Police received a call at 4:15 p.m. regarding the 17-year-old youth, who was allegedly breaking the side-view mirrors off vehicles at Mitchell Park. Police Lt. Dave Flohr said a security guard had called the police.
Police found the youth mingling with a group of people at a musical event at the park, a concert put together by various Tongan churches from the area.
When police approached, the youth punched an officer on the side of the head, Flohr said. The officer took the youth to the ground and, after deploying a Taser, took him into custody.
A large crowd gathered during the altercation, and officers requested more squad cars as a precautionary measure. Emergency medical personnel were staged at a distance, as police initially considered the situation dangerous, according to dispatch reports.
However, Flohr said, the crowd remained peaceful, and officers left within a short time.
The youth was taken to a local hospital, where he was checked and cleared, Flohr said. He was subsequently taken to the police station and charged with battery on an officer, felony vandalism, resisting arrest and being drunk in public.
The incident was the first instance in two years since Palo Alto police have used the electroshocking Taser. The department began using Tasers in 2007 and was involved in several high-profile instances, including a 2008 case in which a man was stunned after police allegedly lured him from his van. The city ended up paying a $35,000 settlement.
In 2010, the department revised its Taser policy, specifying the weapon can only be fired when a suspect poses an "immediate threat of physical injury."
The last time a police officer fired a Taser was in mid-2010. Each Taser instance is reviewed by the department's independent auditor, Michael Gennaco, who provides the City Council with twice-yearly reports. The next report, covering February through July, is expected in the fall.