LOS ANGELES (AP) — A Major League Baseball security expert and former Secret Service agent testified Tuesday that the security he observed at Dodger Stadium on the day a fan was severely beaten was greater than any he had seen except for a presidential visit and the 2009 World Series.
The testimony by Bob Campbell came as the defense began presenting its case in the negligence lawsuit filed on behalf of San Francisco Giants fan Bryan Stow against the Dodgers and former owner Frank McCourt.
Campbell took the witness stand after a judge rejected a defense motion to throw out the lawsuit. Defense lawyer Dana Fox argued that lawyers for Stow had failed to show that any action or omission by the Dodgers and McCourt had led to Stow's brain damage.
Two Dodgers fans have pleaded guilty in the attack that occurred in Parking Lot 2 after the 2011 Opening Day game between the state rivals. Stow's attorneys claim security was lax at the stadium and the attack could have been prevented if guards were present in the lot where it occurred.
Campbell said he attended the game but did not see the incident and didn't know about it until much later. He said he observed extraordinary security in the stadium and noted that 95 people were ejected — far more than normal — for alcohol-related problems. He also said he didn't see any fights.
Campbell, who works for Major League Baseball, said he was all over the stadium during the game and saw command posts set up by police, the FBI and the Dodgers, calling the efforts aggressive and proactive.
Plaintiff's attorney Tom Girardi asked him, "I take it it would be just as important to protect people at the end of the game as during the game?" Campbell answered, "Yes, it would be important. I would expect security after the game."
"Did you ever see stronger security at any game?" defense attorney Fox asked at another point. "I don't believe I have," said Campbell, noting he has attended more than 900 Major League Baseball games.
Another defense witness, retired Los Angeles police Lt. Steven Flores, said he helped plan security for the game and prepared notes identifying management objectives calling for personnel to maintain order and provide a safe, secure venue.
It was a challenge, he said, because "we saw a progressive pattern of violence developing in 2009 and 2010 and on opening days there was an increase in violence." The increased security force was successful in containing some of the rowdy behavior that resulted from drinking, he said.
Before Stow was attacked, Flores had considered the plan a success, he said. However, he acknowledged that there were not enough personnel to patrol all of the parking lots at once. To this day, he said, "I don't know whether (security guards) were in Lot 2 or not."
Defense experts have testified Stow is disabled for life and it will cost as much as $37 million to maintain his care and cover lost wages.