9.18.2007

Police Brutality at the University of Florida

At my alma mater, the venerable University of Florida, a college student was harassed and tasered after asking a series of rambling questions to Senator John Kerry who was speaking to a modest sized crowd on campus. This video is not the best quality account of the incident out there but it does capture the majority of the incident, from the beginning of the students questions to the taser action. The students point seemed to be that he felt Kerry should have done more to look into and do something about the alleged election fraud issues in Ohio and beyond on election day in 2004.

Admittedly this guy was there to make a bit of a scene but I think he was doing it to draw attention to genuine issues, even the Skull and Bones question deserves an answer. No matter what, the end result is another in the endless power hungry nature of the police. This isn't the first college taser episode to be caught on video. The other, a far more egregious and disgusting episode involved a student at a computer lab who was manhandled and eventually tasered because he wouldn't show security his student ID while in a campus computer lab. That video can be seen here.

I have been to forums like this at UF with controversial figures and there are always questioners like this guy. The way it is USUALLY handled is the speaker is left alone to finish his or her question, or is shouted down by the crowd, or is disarmed by an intelligent response. I can tell you when Noam Chomsky came to speak at UF there were no conservatives getting tasered for asking him stupid questions. When Bill Clinton came no incidents. Up until seeing this video I thought the campus cops at UF were only trained to stop kids on bikes for running stop signs or sitting around looking cool on their scooters.

More abuse of power. It never ends.

QUICK UPDATE:
John Kerry has condemned the actions of the UPD.

2 comments:

America said...

I've been stopped by a bike policeman on UF's campus before. I was riding down that ridiculously hilly road near Shands and completely ran a stop sign. I actually biked over to him to ask directions and he wrote me the ticket.

But, it was a very positive experience overall. He registered my bike for me right there, and then rather than just give me directions to the building I was looking for, he walked his bike with me all the way to it (which was across Archer Road even).

Then, I saw him again a few weeks later while he was off duty and I was taking a break outside the place I worked. We greeted each other and made jokes about him pulling me over.

Anyway. Thanks Officer Thomas, wherever you are, for not being a douche.

plastic said...

oh yeah! then you guys dated for a while right? whatever happen to him? Bobby Thomas, he was a cop? I can't believe it, I guess he was the exception that proves the rule!!!