Protester files police complaint after being tackled by NFL’s Wagner

Sport

The animal-rights activist who was tackled by Los Angeles Rams linebacker Bobby Wagner has apparently filed an assault complaint following the incident.

The protester, widely identified as Alex Taylor of Direct Action Everywhere, ran on to the field carrying a pink flare during the Rams’ game against the San Francisco 49ers on Monday night. After evading security, he was tackled by the 240lb Wagner, a Super Bowl champion and six-time All Pro. Video of the hit soon went viral.

On Wednesday, a Santa Clara police spokesman did not mention Taylor by name but told Yahoo Sports that an assault complaint had been filed around the incident.

“It’s an active investigation,” Lieutenant Cuong Phan said on Wednesday. “I can confirm a person did come in [on Tuesday] at 1.45pm and filed a report. However, it’s an ongoing investigation, so we’re not able to release details at this time.”

Phan did not say whether the complaint was against Wagner or the Rams organization as a whole.

Wagner said he had tackled the protester out of concern for others’ safety.

“That’s not making a play,” Wagner said after the game. “That’s just keeping it safe. You don’t know what that fan got or what they’re doing. You see it all the time, and we don’t know what they’re carrying in their pockets. It’s whatever that little smoke stuff is, but that shit could be dangerous. … One of the [security] guys on the other side, it looked like he got hurt, and security looked like he was struggling, so I was frustrated, so I took it out on him.”

Direct Action Everywhere is an animal-rights group. Monday’s stunt was apparently made to raise awareness of the trial of two of the group’s members who are accused of breaking into a pork production facility in 2017.

The group this week called Wagner’s tackle a “blatant assault.”