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Arrested & Tased for Asking a Question at University of Florida

(Second article follows)

Student Tasered at Kerry speech

The Gainesville Sun

GAINESVILLE - U.S. Sen. John Kerry's speech at the University of Florida came to a dramatic close Monday, shortly after a vocal audience member was hauled off by police and shot with a Taser gun.

The audience member was preliminarily identified by UF officials as Andrew Meyer, a UF student in the College of Journalism and Communications.

Toward the conclusion of Kerry's UF forum, Meyer approached an open microphone at the University Auditorium and demanded Kerry answer his questions. The student claimed that University Police Department officers had already threatened to arrest him, and then proceeded to question Kerry about why he didn't contest the 2004 presidential election and why there had been no moves to impeach President Bush.

A minute or so into what became a combative diatribe, Meyer's microphone was turned off and officers began trying to physically remove him from the auditorium. Meyer flailed his arms, yelling as police tried to restrain him.

He was then pushed to the ground by six officers, at which point Meyer yelled, "What have I done? What I have I done? Get away from me. Get off of me! What did I do? ... Help me! Help."

Police threatened to user a Taser on Meyer if he did not "comply," but he continued to resist being handcuffed. He was then Tased, which prompted him to scream and writhe in pain on the floor of the auditorium.

After the incident, Capt. Jeff Holcomb of the UPD said Meyer had been charged with disrupting a public event and placed in the Alachua County Jail. Holcomb said there would be an investigation into whether the officers used force appropriately, adding that employing a Taser gun would only be justified in a case where there was a threat of physical harm to officers.

As Meyer was escorted away, he was followed by several students, including Matthew Howland, 20. Howland, a UF senior who said he didn't know Meyer, said he was "appalled" by the way UPD officers handled the situation. Howland acknowledged that Meyer had acted inappropriately by "rushing" the microphone and forcing a question on Kerry.

"It's a perfect example of when officers take something to a level that is not necessary," he said. "The officers escalated that situation."

Throughout the incident, Kerry urged the audience to "cool down" and acknowledged that Meyer had raised an important question. As officers escorted Meyer from the auditorium into the lobby, Kerry went on to explain that he did not think there was sufficient evidence of voter suppression to justify contesting the 2004 election.

"We just couldn't do it in good conscience because we didn't have that evidence," he said.

Video doesn't have an embed link or URL yet. Add it when you find one. Check out the comments following the article...

? Copyright 2006, The Ocala Star-Banner, Student Tasered after asking Kerry questions


Andrew Meyer struggles with University Police after having his question to John Kerry cut off in the University Auditorium at the University of Florida. Meyer was later tasered by police.

Andrew Meyer struggles with University Police after having his question to John Kerry cut off in the University Auditorium at the University of Florida. Meyer was later tasered by police.

Student Tasered after asking Kerry questions


A University of Florida student from Weston was stunned with a Taser and taken to jail on Monday after police say he disrupted an event with U.S. Sen John Kerry and refused to leave.

The incident was caught on video, which has since been distributed on the Internet.

Andrew Meyer, 21, was in the Alachua County Jail Monday night, according to jail records. He faces two charges: resisting an officer with violence and disrupting a school assembly. He's scheduled to appear in court at 9 a.m. today.

Within hours of the arrest, articles about it and video of the entire incident were posted on Meyer's website, www.theandrewmeyer.com.

The website includes writings by Meyer, including one piece against the war in Iraq.

The news came as a shock to Meyer's grandmother, Lucy Meyer, of Pembroke Pines, who described her grandson as a hardworking journalism major with no prior run-ins with the law.

Meyer attended Cypress Bay High School in Weston, his grandmother said, where he worked at the school newspaper and was a member of the National Honor Society.

He is in his senior year at UF, she said.

"I'm just really still sort of numb, hearing that my grandson is in jail," Lucy Meyer said.

She added: ``He gets very, very overcome with passion for whatever he is feeling. Maybe the passion took over.''

At about 1 p.m., Kerry was nearing the end of a forum at University Auditorium, a large facility beside UF's trademark Century Tower. At that point, audience members were allowed to ask questions at a microphone, university spokesman Steve Orlando said.

The person in front of Meyer was told he would be the last person to speak, Orlando said. Meyer said he was upset with that, so Kerry gave him the OK.

When he took the mike, Meyer then asked Kerry several questions. On amateur video linked from Meyer's website, his questions included why Kerry conceded in the 2004 presidential election, why not impeach President George W. Bush now, and whether Kerry was a member of the Skull and Bones secret society at Yale University.

When reminded that he was only supposed to ask one question, Meyer responded in the video "He's talked for two hours. I think I can have two minutes."

Members of the student group sponsoring the event summoned UF police to escort Meyer out, according to a police statement. At first, students can be heard cheering as he is asked to leave.

But Meyer refused to leave, police said.

When officers tried escorting him, he resisted, and officers only partially got handcuffs on him, according to police.

By then, officers had moved Meyer to the back of the auditorium, where he was on the floor, Orlando said. Officers told him to stop resisting, and when he still refused, they used the stun gun, Orlando said. On the video, he can be heard screaming at that point.

Meyer was then put back on hisfeet and taken out of the auditorium, he said.

At one point in one of the videos, Meyer says, "Why am I under arrest?" and "They're going to try and kill me."

see the video here.

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