The taser incident at the Kerry campus forum
The USA Today’s “On Deadline” blog has updates and video of an incident involving a student at the University of Florida who was tasered during a campus forum featuring Senator John Kerry. This issue has exploded in the blogosphere, but I think south Florida’s Local10’s news report is a good place to start:
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — A university student with a history of taping his own practical jokes was Tasered by campus police and arrested after loudly and repeatedly trying to ask U.S. Sen. John Kerry questions during a campus forum.
Andrew Meyer, 21, spent a night in jail before his release from jail Tuesday morning on his own recognizance. He had no comment when he left. His attorney, Robert Griscti, did not return messages seeking comment.
Videos of the Monday night incident, posted on several Web sites and played repeatedly on television news, show University of Florida police officers pulling Meyer away from the microphone after he asks Kerry about impeaching President George W. Bush and whether he and Bush were both members of the secret society Skull and Bones at Yale University.
University spokesman Steve Orlando said Meyer was asked to leave the microphone after his allotted time was up. Meyer can be seen refusing to walk away and getting upset that the microphone was cut off.
As two officers take Meyer by the arms, Kerry, D-Mass., can be heard saying, “That’s all right, let me answer his question.”
Audience members applaud, and Meyer struggles for several seconds as up to four officers try to remove him from the room. Meyer screams for help and tries to break away from officers with his arms flailing at them, then is forced to the ground and officers order him to stop resisting.
As Kerry tells the audience he will answer the student’s “very important question,” Meyer yells at the officers to release him, crying out, “Don’t Tase me, bro,” just before he is shocked by the Taser. He is then led from the room, screaming, “What did I do?”
Meyer was arrested on charges of resisting an officer and disturbing the peace, according to Alachua County jail records, but the State Attorney’s Office had yet to make the formal charging decision. Police recommended charges of resisting arrest with violence, a felony, and disturbing the peace and interfering with school administrative functions, a misdemeanor.
If you look at the updates in the USA Today link I posted above, and read the comprehensive analysis of what happened via Beldar, you’ll see that this guy was clearly agitated and wanted to do more than just ‘merely ask questions’ (as outraged lefties are asserting) and that the use of the taser, at least from what I’ve read about the incident, appears to be justified. Consider this letter Michelle Malkin rec’d from UF student Tyler Antar:
So I went to the John Kerry town hall forum this morning trying to get students registered to vote. I run a student government organization called Chomp the Vote. Anyway I went inside to watch the event. Senator Kerry took the podium and began delivering a speech about the Middle East, Iraq, dimplomacy, etc. Anyway, after he was done, a university ambassador asked Kerry a few premade questions. Once that was over, Senator Kerry announced he would take questions from the students. There were two microphones placed on each side of the aisle. One on my side and the other on Andrew Meyer’s side. Senator Kerry began answering the student’s questions from each aisle. Eventually it was announced that there would only be a few more questions answered. Since Meyer and I were both in the back of each line, it did not seem likely that our questions would be answered.
However, while Senator Kerry was responding to a student’s question, all of a sudden Meyer rushed to the microphone with cops in pursuit. At that point no one knew what was going on. Could he have a gun, a bomb? Immediately, Meyer began yelling into the microphone that he had been waiting in line forever and that Senator Kerry should “spend time to answer everyone’s questions!” Senator Kerry tried to calm the student down by telling him that he would “stay here as long as it takes to get the questions answered.” The police approached Meyer who began taunting them by saying “what! are you going to taser me? are you going to arrest me?!” The police grabbed Meyer, but Senator Kerry asked the police to let him go and that he would answer his question. Senator Kerry finished answering the other student’s question and then proceeded with Meyer. (*This entire scene is not in any video I can find so far. This is why 2 cops are seen right behind Meyer at the start of some videos*).
Meyer approached the microphone and began to talk about a book he had which stated that Kerry won the 2004 election because of disenfranchisement of black voters and faulty voter machines that produced “Bush” as the winner. He then posed another question about why President Bush had not been impeached. “President Clinton was impeached because of a blowjob, why not Bush?”. The third and strangest question he posed to Senator Kerry was asking him if he was part of the skull and bones society with Bush at Yale. Meyer’s mic cut off after that, probably because he had mentioned the word “blowjob”. The cops grabbed him, but Meyer was able to get away several times. Eventually more cops were brought in to help subdue Meyer. Meyer continued to resist arrest, scream, curse; however he was enventually subdued by about six cops up around the entrance. As he is on the ground, he is told several times to put his hands around his back. He is also warned that he will be tasered if he does not comply. Eventually he is tasered twice. The video does not show whether he complied or not.
Senator Kerry was trying to answer his question to the audience, mostly the one about faulty voter machines. I am a die hard conservative Republican but I do respect Senator Kerry for trying to soothe the situation as best he could and trying not to escalate the situation. He DID intervene by letting the student at least present his question. I never received an opportunity to ask my question, but when Senator Kerry ended the show after the Meyer incident, he did come off stage to shake hands and give autographs. At that point, I was able to ask him my question, shake his hand, and get a autograph at the same time. Now why couldn’t Andrew Meyer do that?
I don’t know if this is relevant or not, but Andrew Meyer is a former sports writer for the school newspaper The Alligator. In his columns, he has been known to make ridiculous statements in order to gain attention for himself. Was today a publicity stunt?
It certainly sounds like it, doesn’t it?
If you check out the links from Memeorandum, you’ll see that the usual suspects are lining up to defend Meyer, slam Kerry for not condemning what happened (ABC’s Political Radar wrote an article, the headline of which suggested that Kerry condemned the arrest, but if you read the piece you’ll see that’s not what he did), and are accusing the police of using ‘unjustified force’ and ‘violating a student’s free speech rights.’
When I read about this story, the first thing I thought of was the controversy over uber-lefty Mike the Stalker Stark, who got into a scuffle at a George Allen event last year and was wrestled to the ground by three Allen staffers – this after his history of harassing George Allen and after he tried to push and shove his way past Allen supporters in order to get to the Senator – Stark actually shoved aside at least one supporter, something he denied doing, until photos surfaced which proved otherwise. Make sure when you click on that link to click the “next” link on the first page as it takes you through a series of photos that are strong indications of just how nuts Mike Stark is.
The left, predictably, freaked out over this and demanded apologies, resignations, etc and along the way we heard the theme that Stark’s free speech rights were ‘violated’ after he was ‘assaulted and thrown to the ground’ – according to the left, Stark ‘just wanted to ask a few questions.’ Sound familiar?
Stark’s history of harassment, and going over the edge, not to mention just being a plain ol’ embarassment to the Democratic party didn’t stop ‘supporters’ from lionizing him after the alleged ‘assault’ on his free speech rights. Stark was hired as a “street reporter” for Air America’s “Young Turks” show, still blogs at The Daily Kos, and continues to stalk conservatives he doesn’t like.
Keep this in mind the next time you hear about a far lefty being outraged over an alleged ‘free speech violation’ – the far left’s version of ‘free speech’ includes being able to harass, stalk, and bully people with whom they disagree without being questioned or confronted about it.
Oh – and how long will it take for the far left to begin lionizing Meyer? It’s already started.
More: Brian at Liberty Pundit debunks Senator Kerry on his “I didn’t know the student was tasered” lie.