Andrew Meyer Apologizes

23:03 Tue 30 Oct 2007
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I wanted to write a satirical version of this report, but the report itself, and the direct quotes in it, read like satire to me already.

I discussed it at the time, but the original incident still sickens me, and is so obviously an abuse of police power. There was no real need to remove Meyer, especially since Kerry demonstrated a willingness to answer his questions. Meyer was acting in an agitated and perhaps obnoxious manner, but so what? It was a political event, it’s quite natural for passions to run high, and all he did was take a little more time at the mike, and be a little louder, than others might have liked. That’s not significant disruption, and that some people think being arrested and electrocuted for minor disruptions such as that is justified shows how sick those people, and this society, are.

In any case, Meyer got electrocuted for being minorly disruptive and for wanting to hang around to hear his questions answered—something that seems extremely reasonable, and which isn’t addressed by most of the people claiming he deserved his treatment. It was captured on video, spread across the Internet, and sparked considerable outrage. I certainly thought that he might have his day in court.

But no. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement exonerated the campus police, and the campus police considered charging Meyer with resisting arrest and causing a disturbance. In my opinion, it matters little whether or not Meyer planned to be disruptive at the Kerry speech—something he denies—because his actions are clearly captured on video and clearly do not warrant the abuse he suffered. Even if he himself thinks otherwise. To police political speeches to such an extent, where anyone being loud and inconvenient runs the risk of electrocution, is obviously authoritarian and oppressive.

Faced with the threat of prosecution, and possibly expulsion, Meyer surrendered in the PR war, and said that he “failed to act calmly”. That he “stepped out of line”. That

In society, as in life, there are consequences for not following the rules. In this instance, not following the rules has imposed consequences for many people other than myself, people who have seen their school, and perhaps their degree, tarnished in the eyes of others through no fault of their own.

In other words, the rent-a-cops at the University of Florida disgraced the University internationally with their appallingly heavy-handed abuse, and the University administration did nothing to condemn such conduct, so in the end Meyer has to apologize. Presumably for giving the campus police any hint of an opportunity to use violence, use of which would obviously make the University look bad.

I don’t really care whether or not Meyer was/is an attention-seeker. Whether he is or not, the conduct of the police was reprehensible, and that they could threaten him with prosecution after something like that is manifestly unjust. I can understand Meyer agreeing to apologize, and perhaps it was because of what would happen to him otherwise, perhaps it was because he truly felt that he should apologize. But I think it’s a shame he did apologize, because that will legitimize their conduct in the eyes of many, and will strengthen the point that dissent can be punished violently with little recourse for the dissenters.

Next time it happens, will there be as much of an outcry? Or will it sink as just more of the same, thus perversely serving to desensitize the public to police brutality?

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One Response to “Andrew Meyer Apologizes”

  1. Mark Hinnegan Says:

    You do forget that Meyer not only broke in at the last moment, on a mic that was already deactivated, demanding that his questions be answered, thus eating up the time of an important political figure.

    You also forget that he used an obscene term in his ‘rant’ questioning, ‘Blowjob’, and they were almost certainly clearly told that any disruption or obscenities would mean Mic Cutoff. He resisted arrest, plain and simple, and was warned several times. He planned on everything (except actually getting tazered, probably.)

    Besides, it’s not as if the world needs one more politically-ignorant person pretending that they have some say in who won this election or should attack this country or such. This is not anarcho-syndicalism. Andrew Meyer has no say in this world, and it’s only his skin color that stopped him from winning any money this time. COUGH Rodney King COUGH 3.2 Million Dollars. COUGH

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