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Watch “Jungle Bird Man” run on the field at Nats park, get roughed up by security

May 19, 2014, 11:33 AM EDT

Jungle Bird Man AP

At the Mets-Nats game on Friday night an environmental activist named Andrew Dudley, who goes by the name Jungle Bird Man, ran onto the field at Nats park, ran the bases, pantomimed a home run and then was promptly taken down and arrested. You can read his about his whole back story and his motivations at the Washington Post today.

None of that interests me all that much. I mean, go environment, but I doubt Jungle Bird Man is going to further the cause all that much by trespassing and videobombing sporting events. Maybe I’m wrong about that. Maybe Jungle Bird Man is the key to a verdant future. I guess we’ll see.

What does interest me is the takedown by security. Come for the fans demanding that he be tased, stay for the crazy-excessive force used by security against a guy who had his hands out in a “cuff me” motion representing complete surrender to authority:

Based on past comment threads around here, I’m sure many of you will cite Tom Gamboa, Monica Seles, 9/11 and the movies “Experiment in Terror” and “The Last Boy Scout” and claim that one can never be too careful. But I’m sorry, if security can’t appreciate that this guy is not a threat and can’t handle that guy without a choke-slam, something is pretty darn wrong.

Can anyone point to a moment where the guy threatened anyone on the field? Any point where he appeared to be dangerous or aggressive? Any point where he appeared to pose a risk to players, fans or security personnel? If you can identify it please let me know. If you can’t, and if you still think it was cool for the guy to be slammed to ground like that, you’re saying that all trespassing incidents justify the use of violent force.

117 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. jm91rs - May 19, 2014 at 11:37 AM

    I suspect many people will say that all trespassing incidents warrant violent force, but you could hear it in the moan of the crowd that in the heat of the moment most people were shocked that a guy giving himself up was tackled so roughly. Seems like the security guard might have signed up for that job with the hopes of some day taking down a loon.

  2. scoutsaysweitersisabust - May 19, 2014 at 11:40 AM

    Seems to me that this guy may have a potential lawsuit on his hands. I mean sure he’ll spend the night in jail and will be banned from the ballpark and will be responsible for his actions on running onto the field, but when a person willingly surrenders and security/police (Aren’t most of these guys off-duty police officers anyways) use what’s clearly unnecessary force, then it seems to me there is a breakdown in the system somewhere.

    • skids003 - May 19, 2014 at 12:54 PM

      You probably think that the SEALS used excessive force on Bin Laden.

      • scoutsaysweitersisabust - May 19, 2014 at 12:57 PM

        Yes, because a terrorist who coordinated the murder of countless innocent lives is DIRECTLY comparable and proportional to a moron who trespasses on private property. I apparently also think that people who violate traffic laws should be punished the same as rapists.

      • Kevin S. - May 19, 2014 at 1:02 PM

        Yes, let’s compare architects of terrorism and mass murder to non-violent protest trespassing. Brilliant commentary!

      • gmfw7 - May 20, 2014 at 3:31 PM

        seriously??? kill yourself.

    • sabatimus - May 20, 2014 at 3:42 PM

      This is all well and good, but the guy didn’t surrender until he’d run around the bases, getting close to umpires and players. Security should have had him before he reached home plate. And while the force appeared to be excessive, hopefully the force will deter others from running onto the field. If morons run onto the field and think “oh I’m just going to get cuffed and led away”, where’s the deterrent? Not being able to go to games at that park anymore? Big deal. On the other hand, if said morons know they’re going to be tackled violently when they’re done, that might deter them.

      Or not. People are very very stupid these days.

  3. darthicarus - May 19, 2014 at 11:40 AM

    Jungle Bird Man did not #RespectTheGame & deserved to be choke slammed. He did his HR swing AFTER he ran the bases. If that’s not utter disrespect for the game than I don’t know what is. I think the other gorilla guards should’ve dropped a few elbows on him too, just for good measure.

  4. mustbechris - May 19, 2014 at 11:41 AM

    Whatshername from Alaska might say the Nationals are Palling Around With Terrorists

  5. apkyletexas - May 19, 2014 at 11:41 AM

    Yeah, and if the security guard doesn’t follow his training and choke-slam the guy, he gets fired. So there’s that.

    • scoutsaysweitersisabust - May 19, 2014 at 11:50 AM

      So, you are saying that the security guard would be fired for NOT using unreasonable force, opening up himself, the team, and the local police department up to multiple lawsuits and instead detaining the trespasser peacefully and without incident? I’ve never taken a training class on how to subdue trespassers who run onto the field, and I doubt you have either, but I have a pretty high suspicion the training does not tell people to choke slam people and to go out of the way to cause as much physical damage to the offender as possible. In fact, I bet the training clearly states “Do not cause any harm unless absolutely necessary.”

      • apkyletexas - May 19, 2014 at 12:29 PM

        Yup, that’s what I’m saying. I think you would be surprised at what these guys are trained to do. I haven’t been through baseball-stadium-security-guard training, but I have been to similar security take-down trainings. They are usually deadly serious affairs. The first time you try to paddy-cake a guy and he pulls a gun and starts mowing down fans or players – well you can imagine the potentially catastrophic downside of handling them with kid gloves.

      • scoutsaysweitersisabust - May 19, 2014 at 12:44 PM

        SO under that logic, why not as suggested here, simply place snipers at every stadium, or have the officer come out with a baseball bat? Because you never know. (By the way, aren’t MLB mandating metal detectors specifically to prevent people from bringing guns to the stadium?) At what level does a response become unreasonable and disproportionate? Should we simply always assume everyone is wondering around with a vial of some genetically altered virus and anyone who gets out of line, we put them down like the dogs they are? I’m not saying don’t be careful, I’m not saying it’s not a dangerous job. And I’m not saying there are zero circumstances were appropriate violence is warranted, but there’s a reason police are not supposed to engage in high speed chases to go after a guy with a broken taillight. Could that guy have a pound of coke in the car? Sure. But isn’t it also likely that 20 people will be hurt/killed int he process of apprehending someone who freaked out and instinctively ran?

      • apkyletexas - May 19, 2014 at 12:54 PM

        Argue it how you want, pal. I’m just telling you the reality is pretty harsh.

        And yes, there are almost definitely snipers at some games – although probably not very many in May. And you would never know about them unless they had to do something, which would be very very bad.

      • skids003 - May 19, 2014 at 12:55 PM

        apky, then these bleeding hearts will cry because they didn’t do enough.

      • scoutsaysweitersisabust - May 19, 2014 at 1:01 PM

        I’m a bleeding heart because I believe in proportional response? Should we just outfit police officers with heat sinking missiles to blow up anyone who is speeding because the offender COULD POSSIBLY have a gun in the car? Bad things happen, and the world is a terrible and dangerous place, and being a police officer is a terribly difficult and risky profession (My father was one, and I have a great respect for the job) but that does not give us the right to let loose the hounds of war just because something terrible COULD happen.

      • apkyletexas - May 19, 2014 at 1:07 PM

        I’m not saying it’s good – I’m just saying I’ve seen similar take-down training, and us law-abiding citizens are in for a very violent assault if we step out of line. Seems a bit extreme to me too in a lot of situations.

        And yes, that security guard could definitely be fired if he didn’t follow the take-down procedure he’s trained in.

      • madhatternalice - May 19, 2014 at 2:10 PM

        normally i’m with you, wieters. but i can’t fault the security guard here. the runner ignored the rules and had a “me-first” moment. why should he be politely escorted off the field?

        maybe this’ll serve as a deterrent, though probably not.

  6. renaado - May 19, 2014 at 11:43 AM

    Just watch the game for Christ sakes, can’t believe lunatics like this pay for that game just to do that stupid crap.

  7. emdash01 - May 19, 2014 at 11:45 AM

    My main problem with it is that they waited so long to go after him. You can either tackle him midrun on the assumption that he might hurt someone, or you can wait until he stops and surrenders to get him out of there, but you can’t really do both.

    • sabatimus - May 20, 2014 at 3:46 PM

      Precisely. I think security should be reprimanded for allowing him to go ALL THE WAY around the bases and finish his 15 seconds of infamy before they got him. It’s not like they didn’t have plenty of time to stop him.

  8. chiadam - May 19, 2014 at 11:46 AM

    He posed a threat the second he stepped on the field. If I’m approaching someone I don’t know, and it is my job to keep myself and others safe, then hello choke slam. The guard had no way of knowing what the guy had in his pockets or what his intentions are. He’s a nut in a bird costume that just ran the bases. Should the guard walk up and pat him on the head?

    • bsbiz - May 19, 2014 at 11:51 AM

      He could have given him a cracker and asked “Who’s the pretty boy?” That would have been more humane.

    • scoutsaysweitersisabust - May 19, 2014 at 11:51 AM

      Maybe the officer should have just grabbed a handy dandy baseball bat and smacked the guy over the head then? You know. Just to be safe.

      • imnotyourbuddyguy - May 19, 2014 at 11:56 AM

        Ya because THAT’s what he was saying….

      • scoutsaysweitersisabust - May 19, 2014 at 12:07 PM

        If it’s ok to choke slam a guy who is surrendering because he still may be a threat, then why isn’t it ok to hit him with a baseball bat? Maybe the guy was going to go all 70s Joker on him and hit him with a poison flower. Following the line of thinking further, maybe the guard should just shoot the trespasser on sight, just in case the guy decided to throw an elbow on the way down. Where do we draw the line?

    • Craig Calcaterra - May 19, 2014 at 12:06 PM

      Congrats: you just made an argument in favor of positioning snipers in the press box and having them shoot anyone who runs onto the field in the head.

      • grumpyoleman - May 19, 2014 at 1:31 PM

        Snipers should be reserved for bat flippers.

      • sabatimus - May 20, 2014 at 3:49 PM

        Craig, that is not the argument he just made. He made an argument for swift and violent punishment, yes, but chiadam is right: how is one supposed to know what such a moron would have in is pockets, or what he’s carrying? Just because it wasn’t a weapon all those other times it happened doesn’t mean it isn’t now. The moment that assumption gets made, security becomes lax, and you may as well not have security at all.

      • sabatimus - May 20, 2014 at 3:51 PM

        Besides, shooting someone in the head is vastly different from tackling them or choke slamming them. You’re putting words in chiadam’s mouth.

    • jm91rs - May 19, 2014 at 12:08 PM

      I’m not a cop, but I believe you’re safer grabbing the guys arms and cuffing him than you are putting your body against his and rolling around on the ground with him. Everyone’s safer if his arms detained, that’s pretty much common sense.

    • ashot - May 19, 2014 at 1:06 PM

      Yes, because the only two options are patting the guy on the head and a choke slam. There is nothing in between. Just look at every arrest ever. They either involve a pat on the head or a choke slam.

      Who cares what he had in his pocket? Since his hands were not in his pockets or moving in the direction of his pockets nothing in his pocket could pose a threat.

    • gmfw7 - May 20, 2014 at 3:43 PM

      pretty sure if the guy was looking to hurt someone, he wouldn’t have risked the time to run the bases etc before becoming violent. and when he gives up and put his hands out in front of him it’s pretty safe to assume he’s surrendering and not going to reach for a weapon or something. bottom line is some people are p*****s their whole lives. then they get a job in a position of power, lift a few dumbells, put on a tight shirt and take out their issues with being bullied in middle and high school on people.

  9. crashdavis99 - May 19, 2014 at 11:51 AM

    For crying out loud, dude was out by a mile and the Nats catcher didn’t even try to apply the tag.

    • ashot - May 19, 2014 at 1:10 PM

      These new rules about blocking the plate have really ruined the game.

  10. someguyinva - May 19, 2014 at 11:51 AM

    Craig, I must say I’m disappointed.

    You’ve dropped enough references to wrestling here over the years that I’d expect you to know the difference between a chokeslam (place one or both hands on your opponent’s throat, to simulate choking him, then without changing your grip, pick him up by the neck and slam him to the ground) and this, which was just a sort of half-clothesline/half-trip.

    Was it excessive force by security? Probably, although if there’s anything to deterrence to keeping idiots in their seats during a game, it might be effective. (Note too that the local broadcast didn’t give this knucklehead any camera time.) Was it a chokeslam? Nope.

  11. Joe Vecchio - May 19, 2014 at 11:52 AM

    This is America. He’s lucky he wasn’t simply shot to death.

  12. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - May 19, 2014 at 11:54 AM

    Come on. We live in a country where you can shoot a foreign-exchange high school student dead for a typical teen prank and nobody will even imply that greater restraint is warranted. After all, who wants Wayne LaPierre and the Koch Brothers aligning their cash against you?

    • skids003 - May 19, 2014 at 12:57 PM

      I bet you are a Pelosi/Bloomberg fan.

      • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - May 19, 2014 at 1:04 PM

        I am a ‘being alive’ fan.

  13. imnotyourbuddyguy - May 19, 2014 at 11:56 AM

    Zero problem with this, he could be cracked out on meth and those offered hands can quickly placed back into a jacket to get a knife or gun.

    Why don’t some of you commenters try working security before posting all your “wishful thinking with your own life” ideas.

    • imnotyourbuddyguy - May 19, 2014 at 12:02 PM

      Craig and others should never work security, you might get away with using you’re own judgement in dealing with people, but at some point you’re going to be wrong, and it’s going to get you or someone else killed. You’re always dealing with unpredictable people, anyone who running onto the field MUST be treated as dangerous right up until you have them in cuffs.

      • jm91rs - May 19, 2014 at 12:16 PM

        What’s the first step to putting the guy in cuffs? Probably something pertaining to holding his wrists or hands? That’s a lot easier when the guy’s giving them to you than when you’re trying out your wrestling moves.

      • imnotyourbuddyguy - May 19, 2014 at 12:24 PM

        Again, those offered hands can be pulled back fast. Have you dealt with meth heads?

        In two seconds those hands can be pulled back, into the pocket and by the 3rd second your dead.

        So again, all you wannabe security people, sign on up, ignore your training and put your life on the line.

        You take that chance that the unpredictable person isn’t tricking you and won’t pull those hands back and end your life.

    • Craig Calcaterra - May 19, 2014 at 12:08 PM

      To be extra safe, all trespassers should be shot in the head the moment they touch the field. Can’t be too careful.

      Or is there maybe a line of judgment before we go that far?

      • imnotyourbuddyguy - May 19, 2014 at 12:10 PM

        Did you actually take what I said to the length you just took it?

        Is Jungle Bird man dead or even injured?
        I thought you were educated enough not to make a fool comment like this

      • imnotyourbuddyguy - May 19, 2014 at 12:13 PM

        Ya and here’s your line of judgment

        Yours and others safety> His comfort

        Again, stay out of security, better yet watch how this man will face no discipline because he was well within his rights to take the guy down.

      • imnotyourbuddyguy - May 19, 2014 at 12:14 PM

        Craig’s line of judgement in security matters would get himself and others killed eventually.

        Absolute fact
        You’re out of your depth Craig

      • skids003 - May 19, 2014 at 12:59 PM

        You just can’t win an argument with these folks, they always take the side of the person, never the potential victims.

      • ashot - May 19, 2014 at 1:23 PM

        “Craig’s line of judgement (sic) in security matters would get himself and others killed eventually.

        Absolute fact”

        So you’re saying if Craig was a security guard at a ballpark and had a policy that he would never chokeslam/clothesline somebody who walked towards him with their arms extended he would eventually be killed by such a fan?

        Secondary question: How does an absolute fact differ from a fact?

      • sabatimus - May 20, 2014 at 3:53 PM

        imnotyourbuddyguy: over the last couple months, Craig has resorted to trolling. Regulars on this site can see it.

    • jm91rs - May 19, 2014 at 12:10 PM

      So you’re safer wrestling a guy to the ground, rolling around with him & allowing him to have his hands back, than you are grabbing those hands and detaining him that way? I don’t buy that one bit.

      • imnotyourbuddyguy - May 19, 2014 at 12:18 PM

        I couldn’t care less what you buy, it’s how they are trained. It’s how cops are trained as well, get them to the ground.

        Seriously, just stop, this it’s embarrassing to read what people who have never done and will never do security, think about how the job is to be handled.

        So much wishful thinking and ignorance of what that 1 in 100 is capable of it’s amazing

      • jm91rs - May 19, 2014 at 4:30 PM

        Sitting here with my buddy a Township cop (in a township known for cops being a little bit too rough sometimes- he doesn’t like me saying that, but he’s laughing because it’s true). He’s telling me right now that he would be fired if he were on video tackling a guy that had his hands out. He does not work any details like stadiums, the rules could be different, but if he’s arresting someone for breaking the law he is not allowed to get violent until they do. Common sense is still a thing in his township (his words, not mine).

        If the rules are different in this venue, then so be it. But when someone dies because a choke slam went wrong, it will a problem.

        I’m sorry this embarrasses you.

      • jm91rs - May 19, 2014 at 4:30 PM

        I’ll ask him again after a few drinks and we’ll see if he secretly wants to take down everyone he arrests (I’m guessing the answer is yes).

    • daveitsgood - May 19, 2014 at 12:38 PM

      Just curious, do you work in law enforcement or security or armed forces? I’m just curious based on your perspective.

      • imnotyourbuddyguy - May 19, 2014 at 12:55 PM

        All three over the years.

        I guess some people want to wait for the smiling fan who just wants a hug, who then pulls a weapon and kills someone on the field to happen.

        Perhaps MLB needs to place signs on the field telling people “You are committing a criminal act by running onto the field, and will be treated as such. Security will take you down and secure you as a potentially dangerous person. BE WARNED”

      • ashot - May 19, 2014 at 1:16 PM

        To be clear, you’re saying what we see on the tape is what security guards are taught to do when someone approaches them with their arms forward in a surrendering motion?
        I find that hard to believe.

  14. darthicarus - May 19, 2014 at 11:57 AM

    Brian McCann is fuming that Ramos allowed him to touch home.

  15. voteforno6 - May 19, 2014 at 11:57 AM

    Yeah, I made a comment at the time that the reaction seemed a bit excessive. The usher standing next to me cheering didn’t seem to agree, though.

  16. sisisisisisisi - May 19, 2014 at 11:59 AM

    He did not touch 1st base and he may have also have missed home plate.

    This is so wrong.

    Stick to cricket mate.

    • grumpyoleman - May 19, 2014 at 1:40 PM

      Who would be on charge of asking for a replay review?

  17. DelawarePhilliesFan - May 19, 2014 at 12:00 PM

    If the guy who body slammed him did the wrong thing (and without knowing anything beyond what I just saw, he probably did), then he made an error. But lets have a little sympathy – day in, day out, these guys sit there and tell people not to lean on the rail, please stand back, etc. They are basically Study Hall monitors.

    Then with zero warning, someone runs on the field, and you have 30 seconds to decide what to do. Was he overly pumped up? Was he over reacting? Probably. But if you are going to criticize his choice, keep in mind this was a choice he would rather have not made – and was only precipitated by that jackass

    • tfbuckfutter - May 19, 2014 at 5:42 PM

      So he gets the benefit of the doubt if he actually is overreacting because he’s usually bored and has to make the most of the only exciting part of his job?

      • DelawarePhilliesFan - May 19, 2014 at 8:42 PM

        I am not giving him the benefit of anything. On the flip side – I know nothing about him at all, good or bod (nor does anyone else).

        I am saying he made a bad choice and over reacted. But it all started with that jackass, so I would hardly scream “Police Brutality!” I think both parties could learn something.

  18. daveitsgood - May 19, 2014 at 12:09 PM

    Could not agree more. I believe I asked on a previous thread, the last time one of these idiots ran onto the field, from the legal perspective, why does trespassing (at most) warrant assault and battery by security, especially like in this instance where the was surrendering himself and posed zero threat? If your standard is that “he might have had a weapon and what if someone had gotten hurt?”, then you are presenting an extremely low standard to justify such force. Imagine if you applied that hypothetical to every day legal issues with Cops for minor misdemeanors. Jaywalking, unpaid speeding ticket, forgery, teenagers cutting through someone’s field as a shortcut – Imagine if the response from the legal authority would be to confront you as you’re jaywalking and immediately throw you into a headlock, DDT/chokehold, all under the auspices that, well, you’re already doing something illegal, so you could be intending to hurt someone as well. It’s an absurd jump to conclusion outside of a ballpark, why is it ok if some dumb kid jumps onto the field to run around like an idiot?

    • jm91rs - May 19, 2014 at 12:14 PM

      This is a well thought out argument. I think sometimes when you’re just running around trying to not get caught, they’re probably justified in tackling you because that’s the only way to stop you. This was a different case, and if anything it’s safer to just take the guys hands (I can see from 100 rows back that those hands are empty) than to roll around on the ground with him.

      • daveitsgood - May 19, 2014 at 12:16 PM

        I absolutely agree with you jm91rs. If the person is still running around trying to evade, sure, within reason, try to apprehend the person with the least amount of physical force possible (read: NO TAZERS!), but this was absolutely a different case where he was willingly surrendering himself.

  19. perryt200 - May 19, 2014 at 12:23 PM

    shoot one birdman and maybe the rest will learn.

    it used to be TV didn’t show this stuff because it just encouraged more. people wanted their 15 min of fame.

    today with everyone having a camera / video it gets posted and it does encourage crap like this.

    a couple less idiots wouldn’t bother me at all

  20. elmo - May 19, 2014 at 12:30 PM

    People are way too paranoid about “threats” to their security. It’s completely over the top. Freakin’ relax.

    • Todd Boss - May 19, 2014 at 12:37 PM

      Monica Seles begs to differ.

      • skids003 - May 19, 2014 at 1:00 PM

        So do the 3000 from 9/11.

      • Kevin S. - May 19, 2014 at 1:16 PM

        Hi, my name’s Perspective. We should really get to know each other better.

      • elmo - May 19, 2014 at 5:07 PM

        Imagining that extreme cases might happen anywhere, at any time = paranoia.

  21. moogro - May 19, 2014 at 12:42 PM

    I always thought the over-reaction with use of force was part of the deterrent theatre of security.

  22. chris3141084 - May 19, 2014 at 12:45 PM

    Another record settlement by a local police force??

  23. randygnyc - May 19, 2014 at 12:49 PM

    No sympathy for the law breaker. Had they taken his life, I admit, I may have been uncomfortable for a spell, but I’d get over it. Standards and precedents, my dear chaps.

  24. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - May 19, 2014 at 12:52 PM

    If the guard was really concerned about everyone’s safety and views this guy as a threat, why did he wait until the guy finished his whole schtick and attempted to surrender before basically punching him in the neck?

    • nbjays - May 19, 2014 at 1:10 PM

      Good point CC… if he was so dangerous, take him down immediately, and it’s not viewed as an overreaction.

  25. gbreadman - May 19, 2014 at 12:56 PM

    Coming from a wrestling coach, that was a pretty weak-sauce takedown, even with the wrap around the neck. That security guard needs some training…or a new job. That being said, “Jungle Bird Man” got what he had coming to him. Follow the rules and you don’t have to worry about security using excesive force.

    Maybe I missed it but, I’m suprised that no one mentioned that this appears to be the same guy who interupted the US Open awards presentation in 2012. Same hat at least.

    • someguyinva - May 19, 2014 at 1:14 PM

      Yup. Same idiot, different sport.

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