I was disturbed to read about University of Florida student Andrew Meyer, 21, who was Tasered and arrested yesterday after trying to ask questions of U.S. Senator John Kerry during a campus forum.
Meyer was charged with disrupting a public event and placed in the Alachua County jail. He has a hearing this morning before the county court.
Kerry can be heard saying: "That's alright, let me answer his question," before UF police began to drag away Meyer. Members of the audience began clapping as Meyer left; it is unclear if they were clapping because he was dragged away, or if they approved of his questions.
Videos of the incident posted on the Internet show officers pulling Meyer away from the microphone after he asks Kerry about impeaching President George W. Bush and whether he and Bush were both members of the secret society Skull and Bones. Here is one clip, which has been uploaded to YouTube.com:
While Meyer was clearly emotional during his questions and as he began to be led away, I think the police officers escalated this incident. Early on, as Meyer began to talk on the microphone, the officers were already beginning to put their hands on him.
Tasering a student after expressing his political opinions is simply madness, and it is clear during the video that Meyer had agreed to leave the room if the police would have taken their hands from him. When Meyer mentioned the words "Skull and Bones," the police began to restrain him and drag him away. Perhaps it was just a coincidence, or perhaps the Skull and Bones set needs to update its budgeting software.
At no point did I see Meyer engage in any behavior that could be construed as a threat to the police. I trust that university officials will discipline these officers accordingly, as this is indeed a dark day for American academia.