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Monday, Sep. 1, 2014

Freedom of speech loses a round

Posted 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.


Comments
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Yea, it's definitely sad this situated has happened. A taser should be used as a last resort and considering they had plenty of security there, they could have just removed him from the room and have handled it with class. Unfortunately, they took the easy way out and showed how ignorant they were of the situation.

Its the world we live in and it's sad to see.

-- Posted by jaxspike on Tue, Sep 18, 2007, at 11:16 PM

I hate when I dont pay attention to what I type . . LOL!

Yeah, it's definitely sad this situation has happened. A taser should be used as a last resort and considering they had plenty of security there, they could have just removed him from the room and have handled it with class. Unfortunately, they took the easy way out and showed how ignorant they were of the situation.

It's the world we live in and it's sad to see.

-- Posted by jaxspike on Wed, Sep 19, 2007, at 7:27 AM

From the Associated Press: "Meyer was arrested on charges of resisting an officer and disturbing the peace 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."

On the YouTube video I linked to an arresting officer can clearly be heard telling Meyer he would be charged with inciting a riot. Interesting, since nothing remotely close to a riot occurred.

-- Posted by David Melson on Wed, Sep 19, 2007, at 8:46 AM

The student was doing fine until he used an explicative. Police officers then grab him and pull him away from the mic and rightfully so. This student was responsible for his poor choice of words that then led to him resisting an unlawful arrest. The more the student carried on though the weaker his case got. Had he not lost his cool he would have never been tasered and probably would have been released not much later. His behavior and his choice of words during the question were not wise. Beyond this the police went too far when they tasered him because he was unarmed and was not attacking the officers. He will win the brutality case because excessive force was used, but he will lose the criminal case against him and be found guilty of at least one crime.

-- Posted by nathan.evans on Wed, Sep 19, 2007, at 9:58 AM

People have the right to say what they want even if they were curse words.

-- Posted by mayberry on Wed, Sep 19, 2007, at 1:28 PM

But how in the world can they charge him with "inciting a riot"? Disorderly conduct, yeah, but not inciting. He wasn't asking other people to rush the stage, or attack anyone. The cops should have straight up said, you're being arrested for disorderly conduct. Also, there wasn't any violence in the manner in which he resisted arrest. He simply pulled away from the officers. If that's violent behavior, then there is no peaceable way to resist arrest. He was a student, attending an event that was open to students. As asinine as I think his opinions and ideas were, he has every right to get up there and talk without the police intervening. The expletive he used was no worse than you hear on morning radio (ok, that really depends on which station you listen to). Granted, he certainly could have come up with e better term for the act for which President Clinton was impeached, but probably not one that is as universally understood (at least in English).

-- Posted by Thom on Wed, Sep 19, 2007, at 1:36 PM

Besides, "resisting arrest and disturbing the peace are bogus charges that the police throw on you when they want to arrest you and don't have any other thing to pin on you. Additionally, I don't think that a John Kerry speech is a "School Administrative Function", unless he is on the faculty at UF. I'm pretty sure that is for students who try to interfere with the day to day workings of the school's "administration".

-- Posted by Thom on Wed, Sep 19, 2007, at 1:41 PM

People have the right to say what they want even if they were curse words.

-- Posted by mayberry on Wed, Sep 19, 2007, at 1:28 PM

No, I am afraid you don't that right.

-- Posted by nathan.evans on Wed, Sep 19, 2007, at 2:18 PM

have*

-- Posted by nathan.evans on Wed, Sep 19, 2007, at 2:25 PM

From what I saw, he was just making an idiot of himself. Right up until the time he was wrongfully tased, then he all of a sudden became an activist.

Go figure!

-- Posted by saveit on Wed, Sep 19, 2007, at 3:09 PM

Yes, the guy was an idiot. Yes, he was playing to the cameras. Yes, he has the right to express himself in a verbally vulgar manner if he so chooses. The bottom line is he's gonna get rich off of the police department for a stupid judgement call on the part of a few officers. And he got whatever idiotic message he had intended to express to the gathering, out to the entire nation and more thanks to the internet.

-- Posted by Thom on Wed, Sep 19, 2007, at 3:30 PM

Couldn't agree more Thom...

-- Posted by darrick_04 on Wed, Sep 19, 2007, at 8:36 PM

Dang, I must've said something wrong...lol.

-- Posted by Thom on Wed, Sep 19, 2007, at 9:17 PM

No, for once you were right.

-- Posted by darrick_04 on Wed, Sep 19, 2007, at 9:23 PM

blah!

-- Posted by nascarfanatic on Sat, Oct 13, 2007, at 10:27 PM


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David Melson is a copy editor and staff writer for the Times-Gazette.