A San Diego judge has sided with a Kansas City Chiefs fan who was arrested after he resisted security guards attempting to eject him from a Chiefs-Chargers game at Qualcomm Stadium for using an obscene finger gesture and language.
Jason Ensign, who was wearing a Chiefs jersey at the 2009 game, fought back when security guards tried to remove him -- reportedly slugging and biting them. He was charged with misdemeanor battery.
But Superior Court Judge Gale Kaneshiro said security guards overstepped their authority and Ensign, a nurse, was within his rights to resist.
The upraised middle finger, she wrote in an opinion released this week, violates the National Football League "Fan Code of Conduct" but is not a crime. The arrest and charges will be struck from the record, she ruled.
"Ensign was not a physical threat to either the private security guards or the fans at the game at the time of the initial use of unlawful force by the private security guards," Kaneshiro ruled.
The guards should have told Ensign that his right to be present at the stadium was being revoked and he was being removed as a trespasser instread of merely grabbing him and using "pain compliance" techniques, according to the decision.
San Diego City Atty. Jan Goldsmith said that while Ensign's ouster was ruled improper, the judge's decision upholds the right of the NFL to enforce its code of conduct, as long as certain steps are taken.
"These are sporting events that families should feel free to attend without being caught up in a brawl," he said.