Danbury Hockey Fan Tasered By Police
Danbury police using a Taser to subdue a fan at a New
England Stars game (Danbury News-Times photo)
Just in case anyone thought Danbury's troubled hockey legacy was a thing of the past...
From the Danbury News-Times, April 2, 2007:
A brawl that erupted at Danbury Arena's infamous Section 102 during a New England Stars hockey game Saturday night resulted in five arrests for breach of peace, three injured Danbury police officers, one 375-pound fan being subdued with a Taser and a promise by Mayor Mark Boughton that there would be a stronger police presence at the Stars' next home game.
"We'll meet with the team officials on Monday," Boughton said Sunday. "We'll increase the police presence at the games. Then we'll monitor them."
The brawl in Saturday's game started in the third period of a runaway 20-4 win by the Stars over the Danville (Ill.) Pounders. The fight started on the ice, but spread into Section 102, when one of the players on the Pounders' bench tried to attack the fans.
The Stars' head coach, Stephan Seeger said the cause of the brawl could be directly attributable to the behavior of the Pounders' bench.
"They were pointing their sticks at the fans, they were trying to get up into the crowd," Seeger said. "One of their players left the ice and said he wouldn't play anymore."
Danbury police estimated there were about 700 people at Saturday night's game. The police usually provide three officers for each game paid for by the Stars. When it appeared the violence might escalate, the Danbury police issued an alert, calling all available units to the arena. Officers from the Bethel Police Department and the Western Connecticut State University Police Department responded, as well.
One Danbury officer, Len LaBonia, injured his back during a scuffle in the stands when Mike Bernardi, 32, of Cheshire fell on him. Bernardi is 6-feet, 3-inches tall, weighs 375 pounds and is known as the "guy with the horn" who provides amplified jeering during the games. Police subdued him with a Taser when they failed to get a pair of handcuffs on him.
Bernardi said getting jolted with a Taser wasn't that painful. "Sort of like putting jumper cables on your ears," he said.
The New England Stars are 18-0 in the four-team, semi-pro NEHL, and have won most of their games by blowout scores like 22-2 and 14-1.