Philadelphia chief backs officer who Tasered fan
Tuesday, May 4, 2010; 11:41 PM
PHILADELPHIA -- City police are considering whether officers should get involved when unruly but nonthreatening fans sprint onto the field during sporting events, a review begun after a teenager was subdued with a Taser at a Phillies game.
A police officer used his stun gun Monday night on 17-year-old Steve Consalvi, who jumped onto the field and ran around in circles in the outfield.
Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey examined video of the arrest and felt the officer acted within department guidelines, which allow officers to use Tasers to arrest fleeing suspects, said police spokesman Lt. Frank Vanore. The department's internal affairs unit is investigating, Vanore said.
The department is now reviewing whether its officers should be on the field wrangling runaway fans who aren't threatening anyone, Vanore said.
"Should we be on the field at all? I think that's what's being looked at," Vanore said. "I'm not sure we should be chasing people around the field."
Another fan ran onto the field at Citizens Bank Park during Tuesday night's Phillies game and gave himself up without incident in center field. The 34-year-old man was booed by the sellout crowd and charged with defiant trespass, disorderly conduct and narcotics possession.
Consalvi, a high school senior from Boyertown, leapt onto the field at the top of the eighth inning during Monday night's game against St. Louis. He ran around in the outfield, waving a white towel, and dodged two security officers.
The police officer chased him for about 30 seconds before the stun gun probe hit the teenager, who stumbled forward, slid face-first on the grass and stayed down for about 30 seconds before standing up and walking off the field.
"From the preliminary look at it, it appears that the officer was within the policy," said Vanore, adding that he did not know what may have transpired before the video started. "He was attempting to make an arrest and the male was attempting to flee."
Police said the teen is charged with defiant trespass, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.
Consalvi's mother, Amy Ziegler, apologized for his actions and said he regrets running onto the field.
"It was stupid. It was just absolutely stupid," she told WTXF-TV.