Pitt basketball player Levance Fields jailed in assault on officer
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A University of Pittsburgh basketball player had to be stunned with a Taser outside a Strip District nightclub early yesterday morning after he attempted to grab a police officer's weapon.
Levance Fields was charged with one count each of aggravated assault, disarming a police officer, disorderly conduct and public drunkenness.
The incident took place at 1:50 a.m. at Pure nightclub. According to a police affidavit, an officer working an off-duty detail at Pure spotted Mr. Fields yelling at another police officer. The officer approached Mr. Fields and asked him to stop yelling and using offensive language.
Mr. Fields then went into the street and began arguing with an unknown black man. The officer approached Mr. Fields again and repeated his request that he stop yelling and using offensive language, at which time Mr. Fields cursed at the officer and struck him in the chest, police reported.
Mr. Fields then grabbed at the officer's duty belt and reached for the officer's weapon, according to the affidavit. The officer pushed him away, and a security officer shot Mr. Fields in the chest with a Taser.
Mr. Fields was taken to Mercy Hospital before being locked up in the Allegheny County Jail. He was released on his own recognizance, and a preliminary hearing has been set for next Monday.
According to the affidavit, Mr. Fields, 20, had a strong odor of alcohol on his breath and had red, glassy eyes.
Vince Isoldi, owner of Pure, said last night that the party at his establishment was an 18-and-older event. He said there was no alcohol on the premises.
"All the liquor was taken out of the club," Mr. Isoldi said. "If he was intoxicated, he came in intoxicated.
"I wasn't there, but from what I understand, they had asked him to leave three or four times, and he kept yelling at them."
Pitt basketball coach Jamie Dixon issued a statement through the sports information department last night, saying:
"Earlier today I was informed of an incident at an off-campus location involving Levance Fields. At this juncture, we will let the judicial process run its course before determining what disciplinary action is necessary. We have built a successful program at Pitt, on and off the court, by prioritizing personal accountability and responsibility. We will not compromise when it comes to those values."
Mr. Fields, a 5-foot-10, 195-pound native of Brooklyn, N.Y., is an important member of the Pitt team. He led the team in assists last season and averaged 9.2 points per game.
Mr. Fields was named second-team all-Big East and was one of 17 finalists for the Bob Cousy Award, which is given to the nation's top point guard. He is one of two returning starters for Pitt, which advanced to the third round of the NCAA tournament in March.
Mr. Fields is the second Pitt player to be arrested in the past five months. Keith Benjamin, a senior, was arrested and charged with simple assault in April after an altercation with a former girlfriend. That charge was later dropped.
First Published September 17, 2007 12:00 am