Gov. Jerry Brown weighs protections for California sports fans
Gov. Jerry Brown is weighing a proposal to better protect sports fans from violence at California's professional football stadiums, hockey arenas and baseball parks.
In the wake of violent incidents across the state, including the 2011 beating of San Francisco Giants fan Bryan Stow at Dodger Stadium, the Legislature this week sent Brown a bill that would require major-league sports venues to clearly post phone numbers that fans can call or text to quickly summon stadium security for help.
In addition to the Stow beating, which left him seriously injured, the measure was drafted by Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Silver Lake) in reaction to incidents last year at a San Francisco 49ers-Oakland Raiders game in which two people were shot in the parking lot and a fan was beaten unconscious in a stadium bathroom.
Gatto's original proposal would have required creation of a registry of people who would be banned from professional sports arenas because of their involvement in violence, and included longer sentences for sports hooligans.
The registry idea was dropped when it ran into opposition from civil liberties groups including the ACLU. The bill sent to the governor this week would instead require signs showing the security phone numbers to be posted where spectators can see them from their seats and in parking lots.
"Many parents have told me that they are afraid to take their kids to a ballgame," Gatto said. "This law will allow fans to report incidents to stadium security before they escalate out of control."
-- Patrick McGreevy in Sacramento
Photo: Dodgers fan Eric Amend expresses his thoughts while attending a prayer vigil for Bryan Stow outside the USC Medical Center last year. Credit: Mariah Tauger/ Los Angeles Times