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Students stunned -- and tired -- about Taser incident

  • Story Highlights
  • About 350 students protest police use of Taser on student
  • Campus seems evenly divided on whether police acted correctly
  • Case is the talk of the University of Florida
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By Eunic Ortiz
Special to CNN
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CNNU campus correspondent Eunic Ortiz is a senior at the University of Florida. Ortiz attended the Sen. John Kerry event where a student was Tasered by police. CNNU is a feature that provides student perspectives on news and trends from colleges across the United States. The views expressed in this article are not necessarily those of CNN, its affiliates or the schools where the campus correspondents are based.

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.


University of Florida student Dayron Leon took this photo of Tuesday's student protest.

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.

On the popular online networking Web site, students from around the nation have already created more than 80 groups discussing what happened Monday. Even among those groups, the count is almost split between the number who oppose the police's action and those who support their decision.

"I was pretty horrified by what happened. I was shocked that the people we are supposed to trust would turn against us," said Vanessa Wood, a freshman who is majoring in psychology.

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. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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