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What Happened?

CNN has a new story about the arrest at the Kerry event on the University of Florida campus, Cops on leave after Taser incident, student’s behavior under scrutiny, asks more questions than it answers. The two officers on paid leave is standard when there’s a use of force, but they have called in the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to conduct the investigation, which is the University covering itself.

Two bits stood out:

“You will take my question because I have been listening to your crap for two hours,” Meyer told Kerry, according to the police report of the incident.

He then turned to a woman and said “Are you taping this? Do you have this? You ready?” the report said.

Clarissa Jessup, who contributed I-Report video of the incident to CNN, said Meyer gave her his camera and asked her to shoot video of him posing his questions to Kerry.

Organizers had cut off questioning before Meyer went to the microphone, she said.

University spokesman Steve Orlando said before police moved in, Meyer was asked to relinquish the microphone because he was “being disruptive.”

So, we now know that the event organizers were the people responsible for calling the police, and they did it after Meyer refused their request. We also now from Ms. Jessup, who isn’t an official, that Meyer went to the microphone after the questioning was over and made sure he would get a video of the event.

I think the Taser was too much force, but I also think that Mr. Meyer intended to start trouble. Mr. Meyer may have had a panic attack when he realized he wasn’t simply going to be ejected, but was going to be arrested.

I have a feeling that it will be discovered that this isn’t the first time Mr. Meyer and the campus police have met.


1 hipparchia { 09.19.07 at 12:50 am }

the description for this video, and the guy’s words later in the video, suggest he was looking for trouble. he certainly wasn’t going along quietly when they tried to get him to leave, but it doesn’t look to me like he was putting up enough of a fight to warrant the use of a taser.


2 whig { 09.19.07 at 12:52 am }

He’s obviously a trouble maker, but we need trouble makers to stand up to be heard, and if he wasn’t being listened to (and his question was hardly one that Kerry would have wanted to take), he did what a protester does, he made a scene.

I agree that they had cause to remove him and if he was in defiant trespass to arrest him, but when the taser came out he was clearly restrained and not a threat to the officers. They wished, I suppose, to make the “scene” go away.

3 whig { 09.19.07 at 12:54 am }

And I do think it would be good to hear the answer to his question.

4 hipparchia { 09.19.07 at 1:01 am }

which question? he had 3, if i recall.

5 Badtux { 09.19.07 at 1:32 am }

There were certainly times when I wished I could have tasered some smart-ass student that we’d just subdued, but luckily the taser hadn’t been invented back then (though the cattle prod had been and indeed some prison guards had been fired the year before for using cattle prods on inmates) and besides, applying deadly force (which the Taser is, for a significant minority of people with a common heart problem where the taser basically turns off the heart’s ability to beat and you can’t tell beforehand who has the problem) is unwarranted just because a student is being a smart-ass and refusing to leave when requested to do so by administrative personnel. But then, I was a teacher in a behavior unit for “problem” kids, not a cop, so I cared about the health and welfare of the kids and was careful to abide by the training I was given, which was that the “here squad” (at least two and properly three) took the kid to the floor in as gentle a manner as was possible, informed the kid what we were doing, why we were doing it, and what we were going to do next in a calm voice, then waited out the kid screaming bloody murder (which they always did) occasionally repeating ourselves until the kid was ready to go to the timeout room in a calm manner. I am proud to say that despite a variety of incidents during the course of the school year involving a number of students who were “oppositional” and in several cases actually violent, we never had to apply any painful “compliance measure” to obtain compliance. Even the craziest, most violent, and most irrational kid (official diagnosis: paranoid-schitzophrenic) eventually realized that he was going to sit on his stomach with his hands behind his back, somebody’s knee on his butt, and someone sitting on his feet all day if he didn’t agree to go with us. (We wouldn’t carry an out-of-control kid because of the possibility of injury — the welfare of our charges was always the first priority).

As for the rest of it, you can just watch the video. I just did. There are some things that are not clear from the video, but it’s clear that the kid was on his stomach on the floor in a classic compliance position and no threat to anybody when he was tasered. In that position the cops had a variety of ways to deal with him, from simply sitting on his butt until he calmed down and realized that compliance was the best choice, to applying pain via a number of safe methods (jacking him up, applying pressure to pressure points, a couple of love taps with the nightstick, etc.) in order to speed up the process of obtaining compliance, or they could simply continuing to bodily drag him out of the auditorium then sit on his butt outside until he calmed down. There was no safety need requiring application of potentially deadly force. The kid was tasered basically because he was loudly yelling “why are you arresting me? I haven’t done anything! Help! Help! Somebody help me!” over and over, not because he was behaving in a violent or aggressive manner. I.e., potentially deadly force (the taser) was applied because he pissed off a cop, not because it was necessary in order to protect anybody.

6 Badtux { 09.19.07 at 1:57 am }

Watching the video again, I now have a different interpretation of why he was tased. The audience is clearly becoming restless towards the end, and you can see some cops giving nervous glances at the audience. It looks like they decided they better get the f*** out of there before the natives lynched them, and tased the kid because that was the fastest way to get him moving in the right direction. In other words, it is arguable that the tasing was in self defense, though it is a stretch (especially since you don’t see other people start moving towards the cops until they actually start tazing the kid, which seems to have incited things even more than the kid’s yelling).

7 Badtux { 09.19.07 at 2:19 am }

Hmm, looked at it from another angle, and it’s less clear. Multiple cameras. Wow. What a world we live in, when cops can’t do a neat beat-down without multiple cameras rolling! To their credit, the cops appear to behave in a very professional manner once they get him into the atrium of the auditorium and the lady cop talking to him sounds a lot like I would sound in that situation :-). I’m more willing to give them the benefit of the doubt at this point, they had a known head case who apparently was attempting to incite a riot, and they decided to move him along in what they can argue was a justifiable manner given the situation.

8 Joe Strickland { 09.19.07 at 2:23 am }

It is a campus. It is not rare that students become activists on campus. Sometimes disruption is part of activism. It is a form of protest. They could have escorted him out. They had him on the ground. Who wants to be handcuffed? The police say his demeanor changed when they had him in custody away from the cameras. Duh, how many people do not change their demeanor on the way to the police station away from witnesses? I see Senators and Congressmen hog the mike and act boisterous while speakers have the floor, yet none of them are tased.

9 Gil { 09.19.07 at 6:37 am }

I agree with the majority opinion, the kid was being disruptive and throwing him out of the place was totaly OK, BUT NOT TASERING … it is always paifull (therefore causes harm) and its potentialy deadly force its not something to use unless really needed to prevent injury to the officers or the public.

10 Jackie { 09.19.07 at 6:45 am }

I watched your anchors this morning and was surprised to see kiren Chutney Laughing and her remarks that this student was asking to be tasered..was outragous.
i would never expect that from her or any other anchor . I keep forgeting that on your channel you never can be FAIR AND BALANCED.

11 Rob { 09.19.07 at 6:52 am }

So now cops are using tazers just to make people more docile. Force should never be used unless someone is representing a danger to those around them. Cops should not be using force because someone simply refuses to do what they say. Regardless of the kid’s moties, this still looks like a use of force because the cops were to lazy to do their jobs properly. Someday soon, I think, we are gonna find out what happens when the cops are the ones we need protection from. They have too much power and not enough oversight. Cops should be so fearful of bothering anyone but the most obviously guilty. Any charges filed that do not end in conviction for whatever reason, should be used as evidence of defamation of character against the cops and DA’s. This would prevent another Nifong incident.

12 Rob { 09.19.07 at 7:07 am }

Based on the video, I suppose I should go out and get a tazer and just use it on anyone anywhere if it helps me get my way. Maybe I need to move to Florida for that to work legally. This guy wasn’t sensationalizing for the cameras. He had a point that he solidly believed in and was trying to back it up with bravado in an attempt to draw others into seeing he side. He didn’t over-react when the cops started to manhandle him. Wouldn’t you panic if you did nothing wrong and cops all of a sudden grabbed you and started to arrest you?…especially when you were under the impression that speaking your mind in a forum that was specifically designed for the type of questions he was asking was protected by our 1st amendment rights.

13 mb { 09.19.07 at 8:53 am }

Badtux- Why the 180? You were so right in your first statement.

Now it seems you’d rather be controlled by a police state than participate in a free and open democracy.

The right of free speech does not dissappear because one is obnoxious or has a radical tendancies. If you have a college education, maybe you would have read the many supreme court cases dealing with this issue. To save you the time and effort of forming and educated opinion, the only speech not protected are 1- patently offensive statements, 2- hate speech, and 3- direct incitements to break the law. This student’s speech did not have any such characteristics. Bill O’Reiley has said things far more sensational and done far more damage to our society, considering the size of his audience.

There was no risk of riot. Did the cops know beforehand that the kid was radical? No. Had they ever seen his website? Most definately not. Your POV has the benefit of perfect hindsight. Those cops simply tasered an unruly kid – at the time they didn’t know his background, which I might point out has no history of violent or riotous behavior. To judge their use of force, we must consider only what was apparent at the moment, not what we learn after the fact. From what I see, this kid is passionate about his points and feels disenfranchised. He is desperate to make a statement about how politicians in both parties have let us down.

I’ve been on the receiving end of this kind of police brutality. I was pulled out of my house, without a warrant, at 3 in the morning and beaten by police for “resisting arrest”. They never told me why they were there or what they were doing.They were looking for someone “suspected” of vandalising a car. It turned out that they had the wrong address and all charges were dropped after I spent the night in jail. Ironically, the person who called the police in the first place told them that I was NOT involved in any way, but that didn’t matter. Once the cops get excited, they won’t stop until they are satisfied- its a game to them. I can tell you, the felony charges associated with resisting arrest are vey serious and can ruin someone’s life. But they charge people like this kid, who obviously was just taking part in important public discourse.

This is not a case of some notorious “headcase” showing up and causing trouble. It is rather a case of 3 headcases wear badges, getting paid with our tax dollars to protect the right of life, liberty and pursuit of happiness, concepts the clearly don’t undertand. I blame it on too much Jerry Springer and WWF. Also, “the education in South Africa, such as, Iraq and Asia.” This is what happens when a culture celebrates ignorance for too long. The fact that people aren’t more outraged at these cops is itself, outrageous.

14 Bryan { 09.19.07 at 9:27 am }

We didn’t have tasers when I went through the police academy, but there were stun guns. We didn’t train with them in New York because of the association with cattle prods and abuse in the South.

We did have “come-along” holds and they were very effective, as was a nightstick or the PR-24 [plastic nightstick with a side handle] when used to jab a major muscle mass to induce pain and/or a cramp.

In that situation the protocol would have been to ask for cooperation, if that didn’t work, to clearly state that an arrest was being made. Then you ask the individual to put their hands behind their back for regular handcuffs. If the individual refused it was time for taking them down on their stomach.

Most guys who has done this would have put away the metal cuffs at this point because they can become a weapon if you only get them on one arm. The flexicuffs [heavy-duty wire ties] are much easier to deal with, especially if you use three of them – one per wrist, and the third to connect. Normally we would have gone to three more for the legs, assuming we were going to have to carry the guy out.

The more I think about it, the more I come to believe that in addition to the taser, AIDs is playing a part in the way the police act these days. Cops are not as ready to pile on, using body weight to control people, and they are not as ready to make physical contact. I suspect the AIDs prevention techniques are having an impact.

Kerry had no input in the decision to bounce this guy, he seemed to want to discuss the issue and respond. He took enough hits in his day [Nixon was the President] not to favor police intervention, but whoever sponsored the event made the rules, and triggered the police response.

The taser was, in my professional, been-there-done-that, opinion, an over-reaction, but I would be surprised if the FDLE found it was justified under the current rules. It would be nice to know what they are teaching in the local academies these days. They may be stressing the taser over physical contact because of AIDs.

15 Badtux { 09.19.07 at 11:14 am }

I’m not sure what they’re teaching in the local academies these days either, but by and large it is irrelevant. Like teachers, cops learn in the field, including bad habits, via the “cop grapevine.” One of the things going around the cop grapevine is “tasering someone is less likely to get you prosecuted for police abuse because it doesn’t leave a bruise.” Lawyers just *love* taking photos of folks who are covered with bruises and cuts after an altercation with the cops, it gives visceral evidence to take before a jury in a civil trial amongst other things, so the thought on the street is that the taser is less likely to take up the cop’s time with the aftermath since it deprives the lawyers of that nice easily-packaged evidence. Intellectual discussions of the pain caused by tasering, the fact that hundreds of people have died over the past seven years from being tasered, etc. just don’t have the emotional impact of photos of someone who apparently got the crap beat out of him.

mb, the 180 was because I found video of what happened *after* they got the dude out of the auditorium into the atrium. At that point it became clear that the original operative assumption (that the cops shocked him because he pissed them off) was not correct, because the cops standing around mostly just looked bored and the lady cop was very patiently talking him down in a professional manner that I instantly recognized (because I’ve done it myself before). At that point a different operative explanation is needed, and a different video showing the audience becoming restless and starting to move towards the tussle on the floor and a couple of cops standing at the back of the tussle looking at the audience gives that explanation.

This does not, of course, justify the original attempt to arrest the kid, the kid was apparently the leader of a number of activist students at the gathering who were pissed because the organizers of the event would not allow them to pose their questions to Kerry (by “leader” I mean not that they elected him or anything, but that he had the biggest mouth and charged to the front of the group to confront the event organizers and grab the mike). When the event coordinators cut his mike they were censoring not only him, but all the other kids who weren’t being allowed to ask their questions. But it does explain the use of the taser as a “come-along” once the decision to enforce the desires of the event organizers was made by the cops and it became clear that the natives were becoming restless, at that point there really was no good way forward for the cops given that the kid was quite clearly attempting to incite the audience members to attack them, an event which would have resulted in a lot more than a shock to the shoulder of one kid. Like the notion of attacking Iraq, once the original bad decision was made to remove this kid from the auditorium was made, there was really no good way forward, just bad and less bad ways forward, and I really can’t see any official review of the conduct of these cops faulting them for anything they did after the original bad decision was made because past that point it is arguable that they acted in a way to limit harm as much as possible.

16 Bill { 09.19.07 at 1:12 pm }

Maybe I’m missing something but I saw a student be asked to leave. He didn’t. I saw two officers try to escort him out by grabbing both of his arms. The student pulled away. The officer called for assistance and other officer showed. The student still refusing to go peaceful. The officer took him to the ground with multiple officer trying to restrain him. The student grabbed hold of a chair. The officer warned him about the taser. The student said don’t taser me but didn’t comply with the officer command. The officer then used a taser. The student was cuffed. The taser is an intermediate weapon to help protect the officer and aggressor (student). The officer raised there force to comply with the students force. So now you have officer giving verbal commands, then trying to escort him out, and the student resists to comply with force (pulling away and holding the forum chair). The officers appeared to me to be in the right. The officer would lose all controll if they order you to do something and you refuse. Maybe next time you will see nine officer beating one person and say at least they didn’t taser him

17 whig { 09.19.07 at 1:54 pm }

The video I am going by is on the Washington Post, as I cited here.

18 Bryan { 09.19.07 at 4:14 pm }

So everyone knows – the Taser provides a powerful electric shock through wires attached to small arrows fired into the target. We don’t know enough about the effects of electrical shock to know who will be adversely affected by being hit by a Taser. There have been hundreds of recorded deaths caused in whole or in part by Taser use.

The research indicates that the Taser is not as non-lethal as the manufacturer claims, but more them are being shipped to police departments every day.

19 hipparchia { 09.19.07 at 10:03 pm }

ah, that one. thanks, whig.

20 Badtux { 09.20.07 at 2:15 am }

Bill has an important point. The job of police officers is not to enforce nebulous concepts such as “democracy” or “freedom”. The job of police officers is not even to protect the citizenry. The job of police officers is control, specifically, control aimed at maintaining public order. Public disorder is rather upsetting to most folks and besides it threatens property, which is more important than human beings in our society. Just watch what happens when a Black Bloc anarchist throws a chair through the window of a Starbucks. It is clear from that result that the window of the Starbucks is more important than the health or welfare of the anarchists getting the beat-down.

Back to the issue of control. The catch-all infraction that you are always charged with, in the event that the cop can’t think of anything else to charge you with, is “disorderly conduct”, closely followed by “resisting arrest”. If you fail to obey a command given to you by a police officer, you’re going to get charged with these, period, because obedience is required in our society. Disobedience is disorderly. Disorderly conduct cannot be allowed because it might endanger property. Danger to property cannot be allowed because property is more important than human beings. Thus all necessary force, up to and including potentially deadly force (a taser), is justified if necessary in order to elminate disorderly conduct. If you allow disorderly conduct of the peasants they may decide that orderly conduct is not necessary. Then where would we all be?

The above may seem somewhat tongue in cheek, but actually there is a valid concern behind the requirement for public order, which is that public disorder often ends up with violence against human beings. In our society, the police have been given a legal monopoly on violence. The example of societies such as Somalia or today’s Baghdad might give pause to those who decide that we do not need a single group that possesses the legal monopoly on violence. In neither case is life very valuable, or very comfortable. Personally, I prefer living comfortably — even if that requires acknowledgment of the fact that public order, not freedom or democracy or anything like that, is a fundamental requirement of continuing that comfortable life. In that, I am much like the vast majority of Americans, which is also why the notion of “freedom” in America is as laughable as the notion of “freedom” in Saddam’s Iraq. Certainly I am free to blather harmlessly in random web forums. But I am most certainly not free to act in any way which would endanger the position of the oligarchy that rules us, and there are many punishments, both legal and extra-legal, that would be applied to me if I ever did act in such a way.

-Badtux the Orderly Penguin

21 Bryan { 09.20.07 at 10:00 am }

The reports keep talking about “sponsors” which tends to make me believe that this was an event “at the university,” not a “university event” which changes the rules. This may not have been “a public event” and the marvelously inconsistent Florida lege through sloppy language often includes the university system in laws obviously designed for K-12.

Thanks to the NRA, you probably can’t use a Taser on people who annoy you in Florida, but you can shoot them, thanks to a law passed over the opposition of everyone with a mental age greater than 12 including the police and prosecutors.

Actually, later reporting indicates that to ask his questions, Meyer cut in line in front of a dozen other people who had been waiting patiently. Sorry, they should have shot him. I don’t mind the ranting and raving, but cutting in line is a trip-wire event for me. I would assume that’s why the people in the immediate vicinity did not react when the sponsors asked him to leave and them sent the police to deal with him. No problem with protests, but take a number and wait your turn.

22 hipparchia { 09.21.07 at 1:01 am }

i thought it seemed like police were using the pile-on a lot less these days, and why aren’t they just picking up resisters and carrying them out of the room? but i hadn’t really got around to postulating why [although i think i heard something about fewer workers comp injuries nowadays]. i wonder what the statistics are, police officers who contract aids from suspects vs suspects who die from from being tasered. just out of curiosity.

like whig says, sometimes the whole point is to cause trouble. on at least a couple of the videos, it looked [and sounded] to me like that guy was deliberately trying to provoke the officers into using a taser. doesn’t mean they should have though.

23 Bryan { 09.21.07 at 11:51 am }

An officer is suppose to use the minimum force necessary to control the situation. I have a feeling that physical contact is being advised against. I see cops in latex gloves all the time recently, so they are being instructed to use caution.

The videos that Badtux mentioned after he was outside, and the one with the cops getting nervous about the crowd in the auditorium will play heavily in the investigation. They aren’t the ones shown all around.

24 34 Stories to Read at Florida Progressive Coalition Blog { 09.21.07 at 5:06 pm }

[…] – And While We’re Talking About Injustice, Pushing Rope – UF Taser Incident Update, – , Why Now? – What Happened?, Naked Politics – McCollum: UF cops should be investigated by FDLE, Anger […]

25 hipparchia { 09.21.07 at 11:16 pm }

an awful lot of tense situations, even some that appear hopeless at first, can be successfully defused with little or no force. think that one could have been.

i saw the video that was taken after they got him outside. not sure if i saw the other one you mention, but i probably did.

i couldn’t tell for sure from any of the videos if the crowd started getting restless before or after he started yelling about tasers, but it looked to me more like it was after. for most of the time, most of the audience seemed relieved that the crazy guy was being taken away. the fact that almost none of them surged out of the building in the wake of the arresting officers and their captive suggests that nobody besides the person with the video camera, and possibly a few curious onlookers, really cared all that much.

if physical contact is actively being discouraged, and if the crowd truly was getting restive, then i can’t see that the officers had much choice by that time. they had to get him out of there right quick-like. a good place to not be is inside a crowded building when bedlam breaks out.

26 Bryan { 09.21.07 at 11:40 pm }

If the officers perceived a threat, that doesn’t mean there was a threat. I’ve had that problem working with other officers. I didn’t see any stripes or other indication of rank, which is bad in a multiple officer situation. Someone has to be in charge and take control.

If someone is struggling and you are trying to use metal cuffs, the possibility of injury is very high, which is why I liked the flexicuffs or the “mental health” restraints we had available.

I don’t understand the guy’s attitude. He would have made just as much an impression being led out in cuffs, and wouldn’t be facing felony charges. He is toast at the university. He was out before the Taser was used for failing to comply with the request of the sponsor and then the campus police.

If he had left when the first officer talked to him, he would have a solid first amendment complaint, but he has blown that away in the Florida system.

27 hipparchia { 09.22.07 at 1:34 am }

mental health restraints!

i can diagnose people over the internet just as well as the next guy can, so i’ll take a swipe at it: he’s less interested in taking a principled stand on an issue that’s important enough to go to jail for, and more into being a garden variety rabble rouser.

a more charitable interpretation: he’s a 20-something college kid and his intended audience is 20-something college kids. it’s not an age group that’s broadly noted for sophisticated political savvy or finely-tuned social skills.

the officers’ collective adrenaline levels may have been up, but teh audience, let me show you it. even the rabidly pro-andrew meyer commenters at various spots around the web have loudly bemoaned the audience’s almost total inertia.

[this coment brought to you with the “help” of several kittens]

28 Bryan { 09.22.07 at 12:59 pm }

The restraints were wide padded nylon straps that pinned the arms to the side and immobilized the legs so you could transport them on a gurney even if they were struggling. [We had a mental health facility in my jurisdiction which is why the restrains were purchased. The patients at the facility were the easiest people in the world to deal with and seemed to be easier to talk down than the so-called normal people. In a decade I don’t remember a single incident of having to restrain a patient in any way.]

I assume most of the audience was sick of the ranting or annoyed at his cutting in line, but he may have had “friends” with him. College kids are not exemplars of rational thought.

29 whig { 09.22.07 at 4:32 pm }


This was political theater, and had he been led off quietly without a scene it would not be news. He should not have been tasered. Tasers should not be used to subdue or silence people.

I am far less concerned with punishing a college kid for being outspoken and perhaps a bit obnoxious in his politics. He’s been tasered, and that’s punishment before trial.

30 Bryan { 09.22.07 at 8:28 pm }

Fearguth has a picture over at American Street that looks like the first contact between Meyer and the campus police. Meyer is much larger that the first two officers who ask him to leave and you can see that the officer in in the foreground has the Taser out and is aiming at Meyer.

Meyer is ignoring the officers and waving the book around.

None of the officers seem to be carrying a nightstick. I think that they have replaced the nightsticks with Tasers with just about guarantees it will be used. This is a training and policy issue.

He could have had just as much effect continuing to rant while complying with the handcuffs, always a good piece of film. I suspect the options of the officers have been limited by the purchase of the Tasers.

If he refused to comply, it was the Taser or a gun.

31 hipparchia { 09.23.07 at 1:05 am }

refused to comply?! compliance is something we’ve got way too much of, dude.

32 whig { 09.23.07 at 3:45 am }

Comply or be electrocuted. It’s not our fault, they took away our sticks so we can’t beat you.

33 whig { 09.23.07 at 3:51 am }

Sorry if that was out of line, Bryan, but I’m irritated at the idea that substitute lethal force can be justified at all or remedied by anything less than a public apology and perhaps damages in a case where the person was no danger to the officers or any member of the public.

34 Bryan { 09.23.07 at 2:53 pm }

The police don’t get to make the laws, they enforce the laws as written. When they get a complaint in most jurisdiction they are required to act on it, no matter what they may personally feel about the complaint.

Everybody keeps piling on the cops, when the organizers are the ones who were in charge. Everyone keeps complaining about the people who have to carry out the orders, and ignore the people who give the orders.

The organizers were the ones who decided when the questioning would end – they probably had the hall for a specific time period, and couldn’t just allow things to continue. Meyer waited until after the question period was over to cut in front of a lot of other people who had waited for a turn and went into his performance. If he had really been interested in getting an answer, he could have been one of the first people at the microphone. If he had done that and been thrown out his case would have been about a violation of his rights.

Whig, most people don’t realize that a nightstick is almost never used to “beat people” when it is used properly. Swinging a nightstick is ineffective. A nightstick is used to “jab” with the point or to leverage arm strength. Hitting someone over the head with a nightstick produces a bloody scalp wound that does almost nothing to impede their ability to beat the crap out of you. We had an officer get a dozen stitches on his scalp from a book. The scalp tears easily.

The ACLU will take your case if it has merit, and most institutions are a good deal more afraid of courts than publicity, as the Christianist know, The problem with this case is that he will have to sue the sponsor of the event, which is probably a student organization or faculty committee, not “the man.”

35 whig { 09.23.07 at 7:18 pm }

Bryan, if nightsticks can be used in a way that effectively restrains, then they should be issued. Tasers are not a substitute for effective restraint in any case. I think we’re in agreement generally, just coming at it from different directions and, of course, I am far from well informed on police procedure. I’m not so much concerned with where the blame falls as that this not be excused and forgotten. This is not just about the isolated case here, tasers are being used on people to gain compliance and in some cases causing deaths.