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Dodgers play first home game with new security measures

The Dodgers played at home for the first time with new security rules following the beating of a Giants fan in March.

April 14, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
The Los Angeles Dodgers played at home Thursday for the first time with new security measures following the brutal beating of a San Francisco Giants fan after the Dodgers' home opener.

Fans will see a change at Dodgers Stadium, including a zero-tolerance policy for misbehaving fans.

After the Dodgers opening-day game on March 31, Giants fan and paramedic Bryan Stow was severely beaten by two people in the stadium parking lot.

Stow, 42, of Santa Cruz remains in a medically-induced coma in critical condition.

"He's gone four days without a seizure, which is great," said Stow's cousin, John Stow. "They're actually backing off on the sedation now. It should be all out of his system by morning, and then we're just waiting for Bryan. When Bryan is ready to open his eyes, he's going to come back to us."

Authorities are still searching for two suspects they say assaulted him in the parking lot.

Stadium owner Frank McCourt and Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck promised an increased police presence at games as well as a long list of policing upgrades including closed-circuit cameras, license plate readers, observation posts and better lighting in the parking lot.

Fans can expect to see some 60 to 80 police officers, about twice as normally seen.

But some say it's about time safety was reined in at the stadium.

"We've been coming to games for over 30 years and we've had issues," said West Covina resident Daniel Guerrero.

Guerrero said he stopped bringing his kids to games years ago.

"Fights almost as bad as the Coliseum. The last few years, it's been really bad," Guerrero said.

Other fans agree and say they wish the Dodgers had vamped up security sooner.

"The guys are drinking, and they see girls by themselves, and they start approaching," said Los Angeles resident Angelica Rodriguez. "It gets scary at points because it's so dark."

In addition to the new safety measures, half-priced beer will no longer be available at selected games, but half-priced food and soft drinks will still be up for sale.

The Dodgers faced heavy criticism for the half-priced beer promotion following Stow's attack.

An exclusive Eyewitness News poll conducted by SurveyUSA shows 55 percent of respondents said they believe there should be a limit on the number of beers one person can buy over the course of a game. Seventeen percent believe the Dodgers don't need to change their beer sales policy and 25 percent said the stadium should stop selling beer altogether.

While most fans welcome the increased security, some are upset the changes are only happening after someone was seriously hurt.

"It's always just like that. Something has to happen for improvement," Rodriguez said.

Authorities say they've received hundreds of tips but have made no arrests. A $150,000 reward is being offered.

If you have any information about the suspects, you're urged to call the Los Angeles Police Department at (877) LAPD-24-7 (877-527-3247).