Student Tasered and Arrested at Kerry Event

Another inappropriate use of the taser in Florida yesterday, on a student asking a question at a John Kerry forum. Here's what happened.

As two officers take Meyer by the arms, Kerry, D-Mass., can be heard saying, "That's alright, let me answer his question." Audience members applaud, and Meyer struggles for several seconds as up to four officers try to remove him from the room. Meyer screams for help and tries to break away from officers, then is forced to the ground and officers order him to stop resisting.

As Kerry tells the audience he will answer the student's "very important question," Meyer yells at the officers to release him, crying out, "Don't Tase me, bro," just before he is shocked by the Taser. He is then led from the room, screaming, "What did I do?"

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    What kind of town hall meeting..... (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by kdog on Tue Sep 18, 2007 at 12:15:50 PM EST
    has cops standing at the microphone just waiting to pounce on somebody?


    Who gave the cops (5.00 / 1) (#54)
    by tnthorpe on Wed Sep 19, 2007 at 03:58:11 AM EST
    the go ahead to remove the young man from the microphone? What  line in the ether did his speech cross to make it necessary to remove him by force? Were his words too radical for collegiate ears or did the cops not like his politics? Did he gesture too boldly? The whole situation could have been avoided by letting the guy finish his question, or rant or whatever it was, and have Kerry or the audience respond. The cops were completely out of line.

    Florida has "must issue" concealed (none / 0) (#22)
    by oculus on Tue Sep 18, 2007 at 02:01:11 PM EST
    weapon permit statute, i.e., easier to get a permit.  No information this has any bearing on this discussion though.  

    What a great metaphor... (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by lennonist on Tue Sep 18, 2007 at 12:40:22 PM EST
    ... for the position much of the Democratic party takes with regard to the so-called "fringe" that is demanding action on Iraq and against the Bush administration.  Like the female officer who screams "stop resisting" (which has no real effect on a very frightened kid) they want to ignore these inconvenient truths, like the skull and bones society link, and tell us, at a time we're surrounded by people who seem to have no regard for the constitution or the rule of law, to simply "stop resisting."  

    And Kerry carries on as if he can't even hear this, hoping it'll be over soon.  What a sad display of force juxtaposed with apathy bearing down on a kid who, albeit rudely, asking a question about the insider nature of our government that seems oblivious to what the people truly want, whether it be Iraq or a popular election.    

    Exactly (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by glanton on Tue Sep 18, 2007 at 01:00:45 PM EST
    And Kerry carries on as if he can't even hear this, hoping it'll be over soon.

    Exactly!!!!!!!!!  Later, of course, to get into his climate controlled limo and ride off to yet another luxuriant, carefree day for a bonafide member of the ruling class.


    what? (5.00 / 2) (#26)
    by eric on Tue Sep 18, 2007 at 02:35:53 PM EST
    "And Kerry carries on as if he can't even hear this, hoping it'll be over soon."

    And you know this because you were there?  From what I gather, Kerry said that it was "OK" and that he would answer the question.

    The university abused this kid, not Kerry.


    Kerry (none / 0) (#27)
    by glanton on Tue Sep 18, 2007 at 02:49:01 PM EST
    Kept droning on in the same tone of voice, as though what was happening was acceptable.  His flacid, cowardly failure to recognize, let alone object to and seek to end the abuse taking place ought to forever hound his image.

    I can't (5.00 / 1) (#28)
    by Deconstructionist on Tue Sep 18, 2007 at 02:52:34 PM EST
      understand what Kerry is saying but reports have indicated he tried to calm the cops down and said he would answer the question. What do you think he should have done? Jumped off the stage and started kicking blue tail?

    If Kerry had..... (5.00 / 1) (#35)
    by kdog on Tue Sep 18, 2007 at 03:58:25 PM EST
    jumped off the stage and came to the guys aid, I'd feel a heckuva lot better about having voted for him....for damn sure.

    Yes, (5.00 / 1) (#39)
    by eric on Tue Sep 18, 2007 at 06:30:19 PM EST
    I agree.

    I would also like to add that the ad hominem attacks on Kerry because of the circumstances of his birth are really bizzare.  These commentators hate Kerry because he has some money and went to a good school?  This guy actually went to Viet Nam, he didn't insulate himself with any privilege as far as I can tell.


    He should have (none / 0) (#29)
    by glanton on Tue Sep 18, 2007 at 03:03:56 PM EST
    Shown some frigging passion for God's sake!  What about using that silken, privileged oratorical prodium for something other than his own self-aggrandizement.  

    Maybe you think the way you end the post is humorous.  Or something.  I can only respond by saying Kerry, like  everyone else stood by and watched this happen.  He didn't raise his voice.  Then again, maybe he's so far gone with elite power at this point that he cannot even recognize a real honest to God moment in the public square when it's happening right in front of his face.  That's just sad.

    And you know what?  Had he

    Jumped off the stage and started kicking blue tail?

    it would have been a hellva lot better than what he did so.


    What about... (none / 0) (#31)
    by lennonist on Tue Sep 18, 2007 at 03:06:10 PM EST
    ... just remaining quiet and letting the audience watch the scene and perhaps saying what we should all be feeling when watching the video, "how sad that it had to come to this?"  Are you saying he acted appropriately, droning on when his audience was obviously very distracted by the horrific scene?  How about just responding like a natural human being and acknowledging to his audience that the scene was painful (not as painful as a taser) instead of simply ignoring it?  I agree that he shouldn't start rioting but it appears to me that he did the opposite and simply tried to ignore it.  Surely there's something you can still do under the constitution short of pretending police brutality happening right in front of you is, as Lt. Frank Dreben once said  upon seeing a giant explosion, "nothing to see here."

    As I said (none / 0) (#36)
    by Deconstructionist on Tue Sep 18, 2007 at 04:24:26 PM EST
      I can't make out what he was saying but I heard that he did try to defuse the situation. That he was not "passionate" in your view might be viewed as staying calm by somebody else and not turning a bad scene into a worse one by another.

      Until the very end he-- and everybody else in the room-- had no way of knowing it would end with the cops TASERING the kid.

      I don't have a problem with shutting down the mike and escorting him out of the room. When he books the hall and can fill it with people who come to see him (which he may be able to do for a short time now because the cops were such idiots) then he can ramble on to his heart's content. At THIS function he was out of line. All I've said is that I think that using a TASER on him was totally unjustified.



    Reports? (none / 0) (#37)
    by scarshapedstar on Tue Sep 18, 2007 at 04:35:39 PM EST
    Watch the video. It doesn't seem like Big John was trying very hard. I can think of a great many ways that a sitting US Senator could have called off a couple suburban cops. Yes, even the chubby white guy who had a Cheshire cat grin while he tasered the kid).

    If I were giving a speech and I let something similar occur, I would feel ashamed. I'll say that much.


    Re: what a great metaphor (none / 0) (#13)
    by Satya1 on Tue Sep 18, 2007 at 01:04:55 PM EST
    "And Kerry carries on as if he can't even hear this..."

    Your comment reminds me so much of what Andrew Basevich wrote in the Washington Times shortly after his son died in Iraq (May 2007):

    To be fair, responsibility for the war's continuation now rests no less with the Democrats who control Congress than with the president and his party. After my son's death, my state's senators, Edward M. Kennedy and John F. Kerry, telephoned to express their condolences. Stephen F. Lynch, our congressman, attended my son's wake. Kerry was present for the funeral Mass. My family and I greatly appreciated such gestures. But when I suggested to each of them the necessity of ending the war, I got the brushoff. More accurately, after ever so briefly pretending to listen, each treated me to a convoluted explanation that said in essence: Don't blame me.

    Memorial Day orators will say that a G.I.'s life is priceless. Don't believe it. I know what value the U.S. government assigns to a soldier's life: I've been handed the check. It's roughly what the Yankees will pay Roger Clemens per inning once he starts pitching next month.

    I know... (none / 0) (#24)
    by lennonist on Tue Sep 18, 2007 at 02:19:10 PM EST
    ... how sad that the guy who left his silver spoon life behind to enlist, who then came to capitol hill as a war protester who said "who will be the last man to die for a mistake?" is now in this position.  

    Hopefully this video will be a wake up call about the way a totalitarian society looks.


    nicely put... (none / 0) (#32)
    by lennonist on Tue Sep 18, 2007 at 03:08:48 PM EST
    ... reminds me of what you hear from the living Tillmans.  Notice how they're not as visible now since they're not as valuable to the "cause."  

    "Inappropriate" ?! (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by Andreas on Tue Sep 18, 2007 at 01:21:03 PM EST
    Torturing people is not simply "inappropriate". It is a crime. And this crime happened while John Kerry was watching.

    Let's not get carried away (none / 0) (#19)
    by Deconstructionist on Tue Sep 18, 2007 at 01:47:18 PM EST
    "Torture" that is not. It's what I consider excessive force but "torture" is methodically inflicted and calculated abuse intended to elcit a desired behavior. This is an example of dumb cops reacting in an unwarrantedly dangerous way to a situation.

    while (5.00 / 1) (#58)
    by Jen M on Wed Sep 19, 2007 at 08:39:10 AM EST
    ...trying to get the kid to obey them? Trying to elicit a desired behavior is kinda what they were doing.

    If you choose (none / 0) (#59)
    by Deconstructionist on Wed Sep 19, 2007 at 09:10:19 AM EST
     to call every obviously  reactive, instantaneous  use of force torture, you rob the term torture of any meaning. That's not only bad linguistics, it's stupid rhetoric.

      Debasing the word through improper use so that it loses any meaning simply will detract from complaints about real torture because people who actually support real torture will say:"Look at what else these knuckleheads try to call torture. they have no credibility."


    The cops assaulted him (5.00 / 1) (#40)
    by Che's Lounge on Tue Sep 18, 2007 at 06:39:20 PM EST
    On the orders of the man in the suit behind them, the cop put a hand on his shoulder, even though he had committed no crime. He did not resist. He continued to ASK QUESTIONS, which if Kerry had any sense he woulde have assertively interjected his answres. Instead he stood there droning on. Then, later, again at the behest of the man in the suit, they physically assaulted him for nothing more than exercising his first amendment rights. The audience (and Kerry for that matter) should have subdued the criminals, including the man in the suit.

    Kerry did not intervene, either verbally or phyisically, because he was publicly embarrassed by the student and was protecting his butt. Kerry's apathetic reaction to the whole scene confirms to me that he does not deserve to run this country, even though he won the election.

    And if you haven't read "Armed Madhouse", you can't possibly understand why this guy was so passionate.

    was taken by surprise and didn't have his crystal ball working so he didn't know the kid would attack the cops.

    As much as I love to bash Kerry, and I do love to, I think criticism of him not reacting the way us key board jockeys would have preferred - after having hours and hours to read up on and dwell on the event - is silly.


    michael, (5.00 / 0) (#55)
    by cpinva on Wed Sep 19, 2007 at 04:12:37 AM EST
    police don't have the right to commit an illegal act, under color of law, period. i don't have to follow an illegal order, whether given me by the police, or a military superior, period.

    the laws they are sworn to uphold are predicated on our constitution, not the police union's version, regardless of what some members of law enforcement might lead you to believe. they don't have the legal authority to knowingly violate your civil rights, period, absent mitigating circumstances. the kid was being an ass, not violent, no harm to anyone was imminent, other than to someone's inflated ego.

    at this point, all the facts are not in evidence. however, it doesn't appear that anyone in a position of authority handled themselves particularly well.

    I can see (5.00 / 0) (#56)
    by Deconstructionist on Wed Sep 19, 2007 at 07:19:03 AM EST
    first someone in the background signalling for the mike to be cut (using the neck slash gesture). The guy appears to be young and may be with the student group that sponsored the event. One can guess too that maybe the group anticipated Meyer pulling a stunt and alerted the cops to be ready.

      One might surmise that Meyer was known to the students as he evidently is basically the internet age version of a class clown. When the cops first intervene there is some cheering and I think they were cheering the removal of Meyer (which would go a long way to explaining the lack of crowd intervention, but it is possible they were cheering Meyers aggressive speech directed at Kerry).

      In any event, under many circumstances even one who is invited to an event may be told to leave and become a trespasser at the point at which he exceeds the scope of his consent to be present. It's an interesting issue here because Meyer is a student and it was university property. A question of whether the student group's "lease" agreement may have conferred upon it the right to control the premises may arise. Was it the "university" or the "group" (or both) that had the present authority to control?

       I have no problem with the police action beyond the TASERing. above Beldar, righly points out that TASERs are not "intended" to be deadly weapons, but that isn't really dispositive because it is known TASERs can cause death or serious injury. If I use a weapon I know can cause death or serious injury the fact I did not intend to kill or cause serious injury does not relieve me from liability.

        My complaint is that the use of the TASER in this particular situation was unnecessary and therefore excessive. the TASER should only be used when it is a LESSER use of force employed in lieu of greater force to prevent injury to the officers, bystanders or the target.

      This kid was nothing more than annoying. We can't condone zapping people with potentially lethal force  simply because they act like jerks.

      While it would have been far wiser to simply let him finish his question andlet Kerry respond as he chose, I don't think THAT was required. Asking him to leave was fine. When he refused then telling him to leave or be arrested for trespassing started moving toward a debatable area. When he still refused, removing him by force while deplorably heavy-handed was probably  legal. When he began attempting to escape restraint (that's the worst interpretation I can put on the video-- I see nothing suggesting he was trying to harm officers or anyone else) the question becomes what level of response was appropriate.

      This was a lone college student who gave no reason to believe he posed a threat to anyone or anything but others' peaceful enjoyment of the forum (which was apparently concluding in any event). I don't think using the TASER was justified. It seems to me the cops got mad because he's a jerk and overreacted.

      It certainly was stupid even if legal. Now the kid has his 15 minutes of fame, the university will be ridiculed and possibly sued and all because the kid is a self-centered and self-aggrandizing loudmouth who wouldn't shut up.

      Would not it have been much better to let the kid remove all doubt about what a fool he is and let the audience judge him based on the the way he behaved and the nuttiness of his rant rather than turning him nto a martyr? Even people, such as me, who would otherwise dismiss him as a silly buffoon ( more accurately never heard of him) now believe he deserves at least an apology.


    Decon (none / 0) (#65)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Sep 19, 2007 at 12:07:52 PM EST
    When he began attempting to escape restraint (that's the worst interpretation I can put on the video-- I see nothing suggesting he was trying to harm officers or anyone else) the question becomes what level of response was appropriate.
    Did you really not see the guy turn around and force himself toward and into the cops and essentially try (pretty successfully) to bowl the cops over?

    iow, did you not see a change from kinda sorta "resisting" to kinda sorta "aggression?"

    It sure looked to me like he did become "aggressive," and that's where I think he crossed the line. But if he really didn't turn and throw himself into the cops, then I see your point.

    The other issue is the cops' guidelines. If he did turn and went at the cops I'll bet they followed their guidelines/training pretty much to the letter. If so, the issue (if their is an issue) is then with the guidelines and training, not the cops themselves. imo.

    If he didn't turn and go after the cops, then the whole thing becomes much murkier to me...


    Short answer (none / 0) (#66)
    by Deconstructionist on Wed Sep 19, 2007 at 12:42:45 PM EST
    No, I don't see that. I see (perceive?)  him at first perhaps enjoying himself being the center of attention and then realizing the cops are not taking stage direction and unwilling to play along as bit actors in  his performance piece and are going to force an exist stage rear before he is done with soliliquy. At that point he does seem to become more aggressive in his efforts to break free soe he can continue his performance for the crowd (which appears ambivalent toward him at best). At not time do I see (perceive?) him doing anything to harm anyone.

      In any event, I don't think the differing perceptions about that matter as to the use of the TASER.

       He was on the floor with a half dozen cops  surrounding him when TASERED. Even if he had been a "threat of harm" a few seconds earlier he was not at the time he was zapped. Thus it was unecessary and therefore excessive use of force.

       I see payback for being a jerk not reasonable use of proportionate force to prevent harm.


    Fair enough, it looked different to me. (none / 0) (#67)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Sep 19, 2007 at 01:16:14 PM EST
    It clearly looked like the guy willfully and aggressively plowed back into the cops. Maybe he threw a few punches or elbows or kicks while he was at it? It's hard to see on the videos, even the enhanced versions.

    If the guy is aggressive to the point he physically confronts or attacks the officers, and there is reasonable assumption that he may cause someone harm, I imagine the cops' guidelines would give them the right to stop the confrontation or attack by taser.

    If someone had proven to be a "threat of harm" seconds before, and was not now only because the cops were barely able to contain him, and he continued to be so physical that there was reasonable chance that he would cause someone to be hurt, I imagine the cops' guidelines would give them the right to stop him by taser.

    As I said yesterday, I'd be interested to see the guidelines the cops are supposed to follow to see if they did follow them.


    guidelines can be wrong (none / 0) (#68)
    by Deconstructionist on Wed Sep 19, 2007 at 01:30:47 PM EST
      I bought my house with the proceeds from the settlement of  a hot pursuit case  in which the cop ran into my client's car doing 80 MPH on a busy commercial district street in the middle of the afternoon while chasing a stolen car.

      The City would have been able to establish that the officer was acting in accordance with the written protocols communicated to the force. It didn't want to defend against my experts who would have testified that the protocols were unreasonable because they did not appropriately weigh the danger caused by the pursuit itself against the danger of allowing a person who stole a car to escape.

       I received the limits of 2 policies and the City subsequently amended its protocols to provide for breaking off pursuit in the absence of a belief imminent harm to someone if a suspect is allowed to escape.

       Granted, in my case it was a totally innocent third party who was hurt and he was hurt a lot worse than this kid, but my point is merely that just saying that's our policy is not necessarily a good defense. yuo also have to be prepared to defend the policy.


    Did they follow their use of force policy? (5.00 / 1) (#70)
    by JSN on Wed Sep 19, 2007 at 04:17:36 PM EST
    My guess it that they did because they could not use pepper spray inside an occupied room.

    Should they have followed their use of force policy? That I think is a training issue. It is very difficult to get a cop to back off and consider other options when they are involved in a struggle where someone can be injured.

    My personal opinion is that they did themselves a lot of damage when they decided to use a taser. I hope they will review this incident and see if they can work out some better options.


    We are (none / 0) (#69)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Sep 19, 2007 at 01:45:02 PM EST
    in agreement:
    The other issue is the cops' guidelines. If he did turn and went at the cops I'll bet they [the cops] followed their guidelines/training pretty much to the letter. If so, the issue (if there is an issue) is then with the guidelines and training, not the cops themselves. imo.

    Just before he's tased (5.00 / 0) (#57)
    by Edger on Wed Sep 19, 2007 at 07:33:35 AM EST
    I can hear a womans voice saying repeatedly what sounds like "Do it now - do it now!", and at the beginning the guy in the suit standing with the cops did make as Decon describes, the neck slash gesture, apparently towards whomever had control of the sound system.

    Police taser serial prankster at Kerry speech (none / 0) (#61)
    by dutchfox on Wed Sep 19, 2007 at 10:40:44 AM EST
    The above subject line is the headline in today's Guardian story. Heh.

    I watdhed the videos (none / 0) (#62)
    by dutchfox on Wed Sep 19, 2007 at 10:47:13 AM EST
    The one on the Guardian site and TL's. Clearly the UFL pigs were out of line.

    shocking news (1.00 / 1) (#1)
    by diogenes on Tue Sep 18, 2007 at 12:14:07 PM EST
    If Meyer were a rabble-rousing antiabortion activist instead of a disorganized antiwar guy, would everyone complain as much about his treatment?

    I would..... (5.00 / 2) (#3)
    by kdog on Tue Sep 18, 2007 at 12:18:33 PM EST
    I don't care if the guy was a rabble-rousing klansmen....rabble-rousing is as American as apple pie, and no reason to break out the tasers.

    YES. (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by Edger on Tue Sep 18, 2007 at 12:20:56 PM EST
    Is there some part of that do you not get?

    I can't speak (5.00 / 2) (#6)
    by Deconstructionist on Tue Sep 18, 2007 at 12:23:36 PM EST
      for "everyone" but I sure would. A TASER is a deadly weapon. It is used appropriately only in situations where a reasonable officer concludes it is less dangerous and deadly than other forms of phyisical violence possibly employed to protect himself or others in the area. No one was going to get hurt by this kid's big mouth nor would they be hurt by an equally overbearing anti-abortion protester yelling to make a point. (It doesn't matter what the poin the speaker is trying to make as far as whether I agree or disagree -- or just think it's nutty and annoying. In the absence of an imminenht threat of harm it is never appropriate for police to use potentially deadly force.

    Actually, a Taser is not normally deadly (5.00 / 1) (#49)
    by Beldar on Tue Sep 18, 2007 at 10:45:08 PM EST
    Tasers were oversold as "non-lethal" when they were first introduced. Now they're described as "less lethal," but that gives a misimpression that they're sometimes intended to be lethal. They aren't.

    Particularly when used, as mainly intended, to shoot the two barbed probes several feet before the current discharge, they can produce what the Taser manufacturer refers to as "Neuromuscular Incapacitation" ("NMI"). That's painful, but its main purpose is incapacitation through means other than pain. With the incapacitation comes risks of falling, striking one's head, drowning, and such. There have also been a number of deaths from Taser shots, although the manufacturer insists that in each of these there have been complicating and overriding factors. I don't know enough to evaluate that claim, but I do think it's pretty obvious that, even taking the critics' claims at their maximum extent, a Taser isn't a deadly weapon in the same sense as a Glock 9mm.

    Meyer was not shot with a Taser. He was merely shocked. "Merely" in this context doesn't imply that the shock wasn't painful. And indeed, the usage made by these police officers was to put the end of the Taser pistol directly against the subject as part of its "drive-stun" mode, without firing the probes. The shock delivered is indeed very painful, but much more localized to the particular area, and much less likely to create disorientation, falling, or other NMI effects. From some of the videos of Meyer being Tasered, it's obvious that he never lost control of his voice, and he was on his feet moving under his own power (albeit now under effective control of the arresting officers) quite literally within seconds of being shocked.

    I don't mean to suggest that there was no risk of harm, perhaps even fatal harm, in Meyer being shocked. However, the risks were objectively and substantially smaller than if he'd been shot instead of just shocked. And all of the alternatives available to the police officers also involved risk. Doing nothing while Meyer continued to resist with all his strength, flailing his arms around and resisting handcuffing, put both him and the officers at risk of broken bones, torn cartilage or ligaments, perhaps even something fatal like a crushed windpipe. In past eras, his resisting arrest would have been ended by much more crude and dangerous means -- a nightstick to the ribs or the back of the head, or perhaps a broken arm or wrist.

    It's unclear whether the officers originally intended simply to eject Meyer, or instead intended to arrest him, but the former seems more likely -- up until the point when he began violently resisting arrest. He did not use his fists, but he made threatening motions, jumped, twisted, danced to and fro, flailed, and attempted to run -- all while a mix of supposed (and almost certainly feigned) surprise with screaming abuse and profanities directed to the officers, who he claimed would "kill" him as soon as they got him out of the building. His behavior was indistinguishable from someone psychotic, perhaps high on PCP or amphetamines.

    And even if he was "arrested" and it was an unlawful arrest (both doubtful propositions), he nonetheless had no lawful right to use violence and force to resist arrest, unless and to the extent that was necessary to prevent an unjustified and unprovoked use of excessive force by the arresting officers. No such argument can be made with a straight face; it was Meyer who escalated the confrontation at every point, and he had no legitimate self-defense rights.

    The officers spent almost 20 seconds after they'd finally gotten him onto his stomach and cuffed his right wrist trying to get his left wrist close enough to cuff it. Meyer, cursing and screaming, fought like the proverbial python, twisting back onto his right side and keeping his wrists as far apart as he could, which included more flailing (flexion and extention) of his left arm. During that time, he was explicitly warned that he would be Tasered if he continued resisting. He replied by screaming "Get the f**k off me!" and continuing to fight; there was no realistic prospect of escape, but certainly plenty of prospect that someone would be injured. That's when he was Tasered.

    Within seconds, the officers had cuffed his left wrist as well and hauled him to his feet. As a means for deterring further violent resistance to arrest, the Taser worked exactly as intended, and neither he nor any officer was permanently injured.

    I don't know enough about police procedure to dispute assertions that there might have been other, and even safer, ways to handle Meyer's continued unlawful resistance. But even if their chosen means were not the best of all possible ones, these officers' means were obviously effective, and almost certainly they were within the realm of reasonable alternative choices in these circumstances.

    I'm glad no one was injured, but I expect that Meyer will do at least several weeks of jail time for resisting arrest -- unless the university administration wimps out on its own police force.

    I have no fault to find with Sen. Kerry's behavior one way or another in this instance.


    Maybe (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by glanton on Tue Sep 18, 2007 at 12:57:56 PM EST
    The most callow comment I've ever seen on TalkLeft.  Congratulations.

    Built into your question is some sort of bixarre approval for what we see on the video.  I feel sorry for you.  I cannot imagine what it must be like to thiunk the way you clearly think.

    But I feel more sorry for the police, who would do such a thing.  These are indecent human beings, the world is upside down, they win medals and get slack with judges and DA's.  These men and women deserve to be ridiculed and punished for what they have done.

    And I feel most sorry for Kerry and the others who stood by and watched this happen.  It's the kind of thing that makes you think, what a sad, sad lot we're becoming in this country.


    The tape doesn't show it all... (1.00 / 1) (#43)
    by Michael Gass on Tue Sep 18, 2007 at 07:25:22 PM EST
    First of all, the criticism coming from all sides, is misplaced.

    On Olbermann, Maddow is talking about how cops "should be trained".  They ARE trained, but, she wants them to be trained in ESP to know who is a threat and who isn't?

    The kid's time was up.  His mic was cut.  He was asked to leave.  He was told to leave.  He refused to leave.  He was then hustled out towards the door.  He started fighting the cops, not the cops fighting him.  

    AND THEN... they finally had to taser the kid.

    This wasn't a bunch of cops standing around laughing at the kid as they abused him... it was cops doing their job.

    The training's the problem. (none / 0) (#60)
    by Ben Masel on Wed Sep 19, 2007 at 09:25:43 AM EST
    The model promulgated by FLETC (Federal Law Enforcement Training Center) is use force first, and then let the DA handle it.

    I don't see that anywhere... (none / 0) (#71)
    by Michael Gass on Wed Sep 19, 2007 at 04:41:42 PM EST
    FLETC podcast

    Bostain: The term Use of Force continuum is one name for a visual model that depicts progressive escalation and de-escalation of force based on a subject's actions. They have been a mainstay in law enforcement for many years. They are also known as Use of Force Models, Use of Force Ladders and Subject to Control Matrices.

    Solari: John, is there one visual model or continuum that is used by every law enforcement agency?

    Bostain: No, not here in the United States. Canada uses a circular model called the National Use of Force Framework in all of their agencies, but here in the United States it's much different. Continuums vary from state to state and agency to agency. They come in a number of different forms. Some look like time lines, some look like pyramids and some even look like doughnuts.

    Solari: Are Use of Force Models an effective tool for training officers?

    Bostain: You know, I think we might be getting a little ahead of ourselves here. Before we can start a discussion about Use of Force Models and continuums, let's first address the legal standard for use of force by law enforcement officers in the United States.

    Solari: Ok, great, who sets that legal standard?

    Bostain: It's set by the United States Supreme Court, and its interpretation of the Fourth Amendment.

    Solari: Well, then, has the Supreme Court said when law enforcement officers are allowed to use force?

    Bostain: Yes, they have. The Supreme Court has expressly stated the right to make an arrest or an investigatory stop necessarily carries with it the right to use some level of physical coercion of threat thereof to affect it. In other words, if the officer has the authority to conduct a seizure, he has the authority to use force or the threat of force to accomplish that mission.

    Solari: So then we know when an officer can use force. Has the Supreme Court told us how much force a police officer can use to control a suspect?

    Bostain: That's an excellent question, Jenna. According to the Court, in a 1989 case named Graham v. Connor, police officers may use the amount of force that is objectively reasonable to control subjects during a lawful seizure. Objective reasonableness is based upon the totality of circumstances known to the officer at the moment force was used.

    FLETC UoF Instructor

    This program will show students how to develop and implement Use of Force training using dynamic and interactive principles. The student will learn via hands-on participation and demonstration about use of force applications, documentation, court testimony, expert witness, safety issues, scenario development, non-lethal training ammunition use, logistical support, performance testing, planning, design and the proper execution of interactive use of force training. The students will be expected to not only demonstrate proficiency in use of force principles and case law, but also articulate both verbally and in writing facts that justify a particular use of force. The students will evaluate other student's use of force incidents, teach a 30 minute class and answer questions during an oral board.

    Around 2:30 of the video, the kid is ASKED to step away from the mic; he refused.

    He rambles on another :20 and states that he has two more questions, and it is at 1:50 in the video (it counts backwards), his mic is cut and he is TOLD to leave.  He then says he is not going as they are physically trying to ESCORT him using the MINIMAL amount of force to do so.

    AT 1:40 in the video, he is actively yanking away from the officers yelling "get off me".

    And the video cuts from him being pushed back towards the door at 1:21 to him ON the floor getting tased.  What was cut out of the video?  What wasn't shown?

    At :40 left in the video, he FINALLY complies with the officers AFTER being tased.

    Now, they didn't have handcuffs on the kid until AFTER he was being tased... that means he was jerking around on the floor and keeping the officers from cuffing him.


    From your link (5.00 / 0) (#77)
    by Ben Masel on Thu Sep 20, 2007 at 01:27:31 AM EST
    Solari: Well, is there a benefit to going straight to the most effective reasonable response, rather than just trying to use minimal force?

    Bostain: Definitely. The officer will control the situation sooner, which leads to fewer injuries to the suspect, fewer injuries to the officer, and generally less overall force used.

    yes... however... (1.00 / 0) (#78)
    by Michael Gass on Thu Sep 20, 2007 at 04:08:25 AM EST
    The entire exchange is (I'll bold where I put emphasis):

    Solari: Well, minimal force, that doesn't sound so bad.

    Bostain: The problem with adhering to that theory is that it encourages the officer to go through a trial and error process of deciding what force response option is the minimum, but is still going to be effective. Officers may try a minimal response hoping it's going to work. When that fails, they try the next minimal response and hope it works. When that one fails too, the situation has deteriorated to the point where now it takes a great amount of force to control the subject. If the officer was just allowed to go and follow the guidance of the Supreme Court in Graham, they could go directly to the force response option they believe is reasonable based on the totality of circumstances.

    Solari: Well, is there a benefit to going straight to the most effective reasonable response, rather than just trying to use minimal force?

    Bostain: Definitely. The officer will control the situation sooner, which leads to fewer injuries to the suspect, fewer injuries to the officer, and generally less overall force used.

    Solari: Well, John, the way you've described it, the Fourth Amendment gives officers a pretty wide lane of travel when it comes to use of force. It seems like that as long as the officer can articulate objective facts that make his use of force reasonable, then he's satisfied the Fourth Amendment. That's all the Courts require, right?

    Bostain: That's right. It's a very easy standard to understand and apply.

    Use of force continuum's are not standardized.  Some departments use pepper spray, some don't.  Some departments have tasers, some don't.  Some departments have SWAT teams, many don't.  Some departments have K9 units, some don't.  You aren't to fire at a suspect who is merely fleeing (Tennessee v Garner, if I remember).  Most Dept's allow you to fire if the suspect fires at you while fleeing.  So, what happens when you are chasing a suspect... you can't fire... he stops and turns back, looks like he has a gun to you... you draw down and he turns his back to you just as you fire and you hit him in the back.  Did you violate the Supreme Courts rulings?  Or, does it merely appear that you did?

    But, the exchange above states if officers were ALLOWED to... which means, to me, that many departments are still being required to follow the continuum.

    • ask
    • tell
    • escort using minimal force
    • escort using bodily force
    • tackle to the ground
    • use non-lethal techniques to gain compliance
    • deadly force if situation demands it

    This is the "Reader's Digest" version, you might say.  Actual continuum's and policies are quite in depth.  But, you get the picture.

    Does this mean that EVERY situation the officer HAS to follow this exact order?  Of course not.  Case in point; you respond to a bank robbery in progress, the suspect runs out the door firing in all directions at officers and civilians.  Are you going to ask, tell, etc, etc?  No.  You will go directly to use of deadly force.

    This is why continuum's are in place; to give the guidelines to be used for each situation.

    The Florida kid, for instance; if he didn't comply to be tased, would he then have been shot?  Of course not.  There would have been no ability, no opportunity, and no jeopardy to justify shooting the kid.

    They also don't mean you have to take a mandatory 5 minutes between upgrading the use of force.  Upgrading can be done in a heartbeat as the situation changes, just as it can be downgraded as the situation changes.

    Again, we go back to the Florida incident; the officers followed the exact continuum I state until they tased the kid.  It took them a few minutes to go from asking to tasering, and that was based on the kids actions, officers abilities during each step and the environment.  Was asking effective?  No.  Telling?  No.  Escorting?  No.  Did he comply once tackled?  No.  

    At the department I worked, we had the ASP extendable baton and firearm.  Our use of force continuum constisted of; ask, tell, escort, and PPCT techniques for subjects that were passively resistant.  If the person was aggressive, we may have had to jump from "tell" to baton in a heartbeat.  And, as I said earlier, use of deadly force was only an option when you satisfied "ability, opportunity, and jeopardy".

    This doesn't mean that there hasn't been abuses in the past or that there won't be in the future; there have and there will be.  Case in point; Rodney King.

    From viewing the video, the officers actions were justifiable up to one point; when they had him down tasering him as officers came and left the scene, stood there, and generally turned subduing him in a game.  THAT is where they went wrong.  THAT is when it became brutality.

    Did you see that with the Florida kid?  I didn't.

    Many people believe that cops should be superman; every suspect can be talked down, every suspect physically restrained, every situation can end without violence.  Then, when that doesn't happen, we get youtube videos that mostly show just a part of a situation (usually the most inflammatory part) and, as the video at C&L on this, you even get edited versions where actions that drove police response are removed.

    Officers installed cameras into their vehicles and some departments even have their officers mic'd.  This wasn't to "protect the public", it was to protect the officer from suspects who falsely claimed abuse, brutality, or officer indiscretion.

    There was one video from South Carolina of a black woman on a traffic stop where the officer has his gun on her as he approves the car.  She sits in the drivers seat and doesn't move, doesn't comply with verbal commands, and the officer yanks her out through the window.  The woman is basically a limp rag doll while this is captured on video.  What wasn't put on video was that the woman failed to pull over for 8 miles.  The officer was already in "felony traffic stop" mode, not "routine stop".  He had no way of knowing why she was refusing to stop.  Was she armed?  A fugitive?  He didn't know.  Now, I saw that video and his tactics were atrocious.  He shouldn't have approached the vehicle without backup.  He should have began with ordering her from the car over the PA.  However, it was pretty apparent that she was deliberately refusing to comply just so the officer had to be physical and she did, in fact, sue the officer and Dept. as the video hit the news.  Yes, the officer had atrocious tactics, but, his only "real" screwup was the cussing at her using racial slurs (which he shouldn't have done).  

    Every case is now "it was abuse".  Every case of these videos now brings "they should have done things differently".

    Rachel Maddow on Olbermann even insinuated that officers should be "trained to know"... know how?  ESP?  

    I'm one of the first to decry abuse and brutality.  I'm also one of the first to defend an officer who acts within their guidelines when a subject turns into an @ss like the kid from Florida.  The Timesonline article on it states that once the cameras were turned OFF, the kid complied willingly; which means he meant to create the very situation that occurred.


    Michael Glass (1.00 / 0) (#79)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Sep 20, 2007 at 09:22:36 AM EST
    That is probably one of the best comments on this subject, not just this incident, that I have ever read. And I thank you.

    But I must point out that I remember Rodney attempting to get up and being told to stay down. I also remember that Rodney's companion stayed down and didn't get hurt.


    Question..... (none / 0) (#80)
    by kdog on Thu Sep 20, 2007 at 10:19:02 AM EST
    why was the kid a "suspect"?  Who did he asault, menace, threaten?  On the vid, I see a kid being presistent in questioning a government official (a constitutional right, imo), somebody doesn't like the line of questioning and gives the "cut" order, the police get physical, the kid (I'd guess by basic human instinct) naturally resists the manhandling, and he ends up on the ground with electrodes in him.

    I don't doubt the police acted within protocols, but there was no reason to go there, not a shred of a propensity to commit violence on the part of the kid, unless you count the basic human instinct to resist getting manhandled.

    Leaves me thinking, in some instances, the taser is used for kicks, or on the spot punishment for not bowing down before the law and order gods.


    kdog (none / 0) (#81)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Thu Sep 20, 2007 at 11:57:46 AM EST
    Antar says that he was standing about 15 feet away from Meyer during the confrontation, and that the YouTube video tells only half the story. What you don't see is what happened before Meyer began to speak.
    I'm sure you still won't agree that the cops had any right or duty to take control of the guy causing the disturbance, but I don't think it's unreasonable that they did.

    Also, point of fact, the cops didn't "fire" the taser's electrodes, they placed the taser on him and used the taser's shock capability, there were never any electrodes "in" him.

    Your last sentence may well be true in some cases, but certainly not in this one.


    I think you have it backwards (none / 0) (#82)
    by Michael Gass on Thu Sep 20, 2007 at 02:41:15 PM EST
    First, the kid didn't START out a suspect.  He started out a college kid, who it can be reasonably argued from the videos and reports, with an agenda.  

    Second, the kid WAS given his "right" to speak and ask questions.  He was the one who flat stated he had not just one question, but a few questions.  I am sure that the forum provided for one question with an allotted time to do so.  He was given his right and he started abusing that "right" from the start.

    Third, if the kid just wanted to know why Sen. Kerry didn't challenge the election results (and I agree with the kid on that point), why didn't he merely ask; "Sen. Kerry, with all the reports of voter machine malfunction, vote counting errors, etc, why did you not challenge the election?"  He didn't.  He clearly didn't just want to ask a question, or even two; he clearly wanted to become the focus on camera and grandstand.  His mic was cut.  But, he STILL wasn't a suspect.

    Fourth, the kid was asked to step away from the mic.  At that point, I am sure he wasn't under arrest; he was being asked to let the next person get their chance to have THEIR right to ask a question and the kid refused.

    Fifth, THAT is when the kid is then getting the boot from the forum and he STILL wasn't a suspect until he started yelling, screaming and became disorderly.

    And yes... there was EVERY reason to go there; the kid not only got his chance to exercise his "right", he cut in line to do so, then acted like an idiot, then didn't want to let others have THEIR rights.

    There is an old saying, "your rights end where my rights begin".

    All the kid had to do was realize his time in the light was over and let others have theirs.  He didn't.  He tried to impose his will over everyone else's rights to be heard, and then acted outside all decorum, then outside of the law.

    No... he didn't START out a suspect... he MADE himself a suspect by his own decisions and actions.  The cops didn't start out to taser him... he brought that on himself.  It isn't about "bowing down to authority"... it is about realizing when you've crossed the line and accepting it.


    Google another copy of the video (none / 0) (#72)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Sep 19, 2007 at 04:52:47 PM EST
    And the video cuts from him being pushed back towards the door at 1:21 to him ON the floor getting tased.  What was cut out of the video?  What wasn't shown?
    or a different video all together (there were multiple people videoing).

    From what I saw, he got a major shove from the police on his back pushing him forward toward the exit, and then he turned around to face the cops and went back at them, then, as a result, he and several (all?) of the cops ended up on the floor.


    I just did a quick Google and maybe (none / 0) (#73)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Sep 19, 2007 at 05:13:38 PM EST
    there is only one video. I swear I saw at least two different videos yesterday. Oh well...

    yep... knew it... it had been edited (none / 0) (#74)
    by Michael Gass on Wed Sep 19, 2007 at 05:29:09 PM EST

    The Crooks and Liars video had cut out where the kid breaks free from the cops.  27 seconds into this video, he lurches backwards out of the grip of the officers escorting him out and then lurches right back into the middle of them (was he yanked or jumped? haven't found a video yet that shows it clearly).

    Clearly the kid was out of control...

    I still haven't found a video that clearly shows what he was doing while on the ground (kicking? biting?) to get tased.

    I have yet to see where the officers use of force was inappropriate.  He was asked.  He was told.  He was escorted using minimal force.  He was then bodily picked up and carried to the door.  He was then tackled AFTER breaking out of the grip of the officers.  He was finally tased.

    Basic use of force continuum used by thousands of departments.


    Aha, (none / 0) (#75)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Sep 19, 2007 at 05:34:01 PM EST
    there were several videos.

    This is a side angle (interestingly enough, it is from the kid's own video camera, apparently. He likes to tape himself)


    yep... that is the video that is needed (none / 0) (#76)
    by Michael Gass on Wed Sep 19, 2007 at 05:45:37 PM EST
    It looks like he is yanked back by the large black officer who was carrying him and when he was on the ground the officers had to lay over his feet to keep him from kicking them...

    You clearly hear the female officer giving him the verbal direction to put his hands behind his back or he would be tased.  

    He is tackled at 1:28 left.  At around 50 seconds left he actually starts to comply and be handcuffed when he starts fighting again.  I count a full minute where he is already under arrest and fights with the officers before they use the taser on him with about 23 seconds left on the video.


    Questioning authority? (1.00 / 1) (#46)
    by diogenes on Tue Sep 18, 2007 at 09:39:42 PM EST
    Rudolph Giuliani, of all people, realized that when you don't enforce little rules then society becomes uncivil.  You can question authority, but if you violate the rules of the forum, you need to leave, by force if necessary.  Tolerating this kind of a guy leads to the rise of more aggressive brownshirt types (such as the peace activists who shouted down Rahm Emanuel) and ultimately to fiascos like Chicago 1968.  
    The police may or may not have overreacted (need to review department protocols), but lost in the discussion is the fact that Meyer forced his own rules on a forum that wasn't his.  If you want to run the 2008 convention like this, go ahead.

    This is the difference between (1.00 / 0) (#50)
    by Michael Gass on Tue Sep 18, 2007 at 11:32:09 PM EST
    legal caselaw and enforcing laws as law enforcement officers...

    I do not know THAT departments policies, but many departments run on pretty much standard guidelines, so, I have reason to doubt that department would be different.

    You ask.  You tell.  You take physical control.  

    If that fails to work... you escalate.

    It is the use of force continuum and gaining compliance; if they pull a knife, you draw your gun... if they won't go when asked, you tell them and if that fails, you make them.

    I watched the video.  I also spent 6 years in law enforcement myself.

    I saw exactly what should have occurred; they asked, they told, they moved to escort the person out, then physically do so, then they tackled him, then they tasered.

    Pretty straight-forward to me...

    A snippit of video never tells the whole story.

    that's a good point... (none / 0) (#5)
    by lennonist on Tue Sep 18, 2007 at 12:22:37 PM EST
    Kdog as you can see on the video that there's two cops, standing with arms folded behind the questioner's microphone.  I'll have to watch it again to see if they move there or were already there.  the incident was bad enough but perhaps John Kerry, and hopefully current candidates, should consider how it looks to have thugs standing by with tasers behind open mikes at public forums.  

    According a t report i heard (none / 0) (#7)
    by Deconstructionist on Tue Sep 18, 2007 at 12:27:10 PM EST
      the kid had been going on for some time by the time the video begins. He had exceeded his allotted time and then refused to yield the mike and then the mike was shut down.

      I assume the police came forward some time after he began in an attempt to persuade him to stop. I don't have a problem with that. It shouldn't be necessary to use cops to enforce common courtesy but some people just won't shut up and ruin things for everyone. I'm just saying "ruining things" by being a loudmouth does not justify getting zapped.


    So what? (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by Al on Tue Sep 18, 2007 at 01:18:19 PM EST
    I am so fed up with this line that opposition must be polite. It is such a cop-out: Police brutality is necessary to stop a "loudmouth" from delivering a "rant". I'm amazed Sally Fields didn't get tasered at the Emmys.

    What society needs right now is precisely more loudmouths ranting. Bush and Cheney and yes, Kerry, may be quite genteel, but it's thanks to them that the Iraq disaster goes on and on and on. Go loudmouths, I say. Three cheers for the obnoxious!


    That makes sense..... (none / 0) (#8)
    by kdog on Tue Sep 18, 2007 at 12:34:47 PM EST
    I would hope the cops weren't standing there for the whole meeting...that alone would keep me from asking any questions.

    Another video (none / 0) (#10)
    by Satya1 on Tue Sep 18, 2007 at 12:54:54 PM EST
    There is no excuse for the cops to taser.  THAT is really disturbing.  But this guy did not appear to be there so much to ask Sen. Kerry a question but to deliver his rant.  He actually seemed to start focused on a good question and then he drifted.  

    There is another video that shows the beginning at the Chicago Tribune.

    But it doesn't show where the police were standing.

    I hope the kid is alright.


    I found this one on the Times Lede blog (none / 0) (#14)
    by RustedView on Tue Sep 18, 2007 at 01:14:43 PM EST
    This video was linked to by the Times Lede Blog

    The police appear to have been standing there the entire time.  He had all of 15 or 20 seconds before the police attempted to remove him while he placed the factual premise to his question.

    That is a bunch of horse-crap


    Watching several videos, (none / 0) (#17)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Tue Sep 18, 2007 at 01:35:41 PM EST
    he looks like he was resisting pretty mildly, and was sorta kinda allowing himself to be ejected, until the end when it looked like he turned around and ran toward/into or maybe even threw himself into the group of cops.

    And that may well have been his response to what looked like an extra big running shove toward the exit from the group of cops.

    He also looked to be physically bigger than any of the officers, of which at least one was a much smaller woman.

    The articles I read said there will be an internal investigation as to whether the taser use was w/in guidelines and I'd be interested to see what those guidelines are.

    If he did change his generally resistant but not aggressive behavior to one of physically "attacking" the cops as the videos seem to show, I'd be surprised if their guidelines do not allow the cops to taser him.

    But what (5.00 / 1) (#18)
    by glanton on Tue Sep 18, 2007 at 01:43:32 PM EST
    had he done to warrant physical restraint in the first place?

    From what I saw in the video, a riot with all present

    physically "attacking" the cops

    would have been perfectly appropriate.  The onlookers standing by, that's even worse than the cops, whose actions, sadly, don't surprise anybody.


    Yeah.... (none / 0) (#21)
    by kdog on Tue Sep 18, 2007 at 01:53:11 PM EST
    I'm mildly surprised nobody came to his aid.  

    not surprised (none / 0) (#25)
    by RustedView on Tue Sep 18, 2007 at 02:26:22 PM EST
    I'm not surprised in the least.  People have been conditioned to fear 1) police 2) confrontation with police 3) physical harm inflicted by police and 4) arrest.  Had a person stepped up to try to free the young man, they would have found themselves tasered or worse, and arrested for assaulting an officer.

    Though, the interesting observation is that there are more of us than them.


    I agree..... (none / 0) (#33)
    by kdog on Tue Sep 18, 2007 at 03:53:46 PM EST
    that's why I was only mildly surprised.  

    Despite all our conditioning to fear and obey the police, I still think human instinct should take over when you see a poor slob getting electro-shocked.  I like to think I would have done something.


    the parallels (none / 0) (#38)
    by RustedView on Tue Sep 18, 2007 at 05:56:47 PM EST
    It is interesting to me at least.  If we were to see a person being clubbed by a police officer for doing nothing more than asking a question, there would be universal outrage.  But, somehow, because we can only hear the screams of a man having electricity run through his body, it doesn't seem quite as real.

    Have any lawsuits attempted to analogize the use of a taser to the use of clubs, or dogs?  It seems to be a natural connection in my mind.


    Interesting point g-man, (none / 0) (#23)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Tue Sep 18, 2007 at 02:10:48 PM EST
    But what had he done to warrant physical restraint in the first place?
    and from what I saw on the videos, I agree.

    I will also say that miscommunication and human emotion leads to people making mistakes. Happens to me and people who I interact with every day.

    There may have been confusion during the actual event that we are not aware of, and we may not be privy to other significant things that occurred despite the videos. Not that that excuses the cop's initial actions, and I'm not excusing them.

    My comment was exploring the actions that immediately preceded and led directly to the tasering.


    Scenario is eerily reminiscent of (none / 0) (#20)
    by oculus on Tue Sep 18, 2007 at 01:51:37 PM EST
    Saucier v. Katz.  In Saucier, a protestor held up a sign while Al Gore [VP] spoke on a military base in San Francisco.  U.S. Supreme Court held law enforcement entitled to qualified immunity.

    I'm sure he will sue.... (none / 0) (#34)
    by kdog on Tue Sep 18, 2007 at 03:55:48 PM EST
    and win himself a nice fat check.  The problem is the money comes out of the taxpayers pocket, instead of the police budget, so there is no incentive for the police to straighten up and fly right in the future.

    Standard for many departments... (1.00 / 0) (#53)
    by Michael Gass on Wed Sep 19, 2007 at 12:28:37 AM EST
    ... during an investigation, the officer is placed on administrative leave.  Nothing new or out of the ordinary.

    CAN he sue?  Sure.  

    Remember the woman suing McDonald's for spilling coffee on herself???? AND SHE WON!

    Of COURSE he can sue.

    Will he win????  Who knows... she did.


    Good question narius..... (none / 0) (#63)
    by kdog on Wed Sep 19, 2007 at 11:00:38 AM EST
    can a lawyer chime in?  Can the kid sue the taserers directly?

    anyone can sue anyone (none / 0) (#64)
    by Deconstructionist on Wed Sep 19, 2007 at 11:24:25 AM EST
     but to prevail one has to assert a theory of liability the court will accept.

     I doubt a "strict liability"  defective product theory would be found applcable. One who makes sells or sells a "defective product" can be found liable for injuries resulting from its use without a finding of negligence. That requirea a finding that the product is unreasonably dangerous when used as intended due to a defect in design or manufature.  (e.g., I make an explosive  device that when used according to instruction causes an injury either because my design was flawed and did not account for the probability of premature  explosion or the manufacturing caused it not operate as designed.)

      Then one could consider, the "dangerous instrumentality" theory which is also a "strict liability theory but that applies to the person who uses the "dangerous instrumentality" not the maker or seller. Essentially that means one who uses a "dangerous instrumentality" is laible for injuries proximately  caused by  the use even in the absence of negligent use. (e.g., If I use explosives and despite my  using all prudent precautions someone gets hurt I am liable.)

      Next you have negligence theories. Some of which we simply have no information upon which to speculate. Most likely applicable though are those roughly grouped as "failure to warn" meaning negligence in informing users  of potential risks, negligence in providing instructions as to how to use the device safely in light of risks, etc.  

      I'm by no means an expert in this and don't know the specifics of the warnings and advisories, instructions etc., provided by the maker but here it seems on the surface that the device did exactly both what was it was supposed to do and what the user expected it to do and i don't see any obvious indications of any relation between the company having failed to warn of the risks or to instruct as to the way to use it to get the desired result and the injury.

      also, if i'm the lawyer, I'm not going to be eager to exponentially increase the cost and complexity my case by bringing in the manufacturer when my client was not catastrophically injured. The case against the cops and university is tough enough in terms of both factual defenses and qualified governmental immunity issues, etc. in a case wherethere is no severe let alone permanent injury.



    Question "authority," get Tasered. (none / 0) (#45)
    by dutchfox on Tue Sep 18, 2007 at 08:52:40 PM EST
    Excellent pointed comments by Martin Wisse at Wis[s]e Words (my emphasis) --
    "Forcing questions" on politicians is not inappropriate behaviour and even people running for schoolboards (should) know how to handle this. There are always people with akward or irrelevant questions at political meetings and the first trick you learn as a politician is to shut them up without getting heavy. No need for police to interfere.

    Which raises the question, why was the police there in the first place? Sure, Kerry is a former presidential candidate and may need some protection from would-be assassins, but this looks like a much heavier police presence than is needed for that. And as this incident shows, once the police gets involved, anything that challenges auhtority gets punished, because the police is thick and humourless and sees no difference between somebody asking a difficult question and somebody aiming a gun at Kerry.

    Kerry meanwhile is his usual cowardly self, or he would've called them off, but never mind that.

    In all, this is yet another example of a strong trend in American society: questioning authority will get you into trouble, whether or not you have actually done something illegal. We knew this was the case already with Bush and the Republicans, it's disappointing but not surprising to see the Democrats subscribe to this view as well.

    Watch the woman in the pink shirt (none / 0) (#47)
    by Ben Masel on Tue Sep 18, 2007 at 10:06:06 PM EST

    in the videos. Some kind of administrator or event sponsor.

    Seems a decision had been reached earlier to keep Meyer from asking hios question, presumably based on prior reputation. once kerry recognises him, she's pissed, and tries to cut him off unreasonably early. When he brushes her off, she goes to the cops.

    A confab between police and University brass ensues. They nod in apparent agreement he's to be removed. Before the order can be transmitted to the line cops,Meyers has finished his question, and voluntarily relinquished the mic, waiting for Kerry's answer. Only now is he grabbed, and doesn't understand why, as he's no longer on the mike. Theater ensues.

    Florida Resisting Statute (none / 0) (#48)
    by Ben Masel on Tue Sep 18, 2007 at 10:10:43 PM EST
    843.02  Resisting officer without violence to his or her person.--Whoever shall resist, obstruct, or oppose any officer as defined in s. 943.10(1), (2), (3), (6), (7), (8), or (9); member of the Parole Commission or any administrative aide or supervisor employed by the commission; county probation officer; parole and probation supervisor; personnel or representative of the Department of Law Enforcement; or other person legally authorized to execute process in the execution of legal process or in the lawful execution of any legal duty, without offering or doing violence to the person of the officer, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.

    Differs from the Wisconsin statute (and commonlaw), where there'ss an element that the resister had reason to believe the officer was acting lawfully. I was aquitted once in similar circumstances with judicial notice that the officers' bad judgement in removing me was sufficient for me to believe they were acting criminally, although the holding was not that their action was itself criminal. After shouting a question from the rear at  a State Capitol apearance by Senator Kennedy I'd been invited to the podium to debate Senate Bill 1437, the 1979 Federal Criminal Code revision, but arrested when approaching it.

    With the language of the Florida Statute he's got to establish that the officers were in fact, outside lawful authority to remove him, or mount a challenge to the Statute.

    this raises an interesting question: (none / 0) (#51)
    by cpinva on Tue Sep 18, 2007 at 11:52:04 PM EST
    in fact, were the police actions "legal process", or "the lawful execution of any legal duty". in other words, do the police have legal authority to carry out an inherently illegal act?

    the forum itself was paid for, at least in part, with taxpayer dollars. this made it a public event. the police were, in essence, violating this guy's constitutional right to free speech, an inherently illegal act. that they are police makes it no less illegal, even if they were ordered by someone else (the "good german" defense) to do so.

    while it's true that no right comes totally unfettered, it's not the police's job to make that distinction. as well, from the videos and eyewitnesses, all of this occurs after he's given up the mic. this would seem, to any reasonable person, to obviate the need to remove him, if stopping his speaking was the primary intent.

    being obnoxious in public isn't, by itself (thank god!), a crime, absent some other compelling issues associated with it. the nation hasn't enough courts or jail cells.

    to be guilty of resisting arrest, i think you actually have to be told you're under arrest. so far, from what i've seen, and eyewitness statements, that doesn't appear to ever be the case. while i would certainly agree, strictly as a matter of common sense, that physically resisting armed police is probably not the brightest move, i'm not clear on when it became an arrest.

    it appears he basically irritated someone in authority, who decided to get rid of him, and got the police to follow their bidding. that several cops seem unable to control this guy, without the use of a taser, says something about their training, or lack of it.

    both kerry, and the audience, seem initially unaware of what's going on. when they do finally realize it, they seem momentarily stunned. pretty normal reactions, i submit. kerry finally tells them to leave the kid alone, he wants to respond to the questions. at that point, the police should have let the kid go, he wasn't a threat to anyone, other than some admin's ego. the police had the opportunity to de-escalate the situation, they chose not to, for whatever reason.

    should kerry have jumped off the podium, run to the back of the hall, and hurled himself on the cops? don't be absurd. the guy's in his 60's, i'm not convinced he'd have made it that far. he did what could reasonably be expected for one in the guest speaker's position, he asked the police to let the kid go. they chose not to, assuming they even heard him at that point.

    should the rest of the audience have jumped in to rescue him from the hands of the police? if i'd been there, i wouldn't have, because i probably wouldn't be completely aware of the circumstances, depending on where i was. so i think it's unfair to castigate both sen. kerry and the audience, for their seeming lack of physical response.

    No... it is their job to enforce the laws as (1.00 / 0) (#52)
    by Michael Gass on Wed Sep 19, 2007 at 12:26:43 AM EST
    the law is written.

    If the person is being "disorderly", law enforcement is duty bound to enforce the law.  

    Believe me, I am the first person to admit that the disorderly conduct and trespassing statutes are abused by law enforcement.  I personally witnessed it in my own time in law enforcement.

    But, I will also defend law enforcement when they act within their rights and within the laws they are sworn to uphold.

    Officers do not interpret the laws... they uphold them.  If the law itself is unconstitutional, that is a matter for the courts and lawyers to decide; not cops.