September 18th, 2007
09:45 AM ET
13 years ago

Student Tasered, arrested at John Kerry speech

Watch the commotion following a student's question to Sen. Kerry Monday.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - A University of Florida student was Tasered and arrested by University police at a John Kerry speech following a heated question on the 2004 election results.

Full story

Filed under: John Kerry
soundoff (99 Responses)
  1. Sam, ATL GA

    The cops panicked and made a stupid move. Every cop in the world is either laughing or saying 'glad that wasn't me.'

    September 18, 2007 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  2. Steve, Arizona

    Looks like the Gestapo are alive and well in Florida.

    Hope this kid sues and wins millions and those cops lose their jobs!!


    September 18, 2007 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  3. Robert M. Reidy N.Y.

    What the hell is going on at University of Florida!!!!!!!!!!!

    Those thugs in uniform wanted to shut this guy down after speaking for a minute
    about a belief that Bush stole the election from Kerry. So what! Big deal!

    This is the land of the free and free
    speech is the most basic and fundamental cornerstone of freedom.

    God help us!

    I hope this poor victim of the emerging police state once known as the state of Florida sues all offending parties in this most disturbing incident – thankfully it was caught on tape.

    I hope that Kerry makes a stink about the way this young student was treated
    in this public forum. I'm sure he will!

    I come from a family of generational police officers here in New York and
    even they were outraged by this abuse of power and embarrassed by this rank
    unprofessional use of force.


    September 18, 2007 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  4. rob TN

    Welcome to the lovely land of wheat and honey, oh and a taser for those who speak there mind. Even if he was being a jerk, that doesnt give the gestapo the right to taser him. A perfect example of a POLICE STATE at its best. Coming to a town near you, if not already in place. Like rolling roadblocks, which by the way are not legal. You cant just pull everybody over looking for drunks etc etc. You HAVE TO HAVE PROBABLE CAUSE. Just cause you do something in the name of saving lives still doesnt make it legal. roadblocks/checkpoints are illegal. But the POLICE STATE would make you think its perfectly okay to do so. What is the USA coming too. BTW we aren't the only free nation, there are plenty others "AL CIA DA" could chose to attack, so the whole argument "they hate us for our freedoms" is bs. Our government are the real terrorist, not CIA trained henchmen. Wake Up or Waco

    September 18, 2007 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  5. Tom - Dedham, Mass

    This is an event at a college of all places with a liberal speaker and somehow you geniuses are blaming the Republicans for this.

    Wait, the guy who cut off the mike had to be a Republican or at least two of the police...............

    "Tommy" Birchfield as a fellow vet, I appreciate your service, but should we let people out of jail just because the crimes as you say are "petty", why not make them "not crimes" anymore then?

    Nice to see colleges are still teaching and brainwashing the populace with liberal ideals, just like when I got my Masters "Tommy".

    Heaven forbid someone put Kerry's feet to the fire, but why would Republicans cut off a mike and taser someone that was questioning Kerry?

    September 18, 2007 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  6. Mark, B'ham Alabama

    5 Police on one student at a University? Ask the Jena 6 it is just a school fight. Atleast the police did not beat on him after he was tasered. And this is a democratic police state. He should be glad it was not Hillary because he could have meet the same fate as some FOB's.

    September 18, 2007 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  7. Henry Tucker, Ga

    Yes, this was George Bush and the Republican's fault! Yes, we don't like it when college students ask hard questions of Democrats or behave rudely. (eyes rolling)

    Come on people, the guy obviously had an agenda other than asking his question and sitting down. Security has the right to remove protestors and people disrupting the event. Instead of listening to security he decides to fight. He gets tasered.

    I am more frightened of you nutcakes that will be outraged that security did anything. How many hours until an ACLU attorney has taken this guy case and suing the University and City. This will go to trial and a few more nutcakes will think 'gosh, this poor little college student was just trying to express his 1st amendment right as he was fighting and resisting the police'.

    September 18, 2007 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  8. Ron, Piscataway, New Jersey

    Let me ask a different question. What is Kerry doing in Florida when he is running for his Senate seat in MA? It's not like he is running for President or anything national.

    I think the kid was being irrational but i think the police overreacted in terms of tasering him. I think he deserved to be removed but i don't think it was to the point of tasering him.
    It appears they already had him pinned when they did it and there were 4 or 5 cops on him.

    September 18, 2007 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  9. Danny G. Boca Raton, FL

    Everyone is so out of it! I'm a democrat and live in Florida and I don't particularly approve of Pres. Bush, however this particular student had a choice, he made his choice and he paid the price! what about his respect to the forum and to the university for being allowed to ask questions of Sen. Kerry? liberty comes with responsibility and civility. Perhaps taser should have been the last resort for security, but obviously the student did become enraged and was not going to calm down or back off either... clearly not a stable individual... did any of you heard the sort of questions he was asking? his freedom of speech should not trample the freedom to assemble peacefully.

    September 18, 2007 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  10. A. Long

    Every student across the U.S.A. should be registered to vote - EVERY student should be researching the Council on Foreign Relations, Security and Prosperity Partnership and the North American Union - the globalists have your future planned - find out what it is.
    Meantime - call your senators and demand they remove "the Dream Act" amendment from the defense appropriations amendment - granting illegals college grants/loans and instate tuition wherever - meaning less seats/opportunities/money for American Students who pay higher rates!!!

    September 18, 2007 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  11. Josue Romano, Buena Park, CA

    Tell me who in his right mind would want to become muslim Chris. You don't even know what you are talking about, maybe your the one that needs to be remove from this beautiful country.

    September 18, 2007 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  12. David, AZ

    John Kerry, the champion of antiwar, says he'll answer the question AFTER the poor guy is tackled to the ground and tasered. What happens to the brains of these people after they become elected officials? How about standing up for the guy before. Now the first ammendment is gone in addition to the rest of the constitution that Bush and Chaney have deemed useless.

    September 18, 2007 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  13. Dan, TX

    I'm just glad it wasn't a minority student. At least we now moving in the right direction of equality for those we abuse.

    September 18, 2007 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  14. Peter, Madison Wisconsin

    Wowza tasered for asking a question? What is next? Your parking time runs out and they bust a cap in your behind? Honestly, I think Kerry needs to stand up for the kid and rebuke the police department for overreacting! I would have expected this from George Bush/Republican meeting but a Democrat meeting? Where is Nadar when ya need him haha 🙂

    September 18, 2007 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  15. John Duvall, Miami, FL

    At least Sen Kerry is accomodative to let the student ask a question and was ready to answer back. Imagine this was Bush's forum! First of all the audience is screened. And even if there is someone who wants to embarass Bush, he or she will be thrown out. That is the difference between democracy and dictatorship.

    September 18, 2007 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  16. Chip Celina OH

    "Can't we all just get along" – Rodney King

    I can't believe the people that are 'outraged' and calling this a police state! Then blaming Republicans on top of that, please.

    Speaking of Rodney, wasn't he tuned up during a Democratic administration?

    Put your partisan hackles back in their place. What would you do if you were one of the cops and you continually asked the guy to chill, he doesn't so you try to physically restrain him and it becomes worse. Do you just let him go on and disrupt the whole assembly?

    What if someone was robbing your house, you ask politely for him to stop, when he doesn't what do you do? Try to escort him out peacably and hope he doesn't object? Call the police and ...oh wait, they would probably taser him or something, can't do that....

    I would probably get my gun, let him know I have it and tell him once "You have about 10 seconds to put my stuff down, wait ouside while the police come or I'll drop you where you stand."

    Your call

    Happy Tuesday,

    September 18, 2007 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  17. Isa D

    As in 1965 the young dude was playing a clown for purposes of awakening some of our forgotten bad memories.(Kerry's loss), needed to be done. Really silly but,as when Abby Hoffman went to the floor of the stock exchange,He was in a forum that should have heard him. I notice no other audience members got up to storm the police. That was as pathetic as the smile on the cops face in the video. I would have opened my mouth and have shown in my own precious life I will not shut up until you Put my 60 year old Grandma ass in jail. For those about to rock, I salute. For those about to torture, say hi to jerry falwell. What about the unecessary facism in this country.Can we not assume every one belongs in jail. Thanks

    September 18, 2007 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  18. Columbus, Ohio

    What the does that have to do with Kerry? Did he do the tasing?

    The guy was long winded but should not have been tased. He should, after some time, been tossed out of the room. Period.

    He's a guy who is always looking for attention and got it.

    They were showing a video clip of him holding up a sign that read "Harry's dead" before the book came out... I don't care about that but it shows what kind of person he is.

    September 18, 2007 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  19. Mark, Shreveport, LA

    Anyone who thinks free speech is alive and well on college campuses just need to ask the editor of a conservative campus newpaper who has had his papers stolen, and the administration do nothing about it or a conservative student belittled by a liberal teacher.

    About the video: Where there rules for people asking questions? If so what were they?
    Did the questioner violate the rules and refuse to comply with the campus security?

    September 18, 2007 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  20. Jim Topeka, KS

    He was loud, he was excited. John Kerry told them he was more than willing to answer the questions and not to worry. But at least 4 University Policemen saw it fit to use force to remove this student, okay they are cops. But then they crossed the line. He was subdued, there was no reason to handcuff him for the removal, he was on the ground asking why he was being arrested, no one answered him, he saw the taser coming out and pleaded with them not to tase him, they tased him. It's not a crime to be a jerk, to be loud and rude, this was not a Bush rally where only the hand picked are permitted, he was not a physical threat to no one, he was physically subdued but still he was tasered. I am sorry, this is excessive force by any imagination of the word. These officers were out of line and I hope soon to be out of work, their type of protect and serve is not needed by anyone.

    September 18, 2007 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  21. Patrick, Washington DC

    Note: No matter why the police are detaining you, no matter if it is wrong, do not fight them or you will get tasered or maced or what have you You be polite and respectful as you hope they will be to you and if they have wrongfully arrested you at least you won;t now be detained for resisting arrest. People praise police one moment for heroism and the next lambast them for excessive force. This kid's passion does not have to equate violence or irresponsibility.

    September 18, 2007 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  22. Matthew Smith, San Diego, CA

    I don't see why being rude means you need to be tazered. How is someone supposed to bring up a topic that no-one wants to hear without being rude? I thought we had a right to say what we want and to protest in this country. Protesting might be rude but that's the point. Anything that's disturbing is going to be construed as rude and if we need police to protect us from being rude then we are all pretty weak as individuals. If everyone was offended by him they could have all told him to shut up. Instead the police attacked him and then tazered him "after" they had him on the ground. I thought police were supposed to keep the peace. Not torture people who act like jerks.

    September 18, 2007 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  23. Isa D

    What does 1+1 equal? Kerry's speech, acknowledging a loss that Kerry (and and many others)suffered is absolutely appropriate in this venue. Are you a G-d that you can decide if he was or was not to be tased for speaking? Those police and you can figure it out later. WHY was he seeking attention? To bring to the front a simple truth.
    Call me when you see a reason for being tased. For the cops to smirk. I's love to see that group fall down a deeeep well. Bye to Ohio

    September 18, 2007 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  24. Corbett, Seattle WA

    This is a terrible abuse of power by "officers" who should all be in a mental ward. That man was screaming in agony. That is nightmarish behavior by people enjoying our tax money.

    And of course this would happen at a John Kerry event. I don't blame him, but he has the WORST political mojo ever. Futhermore his version of "outrage" was in his typical, drab, flaccid fashion.

    Here is a quote: "I was not aware that a taser was used until after I left the building," I hope that neither the student nor any of the police were injured. I regret enormously that a good healthy discussion was interrupted."

    September 18, 2007 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  25. Bea, Hoboken, NJ

    This student may have been obnoxious, but there were better ways of handling the situation. I cringed when they played the video last night on CNN and you could hear the poor guy screaming in pain. It's a sad day when someone can't question a politician without the cops using a Taser to silence him.

    September 18, 2007 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
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