How long can it be before some cop lets off a few rounds at a political rally to silence some protesters who he feels are a "threat" to his "safety?"

Mind you, black people are laughing sardonically because it happens to them every day and no revolution has yet been triggered.

God-damn I hate cops. Y'all police yourselves, then come after me and mine with your righteousness.
posted by spitbull at 5:37 AM on September 18, 2007


spitbull, when Kent State happened, there were any number of assholes going "The students had it coming." Do you really think there won't be those now?
posted by Pope Guilty at 5:51 AM on September 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


The cops were completely out of line. Their actions say so much about their lack of ability to actually, you know, do their jobs, that for that reason alone the videos should make even their supporters very worried.

The response to Ironmouth in this thread, though, is also pretty despicable. He provides a whole bunch of actual, fucking knowledge, and his contributions are dismissed and ridiculed because they don't accord with other poster's opinions. Then the suggestion is made that cops accused of malfeasance are necessarily guilty and deserve no recourse to counsel, as if the general right to avoid simply succumbing to the whims of your bosses was something that only non-cops should enjoy. Jesus.
posted by OmieWise at 6:26 AM on September 18, 2007 [2 favorites]


CNN has it with some other angles and info.
posted by dobbs at 6:37 AM on September 18, 2007


This is Kerry's "My Pet Goat" moment.

It strikes me as the same sort of deer-in-the-headlights, oh-my-God-this-is-not-in-the-script, what-the-hell-do-I-do reaction that Bush had.
posted by jayder at 6:44 AM on September 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


You know, I've always been a bit bemused at the default reaction of US cops to anyone struggling at all - BAM, down on the floor, cuffed.

Its because you have gun control and we don't. A lot of this would go away if we did.
posted by Ironmouth at 6:56 AM on September 18, 2007


This is Kerry's "My Pet Goat" moment.

Absolutely. Very well put.

"Excuse me, officers. Leave the student alone and I'll answer his question." spoken by Kerry just after the mic was cut and there'd have been no problem. I hate Bush with the heat of a thousand suns but there's no doubt after seeing this that Kerry would have been a worse choice. Ick and ugh.
posted by dobbs at 6:56 AM on September 18, 2007


there's no doubt after seeing this that Kerry would have been a worse choice.

Worse? That might be putting it a little strongly. Equally as disastrously risible and craptastic, yeah, maybe. Hard to actually be worse without a president who was either a) an orangutan b) Satan c) one of Nixon's freeze-dried bowel movements or d) all of the above.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:05 AM on September 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


The sad thing about this video is how sad everything about it is. There is nobody to admire or even respect in it.

In one of the clips, you can see a 2 guys (one is wearing a yellow golf shirt) in the row right next to the protester laughing the entire time - even standing at the end to get a better look.
posted by jeffmik at 7:06 AM on September 18, 2007


Its because you have gun control and we don't. A lot of this would go away if we did.

This sort of shit right here is why we're dismissive of Ironmouth.
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:12 AM on September 18, 2007


Its because you have gun control and we don't. A lot of this would go away if we did.

Actually, that seems like a pretty good point to me. What makes it so dismissable on its face?
posted by OmieWise at 7:14 AM on September 18, 2007


The cops were wrong to use the taser.

But when a cop grabs me by the arm and tells me to move along?
Movin' it along here, boss.

Just another docile cow not wanting to get the prod, that's me.
posted by neat-o at 7:35 AM on September 18, 2007


Well, pin a rose on your nose. If everybody thought like you we wouldn't even need a First Amendment would we? Navelgazer has it, and even thinking about this makes me so fucking disgusted with my country that...I don't even know what. What do you do with the fact a fuckhead you voted for is apparently cool with tasering away uncomfortable questions. So what if they're "crazy"? I'd agree with anyone that they were, but if Kerry was right and they "deserved to be answered" then they "deserved to be answered" with the person who asked being looked in the eye.

I've never voted for John Kerry - last election I voted for apathy.

This guy definitely did not go over any fucking "time limit". Give me a break. But if he did indeed bust into the room with four cops chasing him, well that is in its a problem. So how these bozos let this guy get to the microphone, twiddle their thumbs for a few minutes while this guy asks his question, and then tackle him after his last breath, is truly beyond me.

This is what happens when we type before we read...

Now, from the Washington Post:
Andrew Meyer, a senior in journalism and communications, was questioning Sen. John Kerry about why he did 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.
So this self-entitled borderline conspiracy theorist goes over his time, is repeatedly told to stop and refuses. The police remove him and overreact, as so often the case with poorly trained quasi-security guards. What about this is a free speech issue? It's an issue of one man learning how to act in public the hard way. The reason I don't support him is because I don't think what he was doing is particularly defendable. I don't support the guards either, but I understand how they tend to react, so I'm not surprised. As I said, I wouldn't have put my self in that situation.

This is exactly what I'm talking about. The campus cops have inflated self-importance and whatnot, so it's the kids fault that he got tasered for speaking.

Seet Jeeesus, there's some good fascist logic.


No, he's at fault because he was told multiple time that his minute to speak was up, and he refused to yield the floor. There is nothing fascist about it. No one tasered him for the content of his speech.

This whole thing is about about respecting the rules of the forum and giving up the mic when you're asked to, so everyone else can get a chance to spout nonsense to a man who was 600,000 votes away from The Button. Any thing else is nonsense disguised as a free speech issue.
posted by SweetJesus at 7:48 AM on September 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


So, if I refuse to exit my car, choosing to sit peacefully with my hands on the steering wheel, is it ok for a cop to force me to comply by tasering me?
posted by DieHipsterDie at 7:51 AM on September 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


you can no longer engage power directly in 2007, whether by speaking truth to it or talking trash to it, you have to be more oblique. keep your head down while awaiting your opportunity. cultivate your passive-aggression and carry a tiny screw to drop in the machine's gearbox when your chance comes round.

oh, and ironmouth is a mouthpiece for our "protectors"; he made a voluntary choice to serve them, in the face of all the choices a new lawyer has. the good, the bad and the ugly all draw on his best efforts to extenuate/mitigate their actions, and because police discipline is his profession, he would have us know that his opinions are much more valid than ours.
posted by bruce at 8:00 AM on September 18, 2007


Fascist logic aside, stop being such a douche, SJ. If you're argument is that this kid deserved to have a taser gun pointed at his chest within 15 seconds of speaking in public forum, which in itself was the result of an attempted arrest because the speaker went over his time limit, you're a douche. And then this person was charged with inciting a riot? What riot?

Riot:

1. a noisy, violent public disorder caused by a group or crowd of persons, as by a crowd protesting against another group, a government policy, etc., in the streets.
2. Law. a disturbance of the public peace by three or more persons acting together in a disrupting and tumultuous manner in carrying out their private purposes.
3. violent or wild disorder or confusion.

Keep in mind, the ONLY thing that could possibly be suggested as "inciting a riot" was the content of his speech, or the fact that he went over his time limit. What do you think is more inciteful - the content of his speech, or going over the time limit?

Any attempt at accusing this guy of causing violence or disorder comes after the initial arrest. Ipso facto, they are restraining him initially for absolutely no reason.

This is what happens when we type before we read...

As for you not respecting the fact that I backtracked, I repeat:

Again, if there was any prior engagement with the cops that was not filmed, why was it not deal with prior to to giving this student the opportunity - for almost two minutes - to grill a senator in front of a packed house?

You have not addressed that question, at all.
posted by phaedon at 8:10 AM on September 18, 2007


Google news: Taser Death
posted by mecran01 at 8:12 AM on September 18, 2007


C17H19NO3: So they warned him. That isn't the point. The point is, he was not a threat to anyone. There was no justification to torture the guy with electrocution. Are you missing that part, or do you just think it's okay for cops to torture citizens that don't cooperate exactly the way the cops want them to cooperate?

He wasn't electrocuted. It didn't kill him, so he wasn't electrocuted. Again...Tasers do not replace a handgun. Yes, it is less-lethal, so it sits lower on the use of force continuum, at about the same level as Oleoresin Capsicum. The fact that he was pleading to not be tased and said he'd walk out peacefully doesn't matter, because the police had already decided to arrest him, and he made matters worse by resisting, which nobody has the right to do (in the United States).

I understand that we don't know all the circumstances leading up to the video (there's obviously more to the story than what we see), and I can't stand up and defend the officers entirely.

Also, and I know this is just going to kill all the "intellectuals", when a police officer tells you to do something, you need to do it exactly as he or she wants you to do. Even if you feel what they're ordering is wrong, there is a time and a place to address that, and it definitely isn't at the time of the incident.

And one more thing, for those of you wondering why Kerry didn't intervene: He can't tell the officers what to do.
posted by C17H19NO3 at 8:15 AM on September 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


He can't tell the officers what to do.

Of course he can. That is very different from whether or not they will listen to him, which they obviously do not have to do. But the point is, he didn't bother to try. As a politician, he should at least be aware of the fact that trying to do the right thing counts for something, even when you fail. Hell, especially when you fail.
posted by dobbs at 8:31 AM on September 18, 2007


Oh, and his lack of trying to do anything makes it appear as though he thinks the events are appropriate, which is why those upset at the action he did take (standing around like a moron) are upset.
posted by dobbs at 8:33 AM on September 18, 2007



And one more thing, for those of you wondering why Kerry didn't intervene: He can't tell the officers what to do.


Why not? He's a sitting United States Senator with a voice, a platform, and a microphone. The police may choose to disregard that, sure, but are you honestly suggesting that he was powerless?

This incident reflects more on Kerry than anyone else in the room, because of everyone in that room, you cannot possibly, reasonably, sanely argue that anyone else had more power at that moment than he did. The only thing that negated his wealth of power was a lack of either desire to diffuse the situation, or the inability to act decisively.

The only statement made by Kerry in that room that matters is that Just like Bush, if he doesn't have a campaign manager around to explain what has to be done, he's like a kitten caught in traffic.
posted by softriver at 8:40 AM on September 18, 2007


Sorry, inability should read ability in the above comment. Damned double negative inverse verbalistics get me all discombobulated as to the function of words and the...

dammit words!
posted by softriver at 8:43 AM on September 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


So, if I refuse to exit my car, choosing to sit peacefully with my hands on the steering wheel, is it ok for a cop to force me to comply by tasering me?

If you were being placed under arrest and refused to comply with the arresting officer by sitting with your hands on the wheel, even though you were asked repeatedly to step out of the vehicle, you're asking for something bad to happen. I know it's not right, but it's the way it is. You have no right to resist an arrest, lawful or "unlawful".

Fascist logic aside, stop being such a douche, SJ. If you're argument is that this kid deserved to have a taser gun pointed at his chest within 15 seconds of speaking in public forum, which in itself was the result of an attempted arrest because the speaker went over his time limit, you're a douche. And then this person was charged with inciting a riot? What riot?

I've never once said he deserved to be tasered; I said I understand why it happened. World of difference. And if you'd read a bit more and spend less time hurling insults you'd know that the mic was already cutoff by the time the video was rolling, so it wasn't "15 seconds" and then a taser to the gut. I also never said he was inciting a riot, nor did the police - He was charged with a third degree felony for resisting arrest with violence. Are you just looking to be outraged, or just slow on the uptake?
posted by SweetJesus at 8:46 AM on September 18, 2007


C17H19NO3:
That one must comply with demands from law enforcement officers is not what is questioned here. What is questioned is the right for those officers to torture people who do not comply sufficiently to suit the officers. And I speak as one who has had plenty of encounters with police, none ending in violence. But then, they never bothered me while I was engaged in political speech, so who knows?

(And yea, you're right, electrocution is strictly killing. I had thought the word more broad)
posted by Goofyy at 8:46 AM on September 18, 2007


I wish I had more time (I'm sneaking a break at work), but I could swear on some of the CNN footage I just saw on TV, the fat white male cop with the tattoo was SMILING as the student was begging not to be tasered.
posted by MegoSteve at 8:52 AM on September 18, 2007


Ouch. That's pretty brutal.
posted by uk_giffo at 8:56 AM on September 18, 2007


I don't think we want campus security tasing at will, or maybe at all, but on the other hand you can't have Joe Random filibustering every public event with a microphone.

Dude, I'll take my chances. You want to come to my town meeting and monopolize the mic for ten minutes? Come on over. Chances are you're frustrated and you only want someone to listen to you, and chances are the only consequence for the meeting will be a livelier conversation. So mosey on up. Have a blast. After that, if you want to run around wildly and wrestle cops, I won't say nothin' about it.
posted by zennie at 8:58 AM on September 18, 2007


That one must comply with demands from law enforcement officers is not what is questioned here. What is questioned is the right for those officers to torture people who do not comply sufficiently to suit the officers.

I think what is also questionable is the professionalism and conduct inherent in the demands those officers were making. There's a lot of sentiment here that 'the kid didn't do what the officers said, so some sort of compliance-enforcing was bound to come into play and the real question is were they right to use a taser?'

Personally I think that's the wrong thing to look at. The thing to look at is how and why this escalated from him being led from the room to him on the ground screaming in pain from 50,000 volts. Of course the video is shaky and hard to make out, but there seems to be a definite failure on the part of the officers to escalate the use of force appropriately.

This is not someone out of their face on PCP with a gun here, there was no risk of death or injury to anyone. If there was a legitimate reason for him to be removed from the hall, he should have been led out (and probably had a good shout while doing it), not wrestled to the ground and tasered. Policing of legitimate dissent (even if it is a little shouty, perhaps incoherent and uncomfortable, it's not a 'security threat') needs to be far more balanced, tactful and discriminating than this. Wrestle to the ground and cuff should not be the default response.
posted by Happy Dave at 8:58 AM on September 18, 2007


Can anybody name this dude's crime?

"Last evening Meyer was charged with a third-degree felony for resisting arrest with violence..."

And let's continue with the Washington Post article from which SweetJesus quotes above:
"Before his Miranda rights had even been read, the outspoken student asked loudly, ‘What are you doing? I want to stand and listen to him answer my question. Why are you arresting me for asking a question? I didn't do anything.’ The six officers then grabbed ahold of his shirt, pulled him to the ground and cuffed him.

Throughout this disturbing display, Kerry remained stoically focused on answering the young man's questions (the ones to him, not the ones he asked the police). Even as Meyer's shrieks grew in urgency, the Massachusetts senator reflected calmly on the importance of not contesting the results of the 2004 election.

Kerry's voice, however, was no match for Meyer's, who despite not having a mic continued to hog the audience's attention with such glib catch phrases as: ‘Help me! Help!’ and ‘What are you doing! Get off of me! Don't Taser me, bro! Oh my God! OH MY GOD!’

Rather than cheer the police officer's successful apprehension however, a number of students appeared displeased by the efficiency. One even went so far as to say he was ‘appalled.’ Shouts of ‘police brutality’ could be heard from the crowd while Kerry urged the audience to ‘cool down’ and acknowledged that Meyer had raised a genuinely important question, (referring to the 2004 election query). Last evening Meyer was charged with a third-degree felony for resisting arrest with violence, according to reports.

And to think it all started because his question ran over the one-minute time limit. Journalists beware: The next time you find yourself on the University of Florida campus with some questions, be concise."*
posted by ericb at 9:00 AM on September 18, 2007 [3 favorites]


Univ. of Florida student to be released from jail
"The University of Florida student who was Tasered during a question & answer session with Senator John Kerry is getting out of jail today.

Andrew Meyer was ordered this morning to be released on his own recognizance.

...Police are recommending a felony charge. Prosecutors will make the call."
posted by ericb at 9:03 AM on September 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


Today's Homework: More Talk, Less Taser
"As horrible as it is to watch a campus police officers taser a student during an event at the University of Florida--a Q&A with Senator John Kerry, no less--the incident raises two very painful, but vital questions for college campuses across America: (1) What is the best way to speak out on political issues in a post-VA Tech massacre world? (2) What is the best way for campus police to react to students speaking out on political issues?

Neither of these questions are partisan, but they do raise the specter of a potential crisis looming just over the horizon: an incident that could arise where a student expressing anger on a political issue is perceived as a danger to the community and brought down by campus police with overwhelming force or worse: with deadly force. This time, it happened with a taser gun. But what about next time?

Campus police have a difficult task--a thankless task--but tasers are clearly not the answer. How can campus police be prepared to distinguish between an angry protester and an angry threat to a room? What is the best way to quiet a protest on campus? How should police respond to civil disobedience on campus without causing physical harm or worse to students?" more...
posted by ericb at 9:05 AM on September 18, 2007


I've never once said he deserved to be tasered; I said I understand why it happened. World of difference. And if you'd read a bit more and spend less time hurling insults you'd know that the mic was already cutoff by the time the video was rolling, so it wasn't "15 seconds" and then a taser to the gut. I also never said he was inciting a riot, nor did the police - He was charged with a third degree felony for resisting arrest with violence. Are you just looking to be outraged, or just slow on the uptake?

You must've missed the five minutes in the hall way from nbc's video, after the tasering, where they charge him inciting a riot. Go ahead and replay it. It goes something like:

"We are charging you with inciting a riot."

"Inciting a riot? What the fuck?"

"Yes, inciting a riot."

"Help! Where are you taking me!?"

Oh, whoops, they must have changed their mind on that one later.

I also didn't say 15 seconds and then a taser to the gut. I said 15 seconds and a taser was pulled out and pointed to his chest. Did you miss this? Look at ericb's video. Cop #3. I repeat:

Cop number #3 to emerge in the video has pulled out a taser gun not even 15 seconds after letting this kid pose a question in a public forum. How the fuck do the police even let this kid get into this kind of situation?

I will come over to your house and taser you until you get these facts straight.

Looks like I got my bases covered. You want to explain to me again why the cops arrested this dude?
posted by phaedon at 9:08 AM on September 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


Lane Hudson:
“Sure, he ranted and raved just a bit. But, he barely got his 'impolite' question out before the University of Florida Rent-a-Cops started harassing him. If you ask me, more people should rant and rave like this. He's clearly upset that Bush's administration is clearly ripping the Constitution to threads, edging towards ANOTHER ill-conceived war, and that Kerry could have stopped it if he had forced the issue on the 2004 voter suppression reports.

If more people were this passionate, then we might have a chance at bringing this country back from a state of absolute apathy in the face of corrupt government. This guy made the people in the room feel uncomfortable because of his passion and tough questions.

Because of the uber-sensitive environment that George Bush's ‘free speech zone’ society has created, everybody is on edge and thinks that free speech has gone away. I'm not sorry to say that most of America needs a reality check. Serious issues are before us and sober conversation with polite head nodding isn't gonna make anything better.”
posted by ericb at 9:10 AM on September 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


That one must comply with demands from law enforcement officers is not what is questioned here. What is questioned is the right for those officers to torture people who do not comply sufficiently to suit the officers.

According to Florida State Statute 943.1717
(1) A decision by a law enforcement officer, correctional officer, or correctional probation officer to use a dart-firing stun gun must involve an arrest or a custodial situation during which the person who is the subject of the arrest or custody escalates resistance to the officer from passive physical resistance to active physical resistance and the person
The fact is police can do just about anything they want if you resist arrest. They can also arrest you, and refuse to tell you why (shocking, I know) until you're formally charged. All completely legal. Under that statute, they'd have a case. The correct course of action is not resist arrest, and listen to the police officers.

What real "political protesters", the ones who fight for tangible causes, do is peacefully get arrested and then question the legality of the arrest in court. It's why we have judges and laws in the first place - neither you nor the officer get to decide who is or is not at fault. It's absolutely amazing that to me that some people don't know how the courts are supposed to work.

Looks like I got my bases covered. You want to explain to me again why the cops arrested this dude?

Because he refused to comply with a police officer, and then resisted arrest. Is it that hard to understand?
posted by SweetJesus at 9:15 AM on September 18, 2007


Another video of the UF incident (to which I don't think we've linked yet in this thread.)
posted by ericb at 9:16 AM on September 18, 2007


Dobbs, softriver, you're right, he could advise the officers to do something differently, but they would not be forced to comply with him.

I understand that not all police officers are "good", but dammit, we have a job to do and policies that determine how we do it. I don't understand where people are thinking that the Taser is on the same level on a use of force scale as a firearm. It isn't.

This is an example of a *general* use of force scale: This isn't a step-by step list, meaning a situation can go from officer presence to deadly force immediately without having to resort to everything in the middle. Impact weapons can be used as compliance, especially when an individual is resisting arrest.

It appears that when the officer originally grabs him on the arm, the intention was to escort him out of the auditorium, not to arrest, however I do not know for sure because I wasn't there. There definitely is more to this story, and everybody is jumping to conclusions based on what they see.
posted by C17H19NO3 at 9:16 AM on September 18, 2007 [2 favorites]


(and really, the article seems a little biased - it says nothing to indicate why the cop felt it necessary to use the taser, and unless you were right there, you don't know if force was warranted. In the video, he's obviously resisting, he's being belligerent and he seems disjointed and off kilter)

Belligerent, disjointed and off kilter?
Yup, sounds like just about every American I've ever admired. Which is why, much as there are a great many Americans I still do admire, it's sure getting hard to admire much about America these days. Not because cops use tasers to maintain a veneer of bland calm at public forums in the midst of the most brutal and anti-constitutional regime in American history, but because there are, it would appear, a growing number of Americans willing to defend them as a matter of course.

You know, I was at a leadership debate in Toronto just before the New Democratic Party elected Jack Layton as its leader. Guy got up midway through, honest to god wearing a t-shirt that read "Justice or Just Us?" Ranted for five minutes about the injustices of NAFTA and then demanded that the assembled candidates declare their intent to withdraw Canada unilaterally from the treaty then and there. Several candidates addressed his query as best they could, but he just kept coming back to this "Will you remove Canada from NAFTA - yes or no?" Braying, spraying spittle. Just a total wingnut, you know? Eventually, the crowd shouted him down, and someone politely led him away from the mic.

This was deep in the bowels of the Toronto Convention Centre. Nearest armed cop was probably a ten-minute jog away.

I remember when I left that night thinking how sort of embarassingly disjointed the whole affair was, how much like a messy campus debate. Oh well, I figured, I guess democracy isn't always pretty.
posted by gompa at 9:19 AM on September 18, 2007


Cops: too lazy for trades, too mean for retail, and too dumb for IT.
posted by porn in the woods at 9:28 AM on September 18, 2007 [2 favorites]


I just don't buy it, bro. Why should I be so charitable here, and grant you that the officer asked him to step away from the microphone? Maybe she/he said "You need to wrap this up." I doubt she said, "Finish your questions or we will have to arrest you."

You talk about this "understandable" police power. You're right, I wouldn't play my cards this way, and I'm not asking everybody to expect to have the right to do so. I just don't understand that, if there was an order to comply, why twenty seconds elapsed during the asking of his final questions, before the cops manhandled him from behind. That makes me think - there was no order to comply, or that these cops are bumbling idiots, and are responsible for the escalation. Either way, this is a total abuse of authority.

This leads into the question of - was he tasered in order to shut him up? Was he tasered for making too much noise, or because he his words and actions were disrepectful towards the police? Yeah, I get how you can understand that he got what he deserved. But was there a need to taser this person? Where is the crime initially being responded to? Where is the threat?
posted by phaedon at 9:28 AM on September 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


In fact, yes. His microphone was turned off so he would shut up. An attempt at an arrest was made so that he would shut up. Then, when ten of them were on him and he still wouldn't shut up, they tasered him. Police tactics here weren't employed to deal with the situation as safely and responsibly as possible. There was clearly a nervous reaction to get this guy to shut up as soon as possible. I'm not saying this was politically motivated. I'm indicating that this is totally unprofessional. Do these people not have any training?
posted by phaedon at 9:32 AM on September 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


Something similar happened last week: Anti-War Minister Is Attacked, Gets Leg Broken for Trying to Enter Petraeus Hearing
posted by homunculus at 9:34 AM on September 18, 2007


This makes me weep for our future. In the CNN video, the cop who appears to be administering the shocks (multiple shocks can be heard in that video), is caught on camera for a few seconds with what appears to be the look of glee seen on the face of every schoolyard bully as he pounds someone. (About the 1.02 mark) The cop is smiling as he shocks this kid. Smiling. Anyone who gets their rocks off by torturing citizens should be relieved of his state issued weapons.

At first, I thought it was campus cops...notorious for their bullying tactics...but those uniforms appear to belong to the Alachua County Sheriff's Office. If those were "real" cops, there certainly should be a civil rights violation investigation. There was no cause, in an incident where at least 5, possibly more, police surrounded an unarmed college student, needed to use an "alternative" to deadly force.

The Florida State Attorney has issued the following guidelines regarding tasers: Electronic Control Devices (ECD) are issued to officers for utilization to neutralize potentially combative subjects, as an alternative to physical control in arrest or custodial situations.

The kid has already been physically neutralized. He wasn't a threat. The taser was used purely as retaliatory, bullying, police torture. This was a "shut the fuck up, kid" tactic. There was no cop in danger, there were no citizens in danger. The kid was under control of the 5 cops sitting on him.

This incident is a travesty. I don't believe the single youtube poster who claimed that the cops chased him into the room. That reeks of bullshit. If cops had chased him in, Kerry wouldn't have called on him, and he wouldn't have been allowed to get to the mic. Also, no other person who recorded the event or reported on the event has mentioned it...which if true, would be an incredibly salient fact.

People go over their time at public mic events regularly. I attend city council meetings with some regularity, and I've never ever seen a meeting where at least one person didn't go over the allotted time. Yet, I've never seen the cops drag the library supporters out by their heels to be tasered in the lobby.

I don't think that any one, except the kid being held without bail, is going to be prosecuted. (Yes, he's still be held, here's the jail lookup. Still no bail issued. I've just called the jail itself,<> and nobody there would tell me when he was eligible for a bail hearing. Apparently, like murderers, this kid is too dangerous to be bonded out.) You can do a lookup here for Meyer, Andrew.

So, not only has the kid been arrested for nothing more than going over his time and reacting poorly when cops tried to infringe his freedom of speech rights, he's being held without bail and with no right to a speedy trial.

It's a tragedy. Both for the kid, and for our state of the union that anyone could watch these videos and believe that a citizen of a free country deserved to be hit with 50,000 volts of electric current because he resisted false arrest.
posted by dejah420 at 9:39 AM on September 18, 2007


erm...the phone number got stripped out. Weird.
posted by dejah420 at 9:39 AM on September 18, 2007


Last night I watched the film Bobby about the assasination of Robert Kennedy. To set the stage the film opens with a montage of news footage from the mid-1960s. It depicts anti-war demonstrations on campuses and in major cities; civil rights marches, etc. There are violent clashes between police and participants. One sees police using water hoses and German Sheperds to disperse crowds. Batons are swinging, people are being hauled off. What struck me was the level of passion, of engagement -- some violent, some peaceful -- by so many people, of all colors, creeds and backgrounds.

I can't help to compare and contrast with today.

A majority of Americans today are just as frustrated, just as disappointed, just as confused about the war in Iraq as were folks back then about Vietnam. But today when anyone lets their frustration and emotion show, as surely we see in this UF incident, many tend to view such as aberrant and untoward.

As we continue down the road Bush and Congress has set for us, I wonder if we'll see more and more outward expression of frustration, larger public gatherings of folks, more potential violent confrontations between factions. Or, have we been browbeaten by "fear," becoming docile and disengaged ("What can one man do anyone about all of this?")?
posted by ericb at 9:45 AM on September 18, 2007


I just don't buy it, bro. Why should I be so charitable here, and grant you that the officer asked him to step away from the microphone?

Because it's been reported that way in several major newspapers, and by people who were there, Accepting the truth is not a charitable act.

That makes me think - there was no order to comply, or that these cops are bumbling idiots, and are responsible for the escalation. Either way, this is a total abuse of authority

That I'll agree with that academically, but neither you nor I nor that dude isn't afforded the opportunity to decide that himself. He shouldn't have resisted arrest, no matter what.

This leads into the question of - was he tasered in order to shut him up? Was he tasered for making too much noise, or because he his words and actions were disrepectful towards the police? Yeah,

He was tasered for resisting arrest. Even if you shout "I'M NOT RESISTING ARREST" while attempting to throw off officers who are attempting to restrain you, you're still resisting arrest.

There seems to be a large disconnect here between the people who seem things how they should be, and those who see them how they are.
posted by SweetJesus at 9:46 AM on September 18, 2007


.
posted by fandango_matt at 9:47 AM on September 18, 2007


ericb quotes Lane Hudson: the incident raises two very painful, but vital questions for college campuses across America: (1) What is the best way to speak out on political issues in a post-VA Tech massacre world? (2) What is the best way for campus police to react to students speaking out on political issues?

Why the hell should what happened at Virginia Tech have ANY relevance to "speaking out on political issues"?!

It's completely irrelevant! There's quite a difference between a sociopath killing people and some guy ranting at a Q&A.

As for, "the best way for campus police to react to students speaking out on political issues"? They should stay the hell out of it.
posted by knapah at 9:50 AM on September 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


"In a post-VA massacre world".... what the fuck!

The VA massacre killer would not have been waiting in line to stand up in a public forum in front of thousands of eyes and ask a question. That takes some level of social comfort. Correct me if I'm wrong, but that doesn't seem like the serial killer type. Scaremongering.

Also, "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."

I didn't see him sarcastically thank organizers for cutting off his microphone. I also didn't see officers approach him several times to wrap it up, I saw them approach him once, then grab him. The backstory is important: he probably sweet talked them into letting him stay for one question, then tried to ask three. That's a tazing.
posted by anthill at 9:51 AM on September 18, 2007


There definitely is more to this story, and everybody is jumping to conclusions based on what they see.

After all, who are you going to believe... the police or your own lying eyes?
posted by MegoSteve at 9:53 AM on September 18, 2007


i suppose this thread is what we get for letting assholes define our political controversies for us

some kid wants to play political martyr and get tased - and of course, he found some cops more than willing to play

it's drama, man - bad drama at that - a dumb kid asking a dumb senator dumb questions in a dumb way that's going to get him tased by a bunch of dumb cops so a bunch of dumb people will argue about it

how dumb
posted by pyramid termite at 9:54 AM on September 18, 2007 [3 favorites]


There definitely is more to this story, and everybody is jumping to conclusions based on what they see.

After all, who are you going to believe... the police or your own lying eyes?

Wow, that does sound stupid. I meant based only on the part shown. It would be nice to have video from the entire Q&A, but that doesn't exist.
posted by C17H19NO3 at 9:55 AM on September 18, 2007


Friends are rallying support for Andrew Meyer at this website and at Facebook.
posted by ericb at 10:02 AM on September 18, 2007


I don't think that any one, except the kid being held without bail, is going to be prosecuted. (Yes, he's still be held...

According to The Associated Press: "Andrew Meyer, 21, spent a night in jail before his release Tuesday morning. His attorney, Robert Griscti, did not return messages seeking comment."
posted by ericb at 10:06 AM on September 18, 2007


MSNBC is just now reporting that the officers involved have been placed on 'administrative leave' and that the University is forming a council/committee comprised of students, faculty and administrators to conduct an internal investigation of the incident.
posted by ericb at 10:15 AM on September 18, 2007


Good. At the very least they need to be thinking of formalising the situations in which a taser can be legitimately used. Just looked at the CNN video, and there is an officer clearly grinning away while the kid he's pinning to the ground is screaming.
posted by Happy Dave at 10:17 AM on September 18, 2007


Observation from Andrew Meyer's webpage:
A college party in a backyard filled with 100 strangers and three kegs should be the most ridiculous and free environment imaginable. People should be pushing boundaries, exploring themselves and their surroundings, talking and laughing and enjoying life. The last college party I went to looked like this: The backyard was covered with guys wearing the same collared shirt with similar colors in the same pattern. The girls were seated in little groups, waiting for the guys to approach and attempt to gain entry to the vagina. There are two tables of the ubiquitous college drinking game, beer pong, a game that neither involves anyone other than the 4 players nor stimulates conversation around it other than, “Yeah! Great shot!” or “Aw shit, I missed!”
He may be awkward, he may have some pretty ridiculous ideas, but he has a sense of humor, at least. That's a tazing.
posted by anthill at 10:18 AM on September 18, 2007


Kerry has released a statement:
"In 37 years of public appearances, through wars, protests and highly emotional events, I have never had a dialogue end this way. I believe I could have handled the situation without interruption, but again I do not know what warnings or other exchanges transpired between the young man and the police prior to his barging to the front of the line and their intervention. I asked the police to allow me to answer the question and was in the process of answering him when he was taken into custody. I was not aware that a Taser was used until after I left the building. I hope that neither the student nor any of the police were injured. I regret enormously that a good healthy discussion was interrupted."
posted by ericb at 10:18 AM on September 18, 2007


"...[a] student witness said after Meyer was taken out of the auditorium, he asked why he was being arrested and the police told him for inciting a riot.

'My opinion is that this student didn't incite a riot. Everyone stayed in their seats and everyone was calm while this was happening. When people started getting upset and aggressive is when the police officers started using excessive force by Tasing him, throwing him on the ground, stuff like that. That's when people got out of their seats. That's when what could be considered a small riot started. Andrew didn't instigate a riot. The police officers instigated it,' the student said."*

And, as we all know now, no formal charge of 'inciting a riot' has been filed against Meyer.
posted by ericb at 10:22 AM on September 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


ericb writes "Last evening Meyer was charged with a third-degree felony for resisting arrest with violence..."

Cops must hate it when resisting arrest is the only charge that sticks. A defacto admission that they had no reason for arrest in the first place.
posted by Mitheral at 10:23 AM on September 18, 2007 [3 favorites]


@anthill - I wouldn't worry too much about that article. This may be picking at nits, but it's one of the least journalistic pieces posted here so far (And, yes, I know it's the Washington Post). In that same passage it presents the student's statements as a "diatribe" and devalues anything he might have actually said by attributing it to a leftist conspiracy rant. It presumes sarcasm (instead of quoting him directly) and implies that he was in some way threatening.

Just more spin journalism from the right. Pathetic since the vocal left is already up and arms at Kerry's inaction... Spinning that with a conservative bias is just overkill. ;)
posted by softriver at 10:24 AM on September 18, 2007


The tasering is inexcusable. There were four or five cops and the had him pinned down.

I didn't see him sarcastically thank organizers for cutting off his microphone.

This video shows him asking his series of questions and sarcastically thanking the organizers for cutting off his microphone.
posted by kirkaracha at 10:26 AM on September 18, 2007


I dislike puffed up idiots, over-reaching cops and John Kerry, so this taser/impending lawsuit/popularity collapse-fest is pretty much awesome all round.
posted by Artw at 10:31 AM on September 18, 2007


Thanks kirkaracha, that video is from a much better angle. The mic cutting and the cop grabbing is pretty much simultaneous.
posted by anthill at 10:34 AM on September 18, 2007


Just more spin journalism from the right.

Alert your local action group - the Washington Post's off/Beat columnist is actively promoting the Right Wing agenda.

More simply, and less sarcastically, could it be that one can be a liberal and still think this kid is a bell end who was spouting nonsense?
posted by SweetJesus at 10:35 AM on September 18, 2007


"Everyone stayed in their seats" .. and the video shows that this was not the case. Nobody rioted, but several people did jump right up and start going for that sweet footage to slap up on YouTube...
posted by drstein at 10:45 AM on September 18, 2007


Also, from an eye witness account from that conservative rag The Daily Kos -
"I was at the Kerry speech today, sitting 2 rows away from all the action. I'll let you know how it really went down.

The forum was going to be over at 2 pm, and Kerry spoke for so long that the Q and A portion had to be shortened. He only got through about 7 of the 50 people who were waiting to ask questions. While the final question was being read, some douchebag ran down the aisle, grabbed the mic from the other side of the room, interrupted the kid who was talking, and started yelling at Kerry, demanding that his questions be heard. He started ranting about how Kerry talks in circles or something, and everyone was getting annoyed. The cops are all over him in no time and try to escort him out, but he starts yelling and resisting. Kerry insists that they let him stay and even agrees to answer his question.

After the interrupted guy's question was answered, Kerry keeps his promise and lets the angry guy talk. This is the point where people started taking their cameras and phones out. All the videos floating around youtube start around here. You can see in the videos that his questioning gets kind of inappropriate, so somebody cut his mic. Instead of shutting up, he starts yelling and making an even bigger scene. He struggled all the way up the aisle, and started violently trying to free himself. They threatened to taze him and he wouldnt stop fighting, so he got tazed. They only had to arrest him because he was causing a disruption and wouldn't leave peacefully. He wasn't being silenced for asking tough questions, trust me."
What a fucking tosser.
posted by SweetJesus at 10:45 AM on September 18, 2007 [3 favorites]


How was anything the kid said wrong? He was asking some questions about Kerry's response to the basic state of American democratic apparatuses. Isn't that one of the paramount questions for citizens in a democracy to pose?

Sure he was a little ranty, but fuck, that's what impassioned questions sound like. Sure he was a nervous and hyper, but he was asking questions to a person of high-power, surrounded by cops. Anyone asking similar questions in that situation would sound the same. Someone with more experience at a mic would have been a little more concise, but only maybe.

I've chaired large meetings, I've moderated meetings, and forums. Someone ranting and going over by a minute happens a lot and is why the moderator is there. Any meeting or forum with purpose is tense (way more than what was seen), people yell and are passionate. That's the way people act when they're asking questions that are important.

Fuck, if I was moderating that meeting, that wouldn't even breach the mark into a hostile questioner (which would still be fine). Politicians need to get taken to task, this is one of the reasons why they're not.

The fact that the cops were there I guess is explained by Kerry being there. But any intrusion into the forum was ridiculous.

apparatuses seriously, that's the plural?
posted by dr. moot at 10:49 AM on September 18, 2007


He should've handled it Reagan-style.
posted by kirkaracha at 10:49 AM on September 18, 2007


What a fucking tosser.

Being a fucking tosser? Oh, you better believing that's a tasering.

Major assholes, meanwhile, have been subject to extraordinary rendition - big time, preferably to Syrian prisons - since 2000.

And total wankers, of course, will be summarily executed.
posted by gompa at 10:55 AM on September 18, 2007



More simply, and less sarcastically, could it be that one can be a liberal and still think this kid is a bell end who was spouting nonsense?


@SJ - Sure. In fact, I completely support your right to think whatever you want about the jackass in the video, so long as you'll concede that I'm allowed to discuss how distasteful op-ed pieces published with a journalistic facade are to my delicate academic sensibilities... (Looks to make sure no taser wielding rent-a-cops are nearby)
posted by softriver at 10:57 AM on September 18, 2007


Also, from an eye witness account from...
SweetJesus at 1:45 PM


That does make him into an ass that thinks his point is more valuble than the rest of the room, but that is how forums work. Some guy running around making sure he is heard happens all the time. It's actually a pretty used tactic if your being shut out, or if the topic/meeting ends. Either they get heard, or dealt with by the mod, generally whichever is the quickest. This isn't the first time this has happened to Kerry, hell he's most likely used a tactic like this to get a point across when he was younger.

In no way does it mean that cops should be arresting him for being excited in a forum.
posted by dr. moot at 11:02 AM on September 18, 2007


Fox News Anchor: 'Officers should be commended' for tasering student.
posted by ericb at 11:11 AM on September 18, 2007


In no way does it mean that cops should be arresting him for being excited in a forum.

So how does one deal with a situation where a person refuses to yield? Does everyone just get up and go home? Do you ask nicely, and then when it's ignored, simply ask nicely again? Why is this kid's right to speak to John Kerry more valuable than the rest of the kids in the class, especially those who choose to follow the rules? If the squeaky wheel gets all the attention, then why bother waiting in line at all? Why even have rules if they're OK to break because you feel what you have to say is really important? That's anarchy.

The cops shouldn't have tasered him, but they should have drug him out. He acted like a petulant child throwing a tantrum, and showed that he had zero respect for the time of his fellow classmates.

Total tosser...
posted by SweetJesus at 11:13 AM on September 18, 2007


It shouldn't be a crime to kill police officers.
posted by quarter waters and a bag of chips at 11:13 AM on September 18, 2007


U.F. President Machen statement related to the incident.


FYI: The University of Florida has scheduled a news conference to discuss the incident at 3 pm ET today.
posted by ericb at 11:15 AM on September 18, 2007


It shouldn't be a crime to kill police officers.

What about their spouses? Assorted friends and family?
posted by SweetJesus at 11:16 AM on September 18, 2007


[I transcribed his remarks based on the video I linked to earlier]
Meyer: First of all, I want to thank you for your time. You've spent a lot of time talking to us today and I want to thank you for being open and honest. Uh, you recommended a book to us earlier, I wanted to recommend a book to you, it called Armed Madhouse, by Greg Palast--

Kerry: I have it, actually.

Meyer: --yeah, he's the top investigative journalist in America--

Kerry: I've already read it.

Meyer: --and he says you won the 2004 election! Isn't that amazing? Isn't that amazing? You won in 2004. In fact, there were multiple reports on the day of the election of disenfranchisement of black voters in Florida and Ohio--

Cop: [something like "ask your question"]

Meyer to the cop: I'll ask my question, thank you very much. I'm gonna ask my question, I'm gonna preface it. He's been talking for two hours, I think I can have two minutes. Thank you, thank you, thank you very much.

Kerry: [something like "Do you have a question?"]

Meyer: I'm gonna ask you my question. I'm gonna inform people, and then I'm gonna ask my question. So there are multiple reports of disenfranchisement of black voters on the day of the election in 2004.

Kerry: Right.

Meyer: There is also voting machines, electronic voting machines, in Volusia County, Florida, that counted backwards. So amidst all these reports of phony, bogus stuff going on, how could you concede the election on the day? How could you concede the 2004 election on the day? And this book--it says there were over five million votes that were suppressed and you won the election. Didn't you want to be president? And I'm not even done yet, I have two more questions. If you are so against Iran, how come you aren't saying "Let's impeach Bush now. Impeach Bush now before he can invade Iran. Why don't we impeach him? Impeach Bush. Clinton was impeached--for what, a blowjob?--why don't we impeach Bush?" Alright? Also, are you a member--were you a member of Skull and Bones in college with Bush? Were you in the same secret society as Bush? Were you in Skull and Bones? [Microphone gets cuts off.] Thank you for cutting my mic, thank you.
They let him talk for a while, and there isn't any sign he's going to stop and actually let Kerry answer one of his questions. Then the cops start escorting him out and he immediately tries to break away and starts swearing and yelling "Help, help, I'm being oppressed!" Now we all see the violence inherent in the system.
posted by kirkaracha at 11:17 AM on September 18, 2007


The University of Florida has scheduled a news conference to discuss the incident at 3 pm ET today.

Actually, 2 pm ET -- happening now. Seeing if I can find live video link online.
posted by ericb at 11:22 AM on September 18, 2007


SweetJesus: "So how does one deal with a situation where a person refuses to yield? Does everyone just get up and go home? Do you ask nicely, and then when it's ignored, simply ask nicely again?"

There's 300 people in that crowd. You boo the guy, and he looks upset, and you boo him some more, and he leaves.
posted by anthill at 11:41 AM on September 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


CNN segment on the incident.
posted by ericb at 11:41 AM on September 18, 2007


Interestingly, in a situation like this, where the cops had the guy fully under control, if they knew what they were doing they could have had him screaming even louder with a few tweaks to his pinky finger. Old wrestling/martial arts/cop trick.

If they had used some joint manipulation tricks, the effect would have been pretty much the same (lots of howling and crying) but none of us would be worked up over it. It's the taser, really, that's the center of attention.
posted by anthill at 11:44 AM on September 18, 2007


There's 300 people in that crowd. You boo the guy, and he looks upset, and you boo him some more, and he leaves.

Something tells me that guy wouldn't care one iota what other people think. He strikes me as the type of guy who would mistake people's dissatisfaction with his behaviour as a sign he's doing something right on his quixotic campaign to inform the uninformed. He seems to me to be one of many newly awakened, poorly versed, over-eager political neophytes that pass for activists these days.
posted by SweetJesus at 11:50 AM on September 18, 2007


Threads like this serve as an excellent reminder that even seemingly sane, reasonable people can be ravening fascist assholes when given the opportunity to see someone who forgets his place beaten down.
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:53 AM on September 18, 2007 [3 favorites]


In America, they came first for the assholes;
And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t an asshole;

And then they came for the douchebags;
And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a douchebag;

And then they came for the wankers;
And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a wanker;

And then they came for me . . .
And by that time there was no one left to snark but me.
posted by jonp72 at 11:54 AM on September 18, 2007 [2 favorites]


I think that's a lot of assumptions to make, Sweetjesus. I agree that he's poorly versed, overeager, and probably believes conspiracy theories.

But I think it's a lot to assume that he doesn't care one iota what the crowd thinks. Kerry, sure, if Kerry didn't answer, it'd be 'denial of the truth'. And if the cops drag him away, it's 'the violence inherent in the system'. But if a room full of people booed him?
posted by anthill at 11:54 AM on September 18, 2007


But I think it's a lot to assume that he doesn't care one iota what the crowd thinks

I think he demonstrated his lack of thought by barging in and grabbing the microphone out of the hand of someone who stood in line to ask a question. The crowd was half cheering when he was being lead out, so one would think he would realize that most of the students were not "with" him, so to speak.

But he didn't and here we are...
posted by SweetJesus at 12:03 PM on September 18, 2007


So how does one deal with a situation where a person refuses to yield? Does everyone just get up and go home? Do you ask nicely, and then when it's ignored, simply ask nicely again? Why is this kid's right to speak to John Kerry more valuable than the rest of the kids in the class, especially those who choose to follow the rules? If the squeaky wheel gets all the attention, then why bother waiting in line at all? Why even have rules if they're OK to break because you feel what you have to say is really important? That's anarchy.


Yeah it sucks to deal with this in a meeting/forum, but the solution in no way is to taser him, or to involve police in any way.

There isn't a hard and fast rule of what to do. Sometimes you answer the question, sometimes you move on, sometimes you cut the mic. You ask nicely, then not nicely. People get tired of not being listened to really quickly, and rooms full of people actively don't listen to a guy with a cut off mic. You do whatever seems the most effective way to move on. It takes longer than 5 seconds to deal with someone though.

Note: the first time he was dealt with was to listen to his question. He was on a bit of a tirade sure, but that isn't a crime, and it's how a lot of people ask questions at forums.

Then they cut his mic, which is common for longer questions. Kerry was going to answer. Done. Question gets answered, kid goes home. it was dealt with before the arrest.

The cops stepping in simply escalated the situation until they tasered him. They had no role in facilitating a forum. If they did, I would get very afraid at the sheer power of the police. I'm actually kinda surprised that the use of police power to silence a question to a political figure isn't a crime in itself, regardless if the question rambled.

Yeah, the kid was asserting himself over his peers. Which sucked. And yeah the squeaky wheels do get more attention, that's why they're fucking annoying, and why they squeak. People don't follow the rules all the time. Simple little social rules like wait your turn get tossed aside at forums all the time. And also in congress, houses of parliament, legislatures, city halls, etc.

Seriously, That's anarchy? Yeah dude, that is totally what anarchy looks like. People not waiting their turn in public meetings. I guess it's too late now though, people haven't been very good at waiting since we started to speak, looks like we're anarchists. Better get used to it.

Have you ever been to a public forum? One with anything important to talk about? This happens, it isn't anarchy, it's part of the messy way that democracy works.
posted by dr. moot at 12:07 PM on September 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


Niiiiice. More fantastic press for the "Gator Nation."
(link goes to PDF of hideous ad. Can anyone tell me, are Harper's subscribers all over the country subjected to this thing, or is it confined to the southeast? [please say it's the latter])
posted by Don Pepino at 12:11 PM on September 18, 2007


I'd like to see Kerry take more personal responsibility for the training of the security forces that will be employed at his public events. He really dropped the ball there.

Failing that, I'd like to see Kerry show some spine, call off his hired goons and settle things up with hecklers mano a mano. Give 'em a little taste of Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, Justice, and the American Way! It would help if he developed super-vision so he could see what is happening to someone surrounded by cops on dimly lit auditorium floor. And maybe some sort of "Kerry-Sense" that would alert him before a taser is fired.

But maybe I expect too much from our elected officials.

But seriously, it'd be great if Kerry picked up a little of that student's oratory style.
posted by hydrophonic at 12:14 PM on September 18, 2007


This video depicts exactly why John Kerry isn't president today. He shows no balls, keeps droning on and even tries to make a shitty joke while the cops are pummeling the kid.

Of all the "major" politicians today, probably only Bush and Obama would have the nerve to stop such an incident. That's kind of sad.
posted by b_thinky at 12:17 PM on September 18, 2007


Seriously, That's anarchy? Yeah dude, that is totally what anarchy looks like. People not waiting their turn in public meetings. I guess it's too late now though, people haven't been very good at waiting since we started to speak, looks like we're anarchists. Better get used to it.

That specific situation is not anarchy, true. I don't think I made that claim. I was speaking to the broader issue - if I extrapolate out the eventual consequences of your line of reasoning, I get anarchy. If no one has to follow the rules because they all believe their pet cause is above the rules, we all end up with an anachronistic society.

Again, he wasn't tasered because of the content of his speech. He was tasered because he was resisting arrest after they spend an inordinate amount of time attempting to get him to quite simply yield the floor.
posted by SweetJesus at 12:20 PM on September 18, 2007


I don't think anyone's actively arguing that he was tasered because of the content of his speech, SweetJesus.
posted by anthill at 12:24 PM on September 18, 2007


I don't think anyone's actively arguing that he was tasered because of the content of his speech, SweetJesus.

You're not, but re-reading over the comments posted I get the feeling that there are a number of people who are, or did.
posted by SweetJesus at 12:27 PM on September 18, 2007


It occurs to me that breaking someone's arm is non-lethal; in fact, it is probably considerably safer then the Taser. Considering the guy was a jerk and all, I expect it would be ok with quite a few here if the cops broke one of his arms. It is non-lethal after all, and certainly would encourage compliance.
posted by Bovine Love at 12:30 PM on September 18, 2007


Banky_Edwards: here's a book by a professional that seems to know a little more about the subject than you.
Under the common law rule, the crime of resisting arrest requires that the arrest be lawful. A person being arrested has the right to resist an unlawful arrest.
And although in modern pushover times you're not really supposed to use force to resist, there's an exception to that if the arrestor uses excessive force. It seems that argument is being made here.

The author does go on to say that there is a trend away from the common law rule. I think this is a bad idea, just like many other "trends" away from liberty and toward sweeping police power.

But the fact remains that unless this jurisdiction has explicitly and lawfully overridden common law, the individual does in fact have the right to resist illegal arrest. In fact the bystanders have the right to arrest the cops for behaving illegally.

Everyone else is hashing out whether the arrest was in fact illegal so I'll leave that alone.
posted by vsync at 12:32 PM on September 18, 2007 [2 favorites]


Meyer's columns from the school newspaper can be found via Google cache. Some of you will denounce him as a douchebag, and some will hail him as a courageous freethinker, so we should probably just enter that into the record right now and be done with it. But there they are for anyone who'd like to read them.
posted by rusty at 12:32 PM on September 18, 2007


If only being a horrible writer was punishable by a taser'n..

Time to lobby my congressman.
posted by SweetJesus at 12:41 PM on September 18, 2007


Actually, on the content of speech issue, I read somewhere that the kindergarten cops said they had to intervene because he used profanity in his rant, which I guess must mean he said "blowjob."

What confuses me is that campus cops get bent over behavior like this when the population they protect and serve is by definition all wired to behave exactly like this. This kid is 21 years old, of course he's acting like an idiot. A junior in journalism who knows everything and is driven to shout it to the skies. This is new and surprising? Were they all hired that morning?
posted by Don Pepino at 12:43 PM on September 18, 2007 [2 favorites]


Tom Nolan, criminal-justice professor at Boston University and 27-year veteran Boston police officer (patrol officer, sergeant, sergeant detective, and lieutenant):
“The deployment of an immobilizing, less-lethal weapon in an auditorium crowded with students to bring an unruly student (who was being arrested for a misdemeanor charge) under control, by no fewer than six police officers, is a shocking and dangerous breach of police protocol. Aside from the obvious fact that a university campus is no place for such weapons, and that campus police officers should not have such weapons at their disposal (and no, it would have done little good at Virginia Tech), this incident constitutes an outrageous display of overreaction brought about by inexperience and a complete lack of oversight and control. The cops were more out of control than the unruly student here and six cops should easily have been able to take this student into custody. Looks like another scandal for the U of F campus PD (remember the botched frat boy rape case of 1999)”*
posted by ericb at 12:47 PM on September 18, 2007 [3 favorites]


Under the common law rule, the crime of resisting arrest requires that the arrest be lawful. A person being arrested has the right to resist an unlawful arrest.

And although in modern pushover times you're not really supposed to use force to resist, there's an exception to that if the arrestor uses excessive force. It seems that argument is being made here.


The courts decide if an arrest is unlawful, not the individual being arrested. If that was the case, everybody would resist arrest. The reality is nobody admits that they are guilty. So if these people feel they are innocent, they must feel the arrest is unlawful. Does this justify resisting?
posted by C17H19NO3 at 12:47 PM on September 18, 2007


Also, Fox News informs us that "The taser device actually is a method by which you decrease the level of force..."

Awesome.
posted by rusty at 12:48 PM on September 18, 2007


I think the kid crossed over into the "yelling fire! in a crowded theater" area. Not that he would incite a riot
Then no, it was a different area entirely.
posted by vsync at 12:50 PM on September 18, 2007


So if these people feel they are innocent, they must feel the arrest is unlawful. Does this justify resisting?

Yes.
posted by poweredbybeard at 12:54 PM on September 18, 2007


So if these people feel they are innocent, they must feel the arrest is unlawful. Does this justify resisting?

So what you're saying is, as long as you feel you're innocent, then any arrest can be resisted? There is no such thing as a lawful arrest if both parties do not come to the same conclusion...

I invite you to try out that line of argument sometime...
posted by SweetJesus at 12:56 PM on September 18, 2007


morphine, it doesn't seem that strange to me, I don't think that vsync is arguing that the individual being arrested somehow overrules the court's judgement.

If the cops arrest you, and you feel you are innocent, you can resist arrest. I happens. Then you get hauled before the court, which decides if the arrest was lawful or not. If it was, you get two charges instead of one. What's so complicated?

If someone throws themselves on top of you to try and prevent you getting arrested, they'll likely get shitkicked by the cops as well. In theory, it all just piles up in front of the courts, in a pile of bruised and tasered people.

In practice, they let you go the next day with no charges filed, or very occasionally you dissapear, never to be seen again.
posted by anthill at 12:57 PM on September 18, 2007


He was tasered because he was resisting arrest after they spend an inordinate amount of time attempting to get him to quite simply yield the floor.

I refute the claim that they spent a inordinate amount of time getting him to yield the floor, and that police have any place arresting someone for this. Seriously, what is the time limit, 30 seconds over and you get tasered before the question is answered?

"I was speaking to the broader issue - if I extrapolate out" ..."believe their pet cause is above the rules, we all end up with an anachronistic society."

Grabbing bits of argument and taking them to their "logical conclusion" is great to set up a straw man or throw a red herring, but isn't necessarily constructive. Granted it's nice to hear "anarchism" as it generally ends up at "facisim".

I was trying to note that when large groups of people interact a lot of rules get tossed by some, and that this is common. As such anyone moderating, or answering the question who is worth their salt can deal with it effectively without having police taser someone for not committing a crime. And that it takes a little time, but the kid was being dealt with, without the police.
posted by dr. moot at 1:01 PM on September 18, 2007


The Gainesville Sun: Students protest Tasering.
posted by ericb at 1:02 PM on September 18, 2007


Heh. I want anyone upset at the lack of compassion for this guy to know that I find your outrage deeply amusing.
posted by Artw at 1:04 PM on September 18, 2007


anthill, I see what you are saying, but I play by slightly different rules:


§ 3017. Resisting arrest

(a) A person who intentionally attempts to prevent a lawful arrest on himself or herself, which is being effected or attempted by a law enforcement officer, when it would reasonably appear that the latter is a law enforcement officer, shall:

(1) for the first offense, be imprisoned not more than one year or fined not more than $500.00, or both;

(2) for the second offense and subsequent offenses, be imprisoned not more than two years or fined not more than $1,000.00, or both.

(b) A defendant's mistaken belief in the unlawfulness of the arrest shall not be a defense to a prosecution under this section.

(c) A person may not be convicted of both an escape from lawful custody, as defined in section 1501(a)(2) of this title, and a violation of this section. (Added 1995, No. 146 (Adj. Sess.), § 3.)



If this would have happened in my state, the conclusion would probably be the same.
posted by C17H19NO3 at 1:06 PM on September 18, 2007


So if these people feel they are innocent, they must feel the arrest is unlawful. Does this justify resisting?

Yes.


Yeah ... no.

You can be not guilty of any crime and still be lawfully arrested, if reasonable, probable cause exists. Go back and read the Fourth Amendment carefully.

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Whole lotta urban myths about police powers being tossed around here...
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 1:06 PM on September 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


From vsync's law find:
"Indirect interference or hindrance of an officer does not constitute resisiting arrest, no do mere flight, concealment, other avoidance or evasion of arrest, verbal objectivions, protests, or threats unaccompanied by force."

"A person threatened with an illegal arrest may not only resist the arrest but may use any force reasonably necessary for self-defence and prevention of impending injury. State vs. McGowan, 90 S.E.2d 703 (N.C. 1956). Because the impending injury resulting from an arrest is ordinarily only a brief unlawful detention, the degree of force a person may use is strictly imited. A person who uses more force than is reasonably necessary for the purpose may be guilty of an assault and battery on the arresting officer. Deadly force is rarely justified to resist an unlawful arrest, unless a person has reasonable grounds to fear death or serious bodily injury from an officer."
It then goes on to explain how this common law has been edited in some jurisdictions.
posted by anthill at 1:10 PM on September 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


I refute the claim that they spent a inordinate amount of time getting him to yield the floor, and that police have any place arresting someone for this. Seriously, what is the time limit, 30 seconds over and you get tasered before the question is answered?

Reading both the eye witness's account, newspaper accounts and watching the video myself, I believe they spent an inordinate amount of time attempting to get him to yield. The videos all begin late in the proceedings. We'll have to disagree on this point.

Grabbing bits of argument and taking them to their "logical conclusion" is great to set up a straw man or throw a red herring, but isn't necessarily constructive. Granted it's nice to hear "anarchism" as it generally ends up at "facisim".

I'm just saying that we all have to follow the rules if we want to live in a polite society. I have a problem with people who think what they have to say is so important that the rules don't apply to them. Call it a pet peeve. If he wants to rant at the world, he should get a blog.

He shouldn't have been tasered, but he should have been carried out of there kicking and screaming if he was so inclined to not act like an adult and just give it a rest
posted by SweetJesus at 1:12 PM on September 18, 2007


morphine, we're arguing at cross-purposes here... I'm not denying that if you get hauled in after resisting an arrest, and the court finds that you were legally arrested, that you'll get twice the citations and twice the fines (after having recieved eight times the beating). vsync's point was that if the cops don't have a reason to perform a lawful arrest, then resisting on its own is not a post-hoc cause to charge you, as phaedon brought up earlier.
posted by anthill at 1:15 PM on September 18, 2007


Sweetjesus, I'd have rather seen him booed out of there crying, but I'd settle for hauled out kicking and screaming, I guess.
posted by anthill at 1:17 PM on September 18, 2007


... after John answered his rambling 'question' that is.
posted by anthill at 1:18 PM on September 18, 2007


Sweetjesus, I'd have rather seen him booed out of there crying, but I'd settle for hauled out kicking and screaming, I guess.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not rooting for him to get his ass kicked, I'm just not upset or outraged that it happened. I can understand how the situation got to the point it did...
posted by SweetJesus at 1:25 PM on September 18, 2007


Anthill, you just cleared up your point for me. However, I fail to see how this applies in this case.
posted by C17H19NO3 at 1:28 PM on September 18, 2007


"There seems to be a large disconnect here between the people who seem things how they should be, and those who see them how they are." (Sweetjesus)

Do we have to merge the two?
posted by anthill at 1:30 PM on September 18, 2007


Do we have to merge the two?

No, that's like trying to mix oil and water.
posted by C17H19NO3 at 1:31 PM on September 18, 2007


I assumed it was the campus event organizers who cut off the microphone, but according to this article:
"A university spokesman said campus police cut the microphone and removed Meyer because he had overstayed his allotted time to question the senator. Kerry, the 2004 Democratic presidential nominee, can be heard telling the audience that he would answer Meyer's 'very important question.'"
posted by ericb at 1:35 PM on September 18, 2007


If they had used some joint manipulation tricks, the effect would have been pretty much the same (lots of howling and crying) but none of us would be worked up over it. It's the taser, really, that's the center of attention.

Yes, it's the taser. Joint manipulation and tasering are not on the same scale. Not even close. Joint manipulation is variable in force, where the manipulator is in control and the force can cause the target to move in a chosen way. Tasering is all-or-none and causes loss of controlled movement, plus some very severe side-effects. The only thing to be said for tasering over joint manipulation is that the latter may not work on people who are drugged up or otherwise highly unresponsive to pain.
posted by zennie at 1:41 PM on September 18, 2007


Slideshow of the incident.

The book he's holding...is Greg Palast's Armed Madhouse...

Greg Palast comments on the incident at his website.
posted by ericb at 1:41 PM on September 18, 2007


Wow, what a douche Palast is, making it all about how "dangerous" his book is. I really don't think the guy got tasered because of the book. Kerry had already said he'd already read it!
posted by OmieWise at 1:47 PM on September 18, 2007


Britain's Channel 4:
"Was the student who tried to interrupt ex-US presidential candidate John Kerry pursuing an unnerving line of questioning?

...So did Meyer really ask too many questions? Or were they the wrong sort?

Meyer resurrected an old conspircay theory, that Kerry's and Bush's shared membership of a secret society, an occult order called Skull and Bones, led him to concede the 2004 election too early.

Rumour has it bonesmen meet amongst the dead, twice a week in the 'bones tomb'. It's America's oldest secret society and its members go on to form the elite of the business, political and intelligence establishmnent.

The Masonic-inspired order is based at Yale University. New members have been forced to kiss skulls at initiation and a favourite passtime amongst this elite fraternity is grave robbing.

Its alumni have included leaders of institutions ranging from Wall Street to the White House. But it's not just Kerry who's reluctant to talk about it. George Bush also reveals very little when questioned.

But was the whole episode on campus a stunt? Meyer's website shows he is certainly not adverse to a bit of publicity. He even attempted to ruin the ending of Harry Potter.

Meyer's grandmother simply says he was always passionate while those more cynical about Skull and Bones think he may be on to something.

And if you are thinking of shaking up the British political establishment possibly at next week's Labour Party conference, don't worry - the stewards there don't carry tasers."
posted by ericb at 1:47 PM on September 18, 2007


Wow, what a douche Palast is, making it all about how "dangerous" his book is.

I think he is speaking "tongue-in-cheek' and riffing on how the Washington Post referred to the book in Meyer's hand: "The Washington Post reported only that Meyers was holding a 'mysterious yellow book.' VERY mysterious....I must admit I feel some appreciation for Meyers, especially because, even while he was being shot with untold amps of electricity, until he was handcuffed, he would not let go of his mysterious yellow book."
posted by ericb at 1:50 PM on September 18, 2007


Oh, I only read the first part of his post and it seemed more serious to me.
posted by OmieWise at 1:56 PM on September 18, 2007


What's funny to me is that SweetJesus is accusing Meyer of trying to monopolize the microphone at the Kerry event, but SJ has posted to this thread ~20 times and seems to be monopolizing the conversation here..
posted by MegoSteve at 2:05 PM on September 18, 2007


ACLU: Incident Should Have Been Avoided

The American Civil Liberties Union of Florida has released a statement condemning the use of a Taser gun in the arrest of University of Florida student Andrew Meyer on campus Monday.

Executive Director Howard Simon said aside from the possible use of excessive force, the response of the University Police Department "squandered the free speech rights of both Kerry and Meyer."

Simon said people have a reasonable expectation to ask questions in a public setting, and Sen. John Kerry had a reasonable expectation to be able to answer those questions.

"That is free speech, plain and simple," he said.

UF Identifies Two Officers Placed on Leave

The University of Florida identified two officers placed on administrative leave with pay after a student was shot with a Taser and arrested during a speech Monday by U.S. Sen. John Kerry.

Sgt. Eddie King and Officer Nicole Mallo have been placed on leave, said UF spokesman Steve Orlando Tuesday afternoon.

The two officers were identified as the supervising officer who had ordered that the Taser be used and the officer who used it. . . .

UF Police Chief Linda Stump has requested that the Florida Department of Law Enforcement conduct the formal investigation into Meyer's arrest. The officers' suspension is pending the outcome of the investigation.

The university also is planning to assemble a panel of faculty and students to review police protocols, management practices and the FDLE report and come up with recommendations for the university.
posted by gum at 2:08 PM on September 18, 2007


I'm totally going to be Andrew Meyer for Halloween.
posted by racist dunk-tank clown at 2:13 PM on September 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


Love the Palast reaction for its breathlessness and hyperbole...

I must admit I feel some appreciation for Meyers, especially because, even while he was being shot with untold amps of electricity, until he was handcuffed, he would not let go of his mysterious yellow book, ‘Armed Madhouse.’

Hmm...

* Tasers and stun guns have high voltages, not amperages, which results in pain, not death.

* Untold amps? It's a handheld weapon, so we're talking about AA Duracell batteries.

* High voltages cause muscle spasms, not contractions. The fact that he held onto the book says more about a lack of effect than anything else.

Which doesn't mean I want anyone to be tasered, or that taser-ing isn't painful, or that I'll volunteer to take the shot. It's the breathless reporting that just kills me ... He! Wouldn't! Let! Go! Of! My! Book!

Which! You! Can! Buy! Right! Here! Via! This! Link! To! Amazon!
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 2:13 PM on September 18, 2007



What's funny to me is that SweetJesus is accusing Meyer of trying to monopolize the microphone at the Kerry event, but SJ has posted to this thread ~20 times and seems to be monopolizing the conversation here


So far as I know, no one has asked me repeatedly to shut up and pass the mic.
posted by SweetJesus at 2:16 PM on September 18, 2007


Now that Kerry's issued his statement on the affair, I'd like to hear him respond to the questions.
posted by Mach3avelli at 2:20 PM on September 18, 2007



If they had used some joint manipulation tricks, the effect would have been pretty much the same (lots of howling and crying) but none of us would be worked up over it. It's the taser, really, that's the center of attention.


I've trained in a self-defense course with cops who applied some of the joint manipulations to me that they would use to get a struggling perp to submit and comply. I've also shocked myself with a stun gun what was lower powered than the Taser to see what it felt like. The stun gun was MUCH worse.
posted by TungstenChef at 2:22 PM on September 18, 2007


Maybe you didn't hear them over your yelling. That's a taserin'
posted by Big_B at 2:23 PM on September 18, 2007


In related news: NYPD Veteran Says Cops Beat, 'Tasered' Teen Son at Barbecue.
posted by ericb at 3:47 PM on September 18, 2007


CBS2 | NYC video on 'NYPD Veteran Son' taser incident.
posted by ericb at 3:51 PM on September 18, 2007


Here's what Kerry says, in this article:

"Whatever happened, the police had a reason, had made their decision that there was something they needed to do. Then it's a law enforcement issue, not mine," he told The Associated Press in Washington.

Damn, I can't believe Kerry is so obtuse. A kid being tortured in Kerry's presence, after exceeding his allotted time to ask a question, is a "law enforcement issue."

That statement, with haiku-like concision, expresses an idiocy that should be in Bartlett's Quotations:
WHATEVER HAPPENED,
THE POLICE HAD A REASON,
HAD MADE THEIR DECISION.


Is that a sentiment worthy of a celebrated sixties activist?

Everyone who says that there's "more to the story," that the kid had been obnoxious prior to the video camera rolling, ignores something that is manifest: the fact that the kid was allowed to ask his question contradicts any assertion that his prior behavior was particularly inappropriate. This idea that the kid had been so obnoxious prior to asking his question, that he deserved to be tasered for exceeding the time limit, is absurd.
posted by jayder at 3:54 PM on September 18, 2007 [2 favorites]


Meyer: There is also voting machines, electronic voting machines, in Volusia County, Florida, that counted backwards. So amidst all these reports of phony, bogus stuff going on, how could you concede the election on the day? How could you concede the 2004 election on the day? And this book--it says there were over five million votes that were suppressed and you won the election. Didn't you want to be president? And I'm not even done yet, I have two more questions. If you are so against Iran, how come you aren't saying "Let's impeach Bush now. Impeach Bush now before he can invade Iran. Why don't we impeach him? Impeach Bush. Clinton was impeached--for what, a blowjob?--why don't we impeach Bush?" Alright? Also, are you a member--were you a member of Skull and Bones in college with Bush? Were you in the same secret society as Bush? Were you in Skull and Bones? [Microphone gets cuts off.] Thank you for cutting my mic, thank you.
1) He asks for two minutes. I hear he took 1:30. Does that include the time taken by those interrupting to ask what his question is?
2) He says he's going to ask two questions, then does (impeachment and skull and bones).

For "ranting" or "hogging the mike" his question seems awfully self-contained.

People have always gone slightly overtime on questions. Didn't George H.W. Bush go overtime in his debate with Dukakis in 1988? Come on, give me five [seconds]... maybe he should have been tasered?

I passed over the headline on this one, but once I saw the video I became furious.
posted by Schmucko at 4:48 PM on September 18, 2007


posted by jayder This idea that the kid had been so obnoxious prior to asking his question, that he deserved to be tasered for exceeding the time limit, is absurd.

He wasn't tasered because he exceeded the time limit. He was tasered because he became combative and refused to follow the orders the cops were giving him.
posted by fandango_matt at 5:21 PM on September 18, 2007


He wasn't tasered because he exceeded the time limit. He was tasered because he became combative and refused to follow the orders the cops were giving him.

But he was on the ground and under the control of five or six officers when he was tased --- what was the order that he was not following? Was not shutting up, and asking for an explanation of his offense, a tasable offense?

What was accomplished by tasing, that could not have been accomplished by dragging him out of the auditorium?
posted by jayder at 5:57 PM on September 18, 2007


This is unacceptable behavior and totally sickening. Tasers need to be banned. Period.
posted by Skygazer at 5:59 PM on September 18, 2007 [2 favorites]


He was tasered because he was resisting arrest

He was tasered because he became combative and refused to follow the orders the cops were giving him.


This seems to be a trend when I see police abuse. Namely, that just by the police continually saying "STOP RESISTING" or "STOP TALKING BACK" whatever the victim is doing at the time becomes resisting or talking back.

In this case, the kid was down on the floor, not fighting, not running. The worst he was doing was shouting. But because the police are shouting "STOP RESISTING OR YOU WILL BE TASED" he's resisting and he needs to be tased.

In another case, the guy gets accused of talking back. At worst, towards the beginning he asks a few variations on "Am I in trouble? Am I doing anything wrong?" that you could maybe interpret as "backtalk" but as soon as the cop gets (in my opinion) unreasonably angry it's all "Yes, sir, no sir, three bags full sir," and the cop keeps escalating (luckily only verbally in this case) & accusing the guy of talking back or having an attitude.

Basically, the kid was tased because these douchebags wanted to hurt him.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 6:04 PM on September 18, 2007 [2 favorites]


As someone who for a while considered joining the NYPD. (illness intervened and when I had recovered I was over the age limit) I find both the video and this thread depressing and disturbing.

These ar 'campus police,' not actual street cops, though. I'd imagine they aren't trained as thoroughly, but I guess that would differ from place to place. I've been a particpant in protests in New York and for the most part the cops were professional, even genial. I remember at the protest at the convention, some over enthuiastic kid climbed a lamppost and started shouting. A cop watching merely gave him a look and waved his hat in a downward motion. The kid got down. That's how you handle situations like this if possible.

I don't excuse brutality or corruption among law enforcement by any means, but in some ways it may be symptomatic of the job. Police officers in urban areas see a lot of ugly and unpleasant things and have to perform dangerous tasks for a largely, ungrateful even hostile public. I can see how that might get to someone. But hey, as a lot of you, are saying even the good ones are bad, right?
posted by jonmc at 6:09 PM on September 18, 2007


Wow.
posted by sleepy pete at 6:24 PM on September 18, 2007


Slightly confused. Were these cops or rent-a-cops campus police? All the reports say "police" but in the video some of the patches on the officers look like they say "Campus Police."

And you don't HAVE to go with a cop UNLESS they say they are arresting you. And you have a right know why you are being arrested. Was he being placed under arrest? And were they telling him why? I couldn't hear what they were saying.

Doesn't matter. What law was he breaking? The law that says a cop can arrest you for anything they feel like?

Combative? He was not combative. He was agitated. But there was no threat presented. Not until five big physically intimidating dudes started man handling him did anything get physical.

And you know 99% of non-pussy type people tend go into fight or flight when presented with that kind of direct intimidation. What? Because they have badges your supposed to ignore every instinctual animal reaction you have to physical threats?

I'm sick of this myth that because cops have a badge it's some kind of talisman to automatic integrity. The only power cops have is what we LOAN them. Other than that it's the ILLUSION of integrity.

Sure. Maybe he was a nut. Whatever. He was hardly a problem in the sense of a physical threat.

They tased that guy becuase they are fucking lazy assholes. That's why. No conspiracy to silence the truth. They were not preempting anything. They were god damned lazy and poorly trained Florida cops. So. What else is new.

If five fat-ass cops can't drag some scrawny squishy punk 10 feet out the door then they should quit their their jobs. Jesus. I could do it by myself for fuck sake.

Pathetic.
posted by tkchrist at 6:24 PM on September 18, 2007 [2 favorites]


Idle thoughts:

There were two beefy cops on either side of the guy. Either one should have been able to handle him just fine.

I can understand the cops wanting to marshall their forces and present themselves as one overpowering unit, just in case. But it was just one hyperactive college kid.

Resisting arrest is bullshit charge. Most people, unless they've had prior training, will resist when others try to wrangle or hold them them down. It's human nature.

John Kerry, 'Nam vet, Senator and Presidential candidate should have hauled ass off the stage and come to the kids defense. His non action and mealymouthed statement after the incident show why he could not beat George Bush.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:29 PM on September 18, 2007


Oh, and I loved to hear the answers to the kid's questions.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:34 PM on September 18, 2007


ungrateful even hostile public

The hostility of the public is caused by some pretty obvious things that aren't so much the fault of bad cops as a fault of the system.

What is your likely significant encounter with a cop going to be?

Getting a speeding ticket, not as a safety measure, but as a revenue measure.
Getting beat down at a protest or a Kerry Q&A.
Getting in trouble for drinking underage or smoking dope.
An NYC-specific example, getting a ticket for sitting on a milkcrate outside your bodega, sitting on the subway steps because you're a tired pregnant woman, or drinking beer on the beach as a poor person rather than wine at the outdoor symphony as a rich person.
Getting a ticket for baggy pants, apparently.

Meanwhile, if someone broke into my apartment and robbed me blind the cops would probably take a report and say "tough shit, we can't really do much too busy writing speeding tickets and busting bars for selling beer to 20 year olds."

(I will note that, so far, from my understanding, they do at least still go after and generally catch murderers, and the FBI goes after kidnappers etc.)

Basically if cops were just going after thieves, violent criminals, murderers, rapists, etc. there wouldn't be so much hostility. But instead they're going after everyone for little crap that's not even wrong. And so maybe that leads to an increase in people who want to be cops being drawn not from the group of people that want to stop murder and rape, but from the group of people who want to bully protesters and so on.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 6:34 PM on September 18, 2007 [4 favorites]


I think he demonstrated his lack of thought by barging in and grabbing the microphone out of the hand of someone who stood in line to ask a question. The crowd was half cheering when he was being lead out, so one would think he would realize that most of the students were not "with" him, so to speak.

But he didn't and here we are...
posted by SweetJesus at 12:03 PM on September 18


yeah one time this guy cut in front of me at mcdonald's so i pulled out my samurai sword and fuckin decapitated him right there street justice bitch
posted by Optimus Chyme at 7:14 PM on September 18, 2007 [4 favorites]


Clarissa Jessup who was one of those to videotape the incident describes the events that led to Meyer being tasered.
posted by ericb at 7:51 PM on September 18, 2007


He was tasered because he became combative and refused to follow the orders the cops were giving him.

1. They are not cops.

2. Near as I can tell from the video footage, there were either four or five University security staffers holding him down, while he was being tasered by another.

3. I doubt very much he would have had much of a chance to be combative, even if he wanted, which is doubtful given his cries for help from witnesses.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:15 PM on September 18, 2007


1. They are not cops.

Why do you say this? My experience is that university police officers, especially at big universities, are commissioned police officers, not just security guards.
posted by jayder at 10:10 PM on September 18, 2007


Why do you say this?

Because they are not police officers.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:30 PM on September 18, 2007


So if these people feel they are innocent, they must feel the arrest is unlawful. Does this justify resisting?

Yes.

Yeah ... no.

You can be not guilty of any crime and still be lawfully arrested, if reasonable, probable cause exists. Go back and read the Fourth Amendment carefully.


Where did I indicate I was arguing legality? The question was if I believe I am innocent of a crime, does that justify resisting arrest?

I said it did.

I didn't say that would be a legal decision, I said it would be a just decision. I see no reason to think that legal necessarily equates with ethical. As a free individual I still reserve the right to personal ethical decisions. This, incidentally, is why police have handcuffs.

Would it be a smart decision to resist? Well, that's entirely context-specific, and is where pragmatism makes an appearance.
posted by poweredbybeard at 10:47 PM on September 18, 2007


Because they are not police officers.

Yes, they are.
posted by Snyder at 11:09 PM on September 18, 2007


Because they are not police officers.

Yes, they are. You are wrong.
posted by Snyder at 11:09 PM on September 18, 2007


oops
posted by Snyder at 11:10 PM on September 18, 2007


: Because they are not police officers.
The UFPD is a State and Nationally Accredited law enforcement agency established to provide the highest degree of safety and security possible for the University of Florida community. We currently employ 89 certified law enforcement officers that provide twenty-four hour per day patrol and protection of campus and local assets, enforcing all laws and ordinances.
So you mean to say they didn't send some of UF's finest to guard the Senator?
posted by zennie at 11:18 PM on September 18, 2007


So utterly bizarre that America has 'university cops'.
posted by dydecker at 4:42 AM on September 19, 2007


Taking Sides in a Tasing.
posted by ericb at 7:16 AM on September 19, 2007


Would it be a smart decision to resist? Well, that's entirely context-specific, and is where pragmatism makes an appearance.

I guess resisting arrest makes sense if they've got you dead to rights for murder of a cop and you're gonna get shot. If you haven't committed the crime or are being arrested for anything else, it makes no sense. The odds are 99-1 that you are going to get caught and get more thrown on. When the jury hears that you tried to evade arrest, they are going to think guilty immediately.

Here's how it works--we agree to follow the laws so that others do--if you want those people who want to murder you to refrain from doing so because they will get punished, you have to follow the resisting arrest statute.
posted by Ironmouth at 7:27 AM on September 19, 2007


Would it be a smart decision to resist? Well, that's entirely context-specific, and is where pragmatism makes an appearance.

I guess resisting arrest makes sense if they've got you dead to rights for murder of a cop and you're gonna get shot. If you haven't committed the crime or are being arrested for anything else, it makes no sense. The odds are 99-1 that you are going to get caught and get more thrown on. When the jury hears that you tried to evade arrest, they are going to think guilty immediately.

Here's how it works--we agree to follow the laws so that others do--if you want those people who want to murder you to refrain from doing so because they will get punished, you have to follow the resisting arrest statute.
posted by Ironmouth at 7:27 AM on September 19, 2007


Generally, most large universities have commissioned officers who can make arrests, blazecock. Here in D.C. they are commissioned under the D.C. code. In other states they will be commissioned under state codes.
posted by Ironmouth at 7:29 AM on September 19, 2007


dydecker writes "So utterly bizarre that America has 'university cops'"

It makes sense. Often the university is one of the largest if not the largest population centre in town. Plus it allows for more relevant policing as the university cops are only worrying about university stuff. The types of crimes that campus police deal with on campus are going to be different than what the non campus police handle.
posted by Mitheral at 7:40 AM on September 19, 2007


He wasn't tasered because of what he said, he was tasered because he refused to relinquish his spot after his time was up.

This reasoning falls apart completely when you realize he wasn't told his time was up except through an illegitimate arrest.

Actually a lot of cops do get tasered in their training, and pepersprayed.

Apparently these cops hadn't gotten the message. I fully support their being tasered until they do.

Personally, I commit lesser crimes and probably a number of misdemeanors every single day without doing anything morally wrong (and in fact, without ever having gotten in legal trouble), and I think the same is probably true of everyone in this thread.

Hell, I'm probably breaking the law by taking coffee on the subway in the morning in a container that's not sealed. I'm guessing that it's illegal to violate MTA rules, and the rules say no open containers of liquid. I think the police have better things to do here, though. (Like shooting unarmed men dozens of times.) If only they were cool like Jerry Orbach.

Also, a big part me of wishes the Gators' defensive line was sitting in the back row when this shit went down. Cool, collected, goal line formation.

If they'd tased the Gators' defensive line, they'd have all been fired on the spot, I bet. The Gators are good again this year, right?

I think the kid crossed over into the "yelling fire! in a crowded theater" area.

What?

Not that he would incite a riot, but his ridiculous rants had no place in that forum.

Oh, so not over into that area. Where's the clear and present danger?

Because he refused to comply with a police officer, and then resisted arrest. Is it that hard to understand?

Wait, he was arrested for resisting arrest?
What was he being arrested for that he resisted? Resisting arrest?
What was that arrest for? Resisting arrest?
Circular logic has no place in an intelligent discussion.

A defendant's mistaken belief in the unlawfulness of the arrest shall not be a defense to a prosecution under this section.

Well, if Meyer did so believe, he wasn't mistaken. I don't see where the problem is, C17H19NO3, unless you're just trying to be contrary.

In related news: NYPD Veteran Says Cops Beat, 'Tasered' Teen Son at Barbecue.

OK, maybe I should be worried about my coffee on the subway.

He was tasered because he became combative and refused to follow the orders the cops were giving him.

If subjected to unlawful arrest, I would be, at the very least, displeased.
posted by oaf at 7:47 AM on September 19, 2007 [2 favorites]


And as for my (boring) campus police, here's what they have had to report in the past week:
There were three entire periods of 24 hours where absolutely no crimes were reported. And yet we need actual commissioned police officers to deal with it.
posted by oaf at 7:55 AM on September 19, 2007


Because he refused to comply with a police officer, and then resisted arrest. Is it that hard to understand?

Wait, he was arrested for resisting arrest?
What was he being arrested for that he resisted? Resisting arrest?
What was that arrest for? Resisting arrest?
Circular logic has no place in an intelligent discussion.


Disobeying a police officer is a crime. Resisting arrest for disobeying a police officer is why he got tazed. No circular logic there.
posted by C17H19NO3 at 8:35 AM on September 19, 2007


Boston Globe:
"In the interview, Kerry, who said he was unable to see police use the Taser on the man from his position and did not know about it until he had left the university, declined to comment on the police's actions. 'I was trying not to have a riot started,' he said. 'I thought it was important to keep the place contained, I guess would be the best way to put it.'"
posted by ericb at 8:36 AM on September 19, 2007


From what I've seen, Campus police types are the last people, outside of sadists, you want to issue Tasers to. Most of these guys (and gals) didn't pass or couldn't get it together enough to take the police test, yet still retained a boner to be big ass scary cops. Around college kids. They're pathetic bitter sexually frustrated sh*theads, who drive around all day wishing they could get some of that sweet college "action", but they know the minute they make a move in that direction they're going to be bounced out so fast they won't know what hit them.

So, acting like buffoons and tasering the shit out of a harmless spoiled little college bitch kid with a loud mouth: this is like a campus rent-a-cop's wet dream. Now realized.

Regular Po-lice should NOT carry Tasers, except under very carefully proscribed conditions over viewed by executive officers. These clown Po-lice, should never carry Tasers.

A TAser is redundant when a baton can be used even more effectively to restrain and immobilize. It makes it so much easier to torture someone. And what happened to these kids at both UF and UCLA is clearly t-o-r-t-u-r-e.

Kerry needs to get off his ass NOW and make a stronger statment against this type of behavior and a review of campus police methods throughout the country should be instituted and Tasers, need to be forgotten like the nightmare they are....because if they aren't, this stuff is just going to continue and get worse and if I was one of these kids at UF or UCLA? I would find these motherfuckers who tortured me and burn their houses down or get a contract out on them so that someone broke every bone in their body.
posted by Skygazer at 8:43 AM on September 19, 2007


Campus police: The new TSA
posted by Artw at 8:49 AM on September 19, 2007


So utterly bizarre that America has 'university cops'.

dydecker, if you read up on the history of universities you will learn that America is hardly unique in having campus police. If I recall correctly, Oxford and Cambridge have had university police officers for hundreds of years that were invested with very broad powers against students --- dragging them out of pubs, watching out for inappropriate behavior while students were in town, issuing tickets for not returning to the college on time, etc.

So university police are hardly unique to the U.S.
posted by jayder at 9:20 AM on September 19, 2007


From "America is No More" by Paul Craig Roberts, a conservative commentator who formerly worked in the Reagan administration:
The question we should all ask is why did a United States Senator just stand there while Gestapo goons violated the constitutional rights of a student participating in a public event, brutalized him in full view of everyone, and then took him off to jail on phony charges?

Kerry’s meekness not only in the face of electoral fraud, not only in the face of Bush’s wars that are crimes under the Nuremberg standard, but also in the face of police goons trampling the constitutional rights of American citizens makes it completely clear that he was not fit to be president, and he is not fit to be a US senator.
posted by jayder at 9:31 AM on September 19, 2007 [2 favorites]


So university police are hardly unique to the U.S.

They may not be unique, but the concept is certainly more prevalent than in many other societies. Oxford University police was disbanded in 2003. Cambridge University police hand over all serious incidents to the Cambridgeshire police. The idea of having a university police force is simply unheard of in New Zealand and Australia. Which is why it would seem that having a police force in a school as a matter of course would seem a pretty sad state of affairs to many.
posted by dydecker at 9:49 AM on September 19, 2007


Disobeying a police officer is a crime.

Holy backflippin' hell.

I don't know what's worse- that you think this should be true, or that you think it actually is true.
posted by poweredbybeard at 9:55 AM on September 19, 2007 [2 favorites]


So utterly bizarre that America has 'university cops'.

There are many universities in the U.S. that have 30-to-50 thousand students, faculty and staff on campus on any given day. Wikipedia says the University of Florida has 35,000 undergraduate students alone.

In other words, they are small cities unto themselves. Regardless of how you feel about police, it makes sense to station police in and near areas where there are large amounts of people present.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 9:56 AM on September 19, 2007


Where did I indicate I was arguing legality? The question was if I believe I am innocent of a crime, does that justify resisting arrest?

And the answer is "no, not always," because clearly, you can be lawfully arrested for all sorts of reasons.

Hypothetical: A man breaks into your house. You shoot him in self-defense. The police show up. You will probably be lawfully arrested (or at the very least, prevented from leaving the scene) until the police and prosecutors can make some kind of determination about the nature of the case and the nature of the parties involved.

So, let's say you're a cop, and you enter a house with a dead body, a smoking gun and a homeowner that says, "Yeah, I shot him in self-defense. But I'm late for my flight to Paris, so I'm leaving right now. I believe I'm innocent, so you can't stop me."

Now, tell me you, the cop, wouldn't try to keep this person from leaving the scene.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 10:10 AM on September 19, 2007


I don't know what's worse- that you think this should be true, or that you think it actually is true.

One more time for the slow kids - Florida State Statute 843.02:
Chapter 843 OBSTRUCTING JUSTICE: Resisting officer without violence to his or her person.-- Whoever shall resist, obstruct, or oppose any officer as defined in s. 943.10(1), (2), (3), (6), (7), (8), or (9); member of the Parole Commission or any administrative aide or supervisor employed by the commission; county probation officer; parole and probation supervisor; personnel or representative of the Department of Law Enforcement; or other person legally authorized to execute process in the execution of legal process or in the lawful execution of any legal duty, without offering or doing violence to the person of the officer, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
Resisting, obstructing or opposing a police officer while they're doing their job is obstruction of justice. Refusing to comply with their demands could fit any the three elements. Quite simply, you're either uninformed or misinformed...

I can't some believe people don't know this. This is 8th grade civics stuff. Simply frightening...
posted by SweetJesus at 10:37 AM on September 19, 2007 [1 favorite]



Because they are not police officers.


It's much easier to stick your fingers in your ears and go "nah-uh" than to do actual research, isn't it. From the University of Florida Campus Police:

The UFPD is a State and Nationally Accredited law enforcement agency established to provide the highest degree of safety and security possible for the University of Florida community.

Seems to me they're police.
posted by SweetJesus at 10:47 AM on September 19, 2007


It's not the kid's fault, it's not the fault of the apathetic audience, it's not the rogue cops' fault, it's Kerry's fault. Not for failing to don a cape and zoom over and stop the tasering but for standing up there for two+ hours and cutting into question time with his droning. More than half the paltry audience was there unwillingly because they've already screwed up the semester less than a month into it, and now they have to do two-page extra credit essays for their political science T.A.s. Furthermore, 75%, estimating conservatively, are recovering or still drunk from Florida beating Tennessee last weekend. The guy in the yellow golf shirt who is laughing in the video is laughing with delight because this is the first thing that's happened all day that's pierced the fog of hangover and boredom and given him a little innocent pleasure. The cops have been standing around for hours doing nothing, all the kids actually interested and engaged are standing in line unable to ask their questions because Kerry won't shut up, and everyone else in the room is about to flatline from pure ennui--all from listening to Kerry talk. He is lethally, criminally dull. How long will we let this riot-inciting menace roam free? How long?
posted by Don Pepino at 11:05 AM on September 19, 2007


Wheelchair-bound woman dies after being tasered ten times.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 11:55 AM on September 19, 2007


SweetJesus:, some temperance on that law you brought in:

Florida Statute 776.051 Use of force in resisting or making an arrest; prohibition.--

(2) A law enforcement officer, or any person whom the officer has summoned or directed to assist him or her, is not justified in the use of force if the arrest is unlawful and known by him or her to be unlawful.


Pretty weak-assed, as it allows the cop to argue "Well, I thought it was lawful". They charged him with "disturbing the peace":

877.03 Breach of the peace; disorderly conduct.--Whoever commits such acts as are of a nature to corrupt the public morals, or outrage the sense of public decency, or affect the peace and quiet of persons who may witness them, or engages in brawling or fighting, or engages in such conduct as to constitute a breach of the peace or disorderly conduct, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.

So the court has to decide if his actions before the cops' grabbed hold of him "corrupt the public morals, or outrage the sense of public decency".
posted by anthill at 12:41 PM on September 19, 2007


Taser Related Deaths 1999 - 2006: 167 cases in the United States and Canada.

Stunning Revelations -- "The untold story of Taser-related deaths."
posted by ericb at 12:41 PM on September 19, 2007


blowjob!
posted by anthill at 12:42 PM on September 19, 2007


He did it for the attention.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 12:55 PM on September 19, 2007


"He did it for the attention."

Yeah, absolutely. Down with that shit. Let's lock up these attention-seeking, adolescent pranksters before they wreck the world, because horseplay does not belong on a college campus! Imagine Animal House if John Belushi et al had had a bunch of slavering, tasery cops on their campus. The movie would've lasted five minutes.

Besides, A., the kid was articulate and seemed genuinely to want an answer to his question. If his only purpose was to make a scene he would've yelled "goobagoobagooo!" and sprayed Silly String. And B., he has been writing for the campus paper since he was a freshman. He has things to say in addition to pranks to pull. That pranks and personal notoriety are tops on his list of priorities just now may have more to do with his being 21 than with his being a dangerous criminal.
posted by Don Pepino at 1:15 PM on September 19, 2007 [1 favorite]


Great angle on the story. Nobody likes an attention hog. He was asking for it.
posted by anthill at 1:43 PM on September 19, 2007


Disobeying a police officer is a crime.

Not when they're acting extralegally. You have no idea what you're talking about. Sorry. The police officers in this case are the ones who are guilty of a crime here (battery).
posted by oaf at 1:48 PM on September 19, 2007


Not when they're acting extralegally. You have no idea what you're talking about. Sorry. The police officers in this case are the ones who are guilty of a crime here (battery).

They're operating under their official capacity as sworn police officers and making a judgement as to whether or not you violated the law - ie, their job. Your stance as to whether or not you violated the law is moot at that point in time - you don't get to unilaterally decide your own guilt or innocence at the moment of the infraction. It's the whole reason we have a judicial system - to divine the legality of an arrest. If the officers are guilty of a crime, a judge will make that decision, throw the case out, and take whatever legal action is necessary against the officers. You don't get to opt out of the whole system because you really, really, genuinely believe you didn't do anything wrong, or because you think the officers don't have a good enough reason to do so.

Sometimes this place stuns me...
posted by SweetJesus at 2:07 PM on September 19, 2007


Wheelchair-bound woman dies after being tasered ten times.

Jesus fucking mother of christ. Yes, she was armed with a knife and a hammer. BUT SHE WAS IN A FUCKING WHEELCHAIR. Is there any sort of self-defense training for cops other than 'bring out the taser'?!
posted by Dr-Baa at 2:14 PM on September 19, 2007


Sometimes this place stuns me...

Zapped by the MeFiTaser!!!
posted by ericb at 2:15 PM on September 19, 2007 [1 favorite]


So the court has to decide if his actions before the cops' grabbed hold of him "corrupt the public morals, or outrage the sense of public decency".

Or "affect the peace and quiet of persons who may witness them," or constitute "brawling or fighting," or the rest of the statute you left off there.

Not that I don't think the cops overdid it and should lose their jobs. But I'm really curious about what happened before Meyer came into the auditorium. From the youtube poster:
but this guy basically comes running in with 4 or 5 cops in tow and says he has been running around trying to get in to ask a question and the cops are going to arrest him for it. they almost do it then but Sen. Kerry says he will answer it.
Maybe the cops realized they'd fucked up by not nabbing him for disorderly conduct earlier and overreacted because they thought they'd let the situation get out of control.
posted by hydrophonic at 2:16 PM on September 19, 2007


the kid was articulate and seemed genuinely to want an answer to his question

No he wasn't and no he didn't. He hardly paused for breath in his minute-and-a-half long tirade, which included about a dozen questions (some rhetorical), and he never gave Kerry a chance to answer.

According to this eyewitness account, Meyer had cut in line and interrupted another questioner and Kerry answered the first person and then answered Meyer. This video (very unstable camera) shows Kerry acknowledging Meyer after answering the first person, with the two cops already standing behind Meyer. (He's standing right next to some doors, too. Dunno why they didn't just take him out the side door.) Meyer handed his camera to Clarissa Jessup and asked her to film his question (she says "John Kerry did try to interfere with the police").

The tasering is inexcusable, but he kept escalating the situation. I think the police were just trying to escort him from the room, and it doesn't seem to me that they were actually going arrest him at first. You can hear the cops in this video, and I don't hear them say anything before he starts asking "Are you going to arrest me?" and one of the cops says, "stop, stop." Then he starts flailing his arms and yelling and cursing and breaks out of the cops' grasp at the front of the auditorium and moves toward the stage. Then he does the same thing at the back of the auditorium, and he keeps swearing and struggling when they have him on the ground. No way should they have tasered him, but he kept provoking them.

Sgt. Eddie King and Officer Nicole Mallo have been placed on administrative leave with pay.
posted by kirkaracha at 2:23 PM on September 19, 2007


"No he wasn't and no he didn't."
Yes he was and yes he did. He'd written out his fifteen questions beforehand--the diatribe had a nice arc and he didn't get distracted from it even when the cops were pulling on him and interrupting him. I don't dispute that he shouldn't've been allowed the microphone in the first place because he was cowboying around the auditorium and cut in line and is a peace-disturbing obstreporous unmannerly jerk, but once he starts talking, he makes sense and asks something interesting. Then when they pull him away to cuff him he says, "I want to stay and listen to the answer to my question," which I take for the truth because I too would very much like to hear Kerry--or any top Democrat--answer the question, "Why did you let our voting rights get trampled and the presidency get stolen in a big obvious dumbass cheatey coup?" Where's Jimmy damn Carter, howcome he's off in Ecuador or wherever counting Xs when the more interesting election fraud is all stateside? And howcome some college kid from a third-tier state school has to act like a sideshow act and get himself police-brutalized in order to get this obvious question on TV? (Not the ANSWER to it, of course. THAT we'll NEVER see.)
posted by Don Pepino at 2:46 PM on September 19, 2007


I seem to recall reading somewhere that English common law recognized the right to resist an unlawful arrest (i.e., an arrest unsupported by probable cause), but the trend is toward abrogating that right. The rationale behind abrogating that right is that the best place to establish the legality of an arrest is in the courtroom, and that permitting people to resist unlawful arrests tends to encourage breaches of the peace and violence.

So, what the common law recognizes as a right, has been largely removed by U.S. state statutes.
posted by jayder at 3:31 PM on September 19, 2007


I would love to hear Kerry answer that question, and maybe we would've if the guy had shut up and given him a chance to. Kerry even asks him what his question is, and he ignores him and keeps talking. Why didn't you contest the election Clinton impeached for blowjob Skull and Bones isn't a "nice arc" to me, so I guess we'll have to agree to disagree on that.

When he says he wants to stay and listen to the answer to his question (which one?) it's too late; he's already broken free from the cops once and there's no way they're just going to let him stay at that point.

He should've said something like this:
How could you concede the 2004 election on Election Day when there were multiple reports of disenfranchisement of black voters in Florida and Ohio and problems with electronic voting machines on the day of the election?
Boom. Done. (And 36 words vs. his 268, not counting his metatalk--heh--about asking the question.) Then shut up and let Kerry answer the question or look like a tool trying not to.
posted by kirkaracha at 3:35 PM on September 19, 2007


Author Of Tasered Student's 'Mystery Book' Points To Irony In Incident
“On video, Meyer can be heard telling Kerry he'd like to recommend the book to him.

‘It's called 'Armed Madhouse' by Greg Palast,’ the student said, ‘He's the top investigative journalist in America.’

‘I've already read it,’ Kerry replied, as Meyer went on to repeat conclusions from Palast's book, which contends Kerry actually won the 2004 presidential election.

What Meyer was referring to, according to Palast, was a chapter in the book called ‘Kerry Won. Now Get Over It,’ in which he says millions of votes cast in the 2004 election were discarded, not counted or prevented from being cast in the first place--a fact the author says has special relevance to the locale of Meyer's arrest.

‘There's an entire dimension here that's not being covered here,’ Palast said of the controversy. ‘The interesting thing to me as a journalist, is that the [Meyers incident] occurred in Alachua County, Florida, one of the worst places in the country for black voters.’

Addressing Kerry before he was taken away by officers, Meyer cites reports, presumably from Palast's book, about disenfranchisement of voters in Florida and Ohio.

‘They were deliberately disenfranchising voters,’ Palast said of Alachua, the county home to Gainesville's University of Florida. ‘Gainesville is horrendous.’

Calling the area the ‘center of the attack on the black voter,’ Palast pointed to a 2001 article he wrote in The Nation which details what he says were efforts under Republican-led state government to purge voting rolls of felons who were convicted in other states--eligible voters under Florida law--almost half of which may be black, according to statistics in the piece.

‘It's one ugly place,’ said Palast, who also added that the police's actions in the Meyer case pale in comparison to intimidation techniques used by authorities against minority voters during elections.

As for the tasered Meyer, the author says he sympathizes.

‘I must admit I feel some appreciation for [Meyer],’Palast writes at his website, ‘especially because, even while he was being shot with untold amps of electricity, until he was handcuffed, he would not let go of his mysterious yellow book...’

Palast says he would like to speak to the student and has contacted Meyer's lawyer to arrange a conversation.

‘Maybe I'll go down and cover the trial,’ the journalist added, dead seriously.”
posted by ericb at 3:51 PM on September 19, 2007 [1 favorite]


Not surprisingly, donttasemebro/donttazemebro.com, .net, .org, .biz, .info, .us, and .tv are already taken.
posted by kirkaracha at 3:57 PM on September 19, 2007 [2 favorites]


Review of the tased guy's literary work.

Tased guy's website
posted by delmoi at 4:41 PM on September 19, 2007


I'm so very torn about this incident.

I didn't read much of the commentary before I watched the video. I watched it and saw that young Andrew was behaving like a maniac, pretty much the definition of 'disturbing the peace,' and had I been a police officer in that situation I probably would've arrested him too.

It's also clear in the video that the crowd cheered when the police started to drag him away. Further evidence that he wasn't being a great philosopher, and was really just being a big annoying asshole.

Then further reflection reveals to me that this incident was a good thing. It's gotten people talking about the very thing Andrew wanted to bring up, and that should be discussed a lot more than Britney's Venus de Milo look: wild inconsistencies in the election, Greg Palast's work, and Kerry being a big patrician douchebag. Oh, and the secret society that both candidates swore have sworn loyalty to.

So I'm even more torn. On the one hand, watching Kerry demonstrate how worthless he is makes me happy that he lost the election. However, then I remember who's president in his stead, and that makes me sick.

In the end, I guess I'm all around happy with this incident. I'm happy that the election and the institutional racism inherent in US politics is being discussed, I'm happy that Kerry's spinelessness was demonstrated, and I'm happy that Andrew got tased because he was being an asshole.

Andrew, if you're reading this, don't go being a jerk in public again. However, do keep paying attention and call shit out when you know it's wrong.
posted by mullingitover at 5:35 PM on September 19, 2007


SweetJesus, honestly, I don't think it means I'm one of the "slow kids" just because you believe that the phrase "Whoever shall resist, obstruct, or oppose any officer" parses the same as "Whoever fails to do whatever a police officer says at any time, no matter what."

The fact that disobeying - or even, it seems, the possibility thereof - is becoming synonymous with "resist, obstruct, or oppose" - that electing above all to think and engage as a human being with other human beings, mediated occasionally by legal standards, is now tantamount to Obstructing Justice or other legal offense - is the problem I'm objecting to, not the answer to those objections.

There is no law in any book I'm aware of that says you flat out have to do whatever a cop says. Nor should there ever be, and if the reasons for that aren't obvious, well, I guess we're done here, because I just can't summon the credulity to walk anyone through that.

Thanks for the snark though, we were running low on that.
posted by poweredbybeard at 6:51 PM on September 19, 2007


the kid was articulate and seemed genuinely to want an answer to his question

No he wasn't and no he didn't.


So what? Why is this relevant?

If being an asshole were to become a crime, society would grind to a halt.
posted by poweredbybeard at 6:58 PM on September 19, 2007


Schizophrenic woman in wheelchair tasered to death.
posted by nickyskye at 7:11 PM on September 19, 2007


Schizophrenic woman in wheelchair tasered to death.

We know. As per goodnewsfortheinsane's post earlier today.
posted by ericb at 7:36 PM on September 19, 2007


Then further reflection reveals to me that this incident was a good thing. It's gotten people talking about the very thing Andrew wanted to bring up ... In the end, I guess I'm all around happy with this incident. I'm happy that the election and the institutional racism inherent in US politics is being discussed, I'm happy that Kerry's spinelessness was demonstrated, and I'm happy that Andrew got tased because he was being an asshole.

Excellent point. You've hit the nail on the head about one of the aspects that positively delights me: the unflattering light it cast on Kerry (and I voted for him).

But I heartily disagree with your assessment of Andrew Meyer as an "asshole." Meyers is my new hero. Criticisms of Andrew Meyer for being an asshole miss the brilliance of his performance entirely. The guy deserved every second of the limelight that he stole from other students --- the way he used his clownish, troublemaking, attention-seeking qualities to be defiant in the face of institutional power (the power of the Senator, the power of the university, the power to risk the wrath of his fellow students) to turn everything upside-down, to show the vacuity and cowardice of the powers he was thumbing his nose at, the inability of the most important players involved (Kerry, the university authorities) to respond appropriately or maturely to an excited kid asking difficult questions. It was brilliant. I really believe this complacent age needs a lot more Andrew Meyers.

I love the way events sometimes unfold in a way that make use of someone's hitherto unheralded qualities. Prior to the Kerry speech, Andrew Meyers was just a college kid with a dumb website and a sense of humor he was desperate to inflict upon people around him. I really love the unpredictable aspect of life that allows someone like Andrew Meyers, completely without influence beyond his little social circle, to disrupt the flow of life enough that one of the most powerful figures in politics is left looking like a complete impotent ass.
posted by jayder at 7:37 PM on September 19, 2007


I don't think it means I'm one of the "slow kids" just because you believe that the phrase "Whoever shall resist, obstruct, or oppose any officer" parses the same as "Whoever fails to do whatever a police officer says at any time, no matter what.".

Maybe reading comprehension just isn't your thing...

There is no law in any book I'm aware of that says you flat out have to do whatever a cop says. Nor should there ever be, and if the reasons for that aren't obvious, well.

No one said anything remotely like that.

I guess we're done here, because I just can't summon the credulity to walk anyone through that.

What's it like to be so smart?

Thanks for the snark though, we were running low on that.

You're welcome!
posted by SweetJesus at 7:41 PM on September 19, 2007


But I heartily disagree with your assessment of Andrew Meyer as an "asshole." Meyers is my new hero. Criticisms of Andrew Meyer for being an asshole miss the brilliance of his performance entirely

Oh, god do I disagree. Andrew Meyer is symptomatic of everything that's wrong with what passes for Democratic "activism" these days. A too clever by half, poorly informed smug little asshole who thinks everything that comes out of his mouth is golden truth that he's benevolently showering down the poor, dim masses. A smug little asshole who thinks that everyone "needs" to hear what on his mind, and anyone who doesn't wish to hear the jewels he's about to cast is an unenlightened philistine, or worse, a Republican. All sound and fury, no significance.

What exactly is he fighting for? What exactly is he trying to bring attention to? He's not fighting for anything except to show how much more clever he is than everyone else. Do you think this is the first time John Kerry has been asked these questions? He's answered these questions, in their various comprehensible forms, dozens of times. It's pretty obvious, politically, why he doesn't come out and just tell answer the first two (Q: Why don't you impeach the President? A: Because the Democracts back both the votes and the balls), but the third! Was he in Skull and Bones with George Bush? Of course he was. How do I know? Because he fucking said it! Case closed. Why are these questions so hard to answer? 5 free minutes and Google - I got the answer. Didn't get me on TV though...

Andrew Meyer's type is big on self-promotion, big on causing scenes, and big on smug superiority. Low on smarts though, and it's really smarts that count when it comes to activism. The smarts to know the correct way to pose an intelligent question. The smarts to know when it's appropriate and just to resist the police, and when you're just being a dick. The smarts to know that pig-headed self-martyrdom and being the victim of unprovoked police brutality aren't equivalent. The smarts to write a decent supporting argument in any of the screens he calls his opinion pieces...

He's just emblematic of all the problems within a certain subset of the Left. We need less of him, and more guys like that Marine who stood and counted Alberto's "I Don't Recalls" on a sheet of paper at his Senate hearings. The guy who prowls around DC with his squad mates, doing spot inspections of the local populace with nothing more that an invisible M16. That's who we need more of, not this embarrassment that everyone's so eager to put on a pedestal, just so they can point to him as yet another example in attempt to frame an argument about Bush's effect on the culture, so they can prove they've been right all along.

Fuck him.
posted by SweetJesus at 8:35 PM on September 19, 2007 [5 favorites]


Well, no, and I say this rhetorically and with all due respect, fuck you.

This kid may have been stupid and stagestruck, may have been preening and smug, but that is not what is at issue, despite your insistence on focussing on his personality. He may be emblematic of this or that. I might even agree with you about it. It's immaterial.

It doesn't matter how unpleasant your demeanor or how sophomoric your political sophistication, in any democracy worthy of the name, you should have a reasonable expectation that exercise of your right to free speech (if, as in America and some other countries, there is an actual document outlining those rights), no matter how insipid your speech may be, will not be abridged by officially-sanctioned and delivered force.

And the daring to hope that lickspittles would not leap up to defend the government when they do it.

Sometimes this place stuns me...

Really? Often -- almost always, these days -- your country terrifies and astonishes me, that people who talk so much of freedom and liberty have so little of and so little respect for either.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 8:53 PM on September 19, 2007 [1 favorite]


Best damn comment yet. Thank you, SJ.
posted by yhbc at 8:53 PM on September 19, 2007


Whew. Just in the nick of time. :P
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 8:54 PM on September 19, 2007


Ha!

*pokes the chicken, because I don't respect him either *
posted by yhbc at 8:55 PM on September 19, 2007


It doesn't matter how unpleasant your demeanor or how sophomoric your political sophistication, in any democracy worthy of the name, you should have a reasonable expectation that exercise of your right to free speech (if, as in America and some other countries, there is an actual document outlining those rights), no matter how insipid your speech may be, will not be abridged by officially-sanctioned and delivered force.

You're free to shout your opinion to the high heavens or get a blog and rant and be free from state interference. You do not, however, have the right to say whatever you want, to whom ever you want, at any time you want. I may have the right to speak my opinion of George Bush, but I unfortunately don't have the right to wake up him at 3am to tell him what I think. The state isn't putting him in jail for what he said, nor are did they taser him for what he said. There were rules to the forum, he broke the rules, and he provoked an intense response as a result of his intense personality.
posted by SweetJesus at 9:06 PM on September 19, 2007


The smarts to know the correct way to pose an intelligent question.

But the problem is that intelligent questions don't get listened to or answered. Intelligent questions, and the resulting evasions, just diffuse in the blur of talking heads, as just another set of "perspectives."

I agree it is unfortunate, but antics like Meyers' have a way of getting to the heart of things better than intelligent questions these days.

(For the record, I typically dislike people who make political points by making "scenes." But I like what Andrew Meyers did.)
posted by jayder at 9:08 PM on September 19, 2007


Really? Often -- almost always, these days -- your country terrifies and astonishes me, that people who talk so much of freedom and liberty have so little of and so little respect for either.

Try living here... Maybe if we got all the stupid, attention seeking assholes looking for their 15 minutes out of the way, we could get something done.
posted by SweetJesus at 9:28 PM on September 19, 2007


There is no law in any book I'm aware of that says you flat out have to do whatever a cop says.

there is in michigan - it's called "disobeying a lawful order"

you should have a reasonable expectation that exercise of your right to free speech (if, as in America and some other countries, there is an actual document outlining those rights), no matter how insipid your speech may be, will not be abridged by officially-sanctioned and delivered force.

you do not have an absolute right to free speech in someone else's forum

if he wants to rent out a room from the university to rant and rave for a couple of hours, by all means, he can go ahead

he didn't pay for that room, he didn't pay for that microphone and he was violating the rights of those who did

to mr meyer -

according to my calendar, we are closer to the 2008 election than we are the 2004 election, and the 2004 election is spilt milk, baby

in other words, bush won, get the fuck over it, and figure out what you're going to do next year, m'kay?

that's reality, toots, deal

(or better yet, let people who aren't attention hogs deal with it - you fucking enjoyed that and we both know it)

i mean, seriously - some leftists aren't satisfied with their political stances unless they can identify themselves as being the victims of fascist repression - if they can't find any fascist repression they'll make up some - or troll some one stupid enough to play the role for them, like a dumb campus cop

that's right - mr meyer is a TROLL - he couldn't find a fascist to "oppress" him so he went and TROLLED some idiot into doing it

i swear to god i feel my i q dropping 50 points every damn time i read about this, that's how stupid this is

if i was benevolent dictatorship of the world, i'd sentence mr meyer and those cops to a month of being taste testers at the exlax factory - if they're going to shit all over the body politic, they might as well do it for a useful cause
posted by pyramid termite at 9:40 PM on September 19, 2007 [2 favorites]


You do not, however, have the right to say whatever you want, to whom ever you want, at any time you want.

I did not suggest that, although, in fact, I do think that that is what free speech is, short of threats of violence.

I may have the right to speak my opinion of George Bush, but I unfortunately don't have the right to wake up him at 3am to tell him what I think.

Strawman. That may be the case (again, I think it's arguable), but it has nothing to do with the situation at hand.

i swear to god i feel my i q dropping 50 points every damn time i read about this, that's how stupid this is

That might explain your inability to find the shift key, then, I guess! Zing!
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:54 PM on September 19, 2007


Thanks Sweetjesus, I can agree with you on that.
posted by anthill at 10:03 PM on September 19, 2007


That might explain your inability to find the shift key, then, I guess! Zing!

well, at least where i live we kill our food before eating it - ZAP!!
posted by pyramid termite at 10:06 PM on September 19, 2007


Strawman. That may be the case (again, I think it's arguable), but it has nothing to do with the situation at hand.

Ok, not really, but fine. How's this:

I may feel I have something really important to say, and that I really need to say it, but I can't go into a movie theater and start telling everyone without getting thrown out. If when I get thrown out, I just start flailing my arms like an epileptic and yelling "WHAT AM I DOING WRONG? I'M JUST TRYING TO HAVE A CONVERSATION WITH THESE NICE PEOPLE! GET YOUR HANDS OFF ME!" at the top of my lungs, the cops are going to club and drag me out or worse. It's an understandable reaction, as I'd be acting like a fucking tosser who doesn't respect anyone.

I do think that that is what free speech is, short of threats of violence..

But it's not. It's freedom from prosecution or state bondage as a result or what you say - not when, where, how, or why you say it.
posted by SweetJesus at 10:08 PM on September 19, 2007


well, at least where i live we kill our food before eating it - ZAP!!

Oof. Critical hit!


It's freedom from prosecution or state bondage as a result of what you say - not when, where, how, or why you say it.


Well, jeez. That would seem to undermine what you've been saying about what a (and I agree, though I think it's not germane) douchbag this kid was being.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 10:21 PM on September 19, 2007



Well, jeez. That would seem to undermine what you've been saying about what a (and I agree, though I think it's not germane) douchbag this kid was being.


No, because I've said over and over again that he was tazed because he was acting like an asshole and not complying with the officers. Had nothing to do with what he said; the content of his speech.
posted by SweetJesus at 10:26 PM on September 19, 2007


Stavros: you should have a reasonable expectation that exercise of your right to free speech ... will not be abridged by officially-sanctioned and delivered force.

SweetJesus: You do not, however, have the right to say whatever you want, to whom ever you want, at any time you want.

Stavros: I did not suggest that, although, in fact, I do think that that is what free speech is, short of threats of violence.


I pick out these segments to point out that Stavros, you're either a troll or you're deliberately being obtuse. Or both. Knock it off.

Strawman.

And you're not even using that term correctly.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 10:38 PM on September 19, 2007


Ah, I see.

Well, in practice, I'm not sure that the two (content of speech and act of speaking) can be so easily disentangled.

And in particular, in this case, I still do not see any behaviour on the student's part that merited the response of the law enforcement officials present, nor, of course, did I see any problem with the actual content of his speech, even if, as was probably the case, there were time limits on questions and/or other pre-existing requirements for audience member participation.

It's clear that you do, though, so I guess we'll just disagree, which is fine. Just don't sic the damn cops on me, OK?
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 10:39 PM on September 19, 2007


Regarding this, better late than never:
Monty Python vs. Tasered Student
posted by hypersloth at 4:35 AM on September 20, 2007 [1 favorite]


They're operating under their official capacity as sworn police officers

The ones at the Kerry speech? No. He hadn't broken any law, and it was damned obvious. By arresting him, they were acting outside their official capacity, and he'd do well to sue them personally.

young Andrew was behaving like a maniac, pretty much the definition of 'disturbing the peace,'

Because good Americans don't ask questions. (Also, you're wrong.)
posted by oaf at 4:55 AM on September 20, 2007


Andrew Meyer's type is big on self-promotion, big on causing scenes, and big on smug superiority.

MetaFilter: big on self-promotion, big on causing scenes, and big on smug superiority.
posted by oaf at 4:59 AM on September 20, 2007


I don't know why there's debate about whether or not it was an appropriate place for nascent radicals to get their free speech feet wet: it was a town hall meeting. Aren't those designed precisely for this, to let the citizenry vent and air their little grievances? But it was Kerry, so that meant most of the town stood there silently waiting and waiting and waiting and waiting and getting deep vein thromboses while Kerry talked about what Kerry wanted to talk about. Compare this to Chomsky, who a couple of years ago filled the O'Connell Center (Kerry had the much smaller University Auditorium, and it was far from full) and who answered question after question until there were no more questions to answer. Chomsky is a droney egghead, too, but he has what to say and he's interested in what other people have to say. Hungover extra-credit hordes and dedicated politicos alike respond well to polite, considerate treatment. No exuberant youths panicked from fear of being silenced at the Chomsky do. Nobody got "taken down" and there was no media circus.

Whichever UF student in whichever news short, YouTube video or blog comment said that Accent (the student organization that brings speakers) needs to quit letting 75 people line up to ask questions and then shutting down questions after 4 people is so right--this is their common practice and it's infuriating.
posted by Don Pepino at 6:28 AM on September 20, 2007


I may have the right to speak my opinion of George Bush, but I unfortunately don't have the right to wake up him at 3am to tell him what I think.

But if you're Stephen Colbert you get to do it right in his face in front of a room of journalists and their guests!
posted by ericb at 8:25 AM on September 20, 2007


you do not have an absolute right to free speech in someone else's forum....if he wants to rent out a room from the university to rant and rave for a couple of hours, by all means, he can go ahead....he didn't pay for that room, he didn't pay for that microphone and he was violating the rights of those who did

As has been stated, the event was put-on by Accent, "... the largest, student-run, speaker's bureau in the nation" which receives its funding from the University of Florida Student Government.

The Student Government's budget is comprised of fees garnered from all students by way of annual 'Student Activity Fees' ("Student Body Funds - the total of all moneys received by those activities, organizations, agencies, and auxiliaries which derive income from Student Activity Fees; The Student Activity fees shall be collected by the Cashier of the University upon registration of any student and shall be held subject only to requisition by the Student Senate through the Treasurer of the Student Body.").

The student body elects a President, Vice President and Treasurer ("No funds shall be disbursed with out approval by signature of the Treasurer of the Student Body ") who work with other elected representatives to determine an annual budget and to distribute funds to campus organizations.

Through his annual student fee Andrew Meyer -- along with all other students -- essentially sponsored the forum and had ervery right to be there to ask his questions of Kerry. His demeanor maybe objectionable to many, but he had every right to ask his questions, as obnoxious as he did.
posted by ericb at 9:31 AM on September 20, 2007


Through his annual student fee Andrew Meyer -- along with all other students -- essentially sponsored the forum and had ervery right to be there to ask his questions of Kerry.

as long as he followed the rules that his representatives put down for the forum

he did not follow those rules

if everyone behaved as he did, what kind of meeting would it be?

he did not pay for that room, he did not pay for that microphone, his elected representatives did

those who do not understand the distinction had better retake high school civics
posted by pyramid termite at 9:51 AM on September 20, 2007


as long as he followed the rules that his representatives put down for the forum...he did not follow those rules

And, pray tell, what are the rules?

Do they hand out rule books on how to behave in a public forum at UF? I wonder what the parameters for Dr. Jack Kevorkian's Accent-sponsored appearance on October 11th. will be?

he did not pay for that room, he did not pay for that microphone, his elected representatives did

His student activity fees most assuredly paid for all of that. The elected representatives merely direct where funds go. The "student activity fees" do not become "theirs."

Those who do not understand the distinction had better retake Economics: Tax Theory and Budgeting 101. ;)
posted by ericb at 10:04 AM on September 20, 2007


ericb, that's a much better argument for his right to pipe up than my town hall meeting thing. He still doesn't have a right to interrupt another student and cut into line, but line bucking isn't illegal, is it? Kerry could've handled that by asking him to wait his turn, and then when inevitably he kept shouting, a single cop could've approached and without touching him asked him to get to the back of the line. Then if he still refused to budge, the cop could without touching him say, "Sir, you are interrupting this forum and all these other students ahead of you in line. If you don't leave quietly right now, we will arrest you for disturbing the peace." Then when he kept it up, it would've been okay to all mass around him and shove him out the door. But this is not what happened. They allow him to run around the auditorium, grab the mike, and interrupt somebody. Then they stand by while he yells for at least a minute. Clearly line bucking and mike hogging aren't arrestable offenses. They begin manhandling him before they give any clear verbal directives. They start plucking at his arm when he goes off on the skull and bones tangent, which is right after the blowjob bomb. Honestly, I've read it a few more times, now (one source called it "salty language"), and I really think what galvanized the cops was his saying "blowjob." That's what started the fireworks. BJ! ought to be on the T-shirts along with DTM,B.
posted by Don Pepino at 10:11 AM on September 20, 2007


(Also, Raytheon should invent a blowjob bomb.)
posted by Don Pepino at 10:24 AM on September 20, 2007


Enough of this marketing doublethink, let's call a a Taser what it is: an officially sanctioned electrocution torture device.

The Taser Corp. website is a state of the art marketing horror. If CEO Rick Smith doesn't look like the epitome of corporate evil, I don't know who does.

Send them an email, give them a call, tell them what you think of their "humane, life-saving products" and make sure your portfolio is free of TASR or anyone else who does business with them.
Also, you'll also be pleased to learn the U.S. Forestry Dept has ordered 700 of these electrocution devices. I guess campers and hikers get pretty out of hand sometimes eh? One sadist Park Ranger and one annoying goofball Meyers-type, lost in a forest and you have the makings of a pretty terrifying Stephen King novel.

The issue needs to be addressed aggressively now before their use spreads and the next generation of these horrific "non- lethal" and crowd control weapons are introduced. Politicians, starting with useless nimrod John Kerry, who perhaps was possessed of greatness at some point but is now an empty suit, need to denounce the use of these weapons. Now.

Here's an exhaustive industry sponsored report from the Taser Corp. website.
I imagine they underwrote it on some level to make electrocution devices seem all warm and fuzzy, but it does say that if you live in Hawaii, Mass, Mich, New jersey, New York, Rhode Isl, or Wisconsin. Electrocution devices (they like to call them "Stun" guns) are illegal for use by law enforcement agencies and I would bet the Taser Corp. is lobbying like crazy to change that. If you're in Conn. Florida (obviously), Illinois, Indiana, N.C., or N.D. you're screwed and need to avoid cops and other uniformed bozos and start finding out who is responsible for makeing them legal in those states.
posted by Skygazer at 10:51 AM on September 20, 2007


I guess campers and hikers get pretty out of hand sometimes eh?

"National Park Service officers are 12 times more likely to be killed or injured as a result of an assault than FBI agents"
posted by hydrophonic at 11:04 AM on September 20, 2007


"National Park Service officers are 12 times more likely to be killed or injured as a result of an assault than FBI agents"

Highly misleading, I expect. A huge percentage of FBI agents work in jobs where they never cross paths with a "perp". I expect the huge majority of park officers are boots-on-ground types. Straight comparisons don't really tell much at all.
posted by Bovine Love at 11:10 AM on September 20, 2007


And, pray tell, what are the rules?

you get one question and one minute at the microphone

you wait in line like everyone else

when time's up, time's up

did you read the articles?

Do they hand out rule books on how to behave in a public forum at UF?

the basic principles are taught earlier in preschool or kindergarten

waiting your turn, being considerate of your fellow students, not hogging the classes' attention, not throwing a tantrum in the classroom, things like that

do you need to retake kindergarten?

His student activity fees most assuredly paid for all of that.

you're being disingenuous and obtuse

you do not have the right to go into any governmental building in the country just because you pay taxes and you know it

what if everyone acted like that?

(answer the question this time)
posted by pyramid termite at 11:11 AM on September 20, 2007


I agree completely! What if we tasered everyone who didn't behave as we thought they should?
posted by Bovine Love at 11:24 AM on September 20, 2007


I agree completely! What if we tasered everyone who didn't behave as we thought they should?

I'm more for tasering people who wilfully miss the over-arching point entirely, and would rather get into the minutia of proper queuing technique or whether or not the $350 bucks he dropped on activity fees at the beginning of the semester entitles him to legally act like a spoiled brat.
posted by SweetJesus at 11:34 AM on September 20, 2007


Enough of this marketing doublethink, let's call a a Taser what it is: an officially sanctioned electrocution torture device.

Yeah, I hate it when words don't mean what I want them to mean. It's so much easier to just make them mean what I want them to mean.

Also, we're so living in 1984!, omg amiright!?!?! dubblepussgod!
posted by SweetJesus at 11:38 AM on September 20, 2007


Nobody said anything about queuing minutiae, probably because there are none. Nobody said $350 buys the right to legally act like a spoiled brat, probably because acting like a spoiled brat isn't illegal. A friend of mine watched a teenaged Paris Hilton walk into a prep school prom, march up to the buffet, pick up a sandwich, take a bite of it, sneer slightly, and drop it on the floor. She should have been tased and jailed for this, but she was not because it was littering, which is not a tase-able, jailable offense. She Zsa-Zsaed around for several more years before she finally committed a crime that enabled someone to put her in jail. She's out again, despite the fact that she is a professional spoiled brat. Much as we would like to, we can't tase and jail everyone who deserves it because they are a spoiled brat.
posted by Don Pepino at 12:11 PM on September 20, 2007


Also, we're so living in 1984!, omg amiright!?!?! dubblepussgod!

Suck it Troll.
posted by Skygazer at 12:27 PM on September 20, 2007


Hey, we've got to start somewhere!
posted by Artw at 12:30 PM on September 20, 2007


and those words mean exactly that mmkay...
posted by Skygazer at 12:34 PM on September 20, 2007


Suck it Troll.

and those words mean exactly that mmkay...

omg!!! dubbleplusnotnice! amirite?
posted by SweetJesus at 1:03 PM on September 20, 2007


A friend of mine watched a teenaged Paris Hilton walk into a prep school prom, march up to the buffet, pick up a sandwich, take a bite of it, sneer slightly, and drop it on the floor. She should have been tased and jailed for this, but she was not because it was littering, which is not a tase-able, jailable offense. She Zsa-Zsaed around for several more years before she finally committed a crime that enabled someone to put her in jail. She's out again, despite the fact that she is a professional spoiled brat. Much as we would like to, we can't tase and jail everyone who deserves it because they are a spoiled brat.

Except for the fact that it has nothing to do with what we're talking about, it's a nice anecdote.

Why does everyone argue from the position that this guy was tasered for "acting like a brat" or asking "tough questions" rather than the fact that he was tasered for resisting arrest. Acting like a brat is not a crime, resisting arrest is (even if you don't think you did anything wrong, despite the utter lunacy to the contrary posted in this thread).
posted by SweetJesus at 1:11 PM on September 20, 2007


I guess Kerry "broke the rules" and should be held accountable. After all, he permitted Meyer to ask his question(s) and said he would answer the student's "very important question, followed by "That's all right, let me answer his question." Time to Tazer the Senator!
posted by ericb at 1:54 PM on September 20, 2007


do you need to retake kindergarten?

No. Got it the first time around.

All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten
"Share everything.

Play fair.

Don't hit people.

Put things back where you found them.

Clean up your own mess.

Don't take things that aren't yours.

Say you're sorry when you hurt somebody.

Wash your hands before you eat.

Flush.

Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.

Live a balanced life--learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some.

Take a nap every afternoon.

When you go out into the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands, and stick together.

Be aware of wonder. Remember the little seed in the Styrofoam cup: The roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, but we are all like that.

Goldfish and hamsters and white mice and even the little seed in the Styrofoam cup--they all die. So do we.

And then remember the Dick-and-Jane books and the first word you learned--the biggest word of all--LOOK."
And an update, passed-on by Robert Fulghum himself -- Kindergarten vs. College: "All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten provides some rules that are supposed to apply to everyday life, and that includes the time you’ll spend at a degree-granting institution.

But do they really apply to college life? No, no they don’t.

Allow me to illustrate just how wrong Mr. Fulghum’s rules are when compared to the rules of life during one’s college years." ; )
posted by ericb at 2:02 PM on September 20, 2007 [2 favorites]


"Don't be an asshole to cops when the arrest you" isn't on that list?
posted by SweetJesus at 2:08 PM on September 20, 2007


Well said Don Pepino.

This opinion from a high-school junior:
""Security officers who Tasered a University of Florida student at Sen. John Kerry’s town hall meeting on Sept. 17 were completely out of line.

…Meyer may have chosen to be on the explosive side rather than calm and contained, as many effective political activists are. He may have chosen to bring up topics that, especially in a post-9/11 world, bring negative knee-jerk reactions to a great number of people.

He may have chosen to ask his question after the allotted time for questions was over. So cutting Meyer off and leading him away from the microphone would fall under the category of ‘understandable.’ Cutting him off, leading him away in a pack of four, pinning him to the ground, yelling at him, refusing to mention why he’s being arrested and shooting him with a taser would not.

Meyer was not armed, unless you count words as weapons. He did not interrupt Kerry to insult him or to ramble incoherently; he waited his turn and even cited the sources of his claims. He resisted police, but did not use violence.

In a setting where questions were welcomed, encouraged, and expected, Meyer posed a few. Kerry himself later expressed regret that he could not answer Meyer’s question and that the event did not end peacefully.

So why did the police get so out of hand?

It’s true that Meyer was resisting the police, and that when you do so, the climate of arrest and the rules of the procedure change drastically. It’s not as if he finished his question and the police instantly whipped out their stun guns and charged.

But many people are blaming how quickly the incident got out of hand solely on Meyer, and this is what bothers me.

As Meyer struggled against the law enforcement officers, he kept repeating ‘What did I do?’ If I were asking a politician a question, I would be bewildered and frightened if I suddenly found two cops at my side, yanking me away from the microphone. I would want to know what I had done.

It takes slightly less effort to say, ‘You’re getting out of hand’ or ‘The question period is over’ than it does to drag a grown man several yards, pin him to the ground, and shoot him with a stun gun.”
posted by ericb at 2:16 PM on September 20, 2007 [1 favorite]


"Why does everyone argue from the position that this guy was tasered for 'acting like a brat?'" I was quoting you, sugar. You said you were for tasering people who make the ludicrous argument that Meyer's $350 activity fee "entitles him to legally act like a spoiled brat." Your recent statement contradicting yourself notwithstanding, that wording implies that you think acting like a spoiled brat is illegal.

Unlike queuing technique, police procedure is fraught with minutiae, and the campus cops sent to watch over potential media disasters ought to know those minutiae.

ONE: They should have acted early to diffuse this and avoid its becoming an arrest in the first place. They didn't, and now they're on TV representing The Gator Nation in front of the whole world. What're they doing? Forcibly arresting some kid from Miami. This is not good PR for their employer. If the rumors are true and they couldn't stop this by talking to him reasonably because he was uncontrollable and on PCP or something--it has been claimed he was running around dodging police and trying to get to a microphone--then he'd already disturbed the peace and resisted arrest before he showed up on anybody's cel phone: he ought to've been quickly stifled and snatched up out of there and "given to the government" (to quote his scene-chewing "panicked" line after they've led him downstairs) before he ever got to the microphone. That way he wouldn't have had the opportunity to make his impassioned plea to the senator and leave the whole posse standing around looking like idiots.

TWO: Once it got to the point where he had to be physically removed from the auditorium, they should've been able to corral him faster than they did. The keystone kops chase scene is, I imagine, excruciating for Gator brass to have to watch. He leaps around all over the place, runs down the aisle, and repeatedly eludes capture. That stillshot of the cop grabbing him by the front of his shirt like they're playing tag is all over the world. It makes UPD look really bad. UPD really kindof needs to look reliable at this university.

THREE: Once they finally got it together and got hold of him they absolutely shouldn't have tasered him. Police can't taser people unless they're physically threatened. There were six of them and he was on the ground with some of them on top of him and one hand behind his back when they tasered him. The fact that he was yelling like a three ring circus was annoying to everyone who heard it, but yelling isn't in the list of good reasons to taser somebody. They did not need to zap him to get the cuffs on him. If they couldn't control him without tasering him, then they should be handing out parking tickets, not doing crowd control.

PS: Thanks, ericb!
posted by Don Pepino at 2:31 PM on September 20, 2007 [1 favorite]


Gold Star Father Who Lost Son In Iraq Allegedly Beaten By Members Of Pro-War Group
posted by homunculus at 2:34 PM on September 20, 2007


He leaps around all over the place, runs down the aisle, and repeatedly eludes capture.

Next time I see an out-of-control toddler clutching an ill-gotten candy bar in his freakin' paws and zipping around the supermarket aisle, eluding his parent's, I'm gonna Tazer the little fucker. That's it -- teach him a lesson!
posted by ericb at 2:42 PM on September 20, 2007


Next time I see an out-of-control toddler clutching an ill-gotten candy bar in his freakin' paws and zipping around the supermarket aisle, eluding his parent's, I'm gonna Tazer the little fucker. That's it -- teach him a lesson!

Man, this pretty much exemplifies the "missing the goddamn point" segment of the thread here.
posted by Snyder at 3:08 PM on September 20, 2007


"I'm gonna Tazer the little fucker. That's it -- teach him a lesson!"

Iknowright?

What I really don't get about this whole thing is the anger. I mean, unless you're the parent of the OOC toddler or unless he infringes on your person somehow, the antics do nothing but entertain and delight--you might feel a little sorry for the parent chasing him, but you don't get all enraged about it unless the kid gets gum on you or tinkles in your groceries or something. Whereas we got all these people on the WWWs getting purplefaced with rage and yelling, "respect authoritaaaay tase-'im-til-he's-stiff" about this incident when in fact what this is is a fun romp--this kid staged a little play and we all watched it and we all just got entertained for a solid week for free. Why the hate? Even if he faked the whole thing--why the white knuckles? I tremble for the future of performance art in this coldcold world.

Is this another symptom of "nineleveneverythingchanged?" Like everything that does not go exactly by the book hints of some to-be-named deadly peril and must be QUASHED WITH EXTREME PREJUDICE? Is everybody going to be jumpy, mean and hardassed now for the rest of my life? Maybe we ought to pre-tase all adolescents, just to be safe.
posted by Don Pepino at 3:14 PM on September 20, 2007 [1 favorite]


Snyder -- it's a joke! Don Pepino's apt description of Meyer's behavior ("He leaps around all over the place, runs down the aisle, and repeatedly eludes capture.") parallels for me that of a child running amok in a supermarket.

Here, have a cocktail with me.
posted by ericb at 3:16 PM on September 20, 2007


Why the hate? Even if he faked the whole thing--why the white knuckles?

Do as a your told! No, ifs, ands or buts! "Do you need to retake kindergarten?"
posted by ericb at 3:28 PM on September 20, 2007


omg!!! dubbleplusnotnice! amirite?

lolz
posted by oaf at 3:34 PM on September 20, 2007


I'm just wondering... has anyone else on the internet or Metafilter read the 12 pages of police report on this incident? I ask, because everyone seems to be under the impression that the incident began exactly when the first cellphone camera got turned on, and there actually is some more to what happened than what appeared on YouTube (or the news channels).

Or, I guess, since they are the evil police, we can't believe anything they might have to say about it.
posted by Orb at 4:13 PM on September 20, 2007


"Why does everyone argue from the position that this guy was tasered for 'acting like a brat?'" I was quoting you, sugar. You said you were for tasering people who make the ludicrous argument that Meyer's $350 activity fee "entitles him to legally act like a spoiled brat." Your recent statement contradicting yourself notwithstanding, that wording implies that you think acting like a spoiled brat is illegal.

Ugh, ok. I'll parse this down deeper because I guess I'm being too subtle. Acting like a spoiled brat is not in itself illegal, mostly because we all have different ideas about exactly what a "brat" is, and what acting like one entails. But I can group his reaction and resistance to the police when they attempted to remove him, his self-entitled smug attitude, and lack of social skills all under the umbrella of "acting like a brat".

Being a smug prick and lacking social skills aren't (yet) illegal, but resisting the police is, so he can be in violation of the law and act like a spoiled brat at the same time.
posted by SweetJesus at 4:45 PM on September 20, 2007


Here we go again.
posted by Devils Rancher at 4:54 PM on September 20, 2007


Paris Hilton, on the other hand, while still acting like a brat (in the general sense) was not in violation of any know law of the state of California, so, uh, that's why she wasn't tasered...

Also, I'll re-iterate that I don't think this guy should have been tasered, but I think he only has himself to blame for it...
posted by SweetJesus at 4:55 PM on September 20, 2007


Fire. There's a fire in the movie theater. Everybody run.

Meyer: "...how could you concede the 2004 election on the day? ...Didn't you want to be president? ...If you are so against Iran, how come you aren't saying 'Let's impeach Bush now'? ...Were you in the same secret society as Bush?"

I'd still like to hear Kerry's answer to these questions.

Bovine Love: "It occurs to me that breaking someone's arm is non-lethal; in fact, it is probably considerably safer then the Taser."

I have never been tasered, nor had a broken limb, so admittedly I lack the necessary knowledge to make an informed decision, but based on what I do know, I'd rather have a large amount of volts shot through my body and be incapacitated with the small percentage chance of getting a heart attack, as opposed to having a major bone in my body broken in half where I'd definitely require hospitalization, possibly surgery, and a cast for several weeks. We break things down between 'letal force' and 'nonlethal force.' Methinks we need more shades of grey between those two.
posted by ZachsMind at 6:26 PM on September 20, 2007


Orb, care to find a copy of that report? The Smoking Gun seems to have given it a miss in favor of O.J.
posted by anthill at 6:41 PM on September 20, 2007


Nevermind, found it. Take with a grain of Florida Cop salt.
posted by anthill at 6:48 PM on September 20, 2007 [2 favorites]


Oh. And every third person in this thread creeps me out.

I understand there's a story before people pulled out their cellphones and videocameras that we may never fully understand, but anyone who looks at this and just nonchalantly says "he got what was coming to him" you creep me the hell out.

Twenty years ago, this coulda been me, cuz I was crazy like this and I still cared, and I still believed one person could stand up in front of a crowd and make a difference and I still believed if someone honest and sincere stood up at the right time in the right place, the good guys would be commended and the bad guys would get their just due and eventually somehow everything would work out for the best. I used to believe I was a good guy. I used to be an angry young man.

I guess we didn't have tasers twenty years ago. On more than one occasion when I was in college, I'm sure there were people in that audience who wished tasers had been invented, so they could use them to shut me up. In hindsight, I'm proud to have been raised in a country where some schmuck like me could stand up for what he believed in, spoke his piece, and he wouldn't spend that night in the slammer for doing it.

I took those rights for granted. I'm not proud anymore, cuz I don't stand up anymore. I don't care anymore. Standing up doesn't help. Oftentimes it makes things worse. And I think I'm allergic to electricity.
posted by ZachsMind at 6:51 PM on September 20, 2007


Excerpts:
When I approached the area where the microphone was placed for questions for the Senator, a young man was causing a disturbance by shouting loudly at the Senator.
I proceeded to Meyer’s location and advised him that he needed to stop yelling and causing a disturbance or he would be escorted off the property. Meyer was stating that he had sat in the auditorium for two hours and demanded that he ask his question to the Senator and everyone else in the auditorium that still had questions be allowed to speak. The sponsors of the event had advised the individuals in the question line that the Senator would not be able to answer anymore questions from the audience. Because of this, the question and answer session would be over before Meyer could ask a question. Meyer would not comply with my directions or the staff from ACCENT to leave because the session was over. I grabbed Meyer’s arm in a transporter position and began to escort him up the aisle. Meyer was still shouting at the Senator to answer his questions as he was being escorted. Senator Kerry asked me to let Meyer ask his question.
After asking the question, the man would not let Senator Kerry finish his statement and kept badgering the senator about his beliefs, talking about “blow jobs”, and yelling as loud as he could as to sensationalize his presence.
At that moment the Accent Director, Max Tyroler, asked us to take him out of the auditorium and had his microphone turned off stating, “He had said enough.”
posted by anthill at 7:20 PM on September 20, 2007


I'd still like to hear Kerry's answer to these questions.

Then why not use google and re-live the first time he answered them...
posted by SweetJesus at 7:36 PM on September 20, 2007


Taser Nation -- "Bravo to Chris Matthews for speaking out against the Bush administration's policies of stifling free speech."
posted by ericb at 8:14 PM on September 20, 2007 [1 favorite]


What's up with all the censoring these days?
“Lately, images and happenings have been flashing before my eyes that appear to come straight out of an Orwellian novel. Reports of banning and censorship, and terms like ‘free speech zones’ and ‘protest pins’ are bouncing around with little questioning.

I read in the New York Times Monday about a musicology graduate from England arriving at an airport in America and being told she was banned from our country and that she had to leave. She wasn't told why. At the Emmy's this past weekend, Kathy Griffen and Sally Fields were censored when making remarks about the war. Are you kidding me?

On the subject of Andrew Meyer, the Florida University student who was tasered by police, it seems the outcry of free speech violations might be heard a little clearer. Meyer was a victim. There are no laws that the police are required to enforce considering how passionate a student's question or concern is at open question and answer forum.

In Meyer's case he went over his time when asking Sen. John Kerry some important questions. Kerry allowed Meyers to continue, but university police had had enough. He was dragged out of the auditorium and tasered while students videotaped.

The police seemed to be the only people objecting Meyer's comments. Neither the students, nor Kerry were concerned. In the videos Sen. Kerry can be heard in the background saying, ‘That's all right, let me answer his question, it's an important question’.

What I have learned from this is free speech equals a tase to the gut. Don't tase me for this.

Andrew Meyer deserved to be tasered, it's just unfortunate they didn't do it sooner. The audience looked as though it was awaken from their docile state and that is not good for America. This country's citizens need to not question the legitimacy of the war or the president's use of power. If we start questioning the people in power there won't be enough rich people in power taking us to glorious battlefields on the other side of the world to secure oil interests for the likes of Halliburton. Our wonderful corporations and Neo-Fascist leaders plagued with sex scandals are pleading with us to not disrupt their flow of profit and power they so justly deserve. Tonight I will take my prescription sleep aid and hopefully wake up only to forget that there is a war in Iraq and a war raging in my American psyche if to speak against the powers that be.”
posted by ericb at 8:20 PM on September 20, 2007 [1 favorite]


What College Kid Needed Was a Timeout, Not a Tasering
“So I figured, as someone who continually has to get a 9- and 13-year-old to cooperate and do things they'd prefer not to do, I'm uniquely positioned to make some observations.

To offer, as the heads of the UF household try to figure out who needs a timeout and what privileges should be taken away, a few parental pointers.

To the young man who threw the tantrum: When you're approached by police, back off and sit down.

It's one of those unspoken rules anybody who's ever dealt with cops knows. You say, ‘Yes, sir,’ when they speak to you. If you're pulled over for a traffic stop, keep your hands in sight. And if you're ever approached by police — particularly in a potentially volatile, public setting — it's best to quietly and immediately comply.

If you don't, you're going to be getting some ‘quiet time’ in a cell.

And don't fling your arms around. Makes them nervous.

To the University Police: When a person running an event asks you not to intervene, as Kerry did, allow him to try to calm things down.

People in authority often feel that once they intervene, they have to assert their power. Unfortunately, exerting their authority often becomes more important than what's right or fair. What's best for everyone involved.

Trust me, I know. I'm a dad. My kids have had to do time in their rooms for such silly stuff as not getting out of my easy chair. Or the always-popular, ‘having a bad attitude.’

But at least I've never had to Taser them.

To Sen. Kerry: Take charge.

Confrontations intensify when there's a leadership vacuum.

If you're a leader, you're not a background noise softly saying, ‘That's all right. Let me answer his question.’

Loudly demand, ‘LET GO OF THAT YOUNG MAN.’ Or, if you're otherwise inclined, ‘TAKE HIM AWAY IN CHAINS.’

Better yet, step down from the stage and intervene. Be human. Break up the scrum and put your arm around the kid and talk eye-to-eye with him.

People would've gone wild at the sight of something so rare these days: leadership.”
posted by ericb at 8:28 PM on September 20, 2007 [1 favorite]


Oh man. Popcorn time x infinity. O, anthill, thank you. Thank you a million times for finding the police report. This story has legs like FloJo.
posted by Don Pepino at 7:39 AM on September 21, 2007


Michelle Malkin's page 9 won't load. Here's a transcript of the whole thing. http://www.nbc6.net/news/14148108/detail.html
posted by Don Pepino at 7:56 AM on September 21, 2007


It looks like Officer Mallo didn't get a chance to look at all the footage before she made her report. She says, "As the man was escorted down stairs with no cameras in sight, he remained quiet, but once the cameras made their way down stairs he started screaming and yelling again." She must not have noticed that people were filming the parade on the stairs. He's yelling his head off. "My book? My possessions? Hello?" "Why am I being arrested?" "Why am I in handcuffs right now?" "There are people that know I'm here. You can't, you can't, like, kill me." All the way down the stairs little Andrew continues to broadcast. Later in the police car, Officer Mallo says he becomes all sunshine and smiles, but I gotta say I question Officer Mallo's memory of the car trip, given that she's not quite right about what happens on the stairs and given that she says he tries to "punch his way out of the hold" once they have the single cuff on him. No, that's on film, too, Officer Mallo. There's no punching. He reaches out desperately like a martyred soul with his arm stiff and the fingers outstretched. That's infuriating for sure if you're trying to get a handcuff on him, but the taser is for when someone is endangering you, not for when someone is annoying you and inconveniencing you. Drama queening is irritating, but it doesn't physically endanger anyone.

The stairs start at about 1:30 or so in this video, with Meyer asking for his car keys and Officer M. telling him to take a breath and calm. down.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7NWukZhsiBw&mode=related&search=
posted by Don Pepino at 8:47 AM on September 21, 2007


Glenn Beck on CNN: "To me, Taser videos are a little like potato chips. I just can't watch just one."
posted by ericb at 9:27 AM on September 21, 2007


'Don't Tase Me, Bro!': Remix, T-Shirts Help Tasered Kerry-Speech Agitator -- "Student's pal says profits will go to legal defense, or 'a totally awesome party.'"
posted by ericb at 3:45 PM on September 21, 2007


"Don't Tase me, bro," has taken on a life of its own.

I do wonder how history will look at things like this.
posted by zennie at 4:19 PM on September 21, 2007


It suddenly occurs to me that there's probably some good money to be made in selling clothing that is taser-proof.

Perhaps a conductive material, creating a faraday cage effect. Or perhaps it could trigger a higher potential, sending an electric shock back to the taser...
posted by five fresh fish at 8:24 PM on September 24, 2007


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