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Freedom of speech loses a roundPosted Tuesday, September 18, 2007, at 10:48 PM
It was disgusting, to say the least, to see University of Florida police officers tasering student Andrew Meyer just because he wouldn't shut up or stop struggling during a John Kerry appearance on Monday.
Freedom of speech should never be attacked.
Meyer was, in all honesty, being a nuisance by continuing after his allotted questioning time. But that's absolutely no reason to taser someone.
As far as I could see on video, and I've seen several both on TV and YouTube, Meyer at no time tried to attack or injure an officer. He appears to be struggling to get away, then run away. That's not the best of reactions, but I guess we'd all have to actually be in that type of situation to know how we'd respond.
You'll find Associated Press video of the incident at the T-G's main news page. I'm a little hesitant to post a link to most longer-form video of the incident since Meyer uses some foul language. But here's a YouTube video, www.youtube.com/watch?v=V8ndctwAJmU, without foul language showing the question, the immediate aftermath of the tasering and several minutes of the aftermath where Meyer's told he's being arrested for inciting a riot.
Responsible police officers will only taser a suspect when lives are in danger or in an extreme circumstance.
Shelbyville officers have set an example of responsible taser use. I've kept copies of the police reports from the few times suspects have been tasered locally, and published stories on each of them. All suspects, according to the reports, were threatening and fighting officers. Each of those uses -- and they number less than 10 since 2005 -- appeared legitimate to me.
Meyer has a web site, www.theandrewmeyer.com. If you take a peek, be aware it was slow on my home computer with a high-speed cable connection. Hopefully it'll work better for you. I suspect within a few days there'll be a lot more content on it.
Apparently he's impressed with or poking fun at himself (I suspect the latter) since he refers to himself as "The" Andrew Meyer.
And he appears to be a sports fan, so who knows…you Vol fans who went to Gainesville may have unknowingly passed a soon-to-be-famous person.
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David Melson is a copy editor and staff writer for the Times-Gazette.
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