PNC Park guard loses finger, Pittsburgh cop injures shoulder in struggle with belligerent fan


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A Pirates security supervisor lost his finger and a Pittsburgh police officer was hurt when a woman's refusal to leave PNC Park this weekend touched off a fight.

Rachel George, 21, and her father, Christopher George, 50, of Greensburg, face a preliminary hearing next week on charges that they attacked the officer and the guard, who was escorting her out of the ballpark during Saturday night's game against the Houston Astros. Each is charged with crimes including aggravated assault, conspiracy, harassment, disorderly conduct and public drunkenness.

Tensions flared after Ms. George was taken to the park's security office for smoking in her seat, according to a criminal complaint filed by Detective Frank Rende.

As Pirates security supervisor Joseph Risher was escorting her out of the right field gate, Ms. George's unidentified boyfriend assaulted him and ran off. Ms. George jumped on the guard's back and started to pull him backward, the complaint says.

Her father joined in the attack, pushing him up against a fence.

"While defending himself, Mr. Risher got his left hand caught on the fence, and when he was pulled by both (defendants) his left middle finger was ripped off at the second knuckle and was hanging by a piece of skin," Detective Rende wrote in the complaint.

Mr. Risher, he added, was screaming in pain.

Mr. Risher said surgery reattached his finger.

Once in handcuffs, the Georges continued to be uncooperative, Detective Rende wrote.

Ms. George cursed and spit on him. As Sgt. Sean Duffy, who intervened, was placing her in a holding cell at the ballpark she kicked him, prompting him to use a "palm strike" to the left side of her face. He said he felt a sharp pain in his right shoulder while doing this, requiring care at UPMC Mercy.

The Georges were taken to the Allegheny County Jail, where court records show they posted bail.

Phillip DiLucente, an attorney representing the Georges, questioned the level of force officers used against Ms. George, who he said suffered serious bruising.

He said he has asked PNC Park to retain video footage of the area where the incident occurred and from the security office.

"It appeared she had gone nine rounds with Mike Tyson," Mr. DiLucente said of Ms. George's injuries."I'm hoping this can be resolved once all the facts come to light."

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Sadie Gurman: sgurman@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1878. First Published May 16, 2012 4:15 AM


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