We received a direct response from Florida’s Attorney General today. It is more of a blanket response, but here it is:

Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum has received your email regarding the arrest of a University of Florida student during a recent event. Attorney General McCollum asked that we respond.

Your comments are indicative of the broad spectrum of public opinion concerning  appropriate government response.  Attorney General McCollum shares your concerns about the duties of our law enforcement authorities,
public officials, and the media to responsibly and ethically balance the vigorous pursuit of truth with individual rights and freedom of speech.

The University of Florida adminstrators have requested that the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) conduct a formal  and independent investigation of the actions surrounding the arrest of the student.  If you
would like information regarding the FDLE, their website is:

http://www.fdle.state.fl.us/

If you wish to contact FDLE for further  information, you may do so at Post Office Box 1489, Tallahassee, Florida 32302.  The telephone number is (850) 410-7000.

You may also wish to voice your concerns to the Internal Affairs section and/or the head of the law enforcement agency in question.  Part IV of
Chapter 112, Florida Statutes, sets forth the process and requirements pertaining to complaints against law enforcement officers.  You may access that chapter and the Florida Statutes in their entirety in a searchable database online at:

http://www.leg.state.fl.us/Statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=Ch0112/part06.htm&StatuteYear=2006&Title=%2D%3E2006%2D%3EChapter%20112%2D%3EPart%20VI

Thank you for contacting Attorney General McCollum’s Office.
 

What do you think of the e-mail letter?

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There is a fantastic article by Howard Ditkoff that looks into the emotions and psychology  of people responding to the Andrew Meyer taser incident.

Howard writes:

What I’ve found most fascinating about the situation are the responses.

Clearly there has been a significant proportion of people that has responded with anger and indignation to what they view as the police using far too much force on Meyer without just cause. Some of those people go as far as to claim that the action was an attempt to deny Andrew Meyer his First Amendment rights and to unfairly and/or illegally suppress his pointed questions about some highly sensitive issues.

On the other hand, many people I have spoken with have defended the police. Even while admitting that their actions may have been rather heavy-handed, they will bring up – and reasonably so – the fact that police officers work in an atmosphere of great danger. Thus, they argue, we need to be sympathetic to the fact that the officers were responding to a person who was in fact resisting arrest, regardless of whether or not the arrest was originally justified or not.

But what is most striking to me is the level of emotion with which I’ve seen people, including myself, respond on both sides of the issue. As the phrase goes “When it’s hysterical, it’s historical,” and I have come to believe that people are reacting to this event based mostly on their own past experiences with authority figures during their development and/or their own coping responses to those experiences.

Read the full article at  Emotional Responses to the Andrew Meyer & John Kerry Incident: A Psychological Study in Issues of Power, Anger and Authority

This is our initial response to a reader. 

I don’t fully agree with the use if disruption to levy our right to free speech. However, it appears the organizers of the event cut the students short from asking their questions. It is also reported that the Dean had the bulk of time to ask questions to Kerry, but the students had less than half that time.

The only reason Meyer ran to the front of the line was to emphasize this, then he went ahead and asked his questions. Kerry was even willing to answer the questions and told the officers to leave Meyer alone. I’m sure if Meyer were permitted to speak as scheduled, where he had to wait his turn, he would have asked his questions without such emotion.

But it all falls back to the point, how far is too far when it comes to police force and brutality? There were 5 or 6 police officers (depending on the report you read). Surely, that many cops could contain and escort him out.

There is an incident in a different state with a David Snyder. He was escorted out of a council city budget meeting, beat, bloodied and arrested. They didn’t use a taser on him and were able to get him outside. However, he protested and tried to resist arrest. He was also denied his right to free speech.

Both these acts, in different locations, signal things to come. They signal our government has turned into a tyranny and that our innate God-given freedoms will be oppressed. Those who oppose or resist will be beaten and made to look like scapegoats in the public’s eye.

If they can charge Andrew Meyer, they can certainly charge the police involved. I think everyone – especially Florida residents – should ask Florida AG Bill McCollum to file charges against the officer with the taser. Details on the law and contact info below.

mattw’s diary :: ::

I’ve written a post which picks out what seems to be the relevant law. There are specific justifications for the use of force provided for law enforcement, and I think given the level of restraint Andrew Meyer was under at the time of the tasering, none of them applied. He was not fleeing. He could not be a threat – they already had cuffs half on him, and if he wasn’t on his back, they’d probably easily get the other on. Common sense alone dictates that it takes less than six police to bring one agitated college student into custody.

Fortunately, the law seems to agree with common sense here. Therefore, all we need is for the appropriate party to prosecute the violation.

Enter: Florida State Attorney General Bill McCollum.

web contact and phone/address are available.

I simply said in my comment that I hoped he looked into whether there was, indeed, a violation of the law, and if so, would do the right thing and prosecute.

I hope everyone will take a minute to write, call, or comment, so the FL AG knows that people believe in holding everyone accountable under the law, even those entrusted to uphold it. (Some, including myself, would say especially those entrusted to uphold it; I happen to admire and respect police enormously, and I think that’s because we should hold them to a higher standard, and I think the vast majority of them live up to it every day)

Andrew Meyer in the News

September 19, 2007

A lot of bloggers on WordPress are covering Andrew Meyer and what happened to him yesterday during the John Kerry forum.

There is even a t-shirt that you can purchase that says, “Don’t Taze Me, Bro!”

By The Andrew Meyer 

We hear it on the news almost everyday.

“At least 18 people were killed when two car bombs exploded in a busy market…”

It happens so frequently at this point that we have become desensitized to the message.

“Eleven more died when a minibus blew up in the Karrada district, while a suicide attack…”

Iraq is thousands of miles away from the United States. When a suicide bomber strikes in the middle of a crowded Baghdad street, leaving mayhem and carnage in his wake, America is largely unaffected. The only thing we hear in the States is the same tired story. Yeah, yeah, suicide bomber, 20-something dead, we’ve heard this one before. But in Baghdad, no one is “over” these attacks. Every new bombing is a deadly and frightening jolt, a senseless thunderbolt of destruction bringing the city to its knees and death to its inhabitants. Yet we in America are so far removed from Iraq, so jaded to the tales of violence in its streets, perhaps the only time we truly feel the human cost of the War in Iraq is when it hits close to home.

Shannon Timmann is a friend of mine. On January 7, 2006, her father was killed outside of Mosul, the biggest city in northern Iraq. He was in one of two Black Hawk helicopters that lost contact with base. “Human error in a storm,” they called it. They don’t know what happened. The helicopters just went down. They just crashed.

In exchange for the life of her husband, Shannon’s mom received this letter from the government:

“Dear Mrs. Timmann:

I extend my heartfelt condolences on the death of your husband. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. I am grateful for Robert’s service to our nation and to the Department of State. His dedication and bravery should serve as an example to us all.

Sincerely,

Condoleeza Rice.”

Nice words from our Secretary of State. But that is all they are. Words. Nothing can bring back Shannon’s father, nor the 3,566 other Americans who have died in Iraq to date.

I asked Shannon what she thought of the letter sent from our government. She said it was nice, but, “I mean ….but how many of those do they send a week? It’s just copy.”

Shannon had another letter, sent to her from the Iraqi chief of police. It was heartfelt, and genuinely saddened for the loss that Shannon and the world would feel from Bob’s death.

I watched a video that Bob Timmann filmed in Iraq before he died. He was a good man, and he believed that America was doing good work in Iraq. But what exactly are we accomplishing over there? America invaded Iraq on false pretenses, bogus intelligence that Saddam had WMDs and links to al-Qaeda. Read the rest of this entry »