Taser use justified at Fiesta Bowl, report says

Updated: September 23, 2005, 10:44 AM ET
Associated Press

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Arizona State University police made the right call when they zapped up to two dozen fans with stun guns at the Fiesta Bowl in January, a new report concludes.

Glendale police officials wrote in an independent investigation released Thursday that ASU police and state Department of Public Safety officers used an appropriate amount of force when they stunned some fans who stormed the field following the Jan. 2 game at Sun Devil Stadium.

The report also states the officers should be "commended for a job well done," and scolds football players and the media for "getting in the way and egging the students on."

"If we have another situation that looks like this one, then yes, we'd use Tasers," said ASU police Cmdr. Allen Clark. "Nothing precludes using anything on your belt to handle crowds."

University spokeswoman Terri Shafer said the stun guns were used to control specific individuals who did not obey verbal commands.

"[The officer] stated that during the arrest, several students gathered around the officers and the Taser was used as a deterrent to keep the students back," reads one portion of the 12-page report which also states that "several officers arced their Tasers in an attempt to curb unwanted behavior."

The report estimates that between 100 and 250 fans rushed the field after the game between Utah and Pittsburgh.

Police said some fans punched officers while others incited riots, and several people were arrested.

DPS is reviewing its use-of-force policy, but officials said the review is routine and not as a result of the Fiesta Bowl incident.

"Use of force is a high liability area, so we continue to review policy and procedures," Clark said. "Very little revision is being done."


Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press

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