Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Tased and confused

By Libby

I'm just catching up on this kid that got tasered at a Kerry event. GTL has the videos and I have to agree with my gun toting friend that Kerry's response came late and was weak-kneed. But I don't think Kerry could reasonbly be expected to intervene in a local police action at the time and he could arguably have been unaware of the extent of brutality. Even with the tight shots on the video, you can't actually see the tasering.

However, that the cops over-reacted is clear from the tape. Sure the kid was a loudmouth jerk but he wasn't incoherent, just abrasive. That's not against the law. He wasn't presenting any threat to the public and Kerry was clearly willing to answer his question. Furthermore, with six freaking cops, there was absolutely no reason to taser the kid. This weapon was originally issued as an alternative to lethal force, not common sense.

But the real issue here is that the cops felt free to intervene at the exact moment it appeared to me the kid looked ready to step away from the mike that had just been cut off. The impression is clearly that the cops reacted to the content of his questions and not to any physical threat he made. You expect that at a Bush speech. Not at a Democratic function.

This is not an isolated incident. It's becoming all too common for LEOs to use their power to suppress dissent. Kerry fails in his response by not making a bigger point on the removal. He needs to issue a much more strongly worded statement in condemnation of the interference with constitutionally protected political speech.

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6 Comments:

Blogger dave in boca said...

The kid has a history of writing ridiculous stuff on the sports page of the campus paper and is notorious for his grandstanding on campus; not that that is a tasering offense. But he continued to resist arrest even after the cops had him surrounded. I go with the police using non-lethal force if this guy got up and tried to escape, as he did in the beginning.

I think he wants to get into Columbia School of Journalism where misfits and attention-seekers like him congregate. They love attitude problem students who cheat on open-book ethics exams---takes a lot of ingenuity to do that!

9:41:00 PM  
Blogger Capt. Fogg said...

It didn't seem like there was any interest in getting him to leave or to finish his question - they just wanted to throw him down and cuff him. That's a bit much, I agree and the idea that rent-a cops will decide who can say what and where and for how long has had me fuming all day. They seemed to be the only ones who thought the kid was a threat. but at least some of those kids unplugged the iPods long enough to make a statement and that's a sign that they're not as brain dead as I suspected.

11:03:00 PM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

Dave, he had long since stopped resisting by the time they had him on the floor and resisting is rather a strong interpretation of what he did in the beginning. He was freaked that they were manhandling him and he never struck anyone. He made a great effort to keep his arms up in the air. It's not illegal to be an loudmouth jerk. The cops overreacted plain and simple.

Fogg, I've also been fuming about it. There was no reason for them to drag him away from the mike. It seems clear to me he would he left on his own power if they had waited ten more seconds. And they wonder why I call it a police state.

7:46:00 AM  
Blogger Capt. Fogg said...

I found the following quote on a blog called World Gone Mad

"Freedom is about authority. Freedom is about the willingness of every single human being to cede to lawful authority a great deal of discretion about what you do."

It's from Rudy Guiliani, of course and although I'm not sure he senses the irony, it's a paraphrase of Orwell's "Freedom is slavery"

Rudy was amongst the first to tell us that 9/11 meant we'd have to give up our civil liberties.

We always have been only a small step from being a tyrannical police state and often have stepped over the line. I can't think of a decade that hasn't given us a colossal example on the scale of Mt. Rushmore. Still, some will see it and some will not.

9:50:00 AM  
Anonymous rockync said...

Seems to me that the candidate line up on both sides of the fence are mostly interested in grabbing the Homeland Security baton with all its attached infringements on our freedoms and take it to the next level. I get the feeling as these campaigns drag on that each one of these politicians wnats to be king/queen of the world. I don't trust any of them.

10:18:00 AM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

Fogg, I love Brian's blog. I'll have to check out the post. That's a great quote. And you know, when I see the footage from the 60s protests, I realize that you're right. The government has always suppressed dissent. Strangely that comforts me. We shall overcome --again -- and all that.

Rocky, I so agree about the candidates. I don't really trust any of them myself. In the end, they're all just politicians.

3:04:00 PM  

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