University of Florida police subdued student Andrew Meyer as he tried to question Senator John F. Kerry while time ran out Monday. Video of Meyer’s arrest and the use of electric current on him became an Internet sensation yesterday. Kerry said he tried to calm the situation.
University of Florida police subdued student Andrew Meyer as he tried to question Senator John F. Kerry while time ran out Monday. Video of Meyer’s arrest and the use of electric current on him became an Internet sensation yesterday. Kerry said he tried to calm the situation. (Jarrett Baker/ The Sun/ Associated Press)

Student at a Kerry event is Tasered

Senator’s speech in Fla. becomes YouTube fodder

WASHINGTON – Senator John F. Kerry thought he was pacifying a potentially volatile situation when he allowed Andrew Meyer to approach the microphone Monday afternoon, even though the time allotted to Kerry’s speech at the University of Florida had already run out.





“His first words were, ‘Senator Kerry, they’re trying to arrest me,’ ” Kerry said in an interview yesterday. “I tried to calm him down and I stopped them from arresting him. I began to answer his question.”

Meyer never got to complete his questions, but did help to create a series of video clips that yesterday became YouTube hits.

In the videos, campus police are seen attempting to separate Meyer, a 21-year-old telecommunications major, from the microphone as he asked Kerry why he conceded the 2004 presidential election despite claims of vote fraud. As Meyer refused to yield, officers eventually pulled him to the back of the auditorium and shot him with a Taser, a gun that releases an electrical current of up to 50,000 volts.

While Meyer shrieked repeatedly for officers to stop, saying “Why are they arresting me?” and “Don’t Tase me, bro.” Kerry could be heard in the background from the stage. “I want to answer his question,” the senator said, adding, “Unfortunately, he’s not available to come up here and swear me in as president.”


In the interview, Kerry, who said he was unable to see police use the Taser on the man from his position and did not know about it until he had left the university, declined to comment on the police’s actions. “I was trying not to have a riot started,” he said. “I thought it was important to keep the place contained, I guess would be the best way to put it.”

Allegations of police brutality triggered campus protests, while Kerry’s conduct during the incident drew scrutiny elsewhere. “His behavior here is pathetic,” wrote Nick Antosca, a blogger at The Huffington Post. “Listen to him droning sonorously on in the background as a guy is dragged down the aisles and pinned to the ground.”

Meyer, who has a history of chronicling his public hijinks, was released yesterday following a night in jail on charges of disturbing the peace and resisting an officer. In a press conference, university president J. Bernard Machen described the incident as regrettable and announced that two officers involved had been placed on paid administrative leave.

In addition, agents of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement arrived on campus to review the use of force at the university’s request. A spokesman for Kerry said he did not expect the senator to be interviewed as part of the investigation.

Throughout the day yesterday, new perspectives on the encounter became public. One cable-news network appeared to combine footage from five camera angles. At one point, three different recordings of the encounter appeared on YouTube’s list of the day’s 20 most-viewed videos. They joined selections featuring actress Sally Field’s Emmy remarks, a pair of flamboyant Spanish-soccer highlights, and something entitled “Let Me Borrow That Top.”

In addition to footage shot by two local news cameras and what appear to be a variety of individual camera-phones, Meyer apparently contributed to the thorough documentation of his dramatic arrest. “The student who was Tasered had handed a camera to another person who was with him before he went up to speak,” said Steve Orlando, director of the university’s news bureau.

In addition to raising the issue of vote fraud in 2004, Meyer asked Kerry about the possibility of impeaching President Bush and whether the two former opponents were members of the secret Yale University society Skull and Bones. Meyer said his questions were based on Greg Palast’s book “Armed Madhouse,” a year-old muckraking anti-Bush bestseller that Meyer waved wildly as he was being subdued by police.

“Those are good questions. I would have liked to have finished answering the questions,” Kerry said in his interview. “I have the book; I have it at home. It has an important chapter in it on the election.”

That the event generated such attention appeared to puzzle Kerry yesterday, yet he acknowledged that even after a presidential campaign and numerous antiwar demonstrations he had not previously witnessed such a startling end to an otherwise civil speaking engagement.

“In all of the Vietnam protests and everything I’ve ever done where emotions were charged, I’ve never seen anything like it,” he said.

Kerry, known in the Vietnam era for his gutsy confrontations with senators, noted a difference between Meyer’s style and his own at a similar age.

“He barged to the head of the line,” Kerry said. “This wasn’t someone who waited patiently for his turn and asked a question.”

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


  1. Hysteria surrounding the University of Florida taser incident seems rampant. I have just had a serious disagreement with one of my liberal blogbuddies over whether this guy got exactly what he deserved. My (now former) buddy speculates that UofF Journalism student, Andy Meyer just may be one of a growing number of agent provocateurs whose mission is designed to discredit the progressives, the left and the Democratic opposition to Bush. At first blush, I kind of think this is a little too paranoid a little too soon. Or course I have often thought of stuff like this as merely paranoid musings only to be proven sooo wrong in the past.

    Very subjectively, judging from my latest viewing of the tape, I personally think this kid is little more that a variant on one of those hysterical leftist brand of 9/11truthies who sees evil illuminati, builderberger conspiracies under every badge and symbol of office. I’m sure many on the Right would like to include me in that camp as well.

    Nevertheless, as a survivor of the Sixties’ uprisings, I have seen my share of undercover cops’ attempts at inciting riot and plenty of troublemakers who would turn otherwise peaceful, legitimate protest into something else. Anyone familiar with the history of the labor movement and other attempts to develop popular consciousness in the twenties and thirties in this country will remember the goons who were hired by the capitalists to bloody the heads of the rankNfile and kill their leaders. Less well known were those infiltrators who would disrupt and dominate the trade union meetings with interminably long meaningless haranguing speeches until everyone went home in disgust. Can this be happening today? Are people like those in the 9/11 Truth Movement and “libertarians” who warn us of the illegitimacy of the Federal Reserve and the IRS, just a fifth column in our midst designed only to weaken and divide us further? I have had some really frustrating exchanges with many who post on Mike Hagan’s (KOPN’s RadiOrbit) website (mikehagan.com) whom, I think, have gone completely around the bend on this. They even accuse Amy Goodman and Naom Chomsky of being paid agents of the New World Order and the eugenics movement! No disrespect for Mike, et al, is implied here. He just administers a website which, like The Prysms, is open to the widest possible discourse.

    I have just read an interesting article by Alex Doherty, entitled Britain’s 9/11 “Truth Movement” – Who’s Responsible? at


    In it he discusses the emergence of the 9/11 conspiracy industry, and examines how the anti-war movement may have contributed to its rise. I was saddened to hear these 9/11Truthies have even captured the heart of Robert Fisk of the Guardian.

    All that said, I do think the actual questions Alex Meyer put to Kerry concerning the 2004 election and the impeachment of the president were valid ones, in spite of the confrontational manner of their asking.

    I need to make one thing completely clear. We can speculate forever as to Alex’s motives and his method of exercising his freedom of speech. One thing that I think we can agree on is that the behavior of the U of F campus police was over reactive and uncalled for. They took a situation that was a minor disturbance that, at worst, could have been handled by escorting the “troublemaker” out of the building and made it into a violent, disruptive example of police violence employing the unnecessary use of punishing, deadly force. I am open to other interpretations as new testimony and video analysis becomes available. As I said, my opinions are based upon viewing of the videos which rarely captures the whole story.


    Bob Boldt

    Comment by Bob Boldt — September 25, 2007 @ 1:18 am

  2. […] Web 2.0 age. Nothing about this event appeared in the Dayton Daily (at least I didn’t see it) BOSTON GLOBE ARTICLE ON FLA TASER INCIDENT w/SENATOR JOHN KERRY « LEFT OF DAYTON University of Florida police subdued student Andrew Meyer as he tried to question Senator John F. […]

    Pingback by What you won’t see in the Dayton Daily News- and will on DaytonOS : DaytonOS — September 25, 2007 @ 1:30 am

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