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The tasered kid

I’m with Phelps, except the cop hating part – a few bad apples and all that. It was ludicrous. And John Kerry will unjustifiably take some heat over this.

42 Responses to “The tasered kid”

  1. Phelps Says:

    It isn’t hate, it is opposition. Like I said, at some point the “isolated incidents” are no longer isolated and become endemic. Maybe my threshold is lower than yours, but I’m sure you have a threshold.

  2. Rustmeister Says:

    Some folks just need tazerin’.

  3. Ahab Says:

    I…disagree with Uncle on this one (I suppose there’s a first time for everything). I mean, I am biased by my previous career fields, but in that situation the cops didn’t have a whole lot of options for dealing with the kid.

    I have my opinion at my blog, but for an even better insight, check out LawDog’s.

  4. SayUncle Says:

    in that situation the cops didn’t have a whole lot of options for dealing with the kid.

    sure they did. overpower, restrain and remove. Tasers should be used as an alternative to lethal force. Not as an alternative to getting your hands dirty.

  5. Southern Beale Says:

    Some folks just need tazerin’.

    True … but not for asking a question and being obnoxious about it. If we’re going to start tasering people for asking politicians questions then we’re headed down a very dangerous road.

  6. #9 Says:

    Beale, whatca doing here? Aren’t you afraid of gun cooties? On your blog you have very unkind things to say about SayUncle. Little surprised to see you visiting here.

  7. SayUncle Says:

    She mentioned me? I’m flattered.

  8. Ahab Says:

    Unc, when you say “overpower”, what do you mean specifically? Crack ’em across the head with a PR-24; put him in an armbar and dumb him on the deck at speed?

    Neither of those would have been viable options in that situation.

  9. SayUncle Says:

    I disagree. He was outnumbered and outmatched. Physical followed by mechanical restraints would have sufficed.

  10. gattsuru Says:


    If someone’s resisted arrest, tried to escape police, been wrestled down, and locked their hands under themselves, your choices involve either letting him up and wrestling him down again, smacking him silly, or using chemical spray or tasers. CS is sloppy, particularly anywhere other people want to be, hurts more, and doesn’t turn off once applied. Letting him up to get access to the hands opens you up to a world of hidden knives, guns, or other messy subjects. Smacking him silly is… attractive… but probably in a Rodney King sorta result.

    I think the police were foolish for letting it get to that point, but the use of a taser alone isn’t going to make their actions particularly bad. It looks ugly, but I can say from personal experience even the uber-high voltage ones don’t hurt nearly as much as some subtle pain compliance techniques do.

    Now, it looks like they gave a *much* longer zap than is recommended, and I do oppose that, but that’s more an issue of training.

    Kerry’s going to get undeserved flak for causing this — it looks like he was at least trying to deescalate the situation, if not trying hard or doing well — but I think the flak for sitting there as it happened, emotionless, is well deserved.

  11. #9 Says:

    She mentioned me? I’m flattered.

    Not a fan, at all. Reminds me of Sharon Cobb, but not as nice. I am not feeling the love from Nashville.

  12. mekender Says:

    let us not also overlook the fact that the kid pulled away from a cop after being given a lawful order to comply MULTIPLE times… but he also headed in the direction of a US senator while doing so… hes lucky he didnt get his ass shot for that brilliant move…

    frankly when it is not known if the guy has a weapon or not, you have a few options… shoot him, mace him, tazer him, whip his ass, or let him run free… frankly, the tazer is the quickest and most surefire way to stop the threat without great harm to everyone involved…

    i cant believe that people that advocate gun ownership as the final solution to stopping a threat are anything but enthused that there is an intermediate step to deadly force… i for one am prepared to use my weapon if needed for defense, but i dread the repercussions and mental anguish of ever having to do so… and ive got training on defense… these cops have a crappy pay rate and minimal defense training, but are asked to risk their health and life every day…

  13. Les Jones Says:

    The police were fully justified in taking the guy down. He was being lawfully escorted out of the room, then broke free, and broke free again. When they tried to arrest him he resisted violently. Violently resisting arrest is a bad idea that puts you and the cops in danger.

    Whether the cops should have used a Taser on him is a different question.

  14. chris Says:

    I wish that I had tased this twerp.

    I saw a video of him, apparently standing outside a bookstore, waving a sign which said “Harry dies” on it at people taking their children to buy the last Harry Potter book.

    Someone should have tased him then.

  15. Rustmeister Says:

    but not for asking a question and being obnoxious about it.

    He was resisting arrest, which caused the officers to use the amount of force they deemed necessary to bring the situation under control.

    So, in this case it was a taser. Could have been a nightstick, multiple nightsticks, pepper spray, etc. I think they took the correct route in this case.

    Cops shouldn’t have to second-guess themselves because of the possible outrage of people who were in no way involved in the situation.

  16. Standard Mischief Says:

    This isn’t anywhere near as bad as Mostafa Tabatabainejad’s encounter, mostly because they were still trying to get the guy in cuffs, rather than cattle prodding the guy to walk himself out to the police car after he was already in custody.

    it looks like Meyer’s fight or flight kicked in and he missed (or chose to skip) the option to just quietly leave the area.

  17. phelps Says:

    Cops shouldn’t have to second guess themselves before deciding to torture – oh, I mean, deploy pain compliance techniques, since more sylables make it gentler? Cops should constantly second guess themselves. They derive their authority from our consent, and my consent is getting damned thin.

  18. Les Jones Says:

    Phelps, every technique a cop has available to forcibly restrain a person resisting arrest is a pain compliance technique. Every single one of them.

    If a cop tries to move someone’s arm to handcuff them and that person is using their muscles to resist the movement of their arm, that person will feel pain. Same for nightsticks, chokeholds, pepper spray, you name it. There’s no nice way to force a resisting person into handcuffs.

  19. John Hardin Says:


    …inject them with muscle relaxants?

  20. Phelps Says:

    There’s no nice way to execute someone, either, but we don’t hang, draw and quarter anyone in America. There are degrees, and the police have not shown themselves to be judicious nor discretionary in their use of electroshock devices.

  21. Les Jones Says:

    Agreed that there have been some bad uses of Tasers.

  22. straightarrow Says:

    What lawful order? The speaker wanted to answer his question. He may be a shit, but just because a cop doesn’t like what he said doesn’t mean anything the cop says is a lawful order.

    The supreme court has ruled that resistance to unlawful orders is protected up to and including the use of deadly force against an officer. What was lawful about the order?

    I hate to tell you all this but just because a cop says it, doesn’t mean it is a lawful order. It actually has to be lawful. I haven’t watched the tape and I don’t have any particular sympathy for the kid, but I don’t believe the first amendment has yet been repealed. Nor do I believe everyone who speaks must have police approval of what they say or the manner they say it absent any actual threat of harm.

    So, again what lawful order and what was lawful about it?

  23. Ahab Says:

    The whole story – the kid had gone over his allotted time, his mike had been cut off by the administration, and then when he was asked politely to sit down, he started up with a ruckus. If he had actually wanted his question answered, he would have asked it and then sat down; but he didn’t want that.

    Oh, and Phelps? We do execute people via hanging. Since 1976, three executions have been performed via hanging. In New Hampshire and Washington State, hanging is the option to getting the needle.

  24. Ignorance is Bliss Says:

    What lawful order?

    The order to leave. Anytime you have an event like this, The event organizers have obtained the right to use that space. If the event takes place on private property then they have permission from the private property owner. If it is in a public space, then they get a permit from the city. This gives them the authority to remove people who are disrupting the event. Anytime they use police to maintain order at such events, they are then delegating that authority to the police. In this case the police were acting quite reasonably in trying to remove someone who wanted to use a heckler’s veto to ruin the event for everyone else.

    I’m not saying that they handled his removal in the best way possible, only that telling him to leave was a lawful order.

  25. Joel Rosenberg Says:

    LesJones, yeah, but apparently the jerk was already in handcuffs when the cops decided to play shock-the-frog — so they weren’t doing it to get him into the restraints that he was already wearing.

    It appears to me that the use of the Tazer was punitive, and until we decide to go all Judge Dredd, cops aren’t supposed to be issuing punishments.

    Once he’s down, and in handcuffs (and I’ll skip, for the moment, whether or not he should have been down and in handcuffs) they’ve got plenty of time to figure out what to do, although picking him up and carrying him seems to be the obvious choice. What were they trying to prevent? Him picking the lock and producing a chainsaw?

    The purpose of issuing cops weapons — lethal and less-lethal — isn’t to prevent inconvenience to cops, after all, and once down and hooked up, at worst this guy was inconvenient.

    And, yup, cops should second-guess themselves, and both the public and the judicial system should second-guess them, too, when appropriate.

  26. Ignorance is Bliss Says:

    …but apparently the jerk was already in handcuffs when the cops decided to play shock-the-frog…

    What makes you say that? I certainly can’t tell for sure, but it looks to me like they only manage to get the handcuffs on after the tasing. If that is the case, then the taser is not being used for it’s punitive effect. The really useful thing about a taser is not that it inflicts pain, but that it disables voluntary muscle control. That makes it much easier to handcuff someone, and may reduce the risk of actually injuring them that can occur when using physical force.

  27. Joel Rosenberg Says:

    “What makes you say that?”

    Two eyewitness accounts; the tape is not definitive, but seems to me to suggest that the eyewitnesses were correct.

  28. Thibodeaux Says:

    Some questions:
    – Is it possible for a cop to issue an unlawful order, or are all orders from cops by definition lawful?
    – If there are unlawful orders from cops, is it conceivable that a cop would issue such an order, or are all cops of such training and temperament that they never do so?
    – Assuming a cop could and did issue an unlawful order, is it possible for the person receiving the order to recognize it, a priori, as unlawful?
    – Assuming a person received an order from a cop that he knows is unlawful and refuses to obey, what might the cop’s reaction be? Would it be much different from the reaction that Mr. Meyer got?

  29. Les Jones Says:

    Joel, reviewing police use of force is a good thing, do doubt, but if this kid hadn’t resisted he wouldn’t have gotten pulled to the ground, much less tased. For that matter, he might not even have been arrested. It’s fair to say he made a decision that was less than wise. The police force might or might not uncover some police decisions that were less than wise.

    Anyway, just found this on CNN:

    Police noted that his demeanor “completely changed once the cameras were not in sight” and described him as laughing and being lighthearted as he was being driven to the Alachua County Detention Center.

    “I am not mad at you guys, you didn’t do anything wrong. You were just trying to do your job,” Meyer said, according to the police report.

    At one point, he asked whether there were going to be cameras at the jail, according to the report.

    The cops could be lying, of course, but the whole episode had “stunt” written all over it. And there’s this, from the same CNN article:

    “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.

  30. chris Says:

    I wish that they had done a Rodney on him.

    The kid is a was looking for trouble and got less than he deserved.

    I like the way he plays nice when the cops have him out of public view, but hams it up when he is in front of the camera.

  31. High IQ Donkey Says:

    Entrapment, It’s not just for Cops anymore!

  32. Leonidas Says:

    Did anyone actually look at the video? His left hand was on the back of the aisle seat nearest him while he was yelling ‘don’t tase me’. The eyewitnesses are just a bit off.

    If he had had a blade or a pistol nested in the small of his back, he just as easily could have gone for the good senator, and then everyone would have been criticizing the officers for not having done enough. Others would have said it was an assassination set up by Rove-Chaney-Bush!

  33. 360 Says:


    a) Of course it’s possible for a cop to issue an unlawful order, just because a cop says to do it does not mean that it is necessarily legal.

    b) Cop training varies WIDELY from place to place, cops are used to giving orders, and if ignorant of the law, can easily step out of lawful boundaries.

    c) Not sure I understand this question, It’s possible for a person to recognize the order they are being given is unjust or unlawful.

    d) Probably a similar reaction, usually a cop will follow the same script when someone does not obey an order, lawfully or unlawfully. See any big (and less debatable) police brutality/abuse of power video. Even when the victim calls the cop out on it, it will generally only escalate the situation.

  34. 360 Says:

    Also cops have been using serveillance videos against people that didn’t know they were being recorded for years. It may not be fair to the cops in this case, and the kid may have been a douche, but turn-about is fair play.

  35. straightarrow Says:

    Bliss, as you say that the space was rented and therefore private property, public servants had no business supplying security. That would be the responsibility of the holders of the event. If the cops were off duty and hired by the event holder, they should not have been wearing their uniforms or their issue accouterments. They should have supplied their own.

    If they were on duty then the public is being screwed. Those people belonged in the public on patrol not at a private party doing favors for politicians.

    Try to get one to take an accident report on a parking lot. You will quickly be told they don’t do that on private property. I know, that very thing has cost me over $10,000.

  36. Standard Mischief Says:

    …If the cops were off duty and hired by the event holder, they should not have been wearing their uniforms or their issue accouterments. They should have supplied their own.

    Ha. Well at least around here you are more than welcome to rent a pig if you need one. Want a cop around to stop traffic so you and your posse can make a left-hand turn in heavy traffic? Need a few flashing blue cop cars to attract attention? Want to override the timing on the local traffic light so your flock can get to church on time? Just call the county police non-emergency number and rent yourself a pig.They come with a full set of county equipment and full police powers. I think rates are around $50 per hour. Of course, when you hire a county lawman through the county, I suppose that the local police get a piece of the action.

  37. Standard Mischief Says:

    Joel Rosenberg Says:

    …but apparently the jerk was already in handcuffs when the cops decided to play shock-the-frog…

    Joel, are you looking at the right video?

    Mostafa Tabatabainejad’s encounter Several months ago.

    Andrew Meyer–Tasered by Police @ Kerry’s dog and pony show town hall meeting.

  38. Standard Mischief Says:

    This looks like Andrew Meyer’s crappy free web site.

    This may be his Facebook

    Here’s a page he probably pays for.

    It looks like the Harry Potter spoiler vid has been yanked.

    Here’s another video on this page. It has a different angle.

    So he’s a comedian that no one has ever heard of and he was doing some attention whoring/shameless self promotion. He ought to just pull a Gonzo and hit up the Joyce Foundation rather than trying to make an honest living.

  39. Phelps Says:

    Two things: First, hanging, drawing and quartering is one punishment, not three.

    Second, why does everyone assume that provoking the cops was what he wanted to tape? The guy makes videos of himself being an ass to people (like the Harry Potter video). Why don’t you think that he just intended to ask stupid questions and get video of Kerry standing there looking like a dork?

    I mean, do you guys watch the videos over at Hot Air where they ask uncomfortable questions to politicians (like the guy who asked Murtha if he was going to apologize for slandering the Haditha Marines) and assume that they are all trying to get someone to put a beatdown on them?

  40. High IQ Donkey Says:

    Yeah, but when they overstay their limit and are asked to take a seat, they would.

    When the police show up to escort them away for disturbing an event, they would walk out peaceably. They wouldn’t fight the officers.

  41. Les Jones Says:

    “Second, why does everyone assume that provoking the cops was what he wanted to tape?”

    I don’t know that anyone said that, and it isn’t what I think. I think he wanted a publicity stunt and he wasn’t going to let a little thing like the police escorting him off the premises get in the way of his stunt. More to the point, I think the police were justified in restraining and arresting him. (I’m not as sure about the Tasering.)

  42. Mr. No Sheeple Says:

    (If they were on duty then the public is being screwed. Those people belonged in the public on patrol not at a private party doing favors for politicians)