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UF police retain the power to tase

Associated Press
Published February 12, 2008


GAINESVILLE

Using a Taser stun gun against a student who disrupted a campus forum would still be allowed under a revised policy approved for University of Florida police, officials said.

The new policy is the product of 14 separate drafts written since police shocked a university student at a September forum with Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass. The student, Andrew Meyer, physically resisted being escorted from an auditorium.

The new policy states that Taser use "is not a justified response to passive physical resistance." That would apply to a person who goes limp in the hands of officers, a technique often used during sit-in style protests.

It also states that a Taser should not be used "as a response to verbal dialogue." The revised policy also said a Taser should not be used against a person who is fleeing, unless that person is physically resisting, has harmed someone or presents an imminent physical threat.

TALLAHASSEE

Family sues diocese over sexual abuse

The family of a 15-year-old girl who says she was molested by a priest filed a lawsuit Monday against the priest and the Diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee, alleging the church has persecuted it over the case.

The priest, Vijay Vhaskr Godugunuru, was a visiting priest at Blessed Trinity Catholic Church in Bonifay in the Panhandle when the girl says he sexually abused her in 2006.

Godugunuru pleaded no contest to aggravated assault and as a condition of the plea deal had to return to India and can't return.

The girl, who isn't being identified because she is a minor, and her family are also suing the diocese and its bishop, John J. Ricard, alleging the diocese placed the priest in a position that would allow him to abuse the girl.

MIAMI

Trial date delayed in Venezuela cash case

The trial of three men accused of being illegal Venezuelan agents in the United States has been put off for at least four months.

U.S. District Judge Joan Lenard agreed Monday to a motion by defense lawyers to postpone the trial until June 23.

Venezuelans Carlos Kauffmann, 35, Franklin Duran, 40, and Uruguayan Rodolfo Wanseele, 40, have all pleaded not guilty to charges of being unregistered Venezuelan agents. Prosecutors say they were in South Florida trying to cover up the source of $800,000 in Venezuelan cash intended for the campaign of Argentina's new president, Cristina Fernandez.

TALLAHASSEE

Rwandan leader touts education

Education was once used as a tool of hatred and intolerance in Rwanda, but it now has the ability to strengthen and unite its people, the African nation's president said Monday.

President Paul Kagame, at a conference hosted by Florida State University, said Rwanda will use formal education to create a literate and skilled society to power social and economic growth.

In the years since its 1994 genocide, Kagame said all levels of education have improved and become more accessible. "It was used as a tool for exclusion and indoctrination. Access to education was strictly governed by quotas based on ethnicity," he said.

In 2004, primary school became tuition-free in Rwanda, Kagame said, and free education was extended to the first three years of secondary school last year.

Associated Press