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Phillies fan runs onto field, gets tasered

May 4, 2010, 6:08 AM EDT

Phillies fan taser.jpgThere’s so much going on in this photo that I’m not sure where to begin. For starters you have just the latest example of wonderful Phillies fan behavior. No, this guy didn’t puke on anyone or anything — he was simply tasered and hauled off — but you have to give Phillies’ fans the benefit of the doubt with this sort of thing and presume that he would have puked on someone had he gotten the chance. I mean, there’s a track record there.

You also have, frozen forever, the image of a police officer at the precise moment he decided to lose his job. Oh, sure, they may stretch things out a week or two and make an inquiry into the officer’s use of force, but when you decide to fire your taser at someone who, however big a knucklehead he happens to be, does not appear to represent anything approaching a threat to himself or others, you’re not coming out smelling good on the other end.

Indeed, it strikes me that maybe the security guard fired the taser because he was embarrassed that he couldn’t catch the kid and wanted to end the crowd’s laughter. While that’s funny on some level, it’s not nearly as funny when you realize that hundreds of people have died as a result of being tasered. Bad move, bro.

In any event, this was all great fun because everyone appears to have ended up being OK, but this is certainly not an incident that’s going to make anyone particularly proud.

UPDATE: Video here, at least until it is decided that it is being transmitted without the express authorization of Major League Baseball.

146 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. Craig Calcaterra - May 4, 2010 at 11:33 AM

    What the hell are you talking about? A link to a general interest source like Wikipedia is solely for people to get a sense of what I’m talking about. I don’t use it as some definitive source of authority here, and I’m not sure how you could take me to have done so. The proposition: that people have died as a result of being tased — is incontrovertible. The fact that I linked wikipedia there is to simply let people know that I haven’t pulled that out of my ass. If you’d like a researched report on the matter I can quote you my rates for such a thing, but that’s not what I’m doing here.
    And copyright infringement? What on Earth do you mean by that?

  2. Teveo - May 4, 2010 at 11:39 AM

    Philadelphia police say an officer appears to have acted appropriately when he used a Taser to subdue a teenage fan resisting arrest after running onto the field during a Phillies game.
    Lt. Frank Vanore, a police spokesman, says Commissioner Charles Ramsey reviewed the tape and felt the officer had acted within the department’s guidelines.
    This was off of CBS3.com

  3. teveo - May 4, 2010 at 11:42 AM

    Craig you keep saying tasers have killed hudreds of thousands. That is crazy. The number of deaths realated to the number incidents that were resolved without catostrophic scenarios is uncomparible.

  4. Chris - May 4, 2010 at 11:44 AM

    Craig, you have no idea whether this “kid” was a threat to himself or others. You admit as much by using the word “appears.” You’re asking an officer who is attempting to apprehend someone who is doing something ILLEGAL to determine his intent prior to firing the taser. The “kid” in question had no right to be on the field in the first place, and he was evading capture. It’s not like the officer could step up to him and say, “By the way, you’re not going to harm yourself or anyone else are you?”
    The “kid” was evading capture because he knew what he was doing was wrong. He didn’t tell the officer or anyone associated with the ballpark that he was going to do this, so no one in the facility knew what his intentions were. No one knew his age prior to the incident. It’s easy to second guess the officer after the fact, but at that moment he did what he is trained to do, apprehend the individual. What if the officer had been injured upon capturing the individual? What if the “kid” had injured someone else on the field with his antics?
    This “kid” should be restricted from entering the ballpark for at least one year if not five. Make an example of him and hopefully people will think twice before acting stupid.

  5. Craig Calcaterra - May 4, 2010 at 11:46 AM

    Teveo: the police rationale was that the guy was a “fleeing suspect.” Question: where, exactly, was he gonna go? Fleeing suspect rules usually apply in situations where someone who has already proven violent could get away and into the crowd and cause more violence or when someone who is already suspected of a crime (which this kid certainly was) could escape. The kid showed no violence. The kid could not have escaped.
    And I’m not making a value judgment about the danger of tasers in an absolute sense. People have died after being tased. That’s a fact. People have also died driving cars. I don’t propose banning tasers any more than I propose banning cars. I simply think there should be clear rules about their proper use, and I’m struggling to see what rules reasonably encompass the use of the taser in this instance.

  6. Mountie Dawg - May 4, 2010 at 11:46 AM

    Officers discretion….just like the home plate umps strike zone. Maybe we could just have Liberal Day at the Ballpark, the first 2000 fans get to run on the field at anytime during the game, with no repercussions.

  7. jeff - May 4, 2010 at 11:47 AM

    Craig you must be a lawyer. Let’s justify this dumba$$ kids actions and then let’s sue the policeman for excessive force. The kid should have been tazed and got exactly what he had coming to him. Whether or not he was a risk is beside the point. Thousands of peopel pay good money to go see a ballgame, not a retard run around the field. Knock his butt down if you can, if not, taze him…

  8. YANKEES1996 - May 4, 2010 at 11:48 AM

    I also go through and have been through a ton of training in reference to this exact type of situation and I can tell you at the Federal level and in the Agency I work for using a taser is not effective use of force for a suspect that is fleeing from authorities. Now I am not and do not know all of the orders governing use of force for local LEOs but I can assure you that this is excessive force for the offence. This kid is NOT an armed felon and he apparently threatened no one, this is a prank by a school aged kid who was probably dared by other kids. If one of the agents on my squad had brought this situation to an end by tasering the offender I would have a problem with it. I do not believe the officer should be terminated or depending on his service record even disciplined but this was an unfortunate event that I believe should have been handled quite differently.

  9. Craig Calcaterra - May 4, 2010 at 11:50 AM

    Jeff: I am a lawyer. I make no bones about it.
    And please point to anywhere in this thread or in the post where I justified the kid’s actions. He’s a jackass who should be arrested and charged. I would think we’re in agreement with that.
    I simply do not believe that police officers should be entitled to use any means at their disposal in every situation. In this case I think the force used was more than reasonably necessary to resolve the situation. If we disagree on that, fine. But don’t for a minute suggest that someone who does not agree with the use of force in this case necessarily condones the actions of the kid.

  10. KC - May 4, 2010 at 11:53 AM

    Let’s look at this in context shall we? In the past couple of months several psychos have killed or attempted to kill people in very public places (NY, Times Square being the latest). So if this guy had produced a gun and started picking off the outfielders, and the officer didn’t taser him when he had the chance, all of the haters on this post would be screaming bloody murder and demanding that the officer be fired. Get real people, this officer didn’t know what that kid’s intentions were, and didn’t care to find out the hard way. I’m sure he’d rather listen to the ignorant rantings of idiots any day than live with the death of an innocent he could have protected, but didn’t.

  11. john - May 4, 2010 at 11:54 AM

    Sooo its Ok to tackle him and drag him to the ground but not taser him?

  12. M.R. - May 4, 2010 at 11:55 AM

    Craig, your an idiot to defend this other idiot for breaking the law. I guess it would of been OK to taser him if he were carrying a gun or a knife and was looking to hurt someone on the field. IDIOT!

  13. Joey B - May 4, 2010 at 11:56 AM

    “And Joe, I’ve seen you now make 3 or 4 references to your “rights” as a fan and a consumer. That’s great and all, but the rights of people not to have excessive force used against them are enshrined in the Constitution. Sorry, but that trumps your rights as a consumer.
    I agree to that point. But your point presumes that this is excessive force. I do not agree that this is excessive.
    “We may disagree about the taser and that’s fine, but “fan’s rights” are irrelevant to this conversation. If they enter into it at all they fall below that of the person having police forced used upon them, the police officer’s ability to do his job and the safety of people in the immediate area.”
    I guess this is the essence of the divide. That my rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are irrelevant, or at worst, fall below those of the common criminal. I simply think that tasering someone so that I can get back to my rights is reasonable under these circumstances. The kid had every opportunity to stop. He had no right to interfere with the game.

  14. Lincecum for President - May 4, 2010 at 11:58 AM

    It’s pretty simple – stay in your seat, don’t get tasered. End of discussion.

  15. Corey - May 4, 2010 at 11:58 AM

    perfectly acceptable. the kid is a criminal. he is trespassing. trying to make the older and huskier security guard look like a fool. its about time one of these idiots looks like a fool. great use of the taser.

  16. Old Gator - May 4, 2010 at 12:00 PM

    ["Fever Pitch" just wouldn't have been the same if Drew had been killed by a taser!]
    .
    You’re really on to something here. The very same short lawyer who will be treating me to the mass sacrifice of the Feesh to Tim Lincecum this evening and I were at a Feesh game a couple of years ago deliberately interrupted by tabloid cover queen of the apocryphal personal crisis Jennifer Aniston chasing some stupid dog around in left field to shoot a scene from the execrable kitsch classic Marley and Me.
    .
    Tell the truth, now: what would everyone who reads this who’s ever rolled their eyes at the sight of Jennifer Aniston infecting yet another tabloid cover on the rack at the supermarket checkout counter give to be able to taser her in her overexposed derriere just once?

  17. Morgan W - May 4, 2010 at 12:01 PM

    Ahhhh America….keeping the rest of the world amused. Why can’t security staff(or police officers in this case) learn a standard Rugby tackle like the rest of the world? To all the morons who support this sort of excessive violence, would the kid of been tazered if he was in a minor league ballpark? NO. Is the kids likelyhood of endangering himself or someone else simply increased because he’s in a bigger stadium where more people are watching him run round by himself drunk???? Get real. Put the weapons away.

  18. BdirtMagurt - May 4, 2010 at 12:02 PM

    These are multi-million dollar athletes we are talking about here. Go ask Bill DeWitt and David Montgomery if they mind using a taser to protect their investments. Don’t be an idiot and run out on the field, you either spend the night in jail or get tased. Maybe this will make people think twice about running out there. I say good job officer.

  19. David - May 4, 2010 at 12:03 PM

    Patrick-You are a moron. “I’m being sarcastic”. Really??? OK, Homer Simpson.
    That punk deserved to be tased. Maybe if these punks got some discipline at home they wouldn’ commit this kind of idiocy.
    I’m tired of punks and losers thinking they can do anything they want.
    And Craig Calcaterra, you are an idiot. Yeah, because one or two Phillies “fans” (idiots who do this stuff are NOT real fans!) act out you paint the whole crowd of 45,000+ with a nmegative brush.
    Typical third-rate hack journalism. Why don’t you trash those losers in NY???

  20. gabbo - May 4, 2010 at 12:04 PM

    Craig, let’s put it this way:
    1. Is the fan trespassing by going onto the field?
    2. How many signs and warnings are there that going onto the field may be considered trespassing?
    3. Is he going to be arrested now that he is on the field?
    4. Is he now resisting arrest by purposely evading capture?
    5. If you were the officer, what is your window of opportunity for catching this person if he is attempting to injure a player?
    6. Considering this was during an inning when there are Phillies players on the field, is it ok for Philly to protect their investments?
    In other videos, you can clearly see Juan Castro and Raul Ibanez start running away as the fan runs straight in their direction, the players were worried.

  21. Beeker - May 4, 2010 at 12:04 PM

    Assuming the officer will lose his job seems…prejudicial. The type of assumption that you likely would not support had the officer said “…since the guy was running so fast and we couldn’t catch him, I assumed he was amp’d up on amphetamines.” What would an acceptable approach have been? Specifically, what other non-lethal option should the security team have pursued before tasing?? And how long should they have pursued that option? Should they have simply let him run around, hoping he’d eventually tire and lay down for a nap? How long should the other 40,000 paying fans endure the stoppage of the game in order to indulge one fan’s vanity? I doubt the officer felt entitled (???) to use the taser, nor do you know that he would automatically use any and all means at his disposal in any other situation (again… presumptive). Indeed, to assert that he tased the kid to elicit a laugh seems… irresponsible.

  22. oompaloopma - May 4, 2010 at 12:06 PM

    This should not require a national debate, if you jump onto a playing field you pose a risk to players, end of story, morale of story you run onto a field you may get tased. Its virtually a non-lethal enforcement, yes very few have died from being tased. Only really stupid people usually get tased. Again dont be stupid. My captcha was “use taser” its always right.

  23. Morgan W - May 4, 2010 at 12:07 PM

    Serious question….would he of been zapped if he was streaking??? ie nude! If you think no, but feel that he should of been tazered with clothes on….you have just opened up a very complex and bizzare debate.

  24. Rodney King - May 4, 2010 at 12:07 PM

    Chillax bro!
    I got Tasered and me made 3.2 million and two L.A. Pigs went off to the Federal Slam for two years.
    Sorry about the riot after, but lots of folks made lots of money offa that building it back up and all.
    Hope this here kid got hiself a good lawyer.
    Rodney (Why can’t we all get a good lawyer) King

  25. ryan - May 4, 2010 at 12:10 PM

    Ross has this all wrong. Sitting in the stands like he is supposed to he “might pose a risk” and cannot be tasered as soon as he jumps that fence (trespasses) and runs around swinging a towel (assult) he poses a risk and needs to be stopped.

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