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Red Sox fan finds his arrest photo 'pretty cool'

ST. PETERSBURG

Chris Sciesinski didn't see the photo of himself until two bailiffs showed him Thursday's St. Petersburg Times in court that morning.

It is a photo Rays fans now know well:

Sciesinski is the Red Sox fan with the shaved head and black T-shirt who scuffled with security and police officers on top of Tampa Bay's dugout during Wednesday's 10-3 win over Boston at Tropicana Field.

Sciesinski was tackled, police say, as he tried to jump onto the field in the seventh inning — and he doesn't deny that was the plan.

So what does Sciesinski have to say for himself?

That he was tired of being hassled by security and the home crowd. Sciesinski said he was "striking back for Red Sox nation" for all the "hatred" from Rays fans.

As for the photo: "Pretty cool."

But all is not cool. Sciesinski is accused of drunkenly cursing Rays fans and was arrested on a misdemeanor charge of disorderly conduct.

And one of the St. Petersburg police officers who subdued him is himself under scrutiny.

That's because of something else shown in the photo: the officer held a Taser to Sciesinski's head.

• • •

St. Petersburg Police Department rules on the use of Taser guns are clear:

"Our policy forbids an officer from either pointing or discharging a Taser at someone's face, head, neck or groin area, for obvious reasons," said police spokesman Bill Proffitt.

Officer Pat McGovern did not discharge the Taser. The photo on Page 3B in some editions of Thursday's Times showed his finger wasn't even on the trigger as he helped Officer Willie Jennings make the arrest.

In fact, police say, Sciesinski wouldn't stop resisting or allow himself to be handcuffed until McGovern threatened to shock him with the Taser.

But the officer's superiors are reviewing the incident. They'll read McGovern's reports and ask him questions, Proffitt said, before deciding what, if any, discipline is required.

• • •

Sciesinski, 33, pleaded no contest to the charge Thursday morning. He also admitted to chanting "Let's go, Red Sox!" in the back of the police van.

The judge found him guilty. He was sentenced to the night he had already spent in jail and fined $375 and court costs.

The Sarasota DJ tells a different story. He wasn't drunk, he said, just "buzzed" after his third rum and Coke. He said he cursed in front of some kids but apologized. He said it was Rays fans who were being rowdy. He was just "heckling."

He said he went limp when he got tackled and that he was threatened with the Taser after he had surrendered. And he said "they beat me up pretty bad."

But Sciesinski said he won't file a complaint.

"If he would have Tased me, yeah, I would," he said. "But there's no need for ill feelings."

Times researcher Shirl Kennedy also contributed to this report. Jamal Thalji can be reached at thalji@sptimes.com or (727) 893-8472.

Red Sox fan finds his arrest photo 'pretty cool' 09/18/08 [Last modified: Friday, September 26, 2008 12:00pm]
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