Report Deems Student Tasering Justified

University of Florida student Andrew Meyer struggles with University Police as officers try to remove him from a question and answer session with Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., Monday, Sept. 17, 2007, in Gainesville, Fla. Meyer, 21, was Tasered and arrested after he angrily and repeatedly tried to ask Kerry about the 2004 election and other subjects during a campus forum. (AP Photo/Independent Florida Alligator, Andrew Stanfill) AP

University of Florida police were justified in using a Taser against a student who refused to stop questioning Sen. John Kerry on campus last month, according to a state investigation released Wednesday.

Some had questioned the use of force in using the stun gun against student Andrew Meyer, leading to the investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. A summary of the agency's report was released Wednesday.

"In short, the FDLE determined that our officers acted well within state guidelines," university President Bernie Machen said in a letter to students, faculty and staff.

Two officers who were placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation were reinstated Wednesday, Machen said.

Rob Griscti, Meyer's attorney, said he had not yet reviewed the report and had no immediate comment. The journalism major is known for posting practical jokes online on his Web site.

The scuffle between Meyer and police started during the Sept. 17 speech by Kerry when Meyer refused to leave the microphone after his allotted time was up, police said. The videotaped altercation and Meyer's cries of "Don't Tase me bro!" were played frequently on the Internet.

The report says the officers' intent was to escort Meyer from the auditorium, but he broke away and refused to follow the officers' instructions.

"Officers decide not to escalate to hard empty hand strikes, kicks, knees or baton ... (it) would have looked like the officers were beating Meyer into submission," the report said.

The report, which has Meyer's name and that of other students blacked out, said the officers did what was necessary to control the student.

"Our purpose is, and has always been, to ensure a civil and safe environment where the many types of campus activities and open discourse can occur," said Police Chief Linda Stump.

Meyer has been charged by police for resisting an officer and disturbing the peace, but the State Attorney's Office has not yet decided whether to file formal charges.

Spencer Mann, a spokesman for the State Attorney's Office, said the decision may be made some time next week.
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