May 4, 2010, 7:01 AM EDT
Updating last night's post, a fan ran onto the field at the Phillies game last night and was promptly hit with a taser by a police officer. Here's a new video angle with a better view:
The incident has fans wondering about the use of force in this instance, whether it was appropriate and necessary to use a taser on the fan, who has not been identified due to being 17 years old (Update: His identity has been released, along with a story that he called his dad just before running onto the field). A fan running onto the field isn't an everyday occurrence, but it happens here and there throughout a long season, and usually some jackass runs around and tries to evade being caught, knowing full well he eventually will be. The crowd laughs as he dips and turns, and cheers when he finally gets tackled to the ground by security or the police.
Most of you probably remember the kid who took the field in his socks, almost exactly a year ago. That guy got a fistbump from Pedro Feliz and emerged untased.
So have the procedures for handling these incidents changed?
In this instance, it appears as if the taser was a primary option in quickly ending the disturbance, which it was effective in doing.
The Inquirer has a quote from the Phillies on the matter:
"This is the first time that a Taser gun has been used by Philadelphia police to apprehend a field jumper," Phillies spokeswoman Bonnie Clark said in a statement. "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."
Police spokesperson Frank Vanore also said that the Internal Affairs Department would be investigating whether this was a proper use of equipment.
What do you think? Is it over the line for the police to use more than a tackle on a fan who has not exhibited any acts of violence, but who is causing a major disturbance and evading capture? Or do all threats need to be taken seriously and halted as soon as possible?
With the attention drawn by incidents like the fan vomiting on another group of fans last month, there is added pressure on the security forces as well. Whenever negative fan behavior makes the news, there are folks who say that security needs to be tighter, react faster, and crack down on the behavior that leads to fans getting out of hand.
Depending on the police department's forthcoming statement on the appropriateness of last night's use of force, that may be the last fan we see on the field for a while.
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