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Friday, March 01, 2024

Students continue protesting Taser incident Wednesday

Though its numbers had dwindled, a group of about 70 UF students marched through the drizzling rain Wednesday to again protest the Monday arrest and Tasering of UF student Andrew Meyer.

Wednesday's protest was a continuation of a protest Tuesday afternoon where about 300 students marched to the University Police Department, and about 100 marched to Emerson Alumni Hall.

On Wednesday, the crowd marched from the Plaza of the Americas to UPD.

Rikki Seguin, a UF freshman, said she was protesting the unjustified use of violence by UPD officers.

She held a cardboard sign that read, "Have you seen my free speech?"

"I feel like if we protest for several days until we get what we want, it shows solidarity," Seguin said.

UPD Lt. Stacy Ettel met the protesters at the door of the police station and handed out citizen complaint forms.

Ettel said he didn't know how many complaints UPD received Tuesday but said most of them had been e-mailed. He said by the end of the day, the department's phone banks were full.

UPD has discussed Meyer's arrests with several students, it has not conducted a formal meeting with them.

Benjamin Dictor, a UF political science junior who took a prominent role in Tuesday's protest, said he was happy students were still turning up the day after a large protest.

The rain probably discouraged more students from joining the march, he said.

He added that Tuesday's protest brought the national attention protesters had hoped for.

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Sitting outside UPD, rain flecked some students' faces as they filled out complaint forms and waited to turn them into the UPD office.

Protesters later grouped in the parking lot and debated what they should do next.

Some students felt the protest was not achieving enough.

One student suggested filing a formal complaint as a group to UPD later that night, while another suggested protesting the security policies of Student Government's Accent Speakers Bureau. The idea elicited a few yells of agreement.

Dictor and others told waiting students not to let the protest die after two days.

"Reprimanding is not enough for these officers," Dictor said. "We've all been hurt by this."

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