Student Tasered at Kerry Event

This pisses me off. It pisses me off for two reasons. The first is obvious to regular readers. I don’t support TASERs for anything short of an alternative to lethal force, and I don’t condone them being used as torture devices to gain compliance by peace officers. Every time I get a story like this, I become more and more anti-police. While I have always had authority figure issues, it is only in the last few years that I have become actually anti-police. I believed for a long time that it was just a few bad apples and lots of good guys. In reality, too many bad apples get protected by the presumed good guys for me to continue to support them.

The other thing that pisses me off is that I think that Kerry is getting a short-shrift, and I hate to admit that.

In a statement issued Tuesday, Kerry said he regretted that a healthy discussion was interrupted and that he had never had a dialogue end in 37 years of public appearances. He also said he hoped neither the student nor police were injured.

“I believe I could have handled the situation without interruption, but again I do not know what warnings or other exchanges transpired between the young man and the police prior to his barging to the front of the line and their intervention.”

I’m afraid that Kerry is going to get some heat from the right side of the aisle that he doesn’t deserve. He was dealing with the man when the badged thugs showed up.

As two officers take Meyer by the arms, Kerry, D-Mass., can be heard saying, “That’s all right, 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 with his arms flailing at them, 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?”

Exercise your freedoms of speech, assembly, and to seek redress for grievances, apparently. You should have known better.

32 Comments

  1. Mexigogue says:

    Tasing is in effect summary punishment before a trial. If a defendant is later exonerated at trial, that cannot take away the fact that he has already been electrocuted. That does violence to the American concept of justice and has damning implications for freedom.

  2. […] with Phelps, except the cop hating part – a few bad apples and all that. It was ludicrous. And John Kerry will […]

  3. mekender says:

    the man refused a lawful order from a law enforcement officer multiple times, and then pulled away from them and went in the direction of a US senator… hes lucky he didnt get much worse treatment

  4. LAhead says:

    You can’t see that it was all staged by this whacked out kid? Really? Look again.
    http://video.nbc6.net/player/?id=157250

  5. Phelps says:

    I am particularly disturbed at how, in my lifetime, “lawful orders” have gone from “commands necessary to carry out his lawful duties” to “anything the cop wants that isn’t specifically prohibited.”

    As for lahead, thank you for bringing the “she deserved to be raped because she wore a short dress” argument.

  6. Robert says:

    I’m with Phelps on this one. You can’t swing a cat without hitting police yelling and illegally threatening kids at a traffic stop, swat-teaming the wrong house, conspiring with DAs to suppress or make up evidence, stealing, lying, murdering, making up law on the spot and generally beating up on the civilian population.

    If police were interested, they would be policing their own. They aren’t and they don’t.

    Every canary is dead as a door nail. LEOs ruined their OWN reputation, but the citizenry suffers for it.

  7. Mexigogue says:

    The order (to leave the scene) was no longer an issue once the man was forcefully taken away from the scene. The tasing was after the fact, it was not preventative, it was gratuitious punishment. Our justice system does not allow police to mete out punishment without a trial.

  8. Justthisguy says:

    Some people’s behavior would no doubt be improved by a good ass-whuppin, but agents of the State are not supposed to do that in this country. I mean, the cop might mistake *me* for one of those who needs advanced negative-reinforcement behavioral training.

  9. LAhead says:

    You didn’t even bother to watch the video I linked to, did you? It was taken by his accomplice. The whole thing was staged, start to finish, to try to goad the cops into doing something that they would catch on video, for the soul purpose of making them look bad. Have you seen the guy’s other videos and postings? Obviously not.

  10. Phelps says:

    In other words, torture is OK if the guy is a coptease. I think that means I got it on the first try.

  11. Leonidas says:

    Sorry, but I cannot buy your line of reasoning.

    1) First, he jumped ahead of others waiting. Denying others their opportunity that they waited for in an orderly fashion. Result: He was appeased.
    2) Second, he had his chance to make his statements and ask questions he did not really want answered. Again, he was appeased.
    3) Third, when his microphone was cut, he had exceeded the allotted time given to others who had exercised their right without problem. At this point, he refused to leave. This is the point at which HE disturbed the peace. He is now an alleged lawbreaker.
    4) You seem to be upset that he was tasered. Unfortunately, the police in that situation do not have the gift of mind-reading. Every day, there are those who pull away in such a violent manner as did he, with the intent of escalating the violence. He could have tried to get at an officer’s weapon at any point during this confrontation. They were well within their authority to force him to comply. In addition, pressure points, nightsticks, etc., would have been very likely to have left some non-trivial trauma as well. What other method(s) would you suggest?
    5) I really think that the defining moment was when he stated “I didn’t do anything!” Contrary to popular belief, this can get you arrested, since he did not comply with a lawful order to remove himself from the mic area.

    Finally, I think that your definition of “torture” is as fluffy as his definition of “question”. So, I don’t think that you ‘got it’
    at all.

  12. Are you out of your mind LAHead? What the HELL does it being staged have to do with the appropriateness of the tactics used?

    My brother’s an LEO, so don’t even try to label me as anti-cop–but he’s told me that that sort of thing would NOT be tolerated by his department. Once the bad actor is either corralled by several officers, no longer a threat, and obviously under control or the cuffs go click…the use of force to subdue is over, done, not gonna be allowed. Remember the kid who got tasered several times after he was cuffed? Not acceptable, and those cops are gonna pay.

    This looks like the same thing. Once the bad guy is on the ground, surrounded, and under control, it’s game over.

  13. Phelps says:

    Yes, Leo, I have a problem with Tasers. This is why. Regular use of the device seems to corrupt the judgment of the people deploying it.

  14. High IQ Donkey says:

    Regular use of the device seems to corrupt the judgment of the people deploying it.

    I thought that was guns?

  15. Phelps says:

    If the police were shooting people so often that they start to shoot to gain compliance in a way that is more convenient to them, then yes, I would say it was corrupting their judgment.

    The fact that they have Tasers isn’t the problem. The problem is how ridiculously low on the force continuum it has shifted.

    So yes, regular use of firearms on other people will corrupt your judgment if you are a law enforcement officer.

  16. High IQ Donkey says:

    …if you are a law enforcement officer.

    And taking off the blue suit magically protects you from that corruption?

  17. Phelps says:

    No, but I wanted to distinguish between those expected to de-escalate a confrontation (police) from those who are expected to escalate confrontations (military.)

    So regular use of firearms on other people will corrupt your judgment if you are not serving a military function in an active theater. Is that better?

  18. High IQ Donkey says:

    Sorry, I don’t believe that the military get’s any special ‘protection’ from any supposed corruption either.

    Of course, I’m not the one arguing that inanimate objects have the power to corrupt people.

    I’ve known lots of people with regular use of guns that don’t go around shooting people.

  19. High IQ Donkey says:

    Here’s the situation.

    1) Guy repeatedly violates the rules of the event.
    2) Event holders ask the guy to leave.
    3) Guy refuses. He is now guilty of trespassing.
    4) Event holders summon police to escort guy off premises.
    5) Guy resists police offices lawfully discharging their duties to remove a trespasser.
    6) Officers attempt to physically remove the trespasser.
    7) Resistance escalates.
    8) Officers escalate use of force by attempting to pick the trespasser up off the ground.
    9) Resistance continues to escalate, breaking free from the officers and attempting to run toward stage.
    10) Officers escalate use of force by putting the trespasser on the ground
    11) Resistance continues
    12) Officers attempt to handcuff the tresspasser, but are unable to physically force compliance. Trespasser is warned multiple times that he will be tazed if he does not comply.
    13) Resistance still continues
    14) Trespasser is tazed to secure compliance.

    Seems to me the police made every effort to use the minimal amount of force necessary to remove the trespasser from the premises, however, the trespasser’s own actions demanded that officers move up the hierarchy of force.

    I would view this as no differently than if I were to intentionally stand in you face yelling insults and obsenities about your mother, wife, and children until you decided to punch me so that I could then try to have *you* charged with assault.

  20. Phelps says:

    Guess what? Punch someone and you will get charged with assault. Provocation is your burden to prove as a defense.

    And I consider shooting people regular use of guns. I don’t consider range work as use — that’s practice. (Not that cops get enough of that.)

  21. High IQ Donkey says:

    Provocation is your burden to prove as a defense.

    That’s not my point, and you know it.

    Unless you would defend Brittain’s practice of jailing people who defend themselves with “unequal force”.

  22. High IQ Donkey says:

    And the only other people who have regularly shot at people are gang bangers.

    I dare say they were ‘corrupted’ long before the gun showed up.

    So, again, it comes back to the person, not the weapon.

  23. Phelps says:

    You are absolutely right. As any reader of this site knows, I am a hopeless hoplophobe who goes into PSH anytime someone mentions a gun or even points a finger at someone and drops their thumb like the hammer on a gun. I believe that guns emit dangerous radiation that turns people into homicidal maniacs.

    You caught me.

  24. High IQ Donkey says:

    You were the one saying that an inanimate object (a Tazer) was corrupting people, not me.

  25. Phelps says:

    No, I said that using an inanimate object on a regular basis was corrupting people.

  26. High IQ Donkey says:

    That still makes no sense.

    Do nightsticks, Pepper Spray, etc. not have the same effect?

    If so, then it’s not the *use of the object* that is the problem.

    At best, you could argue that it’s *authority* that is the problem. But that is a seperate issue from the *use of Tazers*.

    In any case, the guy was trespassing a private event, and resisted multiple attempts at peaceful resolution. The tazer was the fifth or sixth resort, not the first.

    You seem to be willing to give everyone the benefit of the doubt except the police.

    As a documented, the police took every care to resolve this at the lowest level of force possible.

    He was asked.
    He was told.
    He was grabbed at the arms.
    He was lifted and pushed.
    He was bear hugged.
    He was slammed.
    Only when none of that worked, was he tazered.

    Seems to me the trespasser worked pretty hard to escalate the situation as far as he did.

  27. Mexigogue says:

    Once he’s slammed he’s supposed to be cuffed. Tasing is for people they can’t get get ahold of, like a superhuman strength drugged out Rodney King.

  28. High IQ Donkey says:

    Actually, if you ball up and lock your hands together it’s very difficult to get them into cuffs in the first place. It’s a simple matter of leverage, he’s got it and the cops don’t.

    LawDog has an excellent description of the event from the officer’s perspective.

  29. Phelps says:

    One thing that I am well aware of (I have a cousin who is a CO) is how dangerous the situation becomes when the arrestee has one end of the cuffs on but not the other. I fault the cops, though, for putting themselves in that situation to start with. (Partially for deciding to arrest him in the first place, and especially for letting him get loose with the cuffs half on.)

  30. High IQ Donkey says:

    1) The cops didn’t decide to arrest him. The event organizers did that. They had asked him to leave (which they do have the legal right to do) and he failed to comply. At that point the organizer called in the police to remove the person. When I call the police to remove a belligerent person from my business the police can not say “Sorry, remove the trespasser yourself”. That is their job.

    2) From LawDog’s description, if anything, this is not a problem of using too much force, but for not using enough force to end the situation quickly.

  31. Phelps says:

    The event organizers do not enjoy arrest powers. Nor do they have a duty to exercise prosecutors discretion. The police do. “Sic ’em” is not how the police work or should work.

  32. Lukosrage says:

    Hmmm why could they not just punch him or slap him, shooting someone with a tazer sould be looked at as a last resort not a “your not doing what I want you too tool.”

    The device itself is quite freaky 250,000 volts (min) of a modified square wave straight into your body. They might as well shoot you with some drugs so they can get you high as a kite and carry you off.

    This is like useing a bazooka on a fly.