Since we’ve been on the police blotter kick lately, we may as well continue with an epilogue to one of our previous taser stories. No, not the Florida John Kerry heckler, bro. Actually, we’re referring again to Pitt PG Levance Fields, who as you may recall, on Sept. 16 became involved in an altercation with an off-duty police officer:
According to Pittsburgh police reports, Fields, 20, was arguing with an unknown man and using obscene language outside Puro nightclub early on the morning of Sept. 16. An off-duty officer working security at the club on 19th Street said Fields appeared to have been drinking and ordered him to stop yelling. The officer said Fields punched him in the chest, grabbed his belt and reached for his gun, and the officer and his partner used a Taser gun to subdue and arrest Fields.
Let’s pick out the key piece of information here, in case you scanned over it.
Fields punched him in the chest, grabbed his belt and reached for his gun
Fields Should Thank
Pat O’Brien His Attorney
Now, we’re no expert in this sort of thing, but it seems like making a play for a cop’s gun is grounds for all kinds of nastiness to come down on you. So imagine our surprise when we heard this news from Pittsburgh:
Prosecutors agreed on Tuesday to drop charges of disarming a police officer, public drunkenness and aggravated assault, stemming from Fields’ alleged scuffle with a police officer on Sept. 16. A lesser charge of simple assault will stand. In exchange, Fields must spend nine months in the Accelerated Rehabilitation Disposition program and serve 50 hours of community service. If he completes the probation without incident, his record will be expunged, defense attorney Robert DelGreco Jr. said.
So Fields went from facing several felonies and a near-guarantee of jail time… to a lone misdemeanor of simple assault. And for what penance - fifty hours of community service? We think we did that much tree planting and mail sorting in one semester for alcohol violations in college.
Either Mr. DelGreco, Jr., is a master of advocacy on behalf of his clients, or the Allegheny County DA has Pitt season tickets. Considering the Panthers lost Aaron Gray and Levon Kendall from last year’s Sweet 16 squad, the potential loss of Fields could have made for a boring winter in the Steel City. As long as Fields can spare 1.28 hrs/week for community service over the next nine months and resist any and all urges to throw haymakers at officers, Pitt basketball should remain a viable entertainment option for Stephen A. Zappala, Jr., and his friends.