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Dodgers ordered to pay $100,000 to fan beaten by stadium security

A Riverside County man who alleges he was unfairly beaten by security personnel at Dodger Stadium on Opening Day in 2018 has been awarded $105,000 in punitive damages in Los Angeles Superior Court.

The court on Friday assessed $100,000 in damages from Francisco Rodriguez against the Dodgers and $5,000 against Dodgers security guard Erik Pena, who acted with malice. Several other security officers involved in the trial were found to have not acted inappropriately.

Rodriguez alleged that security guards forcibly removed him after he objected to the way another fan was treated during the March 29, 2018 game against the San Francisco Giants and was removed from strength. The guards who escorted Rodriguez to the exit continually beat him, including hitting his ribs with a baton, knocking him to the ground and repeatedly punching him with closed fists, according to the lawsuit, which also alleges that a guard placed his knee on Rodriguez, who told him, “I can’t breathe.” »

The Dodgers said Rodriguez grabbed Pena by the collar outside the stadium gates and punched him on the right cheek, according to court documents. Rodriguez admitted to hitting Pena and said the guard retaliated by hitting him up to six times.

The Dodgers have several cases against them in court. Three lawsuits filed in April 2022 describe three incidents in which security officers allegedly carried out acts of assault, battery, false imprisonment, civil rights violations and emotional distress against fans at Dodger Stadium.

According to court documents, the team’s security force is comprised of “non-sworn persons,” sworn uniformed Los Angeles Police Department officers and sworn law enforcement officers without insignia.

A Times investigation in September reported that security at Dodger Stadium increased after a 2011 incident in which two Dodgers fans confronted Giants fan Brian Stow and his friends in the parking lot after a game. They punched and kicked Stow, causing him brain damage. The men were sent to prison for assault and mutilation.

The Dodgers and LAPD responded to a Major League Baseball report that found deteriorating crowd behavior and a “culture of apathy and indifference” among baseball security personnel. team by increasing security with trained LAPD officers.

“We will expend every resource necessary to ensure the safety of fans at Dodger Stadium,” said then-Police Chief Charlie Beck. “This is going to be a game changer.”

After Beck announced a crackdown, police made only 20 reports in 2011, 12 of which involved alleged assault, battery or other violence against 12 victims at Dodger Stadium. However, by 2014, this total had increased to 69, including 33 violent incidents and 47 victims.

In 2022, 71 crime complaints, including 35 violent incidents and 47 victims, were filed, and as of mid-August 2023, police had filed 53 more. reports – 27 for violence against 33 victims. The alleged conduct included battery on a police officer, simple assault and assault with a deadly weapon.

The Dodgers ban tailgate parties in the parking lot, revoke season tickets for bad behavior and eject rowdy fans. Yet stricter enforcement by security personnel has resulted in a series of prosecutions for excessive use of force.

Los Angeles Times

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