U. of Florida Police on Paid Leave After Stun Gun Episode

Published: September 19, 2007

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Two campus police officers are currently on leave after they used a Taser to subdue a student who was asking John Kerry questions at a campus forum, according to the school president.

The Florida Division of Law Enforcement is investigating the Sept. 17 arrest of Andrew Meyer, a student.

At the forum, Meyer approached the microphone and asked why Kerry did not challenge his 2004 presidential election loss to president Bush in the critical state of Ohio, given allegations that African-American voters were disenfranchised; whether he was a member Skull and Crossbones, a Yale University secret society, like Bush; and why he did not back Bush’s impeachment.

He was at the microphone for about one and a half minutes when police converged on him to escort him out. A campus spokesperson said that before police stepped in, the student was asked to leave the microphone because he was disrupting the forum.

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As Meyer tried to wrest himself from their hold, Kerry responded that he would answer the question and appealed for calm while officers told the student they would shock him if he kept struggling. However, according to news reports, officers pulled the student to the back of the auditorium. Meyer kept asking why they were arresting him, and the police Tasered him when he continued resisting.

During Meyer’s arrest, some students cheered while others silently observed. Many loudly protested when officers started to use the stun gun.

The police charged Meyer with resisting arrest with violence, and disturbing the peace. He was released the next day, not needing to post bond.

Authorities have not concluded whether the police officers improperly used the stun gun. A student-faculty review will go over all protocols related to student dialogue and faculty interaction.

Meyer has a Web site with videos of him participating in practical jokes. He also criticizes the war in Iraq on the site.

Kerry issued a statement, saying he did not know a stun gun had been used until after the event and hoped there were no injuries.

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