LEFT OF DAYTON

OUTRAGEOUS:SEN JOHN KERRY IS MUTE WHILE MAN ASKING QUESTION IS ARRESTED AND TASERED @ PUBLIC EVENT | September 21, 2007

Watching the video of Andrew Meyer, a man asking question of Senator John Kerry at public event get arrested AND tasered while Kerry does nothing just flat pissed me off. In a world full of injustices this may not rank as the worst that could happen to someone but, under the circumstances it is certainly an outrage. Watch the video. Get pissed. Send Sen Kerry an email asking why he did nothing.

YOUTUBE VIDEO http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HgrFSHZfD1o

CONTACT SEN KERRY AT:

    202-224-8525 http://kerry.senate.gov/low/contact_email.htm

As Senator Kerry was ending his speech, a man disrupted the senator by screaming, yelling,nd flailing his arms. The man moved his way down the aisle yelling, “Why don’t you answer my questions, I have been waiting and listening to you speak in circles for the last two hours.”
“These officers are going to arrest me”. I didn’t see any officer directly next to him until I
noticed Officer Wise walking down trying to get his attention. The man was screaming and yelling obscenities until Senator Kerry told him to calm down and that he would take his question, but he needed to calm down.

The FSU police report can be viewed @ http://i.a.cnn.net/cnn/2007/images/09/18/offense.report.072274.pdf

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8 Comments »

  1. Gary- it’s not just Kerry’s lack of response- what about all the other students in the room?
    http://rawstory.com//news/2007/Colbert_Todays_kids_dont_know_how_0920.html

    Comment by David Esrati — September 22, 2007 @ 12:35 pm

  2. I, too, was outraged at the callous treatment of an obviously extremely distressed young man. To taser someone who was attempting to use his free speech right is ignorant in the extreme, otherwise known as ignoramus extremis.
    I have written to Kerry making several suggestions about how he might better handle people who are upset and tasering is not one of the responses recommended.
    The young guy was upset. He was being shuffled off. He was disrespected as a human being.
    Finally, what makes John Kerry any different than GW bush?

    Comment by maddibee — September 23, 2007 @ 8:16 pm

  3. What was Kerry supposed to do? Jump off the stage and take on the cops? What about the forty of fifty people in the audience? The few that got out of their seats seemed more concerned about filming the incident than intervening.

    I’d feel sorry for Andrew Meyer if he had actually gone to the mike and asked intelligent questions. But, no, he was being a condescending jerk and sounded more like a heckler than a concerned student wanting answers. After going on and on about this book he actually Kerry, “Did you really want to be President?” Seriously! Way to use that freedom of speech, Andy.

    The campus cops tried to lead him away but immediately he starts flailing his arms and resists being led out of the auditorium, crying “Help! Help me!” even before he’s on the ground, and I personally believe because he knows at least one camera is recording him. He resists the whole time. So they try to cuff him but he still struggles. They tell him if he doesn’t stop he’ll get tased. He doesn’t stop after saying “Don’t tase me, bro!” He got tased. End of story.

    Comment by torgoman — September 24, 2007 @ 4:16 am

  4. “What was Kerry supposed to do? Jump off the stage and take on the cops?”

    No, but as a US Senator he certainly had the position of authority to tell the cops to leave the kid alone.

    Regardless of what you think of the questions he was asking there clearly was no obvious reason for the cops to have stepped in. What was THEIR point, The student was correct, he hadn’t done anything “wrong”, nothing in his question OR behavior predicated “law enforcement” from stepping in during a Public Forum Question and Answer period. As for the “failure “of others in the audience to intervene…are you serious?? While you can clearly hear people asking what is going on and “leave him alone” the idea that a random group of people is going to make a snap judgment about the situation at hand, AND overcome their authority conditioning and take the radical step of trying to stop a group of cops from arresting somebody is beyond naive…

    Aside from Kerry’s inaction, the other serious question raised here is the straight-up hubris of the cops in intervening, a point you seem to have completely missed in your comment. By what authority do campus police [notorious for their overzealousness] intervene in public events like this. Who made them arbiters of the First Amendments?? Answer that one for me…

    Comment by leftofdayton — September 24, 2007 @ 3:49 pm

  5. David, I think I answered your question with my reply to Torgoman…

    Comment by leftofdayton — September 25, 2007 @ 12:19 am

  6. “No, but as a US Senator he certainly had the position of authority to tell the cops to leave the kid alone.”

    And yet Kerry doesn’t have the telescopic eyesight to see what was going on in the back of the auditorium and in the middle of the scuffle to make that call.

    “As for the “failure of others in the audience to intervene…are you serious?? While you can clearly hear people asking what is going on and “leave him alone” the idea that a random group of people is going to make a snap judgment about the situation at hand, AND overcome their authority conditioning and take the radical step of trying to stop a group of cops from arresting somebody is beyond naive…”

    “Authority conditioning”? Is that what you call “general bewilderment” because many people seemed confused by how things were suddenly unfolding and escalating in this bizarre situation.

    Leftofdayton, it’s not that I expected audience members to physically intervene, but one thing I clearly hear in the beginning when the campus police start trying to remove Meyer is applause, not “leave him alone” or opposition. Later there’s someone voicing concern about seeing a taser and then a lot of sounds of shock when they hear the zap. So, it’s not that he’s being removed, but the unforeseen use of the taser that seems to get the loudest crowd reaction, but even then the audience response is mixed at best.

    But at least Kerry attempted to answer the man’s questions, so I can’t accuse him of remaining entirely mute and not honoring Andrew Meyer’s freedom of speech. And now after reading the police reports I learn before the famous footage was shot Kerry had granted Meyer a chance to speak when the event organizers and security had informed people in line that the time for questions had elapsed. All Kerry asked was that he be allowed to finish answering another person’s question before Meyer’s.

    “What was THEIR point, The student was correct, he hadn’t done anything “wrong”, nothing in his question OR behavior predicated “law enforcement” from stepping in during a Public Forum Question and Answer period.”

    Absolutely nothing? I disagree with that assumption. Not saying that campus cops haven’t been overzealous in the past, but I don’t believe this incident is so cut and dry. The way he goes about addressing Kerry is almost heckling and accusatory (“I’ve got a reading assignment for yoooouuu.”) that I could see a cop or the event organizer thinking this Michael Moore wannabe’s actions were intent on causing a disturbance or making a spectacle rather than contributing to a group forum. After an initial interruption he did get to ask his questions, but it turns out it was the event director who cut the mike and asked the cops to escort Meyer out of the building. (Maybe people should flood that guy’s email inbox.)

    But his behavior after the questions is what got him charged with disturbing the peace and resisting arrest. If Andrew Meyer had been escorted out of that auditorium he could have left screaming about his freedom of speech or making accusations against Kerry, the cops, the event director and the university. Perhaps the audience would have taken the whole situation more seriously too.

    I’d prefer he had taken a stand like that then his pseudo-state of hysteria and his “Why me?” attitude. He flails his arms and runs away in the direction of the stage, towards a US Senator and ex-Presidential candidate. That alone calls for some sort of police intervention. But the cops haven’t done anything at that point except try to grab hold of his arms and remove him from the room. There are no nightsticks raised, but he screams “Help me! Save me!” in a ludicrously over the top manner that is so playing for the cameras.

    The entire time he struggles and squirms. He resists getting cuffed and doesn’t give any indication that he will cooperate if the officer wont tase him, so he gets tased.

    I can understand in these times with the future of our personal liberties being in question how this dramatic footage can become so popular. And while I may feel sorry that Andrew Meyer had to get tased, I refuse to laud him as a hero or a martyr for the First Amendment. No “Don’t tase me, bro” hoodie for me. I won’t be posting any sort of creative edit on YouTube for him.

    Personally, I feel sorrier for the treatment of the tased handcuffed woman in Warren, Ohio.

    Comment by torgoman — September 26, 2007 @ 5:21 am

  7. Authority conditioning and general bewilderment could be two sides of the same coin. The issue here is the probability of bystanders intervening in a police arrest situation. We ARE conditioned to not interfere with police making an arrest, under the presumption that they are engaged in an lawful act as officers of the law. “Interfering” could get you arrested.

    In retrospect it does appear that Meyer “set up” this situation…but that is still no excuse for the cops behavior. A more perceptive event director would have found a softer resolution that did not involve cutting off the mike. Meyer’s questions may sound egregious to you, but in truth they are important ones. That they presented in a taunting way does not deprive the content of it serious nature: Why did Kerry concede so quickly?? This is especially important now in light of the results of investigations into both the Florida and Ohio election results in both 2000 & 2004 .

    Watch the video again. Meyer presents Greg Pallast’s book as an argument for not having conceded the election, challenges Kerry on why he has not supported impeachment of Bush, then asks Kerry if he was a member of the Skull & Bones Society while at Harvard.The cops grab him while he is asking his third question, after the mike has been cut off. He does NOT get to finish and Kerry does not answer.

    Without dwelling on the particulars, Pallast’s book does raise serious and fundamental issues regarding the election process in the USA; Hearing Kerry’s position on the impeachment of President Bush would have been illuminating at the very least. The Skull and Bones question digs into the post collegiate relationships that members of these semi- secret societies maintain with each other…the good ol’ boys club if you will.

    Now, as to whether Andrew Meyer is a “hero or martyr” for the First Amendment…yes and no.
    No because he apparently did set this situation up, perhaps not with the intention of getting arrested, but surely to provide provocative and interesting film footage. Yes, because the law of unintended consequences come into play.
    The actions of the police reveals a mindset that goes far beyond the Florida State campus. Try attending one of the President’s rallies while you are wearing at-shirt that says Impeach Bush…you won’t get within 500 or a 1,000 feet of him. This is a President who thinks that he can ignore the Constitution and act imperially to carry out his agenda. The chipping away of basic civil liberties, especially and most importantly, freedom of speech. takes place in incremental steps. Each time an Andrew Meyer loses his voice, his right to speak, due to police intervention, we move a little closer to a society where ALL speech is censored and proscribed. It is the tiny crack, the hairline fracture, which leads to the larger erosion of our precious freedoms. Fascism will not come to America overnight, but it should be abundantly clear by now that the executive branch is seeking to impose an ever more restrictive and stifling control over what American’s can say and do without fear f reprisal from their government.

    So, yes, in my view, Andrew Meyer is a “hero and or martyr” for the First Amendment. Perhaps not a towering figure, but then, even the most self-serving and obnoxious deserve to have their right to free speech protected. By protecting them we protect ourselves…and THAT is what is at the heart of this exchange.

    Comment by leftofdayton — September 26, 2007 @ 5:18 pm

  8. If we’re to defend Andrew Meyer’s First Amendment Rights then perhaps the aim of the original email request should have been for Kerry to issue a statement answering his three questions. That was, after all, what he was so adamant about.

    “In retrospect it does appear that Meyer “set up” this situation…but that is still no excuse for the cops’ behavior.”

    “Meyer’s questions may sound egregious to you, but in truth they are important ones. That they are presented in a taunting way does not deprive the content of it serious nature.”

    I don’t need to rewatch the video because I heard the questions the first time. My problem with how Meyer asked them isn’t one of distaste as much as it is disappointment.

    To me, Meyer’s questions—well, two-thirds of them anyway—were interesting, especially that first one; but it seems Meyer is slightly more interested in getting footage of himself asking three questions, and his showmanship ruins what could have been an important last minute contribution to the forum. And now that I’ve read the police reports describing the situation before the video began I believe Meyer is being pigheaded insisting on three questions. He must have been aware Kerry was running over schedule, answered more questions than originally planned; and Meyer had gotten a very lucky break when the Senator intervened and made an exception to allow Meyer the chance to ask a question when other people in line had been turned away.

    That first question alone deserved one long doozy of a response, especially when it might have been necessary to pepper in a couple quick follow up questions had points of Kerry’s response needed clarifying. But, no, Mr. Three Questions can’t adjust to the time constraints of the situation, and a great opportunity to get Kerry on the record about the reasons for his quick concession was lost.

    About the actions of the police in this particular situation: You and I will have to agree to disagree about this. One difference between the police targeting people for wearing a certain t-shirt slogan and the Meyer case is that in the latter the event director has cut the mike and specifically asked the police to escort Meyer away. It’s not that they as police don’t like Meyer’s questions and want to silence him. Meyer might have a case against the event director or Accent Productions for violating his right to free speech, but not the police. And Meyer’s pigheaded, argumentative, hysterical behavior (and that’s before he’s on the ground) contributed to the escalation of the situation.

    I’ve seen similar situations on a few episodes of Cops when people—sober people—resist getting cuffed and start arguing with the police about it. Watching footage of another camera closer to the cops when Meyer is on the floor, Meyer keeps telling them, “Get the f*ck off me!” Before that we hear him say once, “If you just get off of me I’ll walk out of here.” But he’s not quarreling with some bouncers at a sports bar or even security guards. This is the police, and it is procedure for them to restrain a difficult, uncooperative person with cuffs. And if you resist that and fight with them they will warn you about a taser. And unless you show that you’re going to comply (and telling them not to do it isn’t) they’ll fire a taser.

    The video does not “reveal” a negative police mindset as much as it *portrays* a negative police mindset. There is a difference because the video is not a complete record of the situation, nor does it focus on all the people that played a part in the ruckus, namely the event director.

    But the way it plays justifies your position on police behavior and the state of our nation. It almost plays like a public service announcement cautioning us about how at risk our personal freedoms are. We have the citizen at the mike of a political meeting asking tough questions about our government. Almost instantly he’s set upon by the police, and the more he insists on answers the more the police go after him. He screams for help, but no one does. He’s on the ground struggling as the somnolent voice of the indifferent politician drones on in the background. A weapon is seen! Our brave citizen pleads, “Nooooooo!” There is a zap. Screams! Cut to black.

    Another reason the video bothers me, has been the public’s tendency to focus on footage like this and accept it as an accurate presentation of events. You’ve provided the Boston Globe article and a link to the police reports. And yet I’m wondering about all the YouTube subscribers– the ones who made video commentaries, the ones with Andrew Meyer tributes and creative edits of the footage—and if they’ve read the same material, or if they’re satisfied that the footage they’ve seen of that same few minutes of time from different angles is the real beginning, middle and end of the incident.

    As justified as you feel about your opinions demonstrated in the video, what if incomplete footage fuels the opinions of others with an opposite political view or social agenda than yours?

    As the 2008 Presidential campaign starts to gear up, which is an incredibly important election for our country, I imagine all the political gatherings and town hall meetings that will take place between now and next November. As well as all the video cameras and cell phone cameras that will be present.

    Imagine an altercation erupting at an Obama or Clinton appearance and only part of it is captured on video. What if it puts the candidate’s character or stance on a hot button issue in question because only part of what happened is presented; but the footage’s popularity and entertainment value becomes its own media and later public validation? The Republican candidates would like that, especially if it takes scrutiny off them and leads voters their way. This doesn’t have to be about liberal candidates. It could be about environmental activists being portrayed in a bad light too.

    That’s a lot to imagine, but for me, after seeing the responses to the Andrew Meyer footage, it might not be too farfetched.

    Comment by torgoman — October 1, 2007 @ 8:01 am


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61 Y/O VIET VET WORKING FROM THE LEFT OF CENTER

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