Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Free Speech Is Not A Crime

I am stunned by the recent video showing University of Florida campus police physically assaulting a student with a taser gun. For those of you who have not yet seen the video, which has already been posted on numerous internet web sites, I can only say that it is disturbing. The video clearly demonstrates the use of excessive force by campus police and is another small example of how our society continues to devolve from democratic-republic to police state. Where do these people get off?

Basically you have a 21-year old college student questioning Senator John Kerry during a forum sponsored by the university. The student whose name is Andrew Meyer, was asking Senator Kerry about impeaching President Bush and if he and Bush belonged to the secret society Skull and Bones, when they were students at Yale University. Forum organizers immediately pulled the plug on Meyer's microphone and campus police walked up and physically grabbed the student. What makes this incident particularly disturbing to me is that it happened at a state university, during a forum specifically designed to have the speaker answer questions from the audience. Meyer stood in line, waited his turn and had a question to ask. He did not disrupt the forum, he was not shouting from the cheep seats, nor was he confrontational, that is until the police assaulted him. You see the man broke no law, he committed no crime, he simply asked a question. He was not profane nor was he disruptive until the police intervened and physically restrained him. Again, physically restrained for asking a question at a university forum...unbelievable. What makes this situation even more surreal is that you can hear Senator Kerry saying in the background that he wanted to answer Mr. Meyer's "very important question", even as more police officers descended on Mr. Meyer. You hear Meyer asking why he was being assaulted, asking what had he done to warrant his arrest? Then as six or so officers physically took Mr. Meyer's to the ground and placed him in cuffs, they pulled out a taser gun and zapped him. A criminal and cowardly act. Perhaps this is why they are campus police and not real ones. Florida law is very specific about police use of a taser gun...the officer must be in fear for his or her personal safety. Right, six trained police officers against against one handcuffed journalism major, they must have been petrified.

University of Florida President Bernie Machen told members of the media assembled at a campus news conference that UF officials will take a number of steps following Monday's incident. "This is a university, and we want to have civil discourse," Machen said. "The fact that it didn't occur is as troubling to me as it is to our students." That may be Mr. Meachen, but it is my hope that you, the university and the officers responsible for this cowardly act will have legal problems to add to your troubles you as well. You see Mr. Machen, free speech is not a crime, but the unlawful use of a weapon against an innocent man is.

Good luck, I think you'll need it.

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1 comment:

jaike said...

LoL... Cmon this kid was an idiot he coulda just shut up and not got tased. He asked for it, had video cameras set up and was joking around once he left the room. He ran back in the room and thats when it was over for him.

Funny "Don't Tase Me Bro!" Shirt