“In 37 years of public appearances, through wars, protests and highly emotional events, I have never had a dialogue end this way,” Kerry said in a statement. “I believe I could have handled the situation without interruption, but I do not know what warnings or other exchanges transpired between the young man and the police prior to his barging to the front of the line and their intervention. I asked the police to allow me to answer the question and was in the process of responding when he was taken into custody.”
“I was not aware that a taser was used until after I left the building,” he continued. “I hope that neither the student nor any of the police were injured. I regret enormously that a good healthy discussion was interrupted.”
He was obviously still in the room when the guy was tased, although he may have been too far away and preoccupied to tell what was happening in the back of the room. You’ll hear him say “um” into the mike at around 0:25 (if you’re counting down), right around the time the guy is screaming at the cops not to tase him. They zap him five seconds later.
Note also what Kerry says about the student barging to the front of the line; a new eyewitness account at MM’s corroborates that. Not that it justifies the cops grabbing at him when his mike was cut off, but like I said last night, there was obviously more going on before the clip picks up than some tool politely asking Kerry about impeachment.
The student, Andrew Meyer, is out of jail and “in good spirits.” I’ll bet; not only is he a minor celebrity now, he’s getting the full free-speech martyr protest fete at U of F this afternoon. Exit question: As much as conservatives and tedious libertarians are knocking Waffles for failing to come to the moonbat’s aid, if he had swooped in, we’d all be knocking him for interfering with the police in the execution of their duties, right?
Update: I can’t believe this stupid thing has become a national news story. Two cops are now on leave while they sort things out, says the president of U of F.
Update: But of course — Meyer is a journalism major. Here’s the Herald’s account of the incident via a university spokesman:
At about 1 p.m., Kerry was nearing the end of a forum at University Auditorium, a large facility beside UF’s trademark Century Tower. At that point, audience members were allowed to ask questions at a microphone, university spokesman Steve Orlando said.
The person in front of Meyer was told he would be the last person to speak, Orlando said. Meyer said he was upset with that, so Kerry gave him the OK.
When he took the microphone, Meyer asked Kerry several questions. On amateur video linked from Meyer’s website, his questions included why Kerry conceded in the 2004 presidential election, why not impeach President Bush now, and whether Kerry was a member of the Skull and Bones secret society at Yale University.
When reminded that he was only supposed to ask one question, Meyer responded in the video “He’s talked for two hours. I think I can have two minutes.”
”He had used his allotted time. His microphone was cut off then he became upset,” Orlando said.
Watch the clip again. He gets cut off at 2:09, turns around and gestures at 2:08, and the cops grab him literally two seconds later.
Update: This is now a story in Britain, too.