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Initial Stow assault suspect Giovanni Ramirez files federal lawsuit against Los Angeles, LAPD Chief Beck

Giovanni Ramirez is seen in this undated file photo.
October 5, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
Giovanni Ramirez, a man arrested for a severe assault in 2011, filed a federal lawsuit against the city of Los Angeles and LAPD Chief Charlie Beck on Sept. 20, 2012. The suit contends Ramirez's civil rights were violated and that he was publically defamed with intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Ramirez was suspected of being one of two men involved in the beating of Bryan Stow, a man who was hospitalized and suffered brain damage after an altercation in the parking lot of Dodger Stadium on March 31, 2011, after the opening-day baseball game, in which two men attacked and assaulted Stow. The case garnered massive media attention.

In the subsequent investigation, police sought two suspects using two composite sketches. Ramirez appeared to resemble one of the sketches. Several weeks after the beating incident, on May 22, he was arrested in a police raid for a parole violation. He was held on $1 million bond as a suspect in the beating.

LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said in a news conference on May 22 following the arrest that police had arrested the "primary aggressor," that "I believe we have the right guy. ... We have to be effective to put this thug in custody." The lawsuit contends there was a lack of evidence against Ramirez, and no police lineup had been conducted. Ramirez's lawsuit contends that after several weeks of the assault going unsolved, the LAPD responded to pressure to make an arrest, prompting the chief's statement.

After his arrest, Ramirez submitted to a polygraph test and consented to palm and fingerprint tests. The lawsuit says that by May 24, the L.A. County District Attorney's Office had determined no charges could be filed against Ramirez in the Stow beating.

Several witnesses corroborated Ramirez's alibi that he was not at Dodger Stadium on the night of the beating. Beck continued to accuse Ramirez in public, including a March 31 statement that "Giovanni Ramirez is, and was, and has been our primary suspect in the Stow beating."

Ramirez's lawsuit alleges that Beck "knew that each and every statement" he made regarding Ramirez was false. The suit also alleges the May 22 search of the location where he was arrested was unreasonable and unconstitutional designed to obtain evidence in the Stow beating.

Two other suspects were arrested on July 22, 2011, and criminal charges were filed against them. Ramirez's lawsuit contends that between his arrest on May 22 and July 22, Beck made "numerous false and defamatory statements to the media that Ramirez was the principal perpetrator" of the Stow beating.

The lawsuit seeks a jury trial for compensatory and punitive damages.

LAPD Commander Andrew Smith released a statement Friday:

"Mr. Ramirez is of course free to file whatever lawsuits he and his lawyer want. It's important to note that it was the same Dept. and Chief that continued the investigation into the matter after Ramirez's arrest.

"Remember that Mr. Ramirez was arrested because he was on parole and had access to a gun, not for the Bryan Stow beating.

"Also, our investigation led to the subsequent arrests. We went where the evidence took us and continued pursuing the matter to be certain we had all of the evidence and the right suspects."

Ramirez's lawyer, Okorie Okorocha, released a statement Friday:

"Yes, my client has had a rough life and survived worse struggles than most men will ever even witness. He was doing his best at the time, and out of no where, Charlie Beck made him public enemy number one. They come up with a warrant for a third party's house, that my client was seen at. The search warrant lead to the police finding a hidden gun that belonged to the owner of the house. Nevertheless, my client was sent to prison for a year for 'access to a gun.' Mr. Ramirez is indisputably innocent and has been decimated by a police chief who is malicious and reckless with his self serving accusations to make him seem efficient."


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