By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Literally shocking

If you haven’t seen video yet of a University of Florida student being subdued and tasered by police during an appearance by Sen. John Kerry, well, here’s one of them:

Yes, it’s pretty shaky, and this package from MSNBC is clearer. But the amateur video captures the entire incident. It’s kind of astounding to hear Kerry droning on while the student, Andrew Meyer, is screaming from the electric shocks.

Meyer was being an obnoxious jerk, but I didn’t realize that was a criminal offense. As for Kerry — wow, talk about clueless.

More: Blue Mass. Group’s David Kravitz, who worked on Kerry’s 2004 presidential campaign, links to an AP story suggesting that Meyer was engaged in some sort of stunt. Well, maybe. But I don’t think his getting electrocuted zapped by police was a stunt. And why couldn’t Kerry bring himself to say, “I want the police to stop that”?

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  1. Robin Edgar

    Because he didn’t? 😉

  2. Anonymous

    because he was for the Tasering, before he was against it?

  3. O-FISH-L

    At 6:54 AM Dan said: “Meyer was being an obnoxious jerk, but I didn’t realize that was a criminal offense. As for Kerry — wow, talk about clueless.”—Dan, being an obnoxious jerk is not a criminal offense, but disrupting a public assembly is not only a criminal offense but an ARRESTABLE offense. Not all crimes are arrestable, but in most (if not all) states, the legislature has realized that this one should be. Knowingly resisting arrest is also a criminal offense arrestable without a warrant. Using the force continuum taught at all police academies, a formula shaped by years of court rulings and dead cops, police may LEGALLY use as much force as is necessary to bring a person under control.The “student” on the video is clearly out of control, especially when he gets to the top of the aisle and becomes even more reckless.The brief electrical pulse from the Taser, with no permanent physical harm, is certainly far more humane than a billy-club or baton from yesteryear. It’s just enough to bring the disorderly person under control and worked perfectly in this instance.We have all read of cases where the police behaved brutally. This isn’t one of them. Perhaps the most amazing aspect of this story is how so many people who’ve never carried the badge believe they could carry it better than the brave men and women who carry it now, for us.

  4. Anonymous

    Police had a history with the young gentleman. He has tried to hijack public assemblies in the past. Spoiled kids who want to act obnoxiously run the risk of life outside the collegiate cocoon. Saying he was “electrocuted” implies permanent damage. Every year, college students in Boston are informed that the rest of us don’t share their parents’interest in allowing them to mature without supervision. Every year, the same conversations take place in Brighton, Allston, Back Bay and Mission Hill, etc. The cops did this kid a favor. If he tried the same thing at 2 AM in a 7-11, we might have just disappeared. It has been known to happen in FL.

  5. don

    What, if anything, was Kerry thinking? This was an obvious occasion for him to take control of the situation and handle it with good sense. The more I learn about him, the more I realize that we had particularly unsuitable choices in 2004.And, Dan, “electrocute” specifically means to cause death by electricity, at least in 2 different dictionaries (Merriam-Webster and OED) that I checked. You’re too good a writer and advocate to use language that exaggerates the facts.

  6. Anonymous

    I enjoy watching obnoxious jerks get what’s coming to them. Stunting for Youtube is a painfully boorish pastime.

  7. Anonymous

    EB3 here,Leave the kid alone. he’s a wise ass college kid. I assume. His screams got a little over the top but that was after the tazing. His questions weren’t that bad either. Why wasn’t the teen who asked Bill Clinton if he were boxers or briefs thrown out and tazed? What if he streaked? Ouch!This was at a college for crissake. We don’t need the gratuitous “guy was a jerk” inserted in every paragraph.Excessive force is a growing problem, especially with all this false hustle post 9/11 bull shit and plenty of jobs for dinks.I said it before asnd I’ll keep saying it. “I’ll take my chances with the terroists than have to answer to all these Barney Fifies and steroid pumped wannabees working in airports all the way up to the new breed of cop who is more ‘military” than “para”.It was only 20 guys people. With help of a few dozen more. That sounds more like a gang problem then starting two goddamn wars. Covert intelligence, a little help from the military, and a top notch assasin squad should have taken care of the problem.Or am I wrong?

  8. Diane

    In the video I watched Kerry could be clearly heard telling the police to leave the kid alone and let him ask his questions.Any pol, esp. one eho has run for president, has developed a pretty good technique for neutralizing hecklers – the police should have let Kerr use his.But facts are facts – Kerry clearly told the police to lay off.

  9. ben

    Very early in his presidential campaign but after his vote on Iraq I was at a Kerry appearance at a banquet at UMASS-Boston honoring war vets and he did an incredible job neutralizing hecklers. In fact, both my “in person” experiences with Kerry are far from how he’s come across in his run for Presidency and beyond.

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