By Calvin Palmer
Angered that his friend had been ejected from the stands during a Philadelphia Phillies game for taunting and spitting at an off duty-police captain and his two daughters, a 21-year-old New Jersey man stuck his fingers down his throat and vomited over the police officer and his 11-year-old daughter.
Today, Matthew Clemmens, of Cherry Hill, pleaded guilty to simple assault, disorderly conduct and harassment.
Clemmens and his friend attended the April 14 Phillies-Nationals game at Citizens Bank Park. They were spilling beer, cursing and heckling Michael Vangelo, an Easton police captain and his two daughters from the time they arrived at their seats, said Assistant District Attorney Patrick Doyle.
Vangelo’s 15-year-old daughter asked the pair to stop the profanity, and Vangelo complained to security that Clemmens’ friend was spitting, with some of it hitting his 11-year-old daughter, Doyle said.
After the friend was ejected, Clemmens was sitting alone behind the Vangelos when he answered his cell phone and said, “I need to do what I need to do. I’m going to get sick,” the prosecutor said.
Clemmens then put his fingers down his throat and threw up on the father, with some vomit splashing on Vangelo’s younger daughter He then punched Vangelo several times in the head before other fans in the stands subdued him.
As Clemmens was led out of the the park he screamed expletives at the crowd.
A mug shot of Clemmens showed him with a swollen black eye, and authorities acknowledged he was hit as he was being subdued. No one else was charged in the case.
In exchange for the guilty pleas by Clemmens, charges including reckless endangerment and corruption of minors were dropped.
Doyle said the Vangelos were satisfied with the case’s resolution and plan to attend the sentencing, which Family Court Judge Kevin Dougherty scheduled for July 30.
Sentencing guidelines call for Clemmens to get probation, Doyle said.
Dressed in a navy suit and accompanied by his parents, the defendant appeared nervous as the charges against him were read. He did not address the judge beyond quietly replying “yes” as the description of events was read.
Public defender Richard Hark said his client has had no prior run-ins with the law and his behavior, which outraged fans in Philadelphia and beyond, was out of character.
“It’s probable he consumed too much alcohol,” Hark said, adding that Clemmens only turned 21 in March. “It’s not a justification for his behavior, just an explanation.”
Clemmens and his parents refused to comment as they left the courthouse.
[Based on a report by the Associated Press.]