Here we go again. Law enforcement inappropriately using a tool meant for use against violent out-of-control individuals.
A University of Florida student was at an event where John Kerry was speaking. The student was rambling on for a while asking several questions, including why Kerry capitulated so quickly in the 2004 election when it was clear that voting hanky-panky was going on. The student went on at length, and then the police dragged Andrew Meyer, 21, to take him out of the venue and tased him (with better video):
From coverage of the event:
As two officers take Meyer by the arms, Kerry, D-Mass., is heard to say, “That’s alright, let me answer his question.” Audience members applaud, and Meyer struggles to escape for several seconds as up to four officers try to remove him from the room.
Meyer screams for help and asks “What did I do?” as he tries to break away from officers. He is forced to the ground and officers order him to stop resisting. Meyer says he will walk out if the officers let him go.
As Kerry tells the audience he will answer the student’s “very important question,” Meyer struggles on the ground and yells at the officers to release him, crying out, “Don’t Tase me, bro,” just before he is Tasered. He is then led from the room, screaming, “What did I do?”
He was charged with resisting an officer and disturbing the peace. Kerry condemned the action:
“In 37 years of public appearances, through wars, protests and highly emotional events, I have never had a dialogue end this way,” Kerry said in a statement. “I believe I could have handled the situation without interruption, but 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 responding when he was taken into custody.”
“I was not aware that a taser was used until after I left the building,” he continued. “I hope that neither the student nor any of the police were injured. I regret enormously that a good healthy discussion was interrupted.”
And in a story that has received little coverage outside NYC, a veteran of the NYPD says his son was tased by cops four times during a community barbecue for no apparent reason, and beat him 15 times with a nightstick and choked him. (NYDN):
Retired Lt. Alexander Lombard said his son, Alexander Lombard 3rd, 17, was beaten by cops after they arrived at a “community sponsored” barbecue at 126th St. and Park Ave. last month.
“He’s truly dismayed by the whole thing,” Lombard said, standing next to his son in front of Police Headquarters in lower Manhattan. “He grew up with cops. He was raised to trust cops.”
But Deputy Police Commissioner Paul Browne said in a statement that a police sergeant “employed a Taser against the suspect’s ankle” to subdue him after responding to a large disturbance at about 3:30 a.m.
…”The mere fact that he was hit with a Taser four times,” Leader said, “and there’s no resisting arrest charge, no criminal possession of a weapons charge – it’s evident to me that this incident did not justify use of a stun gun.”
[9/19 5AM: Sorry folks, I’ve been offline since this went up, woozy with a very bad cold. I’ve updated the post with the better video and corrected the details of the FL post. And no, rude behavior, even obnoxious behavior, is not grounds for tasing anyone for exercising free speech rights. Should he have stepped away from the mic? Maybe so. I will say this — many a young black man knows what it’s like to be errantly targeted beaten, shot, tased or attacked for absolutely no reason at all by overzealous law enforcement.]
Hat tip, Too Sense.