Gargoyle Tasering: The Buzz Lingers

Nov 19, 2007 at 6:18 pm

Early last week, the buzz around Washington University was the concert that ended after campus police were called in to deal with an apparently intoxicated student who was refusing to leave the building. A show by the mash-up artist Girl Talk was taking place at the Gargoyle, Wash U's student-run concert venue in the basement of Mallinckrodt Center.

The student, 22-year-old Jono Sanders, reportedly did not cooperate with the police officer, and in the process of arresting Sanders the officer used a Taser on him three times while a crowd looked on. The fact that Sanders was naked made the incident tempting fodder for national media, including Pitchfork and MTV.

Responding to stories about the incident online at campus newspaper Student Life and on this blog, many of those who left comments alleged that Sanders had been causing trouble all night and said the incident was an embarrassment to the school.

It may be that college students have come to accept the fact that police carry stun guns and are often justified in using them. That said, the death over the weekend of a twenty-year-old man in Fredericktown, Maryland, serves as a reminder that the jury’s still out on Tasers.

Wash. U. student Michael Sandler, an acquaintance of Sanders, is among those who are more disturbed than amused. Writes Sandler:

I didn't see the incident. In the aftermath, I was fairly upset. I didn't know all the details at the time, but we were very angry with the police. They didn't seem to be taking it as seriously as we would have liked. They pushed us all out of the building, but we stuck around outside letting them know that we didn't take this sort of thing lightly. I don't feel comfortable with the campus police using this type of force on the students. [minor typos corrected]

For a complete account of the the incident, read more here.

-Kathleen McLaughlin