A 17-year-old Philadelphia Phillies fan (at least he used to be) named Steve Consalvi decided to hop onto the field and run around last Monday. Not surprisingly, the police hopped on after him, several of them. Not surprisingly, he tried to evade them. Ha-ha. Fun.
Not surprisingly, one of the officers shot him.
With a Taser.
It’s probably a good thing they had the Taser, or they’d have been forced to shoot him dead with their guns, right? That’s surely what would have happened back in Frank Rizzo’s day.
Because, as I’ve said many times, appropriate use of a Taser is to disable someone who is an imminent threat. It is an alternative to firing a gun. It is not something to be used for convenience, not just because someone’s not doing what you want him to. Wait him out. Talk him down. Surround him and nab him.
No need for the Taser.
As there was no need for it the following night, when another fan, 34-year-old Thomas Betz, took to the field. Perhaps he was looking to experience a Taser himself, but it was not to be: Phillies security staff grabbed him and escorted him to waiting police, without benefit of electricity.
As should have happened with Mr Consalvi.
Once again: we have to take a strong stand against police abuse of Tasers.
[Here’s a New York Times editorial about the Taser incident.]