LOS ANGELES (CN) – A man cleared of the brutal beating of a San Francisco Giant’s baseball fan outside Los Angeles Dodgers stadium says that Chief of Los Angeles Police Charlie Beck fingered him for the crime and defamed him, even though investigators believed he was innocent.
Giovanni Ramirez says in his pro per Superior Court complaint that Beck “with reckless disregard for the truth” called him the “‘primary aggressor,'” a “‘thug,'” and assured the world’s media that police had its man.
In March last year, Giant’s baseball fan Bryan Stow, 43, was brutally beaten in the parking lot of the Dodgers stadium where he had gone to watch his team play their rivals in a home opener.
“Stow sustained repeated blows to the face causing him to fall to the ground and strike his head on the parking lot pavement,” the complaint states.
Stow survived but the beating left him with severe head injuries and in a medically induced coma. The Los Angeles Times reported last month that he is currently recovering in a therapeutic facility.
“After several weeks of the case going unsolved, there was increasing pressure from the media and the general public for the Los Angeles Police Department (‘LAPD’) to bring the responsible parties to justice,” the 10-page Superior Court complaint states.
Ramirez says he was investigated in late May 2011 and placed on a $1 million bail even though he was not at the March 31 baseball game, and had never been to a Dodgers game in “his entire life.”
Ramirez says no forensic evidence linked him to the crime, he had numerous alibis, and took a lie detector test to prove his innocence. Because of that police quickly concluded that Ramirez was not involved in the attack, the complaint says.
Beck, however, did not admit that Ramirez was innocent until late July, after Louie Sanchez and Marvin Norwood were arrested and charged.
“Between May 22, 2011 and July 21, 2011, Beck made numerous false and defamatory statements to the media that Ramirez was the principal perpetrator of the Stow beating,” the complaint says.
The lawsuit continues: “On May 22, 2011, immediately following the arrest of Ramirez, Beck held a news conference to announce the arrest of the ‘primary aggressor’ in the Stow beating. Beck stated: ‘I believe we have the right guy. I wouldn’t be standing here in front of you, I certainly wouldn’t be booking him later on tonight.’ He added: ‘[t]o be a police department in this city, it has to be effective. We have to be effective to put this thug in custody.'”
After numerous witnesses came forward to back up Ramirez’s claims that he was not at the game, Beck, without any evidence, still assured the media that police had the “correct man” and that he was the “‘primary suspect,'” according to the lawsuit.
Beck stuck to that line even after the Los Angeles District Attorney declined to press charges, and the police reassigned the case to its elite division, the complaint states.
Beck’s statements to the media were “false, defamatory, outrageous, and published with willful or callous disregard for Ramirez’s rights, with malice and oppression and with the intent to injure Ramirez’s reputation and his character,” the lawsuit says.
Louie Sanchez and Marvin Norwood pleaded not guilty to the assault on Stow last month, the Los Angeles Times reported. They will appear in court for a pretrial hearing on July 24.
Ramirez seeks a jury trial and unspecified damages for defamation. The Los Angeles Police Department did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment.