August 29, 2008

NYPD Kicks Fan Out Of Yankees Stadium For Not Being Patriotic Enough

wcbstv.com

Aug 28, 2008 8:12 pm US/Eastern

Fan Refutes NYPD Version Of Yankee Stadium Drama

Man Says Cops Kicked Him Out When He Tried To Go To Men's Room During 'God Bless America'

Witness Comes Forward; Affirms Fan's Version

video
NEW YORK (CBS) ― Some fans are coming forward to tell CBS 2 what they saw when a man was kicked out of Yankee Stadium on Tuesday night after he apparently tried to use the restroom during the playing of "God Bless America."

A Queens man is considering legal action against the Yankees after he was ejected from the contest against the Boston Red Sox.

The incident began during the patriotic 7th inning stretch at Yankee Stadium, when nature called on Bradford Campeau-Laurion. When he tried to leave his seat during the traditional singing of God Bless America, however, he says he was stopped by a NYPD officer who said he'd have to wait until the song was done.

"I then said to him, 'I don't care about God Bless America. I just need to use the bathroom.' As soon as I said that, he immediately pinned my arm behind my back," Campeau-Laurion told CBS 2.

The 29-year-old says two officers pinned both of his arms behind his back and ejected him from the stadium.

"He shoved me out the front gate and told me get out of their country if I didn't like it," he said.

Campeau-Laurion says he didn't know theYankees had a rule restricting movement in the stands during the playing of God Bless America. The rule is enforced by ushers, stadium security and the NYPD.

The New York Civil Liberties Union says, however, that New York's finest crossed the line.

"Because they are enforcing a rule of that imposes political correctness through refusing to let somebody go to bathroom while a patriotic song is playing, that violates Constitutional rights," said Donna Lieberman, a spokesperson for the NYCLU.

The Yankees say it's now a police matter.

The NYPD told CBS 2 a different version of the story, however, saying in a statement:

"The officers observed a male standing on his seat, cursing, using inappropriate language and acting in a disorderly manner while reeking of alcohol, and decided to eject him rather than subject others to his offensive behavior.

Campeau-Laurion was at the game with a Yankees season ticket holder who couldn't believe the cops allegations.

"That's ridiculous," said the fan, who asked not to be identified. "That's completely false."

Campeau-Laurion says he did have two beers at the game. He doesn't know if he'll seek legal action, but he's discussing his options with the NYCLU.

Meanwhile, after seeing CBS 2's report on the incident, witness Pete Montenez contacted CBS 2 to refute the officers' story. He does not know Campeau-Laurion, but was sitting near him during the game, saying he watched as it all went down.

"As far as him hootin' and hollerin' and standing on the chair, no way," he says.

But a spokesperson fro Yankee Stadium put CBS 2 in touch with another fan who says Campeau-Laurion cursed at police when they asked him to stay for the song.

"He stuck his hand out and says, you know, 'I need to get by here,' and he used some profanity," the fan says.

A spokesman for the Yankees says there is no rule against moving or using a bathroom during a game but police say if a fan is disruptive to others they have the right to kick that fan out. Police intend to deal with the witness' account in court.

The NYCLU says Yankee Stadium can make rules keeping people in their seats during songs, but the moment a police officer -- representing the government -- enforces those rules, it's a First Amendment violation.

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