The following is an opinion discussed and written by the editorial staff of the Daily Sundial. The majority of the staff agrees with what is written here and believes that it is a topic worthy of public discussion. Any responses to this editorial can be sent to the opinion editor at email@example.com.
Here at the Sundial, we are against Tasering students. Especially when it is on a college campus during a public discussion where the speaker is trying to answer the student’s questions.
At the beginning of this week a video started making the rounds through the Internet. The video is of University of Florida student, Andrew Meyer, asking Sen. John Kerry about impeaching Bush, why Kerry didn’t challenge the 2004 election and his involvement in Yale’s Skull and Bones society. After the questions were asked, Meyer’s time limit ran out, but he refused to leave. Police began to escort him out of the room and Meyer began throwing his hands in the air, yelling and trying to get back to the podium to continue the discussion.
While Meyer was resisting, handcuffs were placed on him and he was Tasered by the police. Meyer’s lawyer is arguing which of those two events happened first. During this fiasco, Kerry can be heard in the background of the video saying, “That’s all right, let me answer his question.”
While we understand that this student is known for his practical jokes and the intentions behind his actions might not be completely honest, the amount of force used against Meyer was excessive, and the charges he was given are absurd. Meyer was arrested for “inciting a riot,” according to police in the video.
When students are in a college setting and attending a public event with a U.S. senator, the university should expect things to get a little heated. Meyer wasn’t asking ridiculous questions, and it seems like the other audience members in the video were interested in hearing Kerry’s response.
Meyer did break the rules of the discussion, but it was not a violent offense. He asked questions that were about to be answered, but the police didn’t want to let him stick around. Meyer was being louder than the average person, but he was put in handcuffs and thrown in jail for a charge that was nothing more than an excuse at the time to get rid of someone they didn’t want to deal with.
Police and university officials need to be careful about how they treat the students. Students need to be allowed to express themselves and their views while in this setting dedicated to growth. We shouldn’t need to worry about being attacked by police while we voice our opinions or, as was the case at UCLA, don’t show identification.
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