September 19, 2007 in Nation/World

Tasered student freed from jail

From Wire Service Reports The Spokesman-Review
 
Associated Press photo

University of Florida student Andrew Meyer struggles with university police as officers try to remove him from a question and answer session with Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., Monday. Associated Press
(Full-size photo)

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – A University of Florida student was released from jail Tuesday, a day after he was shocked with a stun gun and arrested by campus police for disrupting a student forum with Sen. John Kerry.

Andrew Meyer, 21, of Weston, Fla., faces charges of resisting an officer with violence and disrupting a school assembly. The Alachua County state attorney’s office will review the evidence and decide whether to pursue the case, according to officials.

Assorted video clips of Meyer being shocked with a Taser spread across the Internet and onto television screens, leading to much debate over what happened.

Meyer declined to comment Tuesday.

Hundreds of students marched on campus in protest Tuesday afternoon. More than 500 students signed up on a Facebook support group called “Don’t Taser Me, Bro!”

Two arresting officers have been placed on paid administrative leave. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement, a panel of faculty and students, and the University of Florida Police Department said they would investigate the arrest.

The incident began Monday afternoon during a question and answer forum with Kerry, D-Mass. Most of the online videos begin with Meyer asking about Kerry’s affiliation with the Skull and Bones secret society at Yale University.

After Meyer repeatedly and loudly refused to walk away at the forum, two officers took him by the arms. Kerry can be heard saying, “That’s all right, let me answer his question.”

Audience members applauded, though it was difficult to tell whether it was for the officers’ action or Kerry’s remark. The audience for the most part sat quietly and watched the fracas.

Meyer struggled for several seconds as up to four officers tried to remove him from the room. He screamed for help and tried to break away from officers with his arms flailing, then was forced to the ground and ordered to stop resisting.

As Kerry told the audience he will answer the student’s “very important question,” Meyer yelled at the officers to release him, crying out, “Don’t Tase me, bro,” just before he was shocked.

The cameras did not catch Meyer cutting off a student five words into a question, said Kathleen Shea, a student who attended the forum.

“Not only did he jump up out of turn to the microphone, he was being very condescending,” she said. “He just wanted attention.”

That’s when students started pulling out their cameras, the student organizers cut off his microphone, and campus police tried to pull him to the back, Shea said.

“Maybe he was out of line, but the police were way more out of line,” said Asia Johnson, another student who attended the forum.

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