Don’t Tase Me, Bro!

What happened here?

UF is my alma mater and my own experience with the UPD during those years was actually pretty good. Why do they initially try to cuff this guy?

The Alligator reports he’s arrested for starting a riot. Do you see a riot?

Thanks to Damon for the story.

9 thoughts on “Don’t Tase Me, Bro!”

  1. I’ll be canceling the check I wrote for the new wing at the UF Warrington School of Business immediately (or rather my assistant will be).

    What a disgusting display.

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  2. Damon,
    I can, to a degree, understand your disgust with the situation. However, 2 of the officers are now on administrative leave pending investigation, and the kid has been released (and ended up being charged with disturbing the peace, not inciting a riot.) So to cut off your support of the university (presumably your alma mater – mine as well) because of the actions of a few cops, before really seeing how the university handles the situation, seems a little extreme to me. Personally, I’m reserving judgment until I see how this all plays out.

    P.S. Has anyone watched the longer video of the incident, the one that includes the conversation between Meyer and the cops in the hallway, after he’s been led out of the auditorium? The guy obviously either a) has a screw loose or b) was doing this for the publicity – he does have a reputation as being a bit of a “media whore.” It clouds the situation a bit. And if he is suffering some mental illness, this incident is simply indicative of the larger problem that comes with improperly trained police dealing with the mentally ill.

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  3. This whole thing turned into a much bigger story than I had initially thought it was going to be. A little research reveals that yes, the bro who gets tased (tazed?) is a media whore and probably an annoying jerk. He undoubtedly was “disturbing the peace” (although a political town hall seems like a good forum to shake things up, especially with a corpse like Kerry), and he was certainly resisting arrest. He, like plenty of privileged white kids, had probably never had an encounter with the police (hint: comply, comply, comply), and I think his resistance reactions are largely involuntary (at first).
    Here’s the thing: the COPS are trained (supposedly) for this kind of thing, and in this particular situation they clearly escalated the situation by trying to impose a level of control that was not only impossible but also unreasonable for a POLITICAL Q & A FORUM AT A PUBLIC UNIVERSITY. Why all-caps? My point is that the setting for this event should be a place conducive to bearing all opinions, questions, and voices–even (in fact especially) voices of dissent or just general assholery–not a place where draconian and violent tactics are used to suppress someone. The fact that they taser him AFTER he is down is contemptible. I think that cops should be allowed to use tasers, but these particular cops are incredibly UNPROFESSIONAL and they deserve to lose the trust of the student community.
    When I lived in Gainesville, I had several dealings with the UPD (University Police Department) and the Gainesville Police Department, both on campus and off, and all were positive. One time, I called 911 when a friend of mine passed out at the house. There may or may not have been some stuff out in plain sight that shouldn’t have been there, but the cop who arrived said nothing about it–he was only concerned about the health and well being of my friend. He gave me his card, explained that my block (NW 10th St. what what!) was his beat, and to call anytime (I will not bother now to list all the awful, terrible, rotten experiences I’ve had with JSO, the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, as a comparison). I’m ranting here, I suppose, but I think that the people of a city need to trust the police, and it’s particularly important for young people to trust the police.
    John Kerry made himself look bad, weak, and ineffectual. No presence, no command.
    The student made himself look bad and childish.
    The cops involved in this fiasco make the University of Florida look bad. They should be disciplined (if not fired) and the University should hold some kind of forum to apologize and show the nation that UF is not a place where dissent is suppressed with violence.

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  4. All great points, Ed. I agree with virtually everything, though I don’t have any personal experience with UPD or GPD to contrast to this debacle.

    As residents we need to be able to trust our civil servants. Hopefully this “regretful” [sic — thanks UF Prez Bernie Machen] situation will restart the conversation about the increasing limits on free speech — especially those ridiculous “Free Speech Zones.”

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  5. it would be a mistake to see this event as a reflection on UF. likewise judging that poor guy — who will forever be at extreme risk of epilepsy, a pesky side effect of such ‘non-lethal’ weaponry — by his history of pranksterism. his pranks are minor compared to those of ruling class secret societies. it is no secret that all kindsa folks have been facing extreme punishments for asking inconvenient questions. those goats always need a new scapegoat.

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  6. I disagree, Bleeding Heart…this event DOES serve as a negative reflection on UF. The student group Accent represents UF, and they were the ones who chose to cut off the mic on “that poor guy” for “asking inconvenient questions.” Ideally, universities should be sites of undeterred free expression and open, democratic forums. Even worse are the listless students, the majority of whom do nothing during the event (I’m not suggesting that they riot and fight the police, but their inaction–particularly their inaction in the following days–is disgusting). I love UF–best four years of my life–and Accent did some great things while I was there (Nader, Snoop Dogg, that tour with Dave Grohl and Jello Biafra and Woody Harrelson…) but this incident suggests a draconian and violent suppression of free expression.

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  7. well put, ed — i was under-informed. if a university is to be something more than a factory — if it is an active experiment in the cultivation of a society empowered by its knowledge — then such an episode, CLEARLY PART OF A MUCH LARGER TREND OF THE FASCIST SUPPRESSION OF FREE SPEECH, would never occur. …in times like these, acts of deliberate provocation by tricksters — rather than ‘leaders’ — may be as valid a form of political theatre as any.

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  8. trickster is EXACTLY the right word…the trickster tests the social boundaries, provokes the borders of moral and cultural discourse…the trickster is an asshole! i’m not defending this guy, but i think that your ALL CAPS line is spot on.

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