University of Florida Taser Aftermath: Taser Procedures and Student Protest

Developing …
City of Gainesville Meeting Minutes on Taser Purchase April 2007 (pdf).
Student protest in support of Andrew Meyer being organized.

After University of Florida student, Andrew Meyer, 21, was tasered for resisting arrest and for disrupting a public form, issues will come forward about the procedures and decision to use a taser gun.

In 2005 the Florida PTA urged the Florida Legislature to authorize an independent study on the effects of Taser guns/stun devices on the human body, especially children, persons with disabilities and other vulnerabilities, provide a mechanism for training of officers based on research, and to set clearly defined guidelines on the use of Taser guns/stun devices as means of necessary force and that the use of Taser guns/stun devices be permissible only in instances where lethal force would otherwise be necessary.

A taser is a category of non-lethal force using an electric shock that police officers use to subdue people who are resisting arrest. Electroshock weapon technology uses a temporary high-voltage low-current electrical discharge to override the body’s muscle-triggering mechanisms. The recipient feels great pain, and can be momentarily paralyzed while an electric current is being applied. The relatively low electric current must be pushed by high voltage to overcome the electrical resistance of the human body. The resulting ‘shock’ is caused by muscles twitching uncontrollably, appearing as muscle spasms. However, because the amount of current is relatively low, there is considered to be a ‘margin’ of safety by a number of medical experts. Experts generally agree that this margin is highly dependent on the overall health of the person subjected to the shock. Usually, the higher the voltage, the more effective it is. It may take several seconds to subdue a subject with 100 kV, but only about a second with 1 MV (1,000 kV). M-26 Taser models produce a peak current of 18 amperes in pulses that last for around 10 microseconds and use eight AA batteries). Electrical current above 10 mA at 60Hz AC is considered to be potentially lethal to humans, though not all electroshock weapons pulse the current at 60 Hz.

Mace could not be used because of the proximity of innocent people in a crowded auditorium.

A University of Florida student arrested and tasered for ‘Disrupting a Public Event’ and ‘Resisting Arrest’ and sent to county jail.

In this video, which is closer to the taser incident, you can hear the discharge of the taser at the Town Hall Forum.

Senator John Kerry was at the University of Florida – Gainesville to speak on the Middle East, Iraq, and diplomacy. Andrew Meyer, a student attending the speech, rushed the microphone of the Town Hall Forum after the speech shouting that Senator Kerry should “spend time to answer everyone’s questions!” and taunted the University of Florida police officers while asking odd questions directed at Kerry.  He asked if “President Clinton was impeached because of a bl–j-b, why not Bush?” The disorderly student asked Senator John Kerry if he was in the same secret society (Skull and Bones at Yale University) as George Bush. John Kerry tried to answer the question and said, “that’s alright … Let me answer his question,” as the police began to arrest the student. The student was flailing his arms while yelling, Whoa, whoa, is anybody watching this?’ … ”Help’ … ‘Help me’ … ‘They’re arresting me’ …  ‘Get away from me, man’ … ‘What did I do?’ …  Why are you arresting me? … ‘If you let me go, I’ll walk out of here’ … ‘Get your hands off me’ … ‘Why are they arresting me?’ … ‘Can someone do something here?’ … ‘Get the f— off of me, man.’ I didn’t do anything’ … ‘Don’t taze me, bro’ … ‘Don’t taze me’ … ‘I didn’t do anything!’ … [spark of taser] … ‘Owwww! Ooooowwww’ … [continous screaming in pain] … ‘Let me go’ [more screaming in pain] …  ‘No’ … ‘Let me go’ … ‘Oh my God’ … ‘What’d I do? [repeatedly … ]. The audience applauses Meyer briefly (or applauses his removal) at the beginning of the incident, but then sits quietly with some occasional gasps.

An officer aims the taser weapon at the student with students in the vicinity and in the background. A police woman points her finger at the student and orders him to stop resisting. Meyer is also warned that he will be tasered. A male is heard telling Meyer to ‘shut-up.’

John Kerry was telling the audience, “everybody cool down … everybody cool down.” Senator John Kerry then began to answer the initial questioning, ‘Well we didn’t have enough evidence of the voter suppression in 2004’ while the disorderly Meyer was being tackled, ordered to stop resisting arrest and eventually tasered in the back of the auditorium.

Keywords: Taser, arrest, resisting arrest, resisted arrest, excessive force, civil disobedience, non-lethal force.

First video by Kyle Mitchell.

More info …
University of Florida | Inside UF
University of Florida – Gainesville Police Department
Carleton University Technical Report on Taser Stun Gun
The Independent Florida Alligator (Daily student newspaper of the University of Florida) (Andrew Meyer’s website)

What does taser mean? What does Taser stand for?
The name Taser is an acronym for “Thomas A. Swift’s Electric Rifle.” Arizona inventor Jack Cover designed it in 1969; naming it for the science fiction teenage inventor and adventurer character Tom Swift.

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