Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Did He Get What He Wanted, Or Were His Freedoms Trampled?

A UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA student was tasered and arrested on Monday during a John Kerry speech on campus.

The student was in the middle of asking the Massachusetts Senator and former presidential candidate a question.

Was the student trying to be obnoxious or did the police cut short his freedom of speech?

The official word is that the student used profanity so the microphone was turned off. When he refused to calm down, they tried to escort him out. When he wouldn't calmly leave, police tasered him.

The student now faces up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine.

Who went too far here?


Doanh said...

They definitely went too far. He was asking legitimate questions. Even John Kerry told them to let him go, and that he would answer the questions. He then asked repeatedly what they were arresting him for and they didn't answer. All they said was "Stop! stop!" He had no weapons. He was holding some papers and was absolutely no threat to anyone. They violated his Miranda rights and then tased him. They claim that "blowjob" was profanity, but they cut his mic after he asked about the skull and bones society.If I guess the real threat was that he was saying leftist things that people in an overly patriotic society didn't want to hear when our country is in the state that it is in.

alicia said...

I agree with the freedom of speech claim, but this guy wanted something to happen. He asked some lady to tape him asking his question before he started! Its completely normal and necessary protocol for police to react when someone wilds out in the presence of a political leader. The guys who shot Malcolm X and Bobby Kennedy and probably a few others were not given attention for their outbursts until after the fact.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone else see the irony in that John Kerry got his political start - at student-age in the 60's - by speaking out in a parallel way?(Aside: perhaps not as a 'student' per se, but in that classification of the time.)

Should it matter whether this guy's insubordination was premeditated? Or who was in attendance? It is not as if he was yelling "Fire" in a theater!

Skip Lane

crystal hawkins said...

The police went too far there. The kid wasn't threatening anyone, especially not Kerry. I'm sure six police officers could have restrained him without a taser. Trigger happy bastards. He's lucky he wasn't shot.

Anonymous said...

I think the police cut short his freedom of speech to a degree.
I mean, they could have handled it better, and told the man he needed to stop cursing or he would lose his chance to ask a question to Kerry.
And tasering the kid is just stupid. It just shows how poorly they handle situations. All they needed to do was use a little extra force.
But really, who doesn't curse anymore? And it doesn't seem like he was cursing at Kerry.. although Kerry would probably deserve it. (ha. Sorry, I hate Kerry)
But if he was just cursing as in, still asking a question, in coversational way, than there was no reason to cause that big scene.

Anonymous said...

I felt that there was no justice in tasing the guy. The guy was rightfully saying what he felt about the 2004 election and other issues. Why was his microphone cut off? Even worse, why was he even arrested and why could he be put in prison for five years? This doesn't make any sense. Instead of wasting time with people who are intellectual, they need to get the people who are actually committing crimes.
Andrew Lecointe

Kylee said...

I pushed to have this article up here...only to say exactly what everyone else said. Oh well, glad to see some people agree!

Geo said...

Okay, I'll take the bait.

This kid was a real jerk. He was goading John Kerry, trying to start a fuss. Even when the police cornered the kid, the student treated it like he was Rodney King or something.

The kid wanted attention. The kid wanted to be famous. The kid did this on purpose.

The kid needed to be stopped.

And quite frankly, while the majority of you seem to think its fine to say "blow job" in public, I'm not all that comfortable with it, especially in front of the distinguished Senator and former presidential candidate. How about a sense of decorum, people? Please!

So tasering him was probably a bit much. But the kid was asking for it.

This isn't a freedom of speech issue. This is about the media feeding the ego of a disturbed young man who is desperate for attention.

- George (the teacher and devil's advocate)

donnie d said...

Couple things, he did ask to be video taped, so he was expecting some kinda reaction. That tape is edited on YouTube, it doesnt show where he throws out his elbows and almost seriously hit a couple of officers, or when he sprinted away and instead of running away kinda ran around the room instead. (look close, i didnt think it was edited at first, but twice someone passes in front of the camera and the scene jumps)

So basically, the kid was making every possible effort to make a scene. Tasing? Maybe a little much, but the kid kinda got what he wanted, and yes i do think it was for the attention.

No offense Geo, i know u try to be comprehensive, but theres only so much that can be posted on a blog. Look past just the video thats so conviniently there, do a little more research, and you might start sayin something a lil different than "police brutality."

donnie d said...

Side note, read the other links that are provided (blue words). They give a more balanced view of what happened. Don't just look at the video, the story is just not all there.

Thomas Mates said...

This kid is a shmuck. Not because of the question he asked, which honestly I thought was a pretty good one. The reason he is a shmuck is because instead of being respectful to the senator and getting an honest answer, he took the oppurtunity to make a complete ass of himself.
However, the police went way too far in tasering him. There were at least 5 officers present and they could have easily subdued him. Instead they used excessive force and turned this yutz into a martyr.
This is not the first time police have gone taser crazy. Since a taser is considered non-lethal force police seem to think they can use them without repricusion. I myself have been hit with a taser, not by a cop but that's a different story all together, and I can tell you all that it hurts like hell.
The only thing about all this that I find truly funny is that this kid was probably doing this to get some girl's attention. I wonder how well that worked out for him.

Anonymous said...

Stephanie Schaefer said...

I think that the police did go to far with tasing him. There are simple pressure points the police could have used on the kid but instead they used electrical jolts through the kids body. However, I do feel the kid was out of line and needed to be removed from the lecture. I agree with our teacher that there is proper terms to use when amongst a person of high power and society. This kid using that term was being very disrepectful. However, my one question is why didn't the cops stop when John Kerry said to, because he wanted to answer the man's question! The video is scary.

Robin Tarleton said...

I think the student wanted to create a scene and get attention he went way to far. He could have simply asked his question without giving and entire speech. When he refused to calm down it was reasonable to take him out of the room. That being said I don't understand why several trained cops can not carry one student out of an audatorium without tasering him. Also I don't understand why just being an obnoxious smart-ass gets you a 5 year prison sentence and a 5 000 dollor fine.

danielle harvey said...

All I kept thinking about as I watched this video was, "So much for freedom of speech". I honestly don't understand why he even deserved being controlled, let alone being tasered. It's nice to actually see teenagers being passionate about politics for once. How will we ever be able to question our government if we get tasered for voicing our opinion?

Anonymous said...

It's been said that 'college will take over where the parents left off." If the student had learned basic respect and courtesy at home, he wouldn't have to learn it the hard way! The world responds to self control, healthy boundaries, and decorum.

Anonymous said...

That made me sick. He was denied his freedom of speech; he wasn't being violent all he did was ask questions, which he had the right to do. It is sad that those police officers used thier tasers on someone who gave no evidence of being a physical threat to anybody and two, that students were yelling to stop and asking why they were doing it and all they said was, "get back". That was a disgusting display of behavior from the polic force.

Anonymous said...

To the person that said, "he should learn basic respect and courtesy at home": All he did was raise his voice a little while asking some reasonable questions. The police are the ones who should learn the basic respect and courtesy, they had no grounds to do what they did.