Tuesday, May 30, 2017

It’s all fun and games until someone gets arrested: Predators fan charged for catfish toss

By Daniel Horwitz, Supreme Court of Tennessee Blog - In an absolutely outrageous abuse of law enforcement authority, Pittsburgh police are celebrating the fact that they have just filed criminal charges against a Nashville Predators fan for tossing a catfish onto the ice during game one of the Stanley Cup finals. Until the inevitable change of course—when law enforcement claims that this was all just an innocent misunderstanding that was really meant to be a joke—the culprit faces criminal prosecution for: (1) possessing instruments of crime (specifically: a catfish); (2) disorderly conduct (catfish throwing); and (3) disrupting meetings and processions....

Jacob Waddell
The statutes that Jacob Waddell is currently accused of violating can be found here, here, and here, respectively.  His “possessing instruments of a crime” charge alone appears to carry up to five years in prison and a $10,000.00 fine.  Hilarious indeed. ....There is no such thing as an insignificant criminal charge.  People who have a criminal record ... are all instantly subject to legal discrimination in employment, housing, and other areas of civic life. (Read more)
ABC News ·A Nashville Predators fan who threw a dead catfish on the ice in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final is facing criminal charges, the Pittsburgh Police …

My Comment: I agree with Daniel Horwitz. This is no laughing matter. It is not a joke. If convicted on all counts he could face six years behind bars. Even if not convicted, he could face a lifetime of being discriminated against because he now has a criminal record.  I understand the team loyalty and exuberance of sports fans but it is an abuse of police power to bring criminal charges against someone for a silly good-natured gimmick. It is a danger when police have such poor judgement and discretion. I would hope that Nashville police would not do the same thing in similar circumstances. The charges should be dropped, the record of the arrest expunged and the policeman who brought the charges should be disciplined.

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