Why the Taser-Wielding Cop Was Wrong

He turned Philly into a police state — and further damaged our rep as a sports town

I admit there are a lot of things about life I don’t understand, but I really can’t fathom the wisdom of running on a professional athletic field while a game is going on. What is the mentality there? Can one crave attention so much, can one be so much of a loser, that his only claim to fame would be that he was the idiot who disrupted a baseball game?

I won’t even dignify the situation by identifying the culprit who ran on the field at Citizens Bank Park the other night during the Phils-Cardinals game. He’s a dopey high school kid, who despite his age, should know better. Apparently, he called his father before he did the deed to ask him his opinion. Huh? You need to ask, kid? I hope this incident caused enough embarrassment for the kid to bring him to instant maturity, and enough for the parents to know they should have done a better job raising him.[SIGNUP]

But that’s really not the big issue here, is it?

No, the big issue is this: why would a Philadelphia policeman, chasing the kid in an attempt to apprehend and remove him from the field, use a taser in front of 45,000 people, many of them children, who likely re-coiled in horror at the sight of a man in blue drawing and firing a weapon?

Obviously, I don’t know as much about a taser as someone in law enforcement. Policemen say that firing a high voltage blast into a suspect, thereby stunning him silent for a sufficient enough time to be able to subdue and slap on the handcuffs, is a safe, effective and essential weapon for the cop to deal with criminals. Some statistics say the opposite, that the taser is very dangerous. A recent CNN report detailed how the use of a taser caused brain damage in a suspect. That same report said that more than 300 deaths have come as a result of a taser shot. Perhaps as no coincidence, the taser manufacturer recently sent out memos to police departments throughout the country suggesting a different methodology in using the taser — hit the suspect in the arms, not near the chest which encases the heart.

I don’t know who’s right. For this argument, I will take the side that the taser is a necessary evil, needed for use against unruly criminals who are difficult and dangerous to subdue. So how does a 17-year-old twit running around a ball field figure into that equation?

Somebody called my radio show and wondered how I can be so incredulous that an officer tased a kid in light of the fact that someone recently left a bomb in Times Square. Am I missing something? Should we have been worried that this high school jagoff had a fertilizer bomb in his pulled up hip-hop boxers? When has anyone who has even run on an athletic field — and there have been hundreds, mostly drunken louts looking for their five minutes of fame — been a threat to anybody? You chase down the kid (the television broadcast doesn’t even show him on camera anymore), he eventually gets tired, you apprehend him and cuff him, he gets arrested and pays a huge fine. The next day, the whole thing is forgotten, except for the dope who has to pay the fine, or his parents.

Instead, by using his taser, this officer turned Philadelphia into a police state, making a minor incident an international incident. You know what that does? It furthers the horrendous reputation we have as a sports city and gives the nitwit national pundits more ammunition to use against us. If you look at the video, this kid was just about to burn out. He was surrounded by six Phillies security people about to nab him. The policeman had to fire his taser? Come on. It had to be horrifying to little Johnny and Janey, at the ball park with their dad.

I leave you with a couple more thoughts. How about we seal the lanes that these kids use to get on to the field in the first place. If a kid runs down the aisle to one of the gates that lead to the field, have a security guard stop him from getting there. Guard the gates, for Christ’s sake! And if the police are going to be involved in stopping this, then have the commissioner at least send a cop to Citizens Bank Park fit enough to be able to run down a drunk or a kid in less than 30 seconds. What is this, Rocky trying to catch a greased chicken?

Listen to MIKE MISSANELLI weekday afternoons on 97.5 The Fanatic.