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Man accused of Dodger fan beating sues city for defamation

City News Service | 7/12/2012, 5 p.m.

A man cleared of the beating of San Francisco Giants fan Bryan Stow at Dodger Stadium on opening day last year is suing the city and Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck, alleging defamation.

Giovanni Ramirez, who is representing himself, is asking for unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.

"The beating was so horrific that news of the incident received worldwide media coverage and generated an immediate and sustained public outcry for the capture of the two assailants," according to the lawsuit filed Wednesday in Los Angeles Superior Court.

Ramirez says that after his May 2011 arrest, Beck called him the "primary aggressor" and a "thug" and insisted the correct man was in custody for the March 31, 2011, beating in the stadium parking lot that left Stow permanently disabled.

"These statements were all done prior to LAPD even conducting a live lineup and without any forensic evidence to link Ramirez to the Stow beating," his lawsuit states.

An LAPD spokeswoman declined to comment on the complaint.

Following his highly publicized arrested, Ramirez's attorney and family repeatedly maintained that police had targeted the wrong man, insisting that he had never even been to Dodger Stadium. Police, however, continued to insist that Ramirez was their man.

Weeks dragged on, and Ramirez was never charged with the beating, but was found to be in violation of parole due to a firearm found in the home where he was staying. He got out of custody in late March after serving a 10-month term.

With the investigation dragging on, Beck turned the investigation over to the LAPD's elite Robbery-Homicide Division, resulting in the arrests last year of two other men --Louie Sanchez and Marvin Norwood--in connection with the Stow beating.

They are accused of attacking Stow, then 42, as the Northern California paramedic was walking through the stadium parking lot with friends after the Dodgers' opening-day win over the Giants.
The father of two, who was wearing a Giants jersey, was repeatedly kicked and punched while he was on the ground, resulting in severe head trauma.

Sanchez and Norwood are awaiting trial in state court on charges of mayhem, assault and battery. They were charged in May in federal court with being felons in possession of firearms.

The LAPD issued a statement in March saying it "stands by its action in the arrest and incarceration of Giovanni Ramirez. In this case, the LAPD followed standard, established police procedures throughout the investigation. Giovanni Ramirez was never prosecuted for the beating of Bryan Stow."

The department received more than 800 separate tips that were logged and investigated, according to the LAPD statement.

"One of those tips, which came from a parole officer, led detectives to Giovanni Ramirez, a local resident on parole at the time, as a possible suspect. Working diligently on that and other tips, the LAPD detectives located an eyewitness who positively identified Mr. Ramirez as the individual who attacked Mr. Stow. Further investigation led detectives to a residence where Mr. Ramirez was staying. Detectives gathered evidence and prepared a search and arrest warrant for him. That warrant was signed by a judge, and (resulted) in the arrest of Mr. Ramirez and search of the residence."