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LOS ANGELES (CNS) - The former Dodgers executive who made the decision to have more off-duty Los Angeles police officers wear polo shirts rather than regular uniforms during selected games testified by video deposition today that he thought the civilian attire could diffuse potential trouble.
Ramon Maytorena, the team's vice president of security from October 2008 until December 2010, said he believed troublemakers would not respect security personnel wearing police uniforms and badges and that such attire could escalate negative situations.
Maytorena was called as a defense witness in the final day of testimony in the Los Angeles Superior Court trial of a negligence lawsuit filed against former Dodgers owner Frank McCourt and Los Angeles Dodgers LLC on behalf of Bryan Stow, who suffered permanent brain damage in a beating in a stadium parking lot.
Stow was in court today for the first time in several weeks. The 45-year- old former paramedic listened as Maytorena said that while the number of incidents fell after more officers began wearing polo shirts, for some games it was still better to have a higher presence of personnel in regular police uniforms.
Maytorena, a former Secret Service agent, also said gang-related problems declined during his tenure and that there were no violent incidents in parking lot 2, where Stow was attacked by two Dodger fans after the opening day game against the rival San Francisco Giants on March 31, 2011.
Maytorena had left the Dodgers by that time and now lives in Arizona.
Security training underwent consistent review while he was in charge, Maytorena said. Security guards re-enacted such situations as a person needing first aid as well as how to best handle fans using foul language, Maytorena said.
Instead of counseling guests at their seats for making offensive remarks, ushers began escorting them up to a concourse area so that a security manager could try to convince them to change their behavior, Maytorena said.
Stow, in Giants gear, was punched from behind by Dodger fan Louie Sanchez after the home opener between the longtime rivals. Sanchez and his friend, Marvin Norwood, then kicked the Northern California father of two after he fell to the ground.
Stow's attorneys maintain security was insufficient inside and outside of the stadium and that no officers or guards were present in lot 2 when Stow was attacked.
Stow's attorneys maintain that his assailants should have been kicked out of Dodger Stadium hours earlier for unruly behavior and that more uniformed security within the stadium could have acted as a deterrent to their misconduct.
Rialto residents Sanchez, 31, and Norwood, 33, pleaded guilty in January to carrying out the attack on Stow and were sentenced to eight- and four-year terms, respectively. They are also both facing a federal weapons charge that could land them in a federal lockup for up to 10 years.
Defense attorneys say Sanchez, Norwood and Stow are to blame for his injuries. They assert Stow was drunk, gestured toward his assailants and made sarcastic remarks. McCourt filed a cross-complaint against Norwood and Sanchez that is being tried along with Stow's case.
Several witnesses for Stow, however, have denied during the trial that he antagonized his assailants.
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