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Witnesses describe beating of Giants fan at Dodger Stadium

April 7, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
As the search continues for the suspects who attacked a San Francisco Giants fan outside Dodger Stadium last week, former Los Angeles Police Chief Bill Bratton has been hired to help the Dodgers review security at the stadium.

Bratton said that this will be a long engagement with the Dodgers that will include a review of security policies at the stadium and at the parking lot. He said he will not only work with the analysis, but also the implementation.

Dodgers owner Frank McCourt said in a phone interview that Bratton was the most logical choice to review Dodgers security.

"Bill was an expert in public safety. He's one of the world's experts in that area, and he knows L.A. like the back of his hand," McCourt said.

Two witnesses to the beating of Giants fan Bryan Stow on opening day described the scene in the stadium parking lot.

"He was out from the punch," said Joe Lagano. "He hit the back of his head on the pavement and at that point the guy who attacked him came up and started kicking him."

The Santa Cruz resident was attacked by two suspects wearing Dodger gear. He remains in a medically induced coma.

"We knew it was bad, we saw the bleeding from his ears," said another witness, Dolores Donley, who was with Lagano. "It was bad."

Both witnesses said that when the assailants started pummeling Stow, Dodger security couldn't be found.

"It probably took about 10 to15 minutes before anybody from the stadium showed up," Lagano said. "It seemed like he was down forever."

In a news conference Thursday, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and LAPD Chief Charlie Beck tried to deflect criticism away from the Dodgers organization.

Beck said the LAPD has let the Dodgers handle their own security, but that will now be changing with a stepped-up police presence in and around the stadium.

"You're going to see a sea of blue, and it's not going to be Dodger blue," Beck said. "It's going to be LAPD blue."

Both the Mayor and Beck said they plan to bill the team for the extra officers. Though they didn't say how much that would be, they said the increased police presence will be substantial.

"This will be a game changer," Beck said. "People will be awed by the response of the L.A. Police Department to this because we will not suffer this as a city again."

Los Angeles resident Lelan Zales says he's not only worried about security inside the stadium, but also out on the streets and in the surrounding parks.

"A lot of people out here are drinking. I've seen them give citations to people for having alcohol in the park," Zales said.

Zales said he has lived in the community around Dodger Stadium for 30 years and says drinking is a problem in the area.

"It's just knuckleheads that are out of control," Zales said. "They beat a guy almost to death, for what?"

Bratton said alcohol consumption at games will be looked into.

"Unfortunately, alcohol often times is a contributing factor, a significant factor," Bratton said. "At the same time, you also have, unfortunately, a lot of knuckleheads out there who don't necessarily need the inducement of alcohol."

Some Los Angeles residents said they don't feel security is an issue.

"Occasionally, I've been called 'shaggy' walking past the traffic as they're getting out of the game, but I've never felt threatened," said Freddy Cristy of Los Angeles. "For the amount of people who are going past that street, most Dodger fans seem to actually be really polite."

There is a $100,000 reward for information that leads to the arrest of the suspects. According to a report in the Los Angeles Times, radio personality Tom Leykis said he was adding $50,000 to the reward.

Anyone with information is urged to call (877) LAPD-24-7.