The phrase “Don’t Tase Me, Bro” has been emblazoned on T-shirts and routinely featured on blogs in discussions of police abuse of power. It has served as a sort of unofficial rallying cry for many people seeking to draw attention to the overzealous police-state tactics that have been institutionalized in many parts of the country. We can thank Andrew Myer and his fateful 2007 encounter with University of Florida police officers for the phrase.
Meyer — who since obtained a journalism degree (from the university where he was stunned with a Taser) and a law degree (from Florida International University) — has now taken a position with Photography Is Not A Crime (PINAC), a growing blog that seeks to lessen police misconduct by filming encounters between law enforcement and civilians.
Meyer began keeping an eye on government’s many abuses before his own physical abuse at the hands of the state; but says that it was his now-infamous campus “tasing” on Sept. 17, 2007 that made him realize the true importance of protecting citizens’ rights. On that day, the University of Florida hosted a town hall forum featuring then-Senator and Presidential hopeful John Kerry.
When Meyer approached a microphone, he attempted to question Kerry. His third question involved a similarity the candidate shared with former President George W. Bush: membership of the secretive Yale undergraduate society Skull and Bones.
In a matter of seconds following the student’s mention of the secret society, he was taken down by campus police officers and dragged from the venue. Despite his protestations and questions about what exactly he had done wrong, Meyer was manhandled by the officers and stunned with a Taser moments after making an appeal to one officer: “Don’t tase me, bro.”
Officers involved claimed that the student’s “demeanor and actions” warranted their heavy-handed response.
The incident received national media attention, though the mainstream coverage paid very little lip service to Meyer’s question. Instead, outlets such as The Associated Press reported that a “well-known prankster” was stunned with a Taser at the university for disrupting Kerry’s visit.
Today, Meyer sees his new professional relationship with PINAC founder Carlos Miller as a way to bring attention to the thousands of incidents like that which he was party to occurring every year in the United States.
He writes in a recent blog post: “Who knows what actions your watchful eyes will spark this year, or how many people your vigilance will inspire? On my watch, I promise to bring you the most important stories — where your attention can really help — as well as ideas to help maximize your amazing passion for justice. Stay tuned for articles on freedom of speech and the ridiculousness of free speech zones, the need to classify tasers as deadly force and for officers to know when deadly force is appropriate, the story of my own personal transformation and how we can transform our anger into positive action, and much more.”
And Miller, the Miami multimedia journalist who launched PINAC after his photography-related run-ins with police, believes that Meyer will further the organization’s ability to point out law enforcement misdeeds.
“Meyer’s education, coupled with his passion for free speech, will give PINAC a solid journalistic boost as well as a fresh (maybe not so jaded) perspective,” says a recent post from Miller.
That PINAC is growing and increasing its ability to report on police misconduct while also informing Americans of their own rights as citizen journalists is good news for the liberty movement. As you know from reading Personal Liberty Digest™, each well-informed citizen plays an important part in reminding government that the Constitutional limitations to their power haven’t completely eroded.
If you haven’t yet checked out PINAC and are interested in staying informed about the growing power of the state, I urge you to add the blog to your list of news resources.