by Frank James
Some have questioned Sen. John Kerry's actions during the now infamous incident at the University of Florida in which student Andrew Meyer was eventually Tasered by a campus police officer. Why didn't Kerry do more to intercede?
For instance, he could've, in that stentorian voice of his, strongly asked the police to stop manhandling Meyer. He could've even pre-empted the police before the tussle started by asking them to back off Meyer. He might've mollified Meyer by saying "Let's talk after the event."
An eyewitness to the entire episode, Clarissa Jessup, indicates Kerry did try to deescalate the matter, and did just about tell the police to stand down.
Here's a transcript of what she said in an interview that was shown on CNN. It includes CNN anchor's lead in to and tag on the video of Jessup's interview.
A WOMAN WHO VIDEOTAPED A UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA STUDENT BEING TASERED DURING A SPEECH BY SENATOR JOHN KERRY IS DISCUSSING THE INCIDENT.
CLARISSA JESSUP SPOKE TO C-N-N ABOUT THE ARREST OF ANDREW MEYER, SAYING ORGANIZERS HAD CUT OFF QUESTIONING BEFORE HE WENT TO THE MICROPHONE.
SHE SAID MEYER GAVE HER HIS CAMERA AND ASKED HER TO SHOOT VIDEO OF HIM ASKING KERRY QUESTIONS.
"John kerry did try to interfere with the police. at one point, police where holding on to meyers. kerry got to a point where he almost lost his composure and said officer guy. you, let him go. i do want to hear his question, i do want to hear to what he has to say. i do want to answer him. that was at the point the officers said will pull you aside to ask your question. but as he was attempting to ask his question. the officers themselves appeared to me to make themselves clear not allowing him to stay and hear the question and yelling into his ear."
TWO UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA POLICE OFFICERS HAVE BEEN PLACED ON LEAVE FOR THE INCIDENT.
THE SCHOOL'S PRESIDENT CALLED THE INCIDENT "REGRETFUL" AND SAID STATE OFFICIALS WILL INVESTIGATE. -----END-----CNN.SCRIPT
Jessup's eyewitness account also strongly suggests that Meyer planned on instigating some fireworks. After all, he handed his camera to Jessup before he stormed the microphone, cutting off another student.
That behavior may explain why the police descended on him, why on the YouTube videos the first time you see him he's flanked by police who appear poised to pounce as he asks his question.
A story in today's South Florida Sun-Sentinel the strong impression that Meyer is something of a jerk, and that's putting it politely. According to that story:
The cameras did not catch Meyer cutting off a student five words into a question, said Kathleen Shea, a junior who attended the forum.
"Not only did he jump up out of turn to the microphone, he was being very condescending," she said.
That's when students started pulling out their cameras, the student organizers cut off his microphone, and campus police tried to pull him away, Shea said.