Ex-Pitt football player arrested in Oakland

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A former Pitt football player was arrested Saturday when police said he was highly intoxicated in Oakland, blocked their cruiser from driving down Atwood Street and resisted arrest so much that he had to be Tasered four times.

The suspect, Fernando M. Diaz, 20, of Bronx, N.Y., was taken into custody after a cruiser on routine patrol at 1:56 a.m. had to stop on Atwood because Diaz was standing in the middle of the street yelling at someone in an adjacent parking lot and refused to move. When he saw the police car, officers said, he responded "What the [expletive] are you going to do, hit me?"

He became belligerent and yelled at them, police said, and a crowd gathered. A man who said he played football with Diaz told him to "shut his mouth" and accept the citation for being publicly drunk, cautioning him that former Pitt head coach Dave Wannstedt was not there any more and new coach Todd Graham would make an example of him.

Police said Diaz, a redshirted freshman offensive lineman who was trying to get back on the team, refused to calm down and twice tried to walk away.

Once the citation was written, he told police he wouldn't accept it and began to walk away again, ignoring orders to stop. He fought with officers who attempted to cuff him, swinging at them with closed fists and with an arm on which one handcuff had been fastened, police said.

They contained him only after shooting him four times with a Taser.

The 6-foot-2, 280-pound Diaz was released from custody after a doctor made sure he had not been medically affected by the Tasers. He will be charged by summons with public drunkenness, resisting arrest, disorderly conduct, underage drinking and obstruction of a highway.

Diaz was with the team for training camp last season but left school in August 2010.

"We've wanted to establish clearly what the standards are," Graham said. "[Diaz] left the program for personal reasons, was trying to work his way back into the program -- he hadn't practiced with the team but he was trying to work his way back -- but unfortunately made a mistake, and there has to be accountability and that is why he is not going to be in our program anymore."


Michael A. Fuoco: mfuoco@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1968.


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