The Brian Stow Saga: Of Taters and Tragedy

Sport games are, often enough, feisty and passionate affairs. There is a long and well established tradition of competition and fervor, of rage and of excitement. The players are expected to be determined and zealous, while the fans encourage them with delight and with obsession. All of this is, by and large, part and parcel of the world of sport.

However, and rather unfortunately, all the zest and the passion can sometimes go overboard, as fans fail to rein in their feelings, resulting in tragic consequences. One such tragedy occurred on the Major League Baseball Opening Day of 2011, in the parking lot of the Dodger Stadium, where the LA Dodgers had just won a game against the San Francisco Giants.

It Starts

On March 31, 2011, Brian Stow was leaving the notorious Dodger Stadium, accompanied by two friends, when he was attacked by two Dodgers’ fans. A 42 year old paramedic from Santa Clara, Stow was savagely beaten and kicked in the head, apparently only because of him being a Giants’ fan. He was subsequently admitted to the hospital, and was placed in a medically induced coma due to his critical condition.

The Reaction

The attack on Stow provoked a deluge of anger and emotion, amidst complains from a host of fans about the dangerous hooliganism prevalent in the Dodger Stadium. The verbal abuse, violent threats, and the probability of danger faced by any fan in a rival team’s jersey were brought to stark highlight.

The police force sprang into action, releasing first sketches and then more composite images of the two men wanted for the attack, and the Dodgers rushed to hire a former LAPD Chief in a concerted effort to tighten the security in and around their stadium. Nearly two months later, following news that Stow’s condition was finally stabilizing, the first suspect Giovanni Ramirez was arrested.

The Case

A month after Ramirez’s arrest however, he was exonerated as the LAPD announced the arrest of three new suspects. Marvin Norwood and Louie Sanchez appeared in court, but both pleaded not guilty to the charge. After several court appearances from both Sanchez and Norwood, the case still remains open in court, more than three years after the attack took place.

Present Status

The latest development in the case has seen the lawsuit against the LA Dodgers go to the jury, with the lawyer for Brian Stow asking for $37.2 million in actual damages, in addition to further damages to compensate for the pain and suffering the Stow family have underwent over the years. Louie Sanchez and Marvin Norwood are expected to soon be sentenced to terms in state prison for eight and four years respectively.