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Tuesday, September 18, 2007

At John Kerry's Florida rally, Andrew Meyer wasn't "shot" by a Taser, but merely shocked by one used in "drive-stun" mode

Michelle Malkin, James Joyner, and lots of other bloggers are posting about University of Florida student Andrew Meyer being "Tasered" (to take a fairly elegant product name and make an inelegant verb out of it) at a John Kerry political rally. Michelle has at least two different videos linked [warning: frequent profanity makes the audios NSFW], and Neocon News has an excellent and very detailed text description (with associated screencaps) of what looks to me to be the longer of the three videos I've seen, hosted from an NBC affiliate in south Florida. Each of the three videos I've seen are from different angles, and one of the shorter, from YouTube (another's also on YouTube, but apparently from CNN; h/t Bill Quick) has clearer sound and a slightly better angle at the key moment — when Meyer was "Tased." Indeed, you can hear Meyer screaming "Don't Tase me, bro! Don't Tase me! I didn't do anything!" And then, with the sizzling sound of the Taser, you can hear him rhythmically screaming "Owwww! Owwww!" while various female bystanders begin to scream too.

Do not fail, however, to pay attention to what was going on just before and during Meyer's "Don't tase me!" screams. Several police officers were doing their utmost to roll Meyer onto his stomach so they could get his hands behind his back to finish handcuffing him. (The version of the video marked "CNN" clearly shows that he resumed struggling as soon as they had the cuff on his right wrist, and didn't get the cuff on his left wrist until after the Tasering; see screencaps in Update below.) He had previously been on his stomach (when taken to the ground by the large black officer who'd propelled him up the aisle away from the microphone area), but he'd squirmed around onto his side and his back. At least some of the time, he can be seen flailing wildly with at least one, and perhaps both arms; other times, he's clearly trying to wrestle his arms out of the grips of the police officers. The officers had not only ordered him to stop resisting and to roll back onto his stomach, they had clearly warned him that if he did not, they would Tase him. He didn't, so they did — and I'll come back to that in a moment.

The important point to take away is that just before he was Tased, Meyer was continuing to disobey the officers and continuing to struggle against them with what appears to have been all of his strength. There was no real danger that he might escape. But there was a danger that he would hurt himself. There was a danger that he would hurt one of the officers. And there was a danger that in trying to physically restrain him, one or more of the officers would hurt him. With him struggling so violently, it's not completely improbable that someone could have been dealt a life-threatening injury — for example, a crushed wind-pipe. Far more likely is that someone — Meyer or the officers — would have suffered a serious, potentially lifetime-disabling injury. If they were lucky, it would have been only a broken rib or broken arm or dislocated shoulder. But it might have been a torn ligament or ripped cartilage somewhere that would have meant no more running for a 21-year-old college brat or a twenty-something police officer. Deliberately or not, Meyer was still out of control, even though he had no chance of escape, no right to resist, and no more time to continue putting himself and others at risk of serious injury.


Tasers are controversial, and they've been much in the news lately. Originally described, at least in the press, as "non-lethal," they're now typically described as "less lethal," and many state and local police forces have reviewed, or are in the process of reviewing, their training and policies regarding Taser use.

Before any of us can even begin to form opinions as to whether these particular campus police officers used a reasonably proportionate amount of force (including the Taser) under the circumstances, though, we need to know what the professional-model Tasers do, at least when they're working the way they're claimed to and they're supposed to. And the quickest place for a primer on that is, reasonably enough, the Taser operator's manual.

In it, we find (at pages 5-6 of the .pdf file) a description of what most of us in the public think of as "Tasering" someone: Shooting them from a distance of several feet with two barbed probes that remain connected to the Taser pistol housing by insulated wires, through which an electrical current is passed. Those probes are intended to cause what the Taser manufacturer refers to as "Neuromuscular Incapacitation" ("NMI"):

The human nervous system communicates with simple electrical impulses. The command center (brain and spinal cord) processes information and makes decisions. The peripheral nervous system includes the sensory and motor nerves. The sensory nerves carry information from the body to the brain (temperature, touch, etc.). The motor nerves carry commands from the brain to the muscles to control movement and can be involuntary in response to the sensory information. An example would be the involuntary muscle reaction to pull a hand away from a hot object.

TASER technology uses similar electrical impulses to cause stimulation that affects the sensory and motor nerves. Neuromuscular Incapacitation (NMI) occurs when a device is able to cause involuntary stimulation of both the sensory nerves and the motor nerves. It is not dependent on pain and is effective on subjects with a high level of pain tolerance. Previous generations of stun guns could primarily affect the sensory nerves only, resulting in pain compliance. A person with a very high tolerance to pain (e.g., a drug user or a trained, focused fighter) might be able to fight through the pain of a traditional stun gun.

The use of TASER technology is designed to cause incapacitation and involuntary muscle contractions, making secondary injuries a possibility. These potential injuries include but are not limited to: cuts, bruises, impact injuries, and abrasions caused by falling, and strain-related injuries from muscle contractions such as muscle or tendon tears, or stress fractures. These injuries are secondary in nature and not directly attributable to the electric stimulation of the TASER device, but are possible consequences of the involuntary muscle contractions the TASER device induces to produce incapacitation. Some of the effects may include:

  • Subject may fall immediately to the ground and be unable to catch him/herself.
  • Subjects located in the water may drown if their ability to move is restricted.
  • Subject may yell or scream.
  • Involuntary muscle contractions of varying degrees.
  • Subject may freeze in place with legs locked.
  • Subject may feel dazed for several seconds/minutes.
  • Potential vertigo.
  • Temporary tingling sensation.
  • May experience critical stress amnesia (may not remember any pain).

There is no doubt that these "secondary effects" can be dangerous. I've read reports of one police officer who had pre-existing bone degeneration in his back and who cracked a vertebrae as a result of the muscle contractions when he agreed, in training, to be shot with a Taser. And although the manufacturer claims that there are other explanations and other causes, there indisputably have been some suspects who've died after being shot with a Taser.

But being shot with a Taser is almost certainly not what happened to Meyer. The longer video clearly shows him in command of his arms and legs, balanced and coordinated, within seconds after the officers finished cuffing him and hauled him back to his feet. He never shuts up, of course, but his "Owww!" screams are replaced again with his "I didn't do anything!" etc. screams within moments, too.


Instead, Meyer was almost certainly  simply shocked by a Taser using something the manufacturer calls (at page 19 of the .pdf file) the "drive-stun mode":

The drive-stun mode will not cause NMI and generally becomes primarily a pain compliance option. Probe deployment is usually considered more desirable, even at close range. Some of the advantages include:

  • Drive-stun is only effective while the device is in contact with the subject or the subject’s clothing. As soon as the device is moved away, the energy effect stops.
  • Deploying the probes allows the user to create distance between the user and the subject while maintaining control.
  • Due to automatic reflex actions, most subjects will struggle to separate from the TASER device. When the TASER device is used in the drive-stun mode and the subject struggles to get away it may be difficult to maintain contact between the device and the subject.

Why do they call it "drive-stun"? When I first saw the term, I first thought "cattle drive!" because I was flashing back to a high-school hazing ritual I underwent in about 1973, in a part of rural Texas where there are still cattle ranches and, accordingly, kids had access to electric cattle prods that operate much like modern Tasers in "drive-stun" mode. Neither my mind nor body was permanently scarred, and neither did I suffer from "NMI," but I can attest that one of those devices applied to a male nipple hurts like the very devil. But the term doesn't come from "cattle drives" at all:

When using the drive-stun, push (drive) the front of the TASER X26C firmly against the body of the subject. Simply “touching” the X26C against the subject is not sufficient. The subject is likely to recoil and try to get away from the stun electrodes. It is necessary to aggressively drive the front of the X26C into the subject for maximum effect.

The drive-stun works more effectively when aggressively applied to pressure points on nerve bundles. This includes the brachial area, common peronial, mastoid, and pelvic triangle. The TASER X26C must be actively depressed or aggressively driven into the nerve bundles in a “drive-stun” manner to be effective in the drive-stun mode.

I can't tell from either video where on his body Meyer was Tasered, nor which officer applied it, nor how hard he or she "drove" the front of the Taser to keep it in contact. But the point of "drive-stun mode" is not incapacitation of a suspect, but rather the infliction of a very intense, localized pain intended to coerce him into dropping his continuing physical resistance and instead cooperating, in order to protect not only the police officers trying to subdue and manipulate him, but the suspect himself. And that's what exactly happened here. The Taseing marked the abrupt end of Meyer's thrashing around and fighting (but not, unfortunately, his yelping, obscenities, self-pity, self-aggrandizement, and slurs upon the police officers).

I don't know enough about any of this to be able to independently evaluate the manufacturer's claims regarding the Taser's general safety, and the operator's manual warns, unsurprisingly, that when vigorously applied to some parts of the body (e.g., the neck or groin), even the "drive-stun" technique may cause crushing injuries that could be permanent or even life-threatening. But it seems fairly obvious to me that the sudden, localized, intense pain Meyer was subjected to might well be justifiable when compared to the risks to him and the police officers from several more minutes of his resisting arrest. At least such a case could be made; and whether it should prevail or not, as a matter of wise long-term police department policy would depend, I suppose, on the marginal risks and benefits from injuries with and without their use. My understanding is that several police departments have policies that permit carefully limited use of "drive-stun" Tasering in precisely the sort of situation in which these University of Florida campus policemen found themselves.


I'm hoping I'll draw some comments from law enforcement types who have training and/or experience with Tasers. I've already read enough just Googling around to confirm that there's an on-going battle of expert witnesses about the manufacturers' safety claims, with at least one prominent critic whom the manufacturer accuses of being a "junk scientist" who does indeed seem to lack certain basic credentials like a bachelor's degree from any college.

In any event, I think it's important that people recognize that, to embrace the Star Trek metaphor, these police officers' phasers weren't even "set to stun." I'm sure it still hurt like hell. But we can all be glad that, apparently, neither Meyer nor any of the police officers were permanently injured. In many other countries today, and in a day and time not too far removed from today in our own, Meyer would have gotten a nightstick to the ribs or the back of his noggin and been carried out on a stretcher; I'm not advocating a return to that, but I hope those who now claim that he was a "victim" in any sense will at least acknowledge that his violent struggle could certainly have resulted in one of today's officer's leaving the scene on a stretcher too.

I'm not inclined to second-guess whoever it was who gave the instructions that Meyer was to be removed from the rally — from what I've read, and from just what I've seen on the longer video, he was clearly abusing the privilege of questioning even a great gasbag like Sen. Kerry, even if Sen. Kerry was encouraging him (and now condemns his arrest). If you don't think this guy went over the line into impermissible public behavior, you are blind to the possibility of there being lines.

And I hope Meyer spends at least several weeks in jail —€” not for anything he said, but for the indisputable crime he committed in vigorously, insistently, and dangerously resisting arrest. He'll probably still sue the officers and the University of Florida. And maybe something will come out that changes my mind. But right now, I think that if he sues, he ought to lose. And personally, I'd sure rather be representing those officers than him.


UPDATE (Tue Sep 18 @ 3:25pm): Okay, I've now seen several blogs and MSM resources falsely (but I presume innocently and in good faith) report that Meyer had already been cuffed when he was Tasered. That's only half-true: His right cuff was on, but the officers' attempt to attach the left cuff is what prompted him to begin squirming and resisting again, directly leading to the Tasering. Here are my sequential screencaps from this video, which has the best angle to show the handcuffing attempts, and also very good audio in which you can hear the right cuff click, the left cuff never click, and hear the Tasering. Look at these, note the times, and then watch the sequence on the video again if you have any doubt, because these screencaps are useful mostly as the markers of the key events:

Below (at 2:45) you can clearly see the officer's right hand holding his handcuffs. Neither is attached. Meyer is half-way squirmed around onto his back after having been taken down from his feet onto his stomach originally:


Below (at 2:53) the officers have Meyer rolled back onto his stomach, and although you can't see the officer attaching his right handcuff, you can distinctly hear the metallic click on the audio track, and then see the right cuff in place very briefly in some of the following frames:


Below (at 3:11) you can see that Meyer has half-rolled back onto his right side, having succeeded for the last quarter-minute in keeping his left wrist too far from his right wrist for the two wrists to be cuffed together behind his back. Before this shot, his left arm has been flailing around, flexing and extending. And indeed, in this screencap, you can see the fingers of his left hand fluttering and extended behind another officer's arm, just above the officer's wristwatch — and then those fingers suddenly jerk back in on the video about a half second later just before you hear the Taser begin to fire. Within seconds after that (by 3:29), the officers have finished with the left cuff too, and Meyer's back up and on his feet, headed out of the room with his elbows behind him, no longer a resistance threat.



UPDATE (Tue Sep 18 @ 8:45pm): From a blog called "Cop The Truth," a post entitled Been Tased and Confused has the law enforcement perspective I've been looking for — with delicious wit (emphasis and link in original):

Anybody who watches the video with an open mind can clearly see that he violently resisted arrest and the cops there had every right to use the taser on him. I would have handled the entire event differently, especially in front of any mostly anti-police crowd on a university campus, but they covered all the bases: they asked him verbally, then warned him, then went hands on, but, because of poor tactics, were unable to control or handcuff him. When he continued to resist, despite numerous verbal commands, he got zapped. Boofreakinghoo.

He'll probably be kicked off of a Southwest Airlines plane tomorrow for wearing a short skirt....

Sadly, it doesn't look like the university is going to back the cops on this one.

That would be sad, and fiscally very short-sighted. Convicting Meyer of resisting arrest is the key to all future civil claims and proceedings.

Here's another cop's take, from Curt at Flopping Aces:

Now take it from one who has used tasers to subdue combative suspects, this guy could very well have had some long term damage done to him if the police HAD NOT used the taser.  That's what the tool is for.  They receive some zaps and ta da!  They comply.  If they didn't have that tool then they have their fists, their batons, their flashlights.  It's called pain compliance.

If they guy didn't think he should of been arrested the time to fight it is NOT during the arrest.  It's after the arrest in a court of law.  Once we have come to the conclusion that a person needs to be arrested you must comply.  No if's, and's or but's about it.   There is plenty of legal recourse to fight it later but physically fighting the police is not the way to go about it.


Posted by Beldar at 01:58 PM in Law (2007), Technology/products | Permalink


Other weblog posts, if any, whose authors have linked to At John Kerry's Florida rally, Andrew Meyer wasn't "shot" by a Taser, but merely shocked by one used in "drive-stun" mode and sent a trackback ping are listed here:

» Student protest planned for Dont taser me, bro! Kerrys Statement Update: Taser Information from Neocon News

Tracked on Sep 18, 2007 2:14:14 PM

» The taser incident at the Kerry campus forum from Sister Toldjah

Tracked on Sep 18, 2007 6:28:54 PM

» State of Florida v. Andrew Meyer: Spoilt ham faces meaty prison term of up to 5 years from BeldarBlog

Tracked on Sep 19, 2007 12:29:25 AM

» I condemn you to be the “don’t tase me, bro!” guy for the rest of your days. from Neocon News

Tracked on Sep 19, 2007 3:05:23 PM

» "Don't Tase me, bro!" incident report due today from BeldarBlog

Tracked on Oct 24, 2007 12:54:41 AM


(1) Uncle Pinky made the following comment | Sep 18, 2007 2:40:00 PM | Permalink

This post is an excellent reminder (for me) of why I bookmarked you in the first place. If you ever move your practice to Virginia, please let me know so I can put down my retainer.


(2) anduril made the following comment | Sep 18, 2007 4:51:47 PM | Permalink

Maybe pepper spray would have been a better idea?

(3) Captain Ned made the following comment | Sep 18, 2007 5:48:07 PM | Permalink


In a crowd like that pepper spray would have caused way too much "collateral damage".

(4) JB made the following comment | Sep 18, 2007 5:53:43 PM | Permalink

Pepper spray would affect everyone in the immediate area and obviously pose a threat to the officers finishing their duty. (i.e. School of Scoundrals effect when they are in the elevator)

(5) Amy made the following comment | Sep 18, 2007 6:35:26 PM | Permalink

What about a reason for arrest? Aren't we, as citizens, doing the right thing if we resist an illegal arrest?

To my knowledge, speaking too long at a Q&A isn't arrestable. Why was he arrested? Give me one valid reason to arrest him, and I'll take down my blog post about it.

It is against our rights as Americans to arrest us, simply because you feel we are being obnoxious. The second those police put one finger on him, it was bulls**t. He had violated no law. It was a public forum!

(6) nk made the following comment | Sep 18, 2007 7:25:01 PM | Permalink

If you're going to fight, fight. If you're going to talk, talk. This guy was throwing a tantrum just like you'd see in a two-year old except that it wasn't with his mommy and daddy.

(7) RiceOwl made the following comment | Sep 18, 2007 7:28:03 PM | Permalink

Beldar - your long winded blog above is complete and utter crap. Making a comparison to "other countries today" he would have gotten a night stick in the ribs means nothing. This is the USA "bro" and according to the video he had only used up 1 and a half minutes NOT 2 minutes at an open forum for a YES as you put it, a SASBAG like John Kerry. If we lived in other countries he also would likely get sent to freaking Siberia or have his tongue carved out of his mouth. You might get your fingers broken for calling Kerry a SASBAG. Aren't we glad we don't live in those countries.

Your entire resisting arrest argument is also complete horse s**t as well. How about probable cause? He was speaking at an open forum where you are suppose to ask questions. If you look at the long video you see the police came right up behind him as soon as his voice became agitated - almost immediately. This is our right as Americans, to question those who represent us. John Kerry is a senator of the United States. The venue was a university - not the street in the 5th ward. Was the paperback book a deadly weapon? I don't think so at 150 feet from Kerry. If anything Meyer's reaction was legitimate self defense from the over steroided mud wrestler assaulting his constitutional right to free speech. Say self defense "bro" self defense - as for the lawsuit - forgetting about your ignorant and meaningless analysis of the settings on a taser gun I would put my money on Meyers anyday. And unlike you who somehow needs to see something else to change your mind the video shows it all. Kerry says it all - "if everyone calms down" "I will gladly answer his question" The UPD literally have no clue and unnecessarily escalated this situation - their campus bicycles probably had flat tires or no cars were parked illegally and perhaps Dunkin Donuts was short on jelly rolls.

1) freedom of speech
2) I didn't hear the officers read him his rights-if he was under arrest he probably should have been told why - and then the reason would have been a violation of number 1 above
3) you sounds really dumb on this blog taking a "I am so cool" approach and making your case with the videos - which clearly do NOT support your story.

I'm actually in the middle east right now for work and I can tell you that you should be defending every freedom that those other countries are lacking instead of the poor UPD who might get his windpipe busted making an illegal arrest.

(8) Beldar made the following comment | Sep 18, 2007 7:37:29 PM | Permalink

Amy, please keep your comments here PG or so, per my blog policies. I've lightly edited your comment for profanity and deleted the duplicates.

The short answer to your question, which I've just spent a long time answering with detailed statutory and case citations over in Bill Quick's blog comments is this: No, citizens do not generally have the right to use force or violence to resist even an illegal arrest. Where did you get the idea that we do? If that were the law, then every crackpot's notion of the law would become grounds for a police shootout.

There is a very limited exception, for when the police officer initiates the force without there first having been any resistance by the suspect, and the police officer then proceeds to use a degree of force that is objectively unreasonable and disproportionate given what appears to be needed to accomplish the arrest. That cannot possibly apply here: Meyer began the resistance. He therefore forfeited the right to claim self-defense when things escalated.

For that matter, Meyer wasn't necessarily even going to be placed under arrest until he started resisting through force that endangered the officers, himself, and others present. He might have simply been ejected to the door and released. Someone — I know not who, but I presume it was a university official with dominion over the meeting hall — cued the officers that it was time to revoke Meyer's permission to be there, and yes, that's almost certainly enough justification for him to be ejected without his consent.

But even if it were not, Meyer can't claim that his violent resistance was justified. A judge would almost certainly not even submit a self-defense/justification issue or instruction.

(9) Beldar made the following comment | Sep 18, 2007 7:39:09 PM | Permalink

RiceOwl: I've edited your comment for profanity, too. The personal attack is outside the bounds of what I normally tolerate here. Keep a civil tongue, or start your own blog and comment there. First and last warning, thanks.

(10) antimedia made the following comment | Sep 18, 2007 7:39:15 PM | Permalink

I watched one of the videos, and I didn't pay as close attention to it as you apparently did. My question is, why were the police there to begin with? There's no question that he resisted arrest, and I won't question the officers' actions AFTER they attempted to arrest him.

But why were they there to begin with? It appeared to be an open forum. The gentleman was at the mike asking questions, and he was surrounded by police. Why? Were they called ahead of time to stifle debate? And why were there so many police? Until he began to resist, how could they have anticipated that they would need six or eight officers to effect an arrest?

The whole thing seems rather strange to me.

(11) Beldar made the following comment | Sep 18, 2007 7:45:30 PM | Permalink

Antimedia, I don't know the answer to all of your questions, but a half-dozen campus cops at an event featuring a former presidential candidate doesn't strike me as per se unreasonable. As to why they were in Meyer's vicinity during the questioning, there's a credible argument posted at Michelle Malkin's blog from an eyewitness who says Meyer had cut ahead of several other people standing in line as they were announcing that they were closing down the questioning, such that it looked at first as if he might actually be attempting to rush the stage. It starts with one female officer who's about 5'0" in her stockings and 110 lbs. dripping wet, but as he bats her away from him and begins insisting on "educating" everyone present, I can see why other officers wandered closer.

(12) The Drill SGT made the following comment | Sep 18, 2007 8:04:32 PM | Permalink

I watched the longer version of the video. The after they said they'd take 2 more questions, the guy jumps the line, seizes the mike and proceeds to run through a number of bizarre questions including one that discusses Clinton getting a "XX" (sorry Beldar). anyway, they pull the sound, and 2 officers grab him by the arms. At that point, the scenario was gonna run to its ultimate conclusion. regardless of your basic rights, when a police officer grabs you and orders you to obey, there is no alternative in real time. You can appeal your conviction, but you are going to obey and the police can pretty much apply any force up to and including deadly force if you struggle and are not under control.

This guy fought the police, resisting multiple orders to cease and desist. Let me say it again. once involved in a direct physical struggle with a suspect, the police will under their rules of engagement continue to escalate the engagement until such time as you are cuffed and searched or you are dead. case law supports that position. The risks to officers justify it.

In that circumstance, your only alternative is go quietly with the officer and plead your case to a judge. anything else borders on suicide.

(13) The Drill SGT made the following comment | Sep 18, 2007 8:10:30 PM | Permalink


I enjoyed the performances of 2 of the cops.

1. The female police officer doing that feminist "conflict resolution" stuff, wagging her finger at the perp on the ground. Didn't work well.

2. The Big Black ex-NFL Defensive lineman cop who bull rushed the guy up the aisle. Apparently he ended up with the taser if the voice file is clear. They would have been better off giving the taser to the female and having Mr T kneel on the perp's chest.

(14) antimedia made the following comment | Sep 18, 2007 10:20:38 PM | Permalink

Beldar, I have since become aware of the additional details of his having cut in line, etc., etc. Given those circumstances, I think the police officers' performance was completely justified.

RiceOwl, you have an odd way of trying to make an argument. You're obviously unfamiliar with Beldar's blog, where reason and logic reign supreme. You find your version of "reasoning" stunningly unpersuasive here.

(15) Lin made the following comment | Sep 18, 2007 10:40:07 PM | Permalink

I agree that this guy was completely obnoxious,but he does have the right to free speech, reguardless of "cutting in line."
To be seriously considered:

1. Why was he exactly arrested in the first place? (He did not threaten Kerry or have any weapons, although armed with provocative questions). Personally, I would have liked to see how Kerry would have answered him and handled his behavior.
2. Are a person's rights supposed to be read to them before, during or after the cuffs are put on? They didn't even explain why he was being arrested, which seems pretty important.
3. Lastly, was it really necessary to escort him out? I believe although his tone was aggressive, he didn't pose physical danger at all(yet). EVen Kerry said that if everyone would calm down, he would answer the questions, proving he believed the situation could be handled rationally.

To me, THIS is not a question of should he have been tasered for resisting arrest or was Meyer a Jerk , BUT foremost were the police lawful in arresting him at all before they even layed a hand on him???

BTW, great informative article

(16) Joseph made the following comment | Sep 18, 2007 10:57:46 PM | Permalink

I find no reason for him to have been tased or been cut off. He did not do anything, he is a college student and was merely asking questions and learning more. Obviously Kerry got a little shaky and nervous because they had to take him out. The cops are idiots and did not even give him his Miranda right if I heard right.

(17) Beldar made the following comment | Sep 18, 2007 11:05:07 PM | Permalink

Lin, thanks for the kind words. It is far from clear that when someone cut the power to Meyer's microphone and the officers first tried to escort him from the room, that he was then under arrest. No statements to that effect can be heard, and I think it's more likely that their intention at that point was simply to eject him. The Q&A time was drawing to a close, this fellow was more interested in lecturing than asking a question, and then proceeded to ask three. Someone — I know not who, but I would guess it was some university official with responsibility for the meeting room and planning — probably cued the officers to remove him.

Kerry was also an invited guest — not likely someone entitled to give direction to the campus police officers to either remove him or permit him to stay. I don't find anything particularly blame- or praiseworthy in Kerry's performance.

But whether he was en route to an arrest or just en route to the door, Meyer chose to resist. And by the time he was even half-way up the aisle, his resistance had become more than just passive, and had switched into active, athletic, and dangerous resistance. At some point, some officer made the on-the-spot judgment that whatever else had gone before, he was now interfering with the performance of their duties, resisting arrest, and/or assaulting the officers — and at that point he definitely was going to be subdued, cuffed, arrested, and booked.

Contrary to the impression some of the TV shows give, you don't have to read Miranda rights before or even simultaneously with putting on cuffs. Protecting the safety of the officers, bystanders, and the subject comes first — which meant getting him cuffed. The only way Miranda would come up at all would be if the prosecution tried to introduce some statement of his made against his own interest but before he was advised of his rights, and even then such statements would likely not be excluded if the officers had not yet had a "reasonable opportunity" to advise him of his rights after securing him and the overall situation.

Joseph, I think this comment addresses your questions too.

Antimedia, my main concern about commenter "RiceOwl" is for how many other Rice Owl fans may find this one's mode and quality of argument intensely embarrassing. Certainly that great university is capable of creating more persuasive debaters, and I know quite a few whom I'd so categorize who nevertheless might disagree with me (civilly) on the merits.

(18) Garrett McAdams made the following comment | Sep 18, 2007 11:06:12 PM | Permalink

Beldar: your breakdown of the incident is helpful. As with all issues of this type, in the first few hours (possibly days) of these made-for-scandal events, false or misleading hypotheses tend to overwhelm the few nuggets of fact that we all possess.

I fully understand that at the point of confrontation with a peace officer, there are no options open to me for non-compliance. It is the very nature of our ceding the use of force to these lawful authorities.

Therefore I agree with you that when he was directed by the agent of the law to submit to their authority, he broke the law by not doing so.

This agreement is of little comfort to me, when I put it in context.

This individual, regardless of his political persuasion, his physical appearance, or the amplitude of his speech, was ultimately exercising a fully-protected right.

He was merely speaking. He posed no threat to others by merely speaking.

He may have been rude, may have been sufficiently ignorant of social graces, may indeed have given offense to others.

But he was only speaking.

To introduce the police element into this situation is to invite the miniature disaster we now see before us (I say disaster since it seems to be one for the Kerry retinue, the University, the police, and for this individual.)

At some point, the conflict between the exercise of speech, and the control of that exercise, will result in this form of calamity.

I thank you again for your reasoned and patient exposition. (And for digging into the user's manual. Who would have thought of that!)

(19) Beldar is being a bit unreasonable here made the following comment | Sep 18, 2007 11:07:17 PM | Permalink

But there was a danger that he would hurt himself. There was a danger that he would hurt one of the officers. And there was a danger that in trying to physically restrain him, one or more of the officers would hurt him. With him struggling so violently, it's not completely improbable that someone could have been dealt a life-threatening injury — for example, a crushed wind-pipe. Far more likely is that someone — Meyer or the officers — would have suffered a serious, potentially lifetime-disabling injury. If they were lucky, it would have been only a broken rib or broken arm or dislocated shoulder. But it might have been a torn ligament or ripped cartilage somewhere that would have meant no more running for a 21-year-old college brat or a twenty-something police officer. Deliberately or not, Meyer was still out of control, even though he had no chance of escape, no right to resist, and no more time to continue putting himself and others at risk of serious injury.

I think the above is absolutely bogus. Meyer was trying to keep his arms free precisely to show he was not a danger to anyone, he was not armed, and he did not need to be physicially restrained by multiple persons. There was absolutely no reason for the arrest and the cops should be fired. Furthermore, the charges should be dropped and the student should be apologized to. Most importantly, Senator Kerry is the one who should apologize.

(20) Beldar made the following comment | Sep 18, 2007 11:15:20 PM | Permalink

"Bit unreasonable," you must never have had your nose broken. And if you think that by flailing his arms to keep his wrists from being handcuffed Meyer was trying to "show he was not a danger to anyone," I have to wonder what small crime- and media-free municipality you've lived your life in. He could have shown that he was no danger to anyone by ... following the officers' instructions, lying on his stomach, and presenting his wrists behind his back to be cuffed. Then he would not have been Tased.

Mr. McAdams, I'd be much more concerned about potential chilling of anyone's legitimate First Amendment rights if I were less convinced that Meyer deliberately engineered this entire episode. He is probably the happiest man in America tonight.

(21) Beldar is still a bit unreasonable made the following comment | Sep 18, 2007 11:24:22 PM | Permalink

He could have shown that he was no danger to anyone by ... following the officers' instructions, laying on his stomach, and presenting his wrists behind his back to be cuffed.

Except you're ignoring that he only got pushed down after he had been screaming help and I did nothing wrong and why are you arresting me while holding his empty palms up with arms straight in the air. The cops pursued him for no reason at that point and applied physical force for no reason. Only once physical force was applied did Meyer start "resisting". Whether one cuff was on or not at a particular time signature in a certain video, Meyer was pursued and force was applied to him while he represented no danger at all. Your analysis of the "danger" Meyer presented is bogus.

I have had my nose broken, by the way, and I live in New York City. Oh, yes, and the person who broke my nose was a cop. Who was later fired.

(22) Beldar made the following comment | Sep 18, 2007 11:35:08 PM | Permalink

One doesn't have the right to veto one's own arrests. 'Twould be a prize greatly valued by all real criminals, wouldn't it? But their remedy is not to fight the cops, but to argue their points in the courts of law.

Meyer "began resisting" quite literally before he was ever even touched by any officer — shooing off the female officer while insisting that Kerry had talked for two hours and he was therefore entitled to his two minutes. The officers' later taking of his arm to lead him out is not force. Go read the cases I cited and quoted from in Bill Quick's blog's comments. They're from Texas, construing the Texas statute, but they're absolutely typical. Unlike three-year-olds with finicky parents, suspects undergoing arrest, or even just ejection, have no privilege against being "touched," and not every touch, obviously, is forceful.

By interfering with the officers' performance of their duties, assaulting them, and resisting arrest, Meyer became a criminal. That he was screaming "help" and "I did nothing wrong!" and "Why are you arresting me," besides being stunningly disingenuous and therefore pretty funny to many who've watched the video, is legally irrelevant. It doesn't give him the right to resist arrest.

I'm glad your nose healed. I'm glad neither Meyer's nose nor any of the officers' were broken.

(23) Jim Treacher made the following comment | Sep 18, 2007 11:59:27 PM | Permalink

Yeah, I first learned about drive-stun mode when that Muslim kid at UCLA got tased late last year. Very similar to this incident: Bravely standing up to authority figures trying to tell him what to do, and squealing like a stuck pig all over YouTube when he took away all their other options. I think he filed a lawsuit against UCLA, but I don't know where that's at.

(24) Amy made the following comment | Sep 19, 2007 12:00:24 AM | Permalink

I didn't say we had the right to resist arrest. I said, "... isn't it the right thing to do?"

Apparently, people must be arrested and cruelly treated by the police for people to realize that our country is overrun by zealots.

Did he stage this? Maybe. I don't care. I certainly don't think he wanted to be tortured by police with a taser. If someone started leading me out of a room by my armpit, you are durn (pg-13 rules) right that I would resist. I would most definitely pepper my speech with more colorful language than this guy did, as well.

I find your argument begs the question--he didn't break the law, but when police stepped in FOR NO REASON, he had no choice but to follow their orders, because if he didn't he'd be arrested, which is what was already happening?

Where do my rights as a person in this country start?

Sorry, but these cops were absolutely wrong.

(25) Lin made the following comment | Sep 19, 2007 12:02:37 AM | Permalink

An alternate, hypothetical solution to compare:

Meyer is allowed to finishe his 3 questions without interruption from authorities. Kerry proceeds to answer,(likely with Meyer maintaining his agressive behavior and interrupting Kerry's answer to argue or comment). At this point the tension escalates and the Q & A is ready to close discussion. Then, the convo could have been cut short by the cops, resulting in the same outcome,... OR perhaps some official wanting to avoid confrontation with police force could suggest Meyer holds his thoughts to share with Kerry until after the crowd leaves. If Meyer were to comply to this, it would prove his rationality and true concern for the issues at hand. But,more likely than not, Meyer would insist for his "2 minutes" in the spotlight in front of everyone (because i do believe he was seeking attention through inciting opposition). So more likely than NOT, this individual would again pose an aggressive threat, even after being allowed his free speech. Perhaps, letting him continue would actually even increase his theatrical passion causing an even greater disturbance.

So, I guess it is a gray line when it comes to stopping speech because no one really knows what will come of it, and the police were obviously trying to nip whatever might have happened in the bud, due to the fact he was initially being arrested for disturbing the public peace. (I believe before it actually was "disturbed")

Frankly, I believe it would have been more just to him to excercise his rights more before being whisked quickly away, reguardless of the uncertain consequences.

(26) Jim Treacher made the following comment | Sep 19, 2007 12:03:00 AM | Permalink

Er, when he took away all the cops' other options, not YouTube's. Unfortunately for Meyer, there's more video evidence here than there was in the UCLA case.

(27) Jim Treacher made the following comment | Sep 19, 2007 12:06:06 AM | Permalink



(28) Beldar made the following comment | Sep 19, 2007 12:36:04 AM | Permalink

Mr. Treacher, I've read that the UCLA case is set for trial some time in 2008, but I don't know any of the details on that setting or the current likelihood that it will be met.

Lin: The situation almost certainly could have been handled differently, and probably better, by just about everyone involved — but most of all, by Meyer. Everyone else's decisions, while perhaps not great, were (in my judgment) within the range of what's normal and acceptable. He decided to become a criminal.

Amy: Resisting arrest is not the "right thing to do." If there's a problem with the arrest, challenge it in court, not with your fists. If you genuinely think this country is "overrun by zealots," you're certainly entitled to that opinion. But I suggest you study some world history, then further broaden your horizons through some international travel, and then come home and re-assess.

(29) Jim Treacher made the following comment | Sep 19, 2007 1:16:09 AM | Permalink

Mr. Treacher is my father's name! (Presumably. I have no idea who he is.)

Looking around at the various blog reactions, apparently we're not supposed to hold Meyer accountable for his own actions. Ugh.

(30) Gregory made the following comment | Sep 19, 2007 2:53:23 AM | Permalink

Replace John Kerry with Hillary Clinton and Mr. Meyer would probably be dead right now. Two steps into his stride towards the stage he would have shot in the chest by the Secret Service. He's lucky the agents are not following Mr. Kerry around anymore

"Why didn't you contest the 2004 election?" Meyer waited 2 hours to ask this and his other "questions"? Meyer did not have his mic cut off for excercising his right to free speech by asking serious questions about healthcare. He was ranting. Skull & Bones? Are you serious? I'm wondering if a University official nodded towards the police as an indication to lead Meyer away from the mic. Everything that happened after that is a direct result of Mr. Meyers behavior, not the cops. Why were the police there? Because that's where their comanding officer told them to go. They were ASSIGNED to proved security for a sitting U.S. Senator. The same Senator who is now stabbing them in the back. Hope the police unions who endorsed him are proud. I'm guessing that standing in a lecture hall durring a political speech is NOT a desired duty in copland. (unless you're a zealot of course)

Just a few months ago, a student shot 32 of his fellow students dead at Virginia Tech. This was an act that was commited "for no reason". Andy was arrested for a reason...fighting with the police is illegal. Fighting with the police so you can video tape it, post it on your website, and achive your 15 minutes of fame becoming a national news celebrity as a "martyr" for free speech is pathetic. How in the heck are the police supposed to know he does not have a weapon? Take his word for it?

Law Enforcement is the most second-guessed profession in America, done by people who do not have time to make second guesses. If Mr. Meyer had hurt someone, blame would still be raining down on the police for not doing enough to stop it. It steams me to read people cavillerly calling for the officers to be fired for doing their job. If you think they used too much force, well, Mr. Meyer got a little zap and yelled owwwwww! Too little force was used at VT and 32 students are dead.

(31) SarahW made the following comment | Sep 19, 2007 6:47:31 AM | Permalink


He wasn't arrested for "merely talking."
He was in the process of disrupting the Q&A portion of the event.

Why do you feel the event organizers had no right to keep control of who was speaking and whether they could be vulgar, or hog the mic?

(32) Jim C made the following comment | Sep 19, 2007 7:38:00 AM | Permalink

I don't understand why everyone insists he was being arrested, when he was simply being escorted out of the building.

His actions after the fact led to the use of a taser.

I think it's sad that officers are forced to use a taser on someone because their parents never told them "no".

I've seen comments by people like Amy and I'm just left shaking my head. I suppose this is the by-product of a society that awards mediocrity, corects schoolwork with a purple pen becsue red is too "mean", and generally coddles it's youth.

You're all very lucky that police carry a taser.

(33) Bill C made the following comment | Sep 19, 2007 12:05:34 PM | Permalink

Yeah...This is quite the long winded speach and complete nonsense. Here the facts you can watch yourself.

1.) Kerry said "Sir" as an invitation to the student to speak

2.) Andrew Spoke for 1.5 minutes and clarified he wanted to inform before he spoke the question

3.) He was hauled away (..in otherwords, the Police interrupted the conversation that was inititated by Kerry

4.) The student was confused as to why he was being hauled away as would anyone
(Just because it's not what the police handbook shows, doesn't mean that 'resistance' is not warranted. If someone does something wrong, you resist, it's human nature and still not his fault.
5.) They taser him. Go to a Rodeo and find out how the cowboys wrestle cattle and rope their feet. Sounds like these police need more training with a whole group of them their. Anyway, Taser unwarranted

6.) They tell him in the full video that he was arrested for "Inciting a Riot" ...lol...I don't even need to defend this.

7.) All through this Kerry continues to say he'll answer the question. Like he's trying to finish a conversation.

A taser is a taser. It is a weapon. That's all it is and nothing more.

(34) SarahW made the following comment | Sep 19, 2007 12:25:57 PM | Permalink

Bill C - what he was, was mad they turned off THEAndrewMeyers show. He understood perfectly that the Mike was cut and that he'd been asked to leave. He just didn't want to leave.

(35) Sarahw made the following comment | Sep 19, 2007 12:28:09 PM | Permalink

"mike"= Microphone, of course.

Bill C, what part of "stop resisting, or you will be tased" do you think he was confused about?

(36) Gregory made the following comment | Sep 19, 2007 1:52:09 PM | Permalink

I belive in most states that when a suspect is shot with a Taser, paramedics must be called to remove the electrodes stuck in the suspects skin, police cannot remove them. As far as I know this was not done, supporting the point that Andy was not "shot" with the Taser. As far as free speech goes, what about the free speech of the the person who was next in line to ask Mr. Kerry a question that Andy cut in front of?

(37) Colin made the following comment | Sep 19, 2007 6:28:35 PM | Permalink

This is a incisive analysis. Even though I am not particularly fond of the glee with which you treat Mr. Meyer's forced submission, you are absolutely right: Mr. Meyer violently resisted arrest, and the police were probably well within departmental guidelines (never mind fourth amendment limits) in acting as they did.

Another important point: some commentators seem exercised about the free speech implications of this incident. I am pretty confident that neither they nor Mr. Meyer have a leg to stand on. Yes, political speech is "core" protected speech under the Constitution. However, Mr. Meyer's hostile and lengthy diatribe easily fell afoul of the reasonable time, place, and manner restrictions instituted by the university to facilitate Kerry's speech, especially because the school's auditorium was probably, at best, a limited public forum.

(38) gcbirzan made the following comment | Sep 19, 2007 6:47:39 PM | Permalink

While I'm not exactly familiar with US law, I would consider it within my (God given, as your Constitution states) right (not a right given by any law, but a consequence of something called survival instinct) to resist being grabbed by two officers without being first asked to leave the room, if I was not under arrest. Which you're saying he wasn't.
Even after that, they could've told him he's under arrest for disturbing the peace, something which they didn't seem to do. Maybe that would've calmed him down. But, you're saying they exhausted any and all means of calming him down, then proceeded to drive-taser him, but I don't see any evidence of that, until _after_ he's handcuffed and out the door. And tasered, of course.
And thirdly, if 6 (I think, anyway, more than 4, one of which is at least twice Meyers' size) police officers are needed to restrain him, they should be fired for gross incompetence.

(39) Amy made the following comment | Sep 19, 2007 7:45:26 PM | Permalink

Beldar: I have traveled abroad and studied world history, thanks. I don't need to re-assess.

Sarah: Who said the event organizers had no right to keep control of the event? Couldn't they have handled it differently? Or do you think "town hall meetings" should be handled this way? What happened to having some backbone and shutting the event down, period? If you take away the guy's audience, then he won't perform. Not difficult.

Jim: Thanks for clarifying. I suppose there is no corruption in your world? No cops that don't do the right thing? No bad judgment? Cops are correct in all they do? We as citizens are supposed to just lie back and let it happen to us, and keep our mouths shut or else?

How does that attitude serve me as a citizen? Especially regarding Meyer's situation--he's obnoxious. He has the right to be. The event could have been shut down, and he wouldn't have had to resist "being escorted from the venue." The event organizers handled this badly, as did the police.

Be careful that you don't use unpopular speech, folks.

(40) buzz made the following comment | Sep 19, 2007 8:31:32 PM | Permalink

Oh good lord. Some of you live very sheltered lives.

"But, you're saying they exhausted any and all means of calming him down, then proceeded to drive-taser him, but I don't see any evidence of that, until _after_ he's handcuffed and out the door. And tasered, of course."
No one is saying that. And the officers are not required to exhaust any and all means of calming him down. The mike was shut off, he was told to leave, at that point he was "helped" towards the door. Once he got to that point, him deciding the terms was no longer an option. A far as needing 6 officers to handcuff him, I invite anyone to try to contain and handcuff someone who is trying to keep from being handcuffed. Not even fighting, just pulling his arms away. Looks easy on tv, doesnt it? Not in real life.
Amy, why do you think they needed to bow to this guy? Why should they close the event because of one jerk. Why do you not hold this guy responsible for bum rushing the mike and not giving it up.
"Especially regarding Meyer's situation--he's obnoxious. He has the right to be. The event could have been shut down, and he wouldn't have had to resist "being escorted from the venue."
No maam, he does not have the right to disrupt. Nor does he have the right to shut down the event just so he doesnt have to resist when he gets thrown out. This happens every day. Concerts, speeches, almost any public event. The majority does not have to bow to one guy trying to hijack.
This has nothing to do with unpopular speech. I notice you have no problems trampling everyone else in that building rights, so that this jerk gets his imaginary rights.

(41) gcbirzan made the following comment | Sep 19, 2007 8:56:58 PM | Permalink

Buzz: So you're saying that officers had the right to taser him from the start? Because, well, they're not supposed to do anything, just arrest the bastard for... For speaking too much?! Damn, that's one silly way of looking at it. Yes, officers should've tried talking before using force. That's... Damn, that's common sense! Escalating the conflict is not the police's job, not as far as I know.
As for it being hard to handcuff someone... Boo-hoo-hoo! Job too hard for you? Or, should I say, would you like some fries with that? Stop crying on my shoulder about how hard it is to be a cop. If you can't handle it, quit. Nobody forced you to become a police officer.

(42) Bill C made the following comment | Sep 19, 2007 9:07:58 PM | Permalink

Oh Hey...In Reponse to SarahW and those that just don't understand. The school ogranizers OR Police DO NOT have anything to do with a person's right to have a conversation with another. Just becuase it was at this "event" doesn't give the "Organizers" the right to stop a conversation, nor does it give the police the right to jump in and back them up. Kerry initiated the conversation and the student replied. Kerry replied back even when the police were there and so on and so forth. This makes it speech and no matter where the speech is happening, you cannot bring your opinion into it and shut someone up let alone bring the law in with tasers.

(43) Bill C made the following comment | Sep 19, 2007 9:12:40 PM | Permalink

Just a quick note in regard to my last post. You "can" tell peope having a conversation to leave if you don't like it or if they're on private property, however, my point is that it would be prudent to tell "Both" of them (Kerry and the student) to go outside and finish their conversation elsewhere.....

(44) Beldar made the following comment | Sep 19, 2007 11:20:45 PM | Permalink

Folks: Please be civil. Try to avoid ad hominem attacks on other commenters, even if you disagree with them so strongly that it makes you inclined to insult or attack them personally. House rules limit language to PG or PG-13 at worst, please. Thanks — The Proprietor.

(45) Dawson C. made the following comment | Sep 20, 2007 12:40:45 AM | Permalink

I'm surprised that most of you guys don't even mention about the skulls and bones, at the point of which the mic was cut off and he was forced to leave.

There was a bouncer caucasian right behind him giving him the sign at the moment he mentioned S&K. Maybe it was already in the instruction that whenever someone mentions about S&K, the mic should be turned off.

Hey people, just because you're having a decent life, you can't be apathetic investigative panels or protestors digging into a previleged high profile political clan like SK. Otherwise, you'll all be like a Brit Spears. Being liberal and respecting human right has been a core of US spirit, until the day of 911 and this event.

Civilian human right in US is now treated like s**t as you all saw in the UF event. Your mouth must be shut in front of the power.

(46) Anonymous made the following comment | Sep 20, 2007 9:09:39 AM | Permalink

In the video clips I saw, the police resorted to FORCE grabbing Mr. Myers before instructing him or speaking with him. They gave him no chance to comply. They gave him no option but to pull away. This is poor policing at best. At worst it's the beginnings of a police state.

Referring to him as a college brat is just unfair. He's passionate about politics, passionate about his beliefs, and was exercising his RIGHT to free speech at a political event.

I've read accounts that he was screaming things like they are going to kill him and the government is taking him away. I watched the video. I saw and heard nothing to lead me to believe that he was a threat to anyone including himself. What I did hear was Myers clearly state that he wanted to get up and walk away peacefully.

The ranking officer at the event is the one who should be reprimanded; all of the officers involved should have to attend continuing education studying constitutional rights and how to manage a difficult situation without resorting to force.

This is pathetic. I'm a big supporter of the police. I'm proud to say one of my best friends is a fantastic police officer. Were these 'campus cops' or city cops? Whichever, they were just disgraceful. You'd expect crap like this from mall security, not from sworn officers of the law who are carrying lethal weaponry.

Myers deserves restitution for being subjected to this. It's appalling.

And everyone needs to stand up and stand with him. Because if no one stand up and speaks out now, who will be left to speak for you when they come for us?

(47) Dr. Weevil made the following comment | Sep 20, 2007 9:12:01 AM | Permalink

Who or what is S&K? And SK? If you're talking about Skull and Bones, wouldn't that be S&B? And since when is "Being liberal" a "core of US spirit"? Are conservatives unAmerican? Please clarify.

(48) oneofthree made the following comment | Sep 20, 2007 12:21:46 PM | Permalink

Just a few clarifications - I practice criminal law in Florida -

1. Freedom of speech is not absolute. The government is allowed reasonable, content neutral time, place and manner restrictions. Which include waiting in line, filling out comment cards, etc. If someone violates those regulations, they can be removed. (See my blog for caselaw I have cited on that).

2. Therefore, if he violated the regulations, leo had authority to remove him. Placing hands on him or not. Once he pulls and starts making a sense, he could have been arrested for battery on leo, disorderly conduct or the like. If it was a school sponsored event perhaps even disruption of a school function. However - bottom line, leo were carrying out a legal duty - removing him after violation of the rules. He became violent with them, they went to arrest, he resisted again, they tased him.

3. Battery on leo or resisting arrest with violence does not require the actual hitting of law enforcement. It can be spitting on an officer (which I have read he did), pulling away from an officer, or walking towards an officer with fists balled, etc.

4. A person does NOT have the right to violently resist arrest. A defendant is statutorily prohibited from using violence to resist his arrest by law enforcement officers even if arrest was illegal, State v. Roy, App. 3 Dist., 944 So.2d 403 (2006).

(49) Gregory made the following comment | Sep 20, 2007 2:19:37 PM | Permalink

Boy I am learning alot here. The next time I go to a speech or townhall meeting I apparently have the right in the name of free speech to cut in line infront of everybody else, loudly demand the speaker listen to me and answer all my questions even if they are meaningless, interupt the speaker when he tries to answer the question, have my mic left on while I inquire about a social club they were in decades ago at college, fight with police when the try to remove me, and scream "they are going to kill me!" as they haul me away. POLICE BRUTALITY! Really. Just what were Andys injuries? One would think if you were "brutalized" by the police or anybody you would be hurt and require medical attention. Yes, let's fire some bluecollar cops with kids to feed and bills to pay who could be killed anyday they go to work on behalf of a 21-year old student prankster whos primary goal is to call attention to himself. Here in my state (AZ) this week a police officer was shot dead after stoping a jaywalker! Officer Nick Erfle left behind a wife and 2 children. But hey, maybe that jaywalker didn't think he did anything wrong so shooting a cop in the face is ok.

(50) Antimedia made the following comment | Sep 20, 2007 11:09:05 PM | Permalink

{{{sigh}}} The attitudes about free speech expressed by some commenters go a long way toward explaining why this country is so screwed up these days. The first amendment includes the phrase "peaceably to assemble". Nowhere does it say "disruptively to assemble". Nor does it say freedom of speech is absolute.

Even if you were in a public park, you could be arrested for disturbing the peace if you spoke at the wrong hour (when people are sleeping, for example, or when some other activity had been scheduled) or refused to leave when asked. You do not have the right to abuse your fellow citizens in your attempt to "exercise" your "rights".

Schools must not be teaching anything these days except vacuous, useless information. They certainly aren't teaching US history of the Constitution.

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