Wednesday, September 19, 2007

I am disappointed

John Kerry's speech at the University of Florida was a sponsored event.

The speech was, as a matter-of-fact, sponsored by ACCENT, a speaker's bureau.

ACCENT uses donations from private companies and individuals -- a partial list of whom may be found here -- to provide the funds necessary for the sponsoring of it's speakers.

John Kerry was a sponsored speaker -- sponsored by ACCENT, using donated funds.

According to current news reports, Steven Blank -- ACCENT chairman -- was the individual who ordered the microphone cut off and also requested that Mr. Meyer be escorted out of the auditorium. Seems only fair -- they paid the piper, they get to call the dance.

Now.

I see a lot of my Gentle Readers decrying the demise of Free Speech, citing the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and so on.

*scratch, scratch*

Somebody check my thinking here. Preferably someone who is using their critical thinking skills, rather than emotion and blind rote.

"Sponsoring" someone generally presupposes a contract. In exchange for remuneration a person renders a service. Might be speaking fees, room, board, lunch, gas money -- something.

ACCENT is composed of students, supervised by the Student Body President, but is funded by private donations from individuals and corporations.

So. We have a speaker -- sponsored by a privately-funded organisation -- at a function sponsored by the same, privately-funded organisation.

Would someone please tell me where, in the sodding hell, the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States says one single, bloody thing about private contracts?

I see where "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

I see the Congress part.

I just don't see the part in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights about private contracts or private individuals. Maybe my copy is missing that part.

LawDog

40 comments:

Digital Falcon said...

Looks like I have the same copy you do. Mine doesn’t mention private companies either.

This whole situation is spinning wildly out of control. The kid didn’t listen to the cops. He got tased. That is a logical course of events. Hey wait a minute I just used “logical” in association with John Kerry! I am so sorry! Please don’t ban me for it. I won’t do it again I promise.

Anonymous said...

I agree with your logic LawDog. Accent booked the venue, Accent payed the speaker. While you are free to get up on your soapbox in public, this was not public, this was a paid event, with stated rules. Accent publishes their standards. There is no first amendment issue, This is the a property owner/renter exercising their rights.

Anonymous said...

Thanks in large part to Slick Willie, we are no longer able to draw the line. We have become a nation of blamers, compromisers, evaders, and apologizers.
Imagine his wife in office......
LawMom

BobG said...

Have to agree, the 1st Amendment puts restraints on the government, not on privately funded meeting. I'm not sure that zapping him was necessary though; there seems to be a tendency to abuse that option these days.

csp schofield said...

This is an aspect of the 1st amendment that a great many people - Left AND Right, but especially Left - seem to have trouble with.

Regardless of the degree to which the protections of the 1st amendment have been expanded by (I believe it's) the 14th, you are NOT promised an audience, a podium, or a printing press. Obtaining them is your business, and you may not steal them from somebody else.

If you are on private property, and mouthing off, your only shield is the degree to which the owners will be effected by public reaction to their telling you to shut your gob. If - for example (and it happened in a town near where I live) - you choose to go to work on Sept. 12, 2001 wearing a shirt bearing the American Flag with the stars replaced by swastikas, your 1st amendment rights are in no way affected by your sudden change of employment status. Your 1st amendment rights are not being violated, you are simply being fired for being a tasteless jerk.

What with rampant Political Correctness the line does get a LITTLE blurry sometimes. But not all that blurry. You may not demand that somebody or bodies appear to sponsor your point of view by allowing you to hold forth in THEIR space.

To borrow a phrase from Ron White, they should have hurled him out of there like a frisbee.

Matthew said...

I dunno, BobG, I saw the vid, that boy would not STFU to save his own life. He seemed more like he wanted to run his mouth than actually get to the point of... whatever he was rambling about.

Now I hear on Paul Harvey this morning that the "student" does these types of pranks regularly and films himself, to show on the internet. {shakes head}

Matthew said...

D'oh! Just got to read the second older post from the LD himself, saw that he's already on the update about this fool.

Anonymous said...

I am looking at this from the UK, so pardon me if I get it wrong.
Leaving aside the fact that this was a privately funded function; and leaving aside the fact that the 'student' involved is a dickhead of Biblical proportion, we are dealing with someone who is a former and possibly current runner for the BIG ONE-POTUS.
I think such a candidate;and any organisation which produces him at a venue, has to expect some looney tunes with possibly weird questions.
Simply giving some high voltage lurv and throwing them out leaves a bit of a funny taste in the mouth, to me at any rate.

Robert in England

rick r. said...

I don't believe in approving excessive force, but given the noncompliance and hidden hands, the cops would have been justified in dribbling his head like a basketball until he quit resisting.

He's LUCKY they had tasers.

Tom said...

This idiot was at a sponsored event which had rules for participation. He violated those rules and was asked to stop. He refused. The police were called and he disobeyed their lawful order. The minimal amount of force was used to bring him into compliance.

What is the problem?

I think the main reason tyhis is an issue is most folks don't understand the Taser. We have them at my department and they are considered a lesser use of force than OC spray. It is authorized for use on non-compliant suspects. They don't have to resist they just have to refuse to comply and they get tased. The reason it is considered such a low level use of force is it causes no injury and just administers an extreme amount of pain for a short period of time. 5 seconds to be exact. It is usually enough to make folks comply and it is far less injurious, to both the officer and the idiot, than the traditional "ass whoopin'" which used to occur in such situations. I have been tased 3 times in training exercises and not with the alligator clips either, I took the fish hooks. It is excruciatingly painful but the minute it's over you are on your feet. It doesn't go on for 30 minutes like OC decontamination.

The only error I saw the officers make was not tasing him before they went hands on with him. If this had happened in my town we would have just walked in, told to him to come with us and if he wasn't walking toward the door in less than 3 seconds he would have been riding the lightning.


Lawdog,

Your mom told me over at JPG's place that you have a picture of that old Colt yo could post. Could we see it?

Mark Alger said...

As I see it, the problem is the habit of the use of non-lethal force. It gives feckwits like the kid in question the (mistaken) notion that they can tease the tiger and not get hurt.

M

RobC said...

This is exactly the same as a troll getting his ass kicked out of a blog... Free speech ends at the door if it is a sponsored/paid for/private event. Inciting a riot? tough call but disturbing the peace for sure. :-)

Sarah said...

This was a privately-sponsored event. The sponsors had every right to cut off the student's microphone and have him escorted out of the venue when he refused to shut up and leave under his own power.

What ticks me off about this whole thing is the fact that my local news affiliate did not do a good job of reporting. They aired a very short version of the video. They said that the kid's microphone had been cut off in the middle of his speech...and then they showed the kid getting the taser.

They didn't show the officers giving the kid verbal orders (and the kid disobeying them). They didn't show any of the kid's "speech." And they certainly didn't mention that the speech was a privately-sponsored event.

So, if I went ONLY on that clip, it would appear that the big, mean old cops were just stomping all over that poor, innocent student.

Just another reason to not trust the media.

Rob said...

This has amused me for years.

What has?

The idea that the 1st gives people the right to say darned near anything anywhere.

Go into a church and see how long you are allowed to scream "God is dead!" Fire in a crowded theater.. etc.

The person in control of the venue (also usually the one paying the bills) is in contorl of the use of that venue.

Lets see some conservative speaker try to "crash" the National Democartic Convention, just to set 'em all straight. Wanna bet he'll geet tossed unceremoniously out on his hindmost parts?

What a putz!

Anonymous said...

Um, since everyone agrees this was a private event, what were publically funded police officers doing there? You want to run a private event? Then you get to spring for private security.

And since when does the sponsor of a private event get to effect an arrest on a misdemeanor? A felony, sure, but a 21 year-old acting like, well, a 21 year-old?

Being an attention whore is not grounds for arrest. Ridicule, absolutely. Bum rushed and then bounced off a wall, fine. Arrest? Come on.
When does someone in a police uniform turn back to the Power That Be and say: Your mess, you clean it up?

Thirdpower said...

"Private events" get public security for the security of the public who attend. The same as the police overseeing the Jackson protests a few weeks ago.

There was no 'misdemeanor arrest' in effect by the sponsors. He was arrested by the police for fighting back and causing a disruption after being asked to leave.

Did you not watch the video?

Anonymous said...

Yes, I watched the uniformed police put their hands on a citizen who was being a jerk. There was no resistance to that point.
Did he resist after that? Yep.

As he should heve.

Tom said...

Police intervene at private events all the time. Go to Grandma's house for Thanksgiving Dinner and if you get out of hand and she calls us we'll be there to either make you leave or take you to jail depending on the circumstances.

This guy had the opportunity to leave and did not avail himself of that opportunity. Being an attention whore is not what got him arrested. Refusing to leave when the police told him to do so is what got him arrested.

Also, police are hired to work private events all the time. In uniform both on and off duty. They either do so working for the department who collects a fee for them or, the department sanctions it as an off duty assignement and the guys with seniority get preference to work it if they so desire. These jobs usually pay a lot better than the regular hourly rate.

Tom said...

Yes, I watched the uniformed police put their hands on a citizen who was being a jerk. There was no resistance to that point.
Did he resist after that? Yep.

As he should heve.

3:59 PM


-----------------------------------
We like guys like you where I work. Whether a citizen believes an arrest to be lawful or not they do not have the right to resist it.They have the right to challenge that arrest in court. Resisting at the time will get you much worse than this guy got 9 times out of 10.

Beaker said...

Let me make sure I have my facts straight...

1. This was a event NOT sponspored by the government.

2. The spokesman for the event requested he leave.

3. Spokseman has the right to ask him to leave even without cause.

4. Dude refused to leave.

5. Dude used physical force againsts cops

6. Dude gets tased after FIVE minutes of arguing with the cops.

Sounds about right to me.

Anonymous said...

"We like guys like you where I work. Whether a citizen believes an arrest to be lawful or not they do not have the right to resist it.They have the right to challenge that arrest in court. Resisting at the time will get you much worse than this guy got 9 times out of 10."

Resisting an unlawful act is not illegal, no matter how the perpetrators are dressed. I'll seek immediate relief, thank you, and then I'll worry about redress in Court later. Keep up the condescending 'we know better, because we are Professionals', it's really working on us citizens.

Tom said...

Resisting an unlawful act is not illegal, no matter how the perpetrators are dressed. I'll seek immediate relief, thank you, and then I'll worry about redress in Court later. Keep up the condescending 'we know better, because we are Professionals', it's really working on us citizens.

4:58 PM
-----------------------------------

Yes, as a matter of fact it is illegal. Perry Mason you are not. But please if you feel the need to resist go ahead. It provides a great deal of entertainment and overtime in court appearances. So you resist away if you feel the need to but don't get your heart set on winning.

Chris Byrne said...

Tom, your incorrect. If a cop gives me an order that is either illegal, or that he does not have the authority to issue; I don't have to follow it. If he attempts to force me to do so, then he is committing a felony.

In this state, that felony would be aggravated assault, which would empower me to use lethal force to defend myself.

Cops have no special powers to do illegal things just because they are cops. If you think they do, and you are a cop, then you are dangerous and should be immediately terminated from your job.

You have no right to resist a LAWFUL order, or LAWFUL arrest.

That's a pretty important distinction.

Ignorance of the law is no more a defense for a police officer than it is for anyone else. THe police are not above the law.

Now, that has NOTHING to do with this case. The idiot resisted lawful arrest, and got... actually substantially less than he deserved.

Kit said...

Chris/Anonymous: I'm pretty sure it probably depends on what state you live in.

Montana law is very clear:

45-3-108. Use of force in resisting arrest. A person is not authorized to use force to resist an arrest which he knows is being made either by a peace officer or by a private person summoned and directed by a peace officer to make the arrest, even if he believes that the arrest is unlawful and the arrest in fact is unlawful.

(cite: http://data.opi.mt.gov/bills/mca/45/3/45-3-108.htm)

On the other hand, the courts here are also VERY clear on what constitutes a lawful arrest when you end up in court to sue for wrongful arrest, and you can walk out with a heck of a lot of money in your pockets. But the time to plead your case is not when there's a laser sight pointed at your chest.

Mark said...

As others have mentioned before me I will reiterate and amend slightly.

This idjit, entered a private function and showed his butt, the organizers shut off his microphone and asked him to leave. He didn't, the local constabulary arrived and "asked him" to leave he refused. Right there he is now in violation of a lawful order of a police officer and subject to arrest. the officers try to escort him from the premises, he resists, he has now violated another law, he resisted a police ofice in the performance of his duty, now this rocket scientist starts to fight with the officers as the attempt to hook him up and refuses to show them his hands. This is the biggie as far as I'm concerned. the officers DO NOT know what if anything he has in his hands, and he STILL will not comply with the officers requests. He just became a voluteer for electric motivation. The officers imo, should have tasered him as soon as he wouldn't show his hands, as the officer's don't know if he has a weapon.

Paul Levinson said...

Law Dog, you miss an essential point: the talk was open to the public. That means it's a public event. Doesn't matter who sponsored it. You make a decision to open it to the public, you don't have a right to interfere with anyone's First Amendment rights.
Bill O'Reilly about Andrew Meyer: "I Was Tasered, and It's Not that Bad"

Mad Jack said...

Here's the part that doesn't sit well with me. If I'm wrongfully placed under arrest and processed, I'll probably end up spending at least one night in the local lock up. In the morning I, or more likely my friends and family, can bail me out. Eventually I can hire a lawyer, go to court and get the entire matter straightened out.

What, exactly, happens to the government officials who arrested me in the first place? In my estimation, not a lot. In fact, it is likely that nothing at all will happen to them. Maybe I'm wrong - am I?

Doug said...

LD, all you have to do is take one quick look at his blog and you can tell from which far left side of the spectrum he is coming from on this...........

Larry said...

RCW 9A.76.040
Resisting arrest.
(1) A person is guilty of resisting arrest if he intentionally prevents or attempts to prevent a peace officer from lawfully arresting him.

(2) Resisting arrest is a misdemeanor.

{emphasis added}

Even if Montana or another state might have a law on the books making it illegal ro resist an unlawful arrest, if someone truly is arresting you for no reason, you have a natural human right to resist, and if they truly have no good reason to arrest you, you would be stupid not to resist, because if they're not following the law at arrest, they may not follow the law once they have you helpless in custody.

On the other hand, the stupid jackhole in question was clearly lawfully arrested.

Tom said...

Tom, your incorrect. If a cop gives me an order that is either illegal, or that he does not have the authority to issue; I don't have to follow it. If he attempts to force me to do so, then he is committing a felony.

-----------------------------------

Not in my state and not in any other I know of, if you resist you are the criminal not the cop. If an officer gives you an order, you'd better follow it.

Chris Byrne said...

Tom, by that light, an officer could tell me to strip naked in the street without probably cause, and if I refused, I could be forcibly arrested.

No.

Such a concept is repugnant to human rights; never mind the law; and is in fact clearly unconstitutional.

No one may be arrested without either direct witness of a crime, prima facie evidence of a crime, or sufficient probable cause. Ever. If you do, it's kidnapping.

No police officer may force compliance with an order they are not lawfully empowered to give. If they do, that's assault.

Plain and simple, cops have to obey the law, just like everybody else; and they are subject to the same penalties as everyone else... at least in theory; in practice this is often not so.

If a state law says contrary to that, that law is unconstitutional.

Anonymous said...

Tom, let me broaden you education. I call you attention to paragraph 2. Another section of the law only authorizes use of force in a lawful arrest

776.051 Use of force in resisting or making an arrest; prohibition.--

(1) A person is not justified in the use of force to resist an arrest by a law enforcement officer who is known, or reasonably appears, to be a law enforcement officer.

(2) A law enforcement officer, or any person whom the officer has summoned or directed to assist him or her, is not justified in the use of force if the arrest is unlawful and known by him or her to be unlawful.


Lastly, there was a recent court case, here in florida involving two police officers attempting to arrest a woman who blocked their efforts to unlawfully enter her home. He husband beat the shit out of them, and the only charge the prosecutor could make stick, is that he took a weapon from one of the officers during the fracas.

Now you know of one state where you are wrong.

Ray said...

i am a bit perplexed here. The event was at the University of Florida where this kid was a student? If he was a student doesn't he have the right to be at the event since he is paying his tuition? What gounds would there be to ask a person to leave their residence? If he is a student there and resides on campus, he has every right to be in the auditoriom that was open to the public.

Many of the post here stated that although you have the right to free speech, no one has to listen. That is what this kid was doing. He was not listening. What right does Kerry have to make him listen and agree? The kid had the right to call bullshit and those cops are like Tom, Jack Booted Thugs.

LawDog said...

am a bit perplexed here. The event was at the University of Florida where this kid was a student? <

Yes.

If he was a student doesn't he have the right to be at the event since he is paying his tuition?

No. The event was sponsored by a privately-funded group composed of students and former students, but not the University.

What gounds would there be to ask a person to leave their residence?

Inapplicable, since the analogy in this case would be asking the person to leave someone elses residence.

If he is a student there and resides on campus, he has every right to be in the auditoriom that was open to the public.

Again, the auditorium had been reserved by a private group -- not the University.

Many of the post here stated that although you have the right to free speech, no one has to listen. That is what this kid was doing. He was not listening.

Agreed, he was not listening. But he was using the auditorium that was under the control of a private group not to listen. Nobody gets to use someone elses money not to listen -- we call that stealing.

What right does Kerry have to make him listen and agree?

Senator Kerry didn't have a thing to do with it. Senator Kerry was also being sponsored by the same group who reserved the auditorium. They, not Senator Kerry, decided that they didn't want the kid wasting their money. Kid wants to waste money by not listening, he needs to waste his own money -- not someone elses.

The kid had the right to call bullshit and those cops are like Tom, Jack Booted Thugs.

No, he didn't; and no, they weren't. But, thank you for playing.

Chas S. Clifton said...

Sounds like the Jim Zumbo / black guns debate all over again, all right.

Ray said...

Ok Lawdog, round two. The cops claimed he was inciting a riot. Well, if Kerry hadn't said what he said then the kid wouldn't have responded. Couldn't it be argued that Kerry incited this riot? The kid was obviously invited in or they would have escorted him out prior to the questions. Kerry, and Accent acknowledge the kid when they allowed him to speak. When they didn't like what he said, they turned off his microphone and then escorted him out.

This was a public forum designed to have questions and answers. Kerry didn't like his questions and they removed him. The kid was invited, granted the floor and participating. He was then asked to leave.

The kid was tasered for no reason in my opinion. Why would they taser someone who is handcuffed?

This was not a paid event. It was free. It was designed as questions and answers. No service was provided so they could not refuse service to anyone.

A public event in a public place and all the kid was doing was heckling someone. It is hard to defend their actions.

benning said...

Yer right! Woulda been nice to see his butt kicked all the way up the aisle and out the doors.

Tom said...

Anonymous said...
Tom, let me broaden you education. Lastly, there was a recent court case, here in florida involving two police officers attempting to arrest a woman who blocked their efforts to unlawfully enter her home. He husband beat the shit out of them, and the only charge the prosecutor could make stick, is that he took a weapon from one of the officers during the fracas.

Now you know of one state where you are wrong.

7:58 AM

-----------------------------------

Great! I'm all for education especially the kind that comes from anonymous halfwits on the internet. It's my favorite. I'm sure your interpretation of the aforementioned Florida case is as scholarly as your interpretation of Florida's statutes regarding arrest. We'll just leave it a that.

It is evident you have problems with police and don't like them much. That's fine. However, your beliefs in regard to resisting arrest could make you the recipient of the next Darwin Award.

Like I said if you think you should resist a police officer trying to arrest you go right ahead and see how that works out for you.

Tom said...

Chris Byrne said...
Tom, your incorrect. If a cop gives me an order that is either illegal, or that he does not have the authority to issue; I don't have to follow it. If he attempts to force me to do so, then he is committing a felony.

In this state, that felony would be aggravated assault, which would empower me to use lethal force to defend myself.

Cops have no special powers to do illegal things just because they are cops. If you think they do, and you are a cop, then you are dangerous and should be immediately terminated from your job.

You have no right to resist a LAWFUL order, or LAWFUL arrest.

That's a pretty important distinction.

Ignorance of the law is no more a defense for a police officer than it is for anyone else. THe police are not above the law.

Now, that has NOTHING to do with this case. The idiot resisted lawful arrest, and got... actually substantially less than he deserved.

6:17 PM

-----------------------------------

You can't be serious.

First of all, almost everybody who gets arrested says they are being screwed over and their rights are being violated. It is the way it works. They get their day in court. That is the recourse left for them in the legal system. The fact is our society empowers police to make arrest on probable cause. Individuals don't get to decide if the police have sufficient probable cause to arrest them on the scene. If they did no one would ever be arrested. That is a matter for the courts. I deal with numerous "street lawyers" every week who think they know what the police can and cannot do. A little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing and it usually works out poorly for them.


You are correct police have to obey the law as well. The law for a police officer on duty is significantly different than it is for a citizen. If you get some time off of your security guard job you should research it. Then we could have an intelligent discussion about it.

If you think that you have a right to use lethal force against an officer who is arresting you you are sadly mistaken. If you do own firearms you should really educate yourself on when it is lawful to use deadly force. It may save your life someday.

LawDog said...

Enough.