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April 11, 2011
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Video: Combative baseball fan hit with baton, TASER

Man was arrested at the Pirates game and charged with four misdemeanors, including public drunkenness and resisting arrest

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

PITTSBURGH, Pa. — Scott J. Ashley, 41, of Friendship was arrested at Saturday's Pirates game and charged with four misdemeanors, including public drunkenness and resisting arrest.

The video shows two officers taking at least six swings at a man meeting Ashley's description, first Tasering him to little effect before clubbing him in the neck, head, side and legs before he is eventually cuffed on the concourse floor.

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"We both feared for our safety," city detective Francis Rende wrote in a criminal complaint filed yesterday. The other officer named is Lebella, but no first name is given.

City police spokeswoman Diane Richard declined comment through an e-mail saying she had not reviewed the police reports. Police had to intervene because the man appeared to be drunk, bothered fans in his section and belligerently refused to cooperate with PNC Park staff who asked him to leave, team spokesman Brian Warecki said.

"The PNC Park staff is well trained to ensure the safety of our fans to maintain the fan-friendly environment at PNC Park for all fans and followed PNC Park procedures last night when dealing with a disruptive guest," Warecki said in a statement.

The video begins as a stocky bald man, wearing jean shorts and a red, white and blue windbreaker with "USA" on the back and front is being escorted by police down the stadium steps. The police description of Ashley matches the video, including clothing, his bald head and description as a 220-pound, 5-foot, 9-inch man.

Rende wrote that Ashley had refused to comply at his seat, even asking police to move out of his way so he could see the game. He then began inciting the crowd, according to Rende, and the crowd started chanting "USA!" which can be heard on the video.

The violence began when Ashley, once down the steps, tried to high-five another fan. A park staff member then appears to put his arm up to try and block the high-five, and Ashley responds by elbowing that man, whom the police report names as Travis Skibiel. It does not give Skibiel's affiliation, but says Ashley then threatened to kill Skibiel if he ever sees him again.

That's when the Tasing started.

Wires can be seen reflecting in the light, seemingly connected to Ashley's arm. The video shows one police officer confronting him as another approaches from behind shortly thereafter.

Ashley, facing the officer with the Taser, says something unintelligible as he puts his arms out at his sides. That officer clubs him in the neck the first time, and Ashley then turns slightly.

With his chest out, he leaves one foot closer to the officer and slightly pushes his arms out further. Rende wrote that Ashley was taking a fighting stance.

In the video, Ashley then says things to the police, then the clicking and zapping of the Taser resumes and police start a flurry of club strikes.

"I then tased (Ashley) but it had no effect on him," Rende wrote. "I then physically grabbed (him) to place him under arrest, (he) was a very muscular man and fought with both of us. I kept activating the taser to no avail."

A woman's voice can be heard shouting "Oh my god! Stop it!" Ashley tries to walk away, and then the officers throw him to the ground to subdue him.

Some in the crowd start chanting "USA! USA!" repeatedly, then other obscenities and boos mixed in as police hoist Ashley up and take him away. It isn't visible in the video, but Rende claims people were spitting and throwing drinks on the officers, and that the cursing was directed at them.

"We were being surrounded by the drunked fans and finally got the actor up and took him to the security office," Rende wrote. "All the while facing the wrath of a very hostile crowd."

Another officer took Ashley to Allegheny General Hospital on the North Side without incident, according to the report.

Published with permission from the By Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.



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