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Attention Seeker Gets 15 Minutes of Fame… Police Report Shows Meyer’s Behavior Differed On and Off Camera

by Pamela Leavey

The incident in Florida on Monday that involved the tasering of a student at a John Kerry event has turned into the swift boat du’jour for Senator Kerry. Kerry, who tried to answer Meyer’s questions may not have known that Meyer had a nearby student videotaping the discourse. The entire debacle has incited debate across the blogosphere today and much of it is as disturbing as the videos accompanying the debate. Opinions range from Kerry should have stopped the police to Kerry should be ashamed. Both assertions are wrong and so are many of the other assertions floating around the internet(s) tonight.

Now, I don’t think that Andrew Meyer deserved to tasered. I think the police definitely acted with excessive force. However it is clear from every video that I have watched of the incident that Meyer was disruptive and he was clearly there to make his point. In fact, he was so clearly there to make his point that he brought his own video camera and asked a woman standing next to him as he walked up to the microphone to videotape him questioning Kerry. Nothing wrong with that… right? Who doesn’t want photo with a Senator or a videotape of a Q&A with a Senator. But clearly, Andrew Meyer wanted something more than just a moment in time captured on video. He was there to disrupt the event and get his “15 minutes” of fame.

Well, he’s got it now, as Will Bunch notes on Attytood: Meet the future savior of journalism: “FamousWriterMan@aol.com”, a/k/a Taserman “The Andrew Meyer”

It figures.

He’s a journalist.

In fact, now 21-year-old University of Florida student journalist Andrew Meyer — or “The Andrew Mayer,” based on his personal Web site, TheAndrewMeyer.com — was so certain that he would become a famous wordsmith one day that his email address is, indeed, “Famouswriterman@aol.com.”

Laugh if you must, but this is one man whose prophecy has already come true. In fact, as I write this in the 8 o’ clock hour, young Meyer is slated to appear live on CNN, an accomplishment that eludes most career journalists. Of course, most of us tried to become a “famous writer man” the boring old-fashioned way, by authoring news articles about public officials and current events.

For young Andrew Meyer, all it took was one megavolt of electricity ripping through his pain-wracked body. And one night in the slammer. And uttering what surely will become the catch phrase for these tortured times: “Don’t taze me, bro!”

The police report has surfaced online and again, it’s another disturbing piece of the puzzle.

The Gainsville Sun notes that in the police report the officer “who actually Tasered Andrew Meyer wrote in the report that Meyer later told police, “You didn’t do anything wrong.””

In the 12-page report, which gives accounts of the incident from the perspective of eight different officers who were present Monday afternoon, Officer Nicole Mallo writes that Meyer would only resist officers when cameras were present.

“As (Meyer) was escorted down stairs (at the University Auditorium) with no cameras in sight, he remained quiet, but once the cameras made their way down stairs he started screaming and yelling again,” Mallo wrote.

Mallo was one of two officers who actually rode in the vehicle as Meyer was escorted to the Alachua County jail, and she said said he told them during the ride: “I am not mad at you guys, you didn’t do anything wrong, you were just trying to do your job,” according to Mallo’s account.

Mallo also wrote in her report that he asked, at one point, if cameras would be present at the jail.

Clarissa Jessup, who has been identified in the police report, “was standing near Meyer just before UF Police Tasered him and took him into custody, said Meyer asked her to film him asking Kerry a question just before he approached the microphone.”

That has given rise to rumors that Meyer, who aspires to work in the national media, was hoping to get arrested or videotaped as part of some sort of elaborate stunt. But Jessup, who says she never met Meyer prior to the forum, says she thinks he simply wanted a video of himself talking to Kerry.

“15 minutes” of fame.

Phoenix Woman on Mercury Rising points to this piece in the Naples News that notes “Student Tasered at Kerry forum has a penchant for practical jokes”:

Hordes of Internet and TV viewers have seen police Tasering a college student who was either passionately questioning Sen. John Kerry or staging his most popular video stunt yet.

CNN notes that “two University of Florida police officers were placed on leave with pay after using an electronic stun gun to subdue” Meyer.

But the student’s behavior and past activities are prompting questions about whether the incident was part of a stunt.

The Florida Division of Law Enforcement will investigate Monday’s arrest of Andrew Meyer, said University of Florida President J. Bernard Machen. Machen called the incident “regretful for us.”

“The thing that I regret is that civil dialogue and civil discourse did not happen,” Machen said. “That’s fundamental to a university campus. Why it didn’t happen is what we’re trying to sort out.”

During Monday’s forum, Meyer came to the microphone to question the 2004 Democratic presidential nominee from Massachusetts. Watch the incident unfold ยป

“You will take my question because I have been listening to your crap for two hours,” Meyer told Kerry, according to the police report of the incident.

He then turned to a woman and said “Are you taping this? Do you have this? You ready?” the report said.

Clarissa Jessup, who contributed I-Report video of the incident to CNN, said Meyer gave her his camera and asked her to shoot video of him posing his questions to Kerry.

Organizers had cut off questioning before Meyer went to the microphone, she said. Watch Jessup describe the incident.

15 minutes of fame.

I’ve been to dozens of Kerry events over the past 4 years or so. Kerry is known for taking more questions than time permits and he always makes a point to make sure that people are heard. Standing on the stage a distance away from Meyer, it’s easy to understand why Kerry didn’t see exactly what was happening with stage lights shining in his eyes. I said here earlier today, before I read the police report that this incident was about “one person pushing the envelope to be heard and cops using excessive force.” I think that still says it all. Andrew Meyer went into that event wanting to be seen and heard. He brought a video camera, to make sure that someone would capture his rant on film. He came armed with pointed questions that he knew would cause a reaction. It was for Meyer his moment to capture his “15 minutes” of fame. And sadly he did so by dragging John Kerry into his scheme.

Meyer didn’t take his desire for fame to the extent of the movie (“15 Minutes“) I refer to in the post, but the concept is similar. It’s one that plays out all across the internet these days with everyone jockeying to have their YouTube video’s be the viral hit of day. The cops again, I stress, acted excessively. Kerry tired to give the attention seeker the opportunity to be heard. But freedom of speech isn’t lost when someone acts disruptively and disrespectfully towards a seated Senator of the United States. And still, excessive force is still excessive force, and it when it happens we should all speak out, as Kerry did earlier today.

Finally, I think we all know that Andrew Meyer, had he tried to pull this off at a Bush event would not have even made it up to the microphone. It’s a sad day for America that a peaceful speech and Q&A by a great Senator was marred by such a horrible ending.

10 Responses to “Attention Seeker Gets 15 Minutes of Fame… Police Report Shows Meyer’s Behavior Differed On and Off Camera”

  1. Why not give the kid/man his 15 minutes of fame, let him pick a setting of his choice to ask the Senator his important questions? This ‘future savior of journalism’ may just well be the anti-dose of modern day MSM. Isn’t it what democracy is all about?

  2. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y_sASXLbFgM#GU5U2spHI_4

  3. Greenbean,

    I don’t think this guy is the antidote to anything. The MSM has enormous problems from far too much coverage of celebrity gossip, laziness, to consolidated ownership. Another problem is a scarcity of in depth reporting on serious issues. If he were a journalist, he would have covered Kerry’s speech or his answers to questions – rather than calling that “crap”

    He is an arrogant man, who was willing to turn a serious forum with a Senator, who is one of the world’s authorities on Iraq and national security, into THE ANDREW MEYER show. No one came there to see Andrew Meyer and I would bet that everyone there would have preferred that the event be what it would have been without his presence.

    A good journalist pulls information out of the person that others had missed. Basic competent journalism here would have been to cover Kerry’s foriegn policy comments – you know, the stuff he referred to as “crap”. A sign that he was unusually good would be if he could relate what he saw better than others or if he asks a question that elicited new information on something. Even on his own questions, he wouldn’t let the Senator respond, so he could not get any new perspective on the issue. His questions were only part of a stunt.

    Some on the left love his questions – no surprise – they were taken from the lefty blogosphere, but, the questions were just props for the stunt, he didn’t want answers. This can be seen by the fact, that when the Senator began to answer – Meyer shouted over him. Senator Kerry has given very good answers to this question several times and would have this time. Those questions were chosen to try to provoke an angry response out of the Senator – which didn’t happen and to create immediate support for Meyer as a courageous hero of the far left.

    As a journalist, he is in fact exactly what no one needs – an opinionated ego maniac, who thinks he is the most interesting story in the room. He could be like Rush Limbaugh and award himself fake degrees and titles to suggest an authority he doesn’t have.

  4. Karynnj,

    You sure hit the nail on the head — it was so obvious that Meyers was not there to get his questions answered by Kerry, but simply to get his own “performance” on tape for his web viewers. And notice how the other students didn’t even rise up to help the guy, probably because they were just as annoyed as I was watching this kid’s over-the-top publicity stunt. I loved Rachel Maddow’s assessment of the incident on Countdown — felt she called it right also.

  5. Karynnj,

    Excellent synopsis.

    I would add another point here. Many bloggers are stating that he was tased needlessly. Maybe so, though I don’t think he was fully handcuffed when that happened.

    Anyone who has had run-ins with the law knows the cardinal rule. No matter what the circumstances, when you are being placed under arrest, it is always best to cooperate fully, even be contrite.

    Any other course of action can only result in additional problems, and young Andrew was a perfect case in point.

    He was not tased for being rude or arrogant.
    He was tased because he refused to be subdued and resisted arrest, in fact he sought to create a circus atmosphere for his own narcissistic reasons.

    The force may have been excessive, yet he clearly brought it on himself.

    Tom

  6. I strongly support Senator Kerry. In his statement, the Senator defended lively debate and discussion, for which he is always a champion. He expressed care and concern for ALL those involved…including the student and the police. The Senator is a man of integrity. This event does nothing to change that.

    I understand the Florida student’s questions…they are important, and deserve answers. But this has nothing to do with John Kerry, other than he was a speaker/performer. What if this were a concert? Would you blame the musicians?

    Security for events is there to protect the PEOPLE in the audience…ALL of them. What if this guy had a hidden weapon that could harm the others in the audience? Wouldn’t you want security to keep you safe?

    Although the Florida student’s questions were good, he was behaving like an attention-seeking sixth grade child. In my opinion, he was having an adult ‘temper tantrum’, when his discussion with Senator Kerry was interrupted by campus police. Choices have consequences. The Florida student made a very loud, public choice…and he’s intelligent enough to predict the police reaction. If he didn’t know what to expect, he should have.

    I don’t know if campus police handled this perfectly, but I have a difficult time seeing how it could become the senator’s fault. His part was to use the microphone to try to calm the crowd…which he DID. He offered to answer the questions. He said to remain calm. He kept talking to the crowd to keep control as best one could, given the disruptive circumstances. No one could do any more than that.

    I am not aware of the rules for questioners at this event nor do I know this student’s history with campus police. Like the Senator, however, I think lively debate is good… and it’s always a shame to have it interrupted. I have attended several Kerry events where he handled similar questions just fine.And I’ve been to CIVIL rallies where Kerry has answered every question put to him…including the election and impeachment questions.

    I’m FOR civility…not tasering.

    Sorry for that result at your speech, Senator. I’ve attended a few of your public events, and you handle every one with dignity and integrity. Given the opportunity, I’m sure this one would have been the same.

  7. I agree with every single one of you. And I also understand that he was not there for answers. Had the police not interrupted, that 21 year old man would have gotten the answers to his questions he was never interested in, and his stunt would be worth nothing. My last coment was meant by giving Mr. Meyer what he least wanted, would have taken the glamour and fame away from the plot. My apology for not making my last comment more direct. Senator John Kerry has earned my respect, I will not be swayed.

  8. Senator Kerry, you did the right thing.

  9. The one thing this kid has going for him is a major platform the search for Andrew Meyer on google and the like is skyrocketing.
    http://newstrain.com/2007/09/20/the-student-the-officers-and-the-taser-gun/

  10. Thanks for all of the above comments. Glad to see some sense somewhere in the blogosphere!