This is why television broadcasts should show fans running on the field at sporting events:
… A Philadelphia police officer Tased a fan who ran onto the field before the eighth inning. The kid seemed to be running around and waving a towel, but police took no chances. In fact, neither did Jayson Werth. He readied himself for a possible altercation when the fan jumped onto the field near right field, but the fan quickly darted past him before being takent [sic] down in left.
The Phillies said in a statement: “This is the first time that a Taser gun has been used by Philadelphia police to apprehend a field jumper. The Police Department is investigating this matter and the Phillies are discussing with them whether in future situations this is an appropriate use of force under these circumstances. That decision will be made public.”
The Philadelphia Inquirer reported the fan has been charged as a juvenile with resisting arrest, disorderly conduct and defiant trespass. Police Commissioner Charles Ramsay defended the officer’s decision to Taser the juvenile.
“It was inappropriate for him to be out there on the field,” Ramsay told KYW Radio (1060-AM). “Unless I read something to the contrary, that officer acted appropriately. I support him 100 percent.”
An individual is tased for trespassing. Officials with the Major League Baseball team involved understands that this deserves scrutiny, talking about an “appropriate use of force.” [Disclosure: As I’ve made clear throughout my blogging, I’m a Phillies fan.] The police commissioner believes that the officer was justified in tasing the individual because trespassing is “inappropriate”. This should scare everyone.
Of course trespassing is inappropriate, as the property owner controls his property and every sports team has a policy against fans entering the field of play. But tasers can be lethal. Would the cop shoot the kid in the back with his firearm for this? Was he just compensating for being out-of-shape and not wanting to engage in the physical confrontation necessary to subdue the individual? The taser, as it’s being used, isn’t a tool for police to do their job. It’s now a substitute. That is worthy of actions to rein in police, not chuckles.
For reference, watch this video about a suspect who died after police tased him. There are many implications, but notice how the spokesman blamed the now-dead suspect for getting himself tased and subsequently choking on a bag of marijuana he’d previously, visibly shoved in his mouth. Is that the mentality we want to endorse for any police force?