A sheepish apology from LAPD Chief Charlie Beck isn't good enough for former Dodger beating suspect Giovanni Ramirez, who was dramatically arrested in May 2011 for allegedly bashing in Giants fan Bryan Stow's head on Opening Day.
As we found two months later, Ramirez wasn't the guy who did it. The LAPD had rushed its high-profile investigation to the point of arresting some East L.A. gangster with a record who wasn't even at the baseball game…
… based on meager clues like 1) he resembled one of the suspect sketches, and 2) he had suspiciously gotten a bunch of new neck tattoos right after the beating.
So Ramirez, who looks to be acting as his own lawyer, is suing Chief Beck for defamation. Although he hasn't specified how much money he wants from the LAPD, we're guessing that if the judge sides with Ramirez, his winnings will be higher than a lifetime of street wages.
And the way Beck and the mayor conducted themselves upon his arrest, we can't say this parolee is wrong to raid city coffers. They completely hung Ramirez out to dry at a confident press conference last spring, calling him a “thug” after a SWAT team raided his apartment like it was an Al Qaeda hideout.
Some of the chief's slanderous statements, as pulled from the complaint:
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 Los Angeles County prosecutors had determined on May 24, 201 I that no charges could be filed in the Stow beating case and more investigation was required, and after numerous witnesses had already come forward to corroborate Ramirez's alibi that he was not at Dodgers Stadium on March 31, 2011, Beck nonetheless continued to publicly accuse Ramirez of committing the Stow beating, For example, on May 26, 2011, when asked by the media whether he remained as confident that police had the correct man, Beck stated “absolutely” and “I am as sure as you need to be to make an arrest and pursue a prosecution.” He further said, “Giovanni Ramirez is, and was, and has been our primary suspect in the Stow beating.”
In effect, Ramirez was slimed by media outlets and their readers all up and down California, and the stereotype of all Dodgers fans as violent cholos was solidified beyond the point of no return.
Of course, as we learned at the end of July, one of two more likely suspects in the beating (who are pretty much screwed after they were taped discussing their crime in a police interrogation room) is a total cracker. See: “Marvin Norwood, Arrested for Bryan Stow Beating, Is a 250-Pound White Guy — So Why Was Dodger Violence Blamed on L.A. Latinos?“
But anyway, back to Chief Beck. He offered a meek sort-of apology to Ramirez in the L.A. Times after Norwood and his sidekick were arrested, but largely passed the blame onto the media:
“Regrettably,” he wrote, “Giovanni Ramirez was caught between the state's right to investigate and arrest and the public's right to know what the police are doing. We support our arrest because we met our burden of proof and the media support their pursuit of the story.”
Ramirez isn't having it. He believes that LAPD detectives and their higher-ups ignored DNA tests, lie-detector tests, witness statements and L.A. County District Attorney findings in their quest to solve the Dodger beating as quickly and cleanly as possible.
Instead, the department is faced with its biggest embarrassment since Rodney King — racial profiling and all.