To use the event summary from Wikipedia: "On September 17, 2007, police from the University of Florida forcibly removed Andrew Meyer, a 21-year-old student, from a forum with Democratic Senator John Kerry, restraining him with the help of a taser."
And because it seems everyone at the event had a video phone, there are tons of videos of the tasering on YouTube. Here's a random selection of three of them:
After watching a handful of the video accounts I was extremely disturbed by the whole thing and did some googling and found eye witnesses from both the right and the left side of the political fence shedding light on some important back story that happens just before where the YouTube videos pick up.
I'll quote from a DailyKos posted eyewitness account:
I was at the Kerry speech today, sitting 2 rows away from all the action. I'll let you know how it really went down.
The forum was going to be over at 2 pm, and Kerry spoke for so long that the Q and A portion had to be shortened. ... While the final question was being read, some douchebag [Meyer] ran down the aisle, grabbed the mic from the other side of the room, interrupted the kid who was talking, and started yelling at Kerry ... and everyone was getting annoyed. The cops are all over him in no time and try to escort him out, but he starts yelling and resisting. Kerry insists that they let him stay and even agrees to answer his question.
After the interrupted guy's question was answered, Kerry keeps his promise and lets the angry guy talk. This is the point where people started taking their cameras and phones out. All the videos floating around youtube start around here.
In light of that background, the police acted somewhat more understandably, but I still think this is an outrage.
Granted, this guy is a huge pompous jerk. But he clearly wasn't doing anything illegal.
If the forum really was essentially wrapped up by the time Meyer got to the mic, Kerry should have just had the mic turned off and said some closing remarks and been done with it. Or, the UF police should have acted like private security (the role they were playing at this thing), not invoking arrest-power and escorted Meyer out of the auditorium. (After watching the videos, by the time they tasered him, Meyer was already willing to simply leave ... the police only tasered him so they could subdue him to keep him under their physical constraint so they could arrest him and take him to jail ... neither of which they should have been doing!)
What I'm also in awe about is that Kerry let this just continue on. He claims that by the tasering, the whole thing was going on in the back of the auditorium where he could no longer see it, but I don't buy it. Some jerk starts asking you confrontational questions and gets dragged off by police and you manage to be able to divert your attention away from it?? Hardly.
In any event, if you think police aren't arresting and tasering people for obnoxious-but-legal behavior (or driving with working tail lights...) may I ask that you wake up?
And to right-wing-blogs and commenters that seem to be reveling in this ... cut it out. There is no enjoyment to be had in police tasering someone doing nothing arrest-worthy. Even if the taser victim is an obnoxious left-wing moonbat.