Man cleared in Stow beating sues LAPD and Beck for defamation
A man arrested but then cleared in the beating of San Francisco Giants fan Bryan Stow outside Dodger Stadium last year has sued Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck and the department for defamation.
In a lawsuit filed Wednesday, Giovanni Ramirez contends that Beck's comments at a May 22, 2011, news conference did his reputation untold harm.
"With reckless disregard for the truth," the suit states, Beck called Ramirez the "primary aggressor" and "a thug," and when asked how sure he was that Ramirez was the culprit replied: "I wouldn't be standing here in front of you. I certainly wouldn't be booking him later on tonight."
When two other men were later arrested in connection with the attack on Stow, Beck would describe Ramirez's arrest as "regrettable."
Stow was brutally attacked in the Dodger Stadium parking lot after the home opener in March 2011 and left with brain damage. A paramedic and father of two, he continues to undergo intensive therapy.
Ramirez alleges he arrested amid pressure from the media and the public for the department to capture the attackers. His attorneys and family maintained he was innocent and never attended the baseball game, but police insisted he was the suspect. Though he was never charged, he was held on a parole violation for possession of a gun by a felon and sent back to prison for 10 months.
According to the lawsuit, Beck's actions were "false, defamatory, outrageous and published with willful or callous disregard for Ramirez's rights," and designed to injure his reputation. The suit alleges that as late as June 12, Beck insisted the LAPD had the right man.
Beck, however, was forced in July 2011 to admit his department arrested the wrong man after the elite Robbery Homicide Division took over the case and arrested Louie Sanchez and Marvin Norwood.
Ramirez's suit seeks unspecified damages for defamation.
-- Richard Winton
Photo: LAPD Chief Charlie Beck in a 2011 file photo. Credit: Bob Chamberlin / Los Angeles Times