Don’t Tase Me Bro, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Torture.
October 11, 2010 § Leave a comment
On September 17, 2007 U.S. Senator John Kerry visited The University of Florida. He was there, ironically as it turns out, to address a Constitution Day forum. During the Q and A period, 21 year old Andrew Meyer asked Kerry why he would not support efforts to impeach George W. Bush. He also asked Kerry to comment on reports of irregularities regarding the results of the 2004 Presidential Election. It was when he queried why Clinton was impeached for getting a “B***J**” while Bush went unpunished for possibly stealing a presidential election that his microphone was cut off. Officers attempted to physically remove him from the room, but he insisted that he had a right to stay and hear his questions be answered. Kerry agreed, yet the four officers continued to try and ‘escort’ him from the room. When he tried to hold his ground, he was taken to the floor and held down by the officers. He yelled “Why are you arresting me? Help. help!” They handcuffed one of his hands and clearly have him restrained on the video of the incident.
It was at this point that he uttered the now famous words “Don’t Tase me, bro.” One of the officers, who apparently did not appreciate being called ‘bro’, drive stunned the student with an X-26 Taser. Andrew could now be added to the still growing list of unarmed students as young as 6 who have been Tased while on school grounds. Following the incident, he was charged with “Inciting a Riot” and other ‘crimes’. The police recommended he be charged with the felony of “Resisting Arrest with Violence”.
Amnesty International alleges that 344 people have died as a result of being Tased. These weapons were originally proposed as an alternative to lethal force, but have become a routine way of incapacitating unarmed suspects at traffic stops and nuisance complaints. Police shootings have not declined since the deployment of Tasers. Authorities call the use of these weapons “Pain Compliance.” I call it torture.
I painted this piece on a vintage, wood cutout of a duck that I found in a flea market in Pennsylvania. It was part of my exhibition titled “All That Glitters” at Trifecta Gallery in Las Vegas.