Page name: Freedom of Speech [Logged in view] [RSS]
2007-09-25 16:05:24
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GAINESVILLE, Florida (CNN) -- It has been 48 hours since college student Andrew Meyer was stunned with a Taser during a forum with Sen. John Kerry, and some students are still in shock over what happened.

But other students at the University of Florida are already tired of hearing about it.

While about 350 students protested the incident Tuesday, the opinions on campus seem to be evenly divided over whether the officers acted properly.

This is what I saw at the Kerry forum on Monday: Meyer, a 21-year-old telecommunications major, jumped up to the microphone already flanked by University Police.

He interrupted another student's question, and although Kerry had earlier said he was taking no more questions, he told Meyer he'd take his comments next. Kerry asked the police to allow Meyer to speak.

When it was his turn, Meyer first asked about the 2004 presidential election and followed with statements about whether President Bush should be impeached.

At that moment the microphone was turned off and police began to take Meyer out of the auditorium. Meyer then started to struggle with the officers.

As they pulled him toward the exit, Meyer broke free and tried to get away. At that point, six officers tackled Meyer to the ground and told him to roll over.

He continued to yell for help and a female officer warned Meyer if he did not stop he would be Tased. He kept yelling and one of the other officers gave the order to Tase him.

The audience remained seated and watching the confrontation until they heard the loud zap of the Taser. Then several people at the event started yelling at the officers.

"I was startled by the noise, considering what was happening in front of me. And after they Tasered him there was a stench that was not overpowering but it was unsettling," said Ben Omar, a University of Florida graduate student.

The videotape of Meyer screaming as he was shocked quickly got the attention of news services and became a YouTube hit.

Campus rumors now circulate that Meyer, known as being a prankster, was simply trying to be obnoxious and get attention at the Kerry speech.

Meyer spent a night in jail on charges of disturbing the peace and resisting an officer. Later, the school's president, Bernard Machen, said two police officers involved were placed on administrative leave.

Since the incident, Meyer has kept a low profile.

But other students haven't been so quiet, with Tuesday's rally protesting what the students' claimed was a case of police brutality and another rally being planned.

"I am glad that we are starting a civil discourse debate, because this is a subject that needs to be addressed," Omar said.

A girl in Spencer-Vanetten, New York was suspended from school for merely wearing a shirt that said "Gay? Fine by me"

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2007-09-24 [Cadet]: Okay she shouldn't have been suspended just because some people are homophobes and find it "inappropriate" that is fricken retarded right there.

2007-10-09 Vishous Bloodletter: But it may have been offensive to another person. You cannot wear something that is offensive to someone, disrruptive to class, and interfers in the learning experience. Education is more important at this level than making a full out statement 24/7. That is what free time/weekends/out of school is for.

2007-10-11 [Cadet]: How is saying that you don't mind gays offensive? please explain that to me. and how is it disruptive and interfering with the learning experience? i don't see how it all connects. there were other solutions rather than suspending her. like turning it inside out or asking her to change it.

2007-10-12 [My Own Darc Nightmare]: What i mean by ''disruptive" is if it offends someone who is not okay with gays, they bring it up and a big deal was obviously made about it. It interfers in learning.

2007-10-14 [Cadet]: I still don't understand how it is offensive. people are just too sensative and need to get over it, just because someone's sexual preference is different doesn't mean it's become "offensive" when they are mentioned.

2007-10-16 [My Own Darc Nightmare]: Alright, think on it this way...if someone wore a "I Love Presidant Bush" t-shirt and was serious about it, you would think that person was stupid, correct? And more likely than not, you would say something about it. That little comment and that shirt could cause a big conversation among alot of people. Now let's say that happened in a class, very dissruptive correct??

2007-10-16 [wu di doo]: true and those who are aginst bush would boo and tease but would the school suspend this person? no they would get on to the people that are booing for the disterbince

2007-10-18 [Cadet]: An "I love Bush" shirt is an opinion and i have no right to judge someone's opinion, i might not agree but i don't really have room to judge them based on the decision and no it wouldn't really be distracting to me.

2007-10-19 [My Own Darc Nightmare]: Uh...argument...fine, I agree. Always did. I can't argue this one anymore, it's too hard!! Molly, you want to play devil's advocate??

2007-10-19 [Cadet]: So I win??

2007-10-22 [My Own Darc Nightmare]: Well, normally I'd have argued your side, but you know...every one was so I couldn't.

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