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Tuesday, July 05, 2022

Action-figure-sized Andrew Meyer thrashed on top of a 2-by-2 wooden box as police figurines held a Taser to him.

Arizona artist Tom Haddock, 48, created the model to show the public his concern about freedom of speech infringement.

The model shows four officers struggling to hold Meyer down and then shooting him with a Taser gun, a reenactment of the Sept. 17, 2007 incident at a John Kerry speech at UF.

The hand-cranked model, made mostly of wood and papier-mâché, sold for $5,000 to a private collector after it appeared in the Art Basel Miami Beach show in December.

Haddock said no matter what Meyer did, no one should be dragged away from a microphone and Tased for exercising freedom of speech.

"It's pretty egregious to Tase someone for asking a question at a place where a politician is speaking," he said. "It's not something that you would expect to happen in America, at least not in this time."

Haddock said he feels uneasy about living in a country that condones such behavior.

He doesn't have a background in politics, but much of Haddock's art reflects political matters that concern him.

Haddock said he has been creating these moving models called atomatons for about a year and a half.

The model, taking four months to make, was part of a collection that included other political and social statements.

One of Haddock's models portrayed the rape and murder of a 14-year-old Iraqi girl by a U.S. soldier, and another showed the dead body of a prisoner who was killed after questioning in Abu Ghraib, a U.S. prison that closed in 2006 amidst torture allegations.

In Haddock's model of Meyer, a person must manually turn a crank on the side of the box to make Meyer thrash.

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Haddock said the cranking suggests that the public is partially responsible.

"We as Americans were definitely turning the crank with the decisions that we made because we value security more than freedom of speech," he said.

Although he never contacted Meyer, Haddock said he views Meyer as a victim and a symbol for what is happening to the United States.

Although "don't Tase me, bro" was popularly displayed on T-shirts and bumper stickers, the issue is serious, Haddock said.

"When it becomes this catchphrase that people say over and over again, people kind of forget about how terrible it really is," he said.

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