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Giovanni Ramirez, ex-Bryan Stow beating suspect, speaks out

March 22, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
It was case of mistaken identity that took Giovanni Ramirez from obscurity to infamy. His likeness was plastered on billboards and a $200,000 reward was offered for the man initially believed to have beaten Giants fan Bryan Stow.

"I was on that road already, I was doing everything that was supposed to be done to stay out of trouble, and then, bam, I get hit with this," Ramirez said.

Ramirez said he was clueless about the attack when a SWAT team surrounded his apartment, arrested him and demanded answers.

"I couldn't begin to describe to you what I felt, I had no clue what was going on," he said.

The attack on opening day at Dodger Stadium triggered a massive manhunt that lasted two months. Then, LAPD Police Chief Charlie Beck made the emotional announcement that Bryan Stow's attacker had been caught.

The LAPD arrested Ramirez on a parole violation and sent him back to prison for a weapon found in an apartment where he had stayed. But investigators could not find evidence he was the attacker.

Two months after the arrest, images surfaced which revealed the fans who had jeered Stow inside the stadium. Ultimately, evidence linked 29-year-old Louie Sanchez and 30-year-old Marvin Norwood to the beating. Both men are now behind bars.

Stow is now in a Bay Area rehab facility with a traumatic brain injury.

"My heart goes out to his family, and everything that happened, I mean, even if they thought it was me at one point, I don't hold anything against them." Ramirez said.

Still, the LAPD defends its investigation saying:

"The LAPD followed standard, established police procedures throughout the investigation. Giovanni was never prosecuted in the beating of Bryan Stow."

Documents obtained by Eyewitness News show that LAPD had probable cause to zero in on Ramirez, including the witness description, a tip from Ramirez' own parole officer and a 10-year-old girl the same age as Ramirez's daughter seen in the getaway car. Ramirez admits there were a series of coincidences, though he would still like an apology.

Ramirez is still a parolee but said he is now focusing on his family and getting a job. His attorneys are looking into whether there is substantial evidence to file a lawsuit against LAPD.