Update to the Pittsburgh police beating/tazing

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In the wake of that video we posted earlier of the guy getting beaten and the tazed by police at PNC Park in Saturday — posted again below for your convenience — the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (via Big League Stew) has tracked down the police report and has comments from the Pittsburgh Police Department:

“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 … “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.”

Like I said this morning, you can’t necessarily judge what went down just by watching the video. At the same time, as many commenters said earlier, it does seem like a rather … unorthodox way to take down a belligerent suspect.  The tazer seemed to hit the guys jacket, not the guy himself. The first hit with the club was then met with … nothing, as if they were waiting to see what the guy would do. If the crowd was getting hostile and unruly, it probably had something to do with the fact that the police didn’t seem to have total control of the situation for a good while.  It was just odd.

I’ll leave it to independent law enforcement experts to say whether this situation was handled correctly, but at least we have more information now.

Royals to sign Billy Hamilton

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LAS VEGAS — Jim Bowden reports that the Kansas City Royals are close to agreement with outfielder Billy Hamilton. He says they are “just working through bonuses and pending physical.” Hamilton was non-tendered by the Cincinnati Reds a couple of weeks ago following six seasons with the club, making him a free agent.

Hamilton is one of the fastest men to ever play the game, but he has never come around as a hitter. In his six seasons with the Reds he put up a line of .245/.298/.333 (OPS+ 70). While he has stolen 277 bases over that period, getting caught 63 times, he has never once led the league in steals, primarily because he just doesn’t get on base enough. He is an excellent center fielder, but the bat is so sub-par that even the glove and the wheels are not good enough to justify going to arbitration with him.

Perhaps a change of scenery will do him good. He will certainly bring some excitement to Kansas City. He’s a fun guy to watch play.