Let others debate whether a Philadelphia policeman overreacted in taking down a rogue fan with a Taser.
Philly fans apparently couldn’t wait to see it happen again.
“Tase him!” someone shouted as a copycat ran onto the field Tuesday, only to be disappointed when he was corralled without the use of any weaponry or police.
That left Philadelphia’s finest still batting 1.000 at Citizens Bank Park. One fan Tased, one fan down, much to the amusement of many who watched it happen.
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They’re not the only ones who got to share in the fun. Through TV and the Internet, millions got a chance to watch 17-year-old Steve Consalvi being zapped in the back by 50,000 volts on the losing end of the Taser.
As a moment in Taser history, the video rivaled that of a University of Florida student getting zapped in a 2007 outburst at an event with Sen. John Kerry. All it was missing was sound, though it’s not hard to imagine Consalvi saying the same thing Andrew Meyer shouted when he first saw what he was up against.
“Don’t Tase me, bro!” he famously yelled.
Funny stuff, indeed. Who needs the Philly Phanatic when you get this kind of entertainment for the cost of a ticket to the ballpark.
Really, though, Tasers? On a baseball field?
Have we reached the level of paranoia in this country that everything seems to be a dastardly threat, even a kid running onto a field?
Sure, what Consalvi did was wrong, though he’s hardly the first to make a fool out of himself by running onto a field.
Almost as stupid, though, was the cop who ran after him with the Taser.
Just why the officer decided it was necessary to bring a high school kid running around the field down with force isn’t exactly clear. Philadelphia’s police commissioner said the officer acted within department guidelines in using a Taser to stop a fleeing suspect.
In this case, the only thing Consalvi was suspected of doing was running on the field. The only weapon he was waving was a towel.
And it wasn’t like he was fleeing anywhere. Fans who run onto the field are always caught, because there’s no real way to escape.
It’s an accepted part of the bargain in a cat-and-mouse game that occurs far more often than it should. Usually it involves a drunk fan or a dare, and before you know it someone not in uniform is racing around center field.
There’s another issue here aside from the use of the Taser, which even Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell called “a big mistake.” It’s the idea of having armed police guard ballplayers in the first place.
Give Philadelphia police credit for raising it, even as they defended the Tasing.
“Should we be on the field at all? I think that’s what’s being looked at,” police spokesman Lt. Frank Vanore said. “I’m not sure we should be chasing people around the field.”