When Louie Sanchez shouted profanity-laced chants about San Francisco Giants fans on opening day in 2011, he was going along with an "energetic" crowd, his sister said Monday in a downtown Los Angeles courtroom.
Dorene Sanchez said her brother was being "playful" when he threw peanuts at Giants fans seated near him at Dodger Stadium, and that although he was loud at times, so was everyone else in the stands.
Just as in the preliminary hearings for the criminal case, Dorene Sanchez's testimony in the civil trial that accuses the Los Angeles Dodgers and former owner Frank McCourt of negligence in the beating of Bryan Stow appeared to downplay the actions of her brother and her fiance, Marvin Norwood. Both men pleaded guilty this year to the attack.
Dorene Sanchez, who also has a child with Norwood, drove the getaway car that night and was arrested. She was not charged, and she cooperated with prosecutors.
She is the only witness so far to say there was security in the aisles where she was sitting. Four other witnesses have said there was no sign of security in the area even after a fistfight — unrelated to the Stow incident — broke out. Witness Carlos Adame said he saw one man get pushed backward down the stairs during the scuffle. "It was pretty ugly," he testified. A video of that fight was shown in court.
Stow's lawsuit alleges that the lack of security and insufficient lighting created an unsafe environment.
Adame testified that he never even saw an usher throughout the game. He did, he said, see Louie Sanchez throwing peanuts and spraying soda at a couple wearing Giants gear. The couple, Griffith and Kathryn McDaniel, testified Friday that Sanchez intimidated them throughout the game and that after the fight in the stands, Sanchez mouthed something that appeared to be, "You're next."
Later, in the parking lot, Sanchez appeared drunk and smelled of marijuana as he yelled expletives at a group of young men wearing Giants shirts, witness Anamaria Davila testified.
"They were scared, they kept trying to back away," she said of the Giants fans. "They had their hands up, telling people they didn't want any trouble."
Sanchez ended up striking at least one of the men, she said.
Afterward, she testified, he attempted to give Davila a high five.
"He almost hit my face and said, 'That's how we do it.'"
"I said, 'That's how we do what?'"
"He said, 'That's how we represent Dodgers.'"
Davila said that when Stow and several other men sporting Giants gear appeared, Sanchez again yelled profanities and became aggressive. A woman who she later learned was Sanchez's sister then yelled, "They're talking smack!"
That's when Louie Sanchez and Norwood ran after Stow, Davila testified. A few minutes passed, and the men ran back. They ordered Dorene Sanchez to start the car.
"They were just out of breath," Davila said. "They were, like, hyped up."
By that time, Dorene Sanchez said, her brother had consumed five to 10 beers at the stadium.
She testified that her brother smoked marijuana only occasionally and had none on him that night.
She also said that Stow's group had been involved in an earlier altercation in the parking lot, and that one of Stow's friends appeared intoxicated and had bloodshot eyes.
Dorene Sanchez said it was Stow's group who instigated an initial confrontation with her brother and Norwood near her car.
"I saw Marvin protecting Louie as he was the entire night, protecting Louie, his arm around him, pushing these guys off him," she said. "Louie was trying to defend himself."
Dorene Sanchez said she never saw the physical fight that occurred afterward and waited by her car along with her brother's son when Louie Sanchez and Norwood rushed off. The two soon returned, winded.
"They were out of shape," she said with a laugh.
"Marvin just told me, 'Babe, drive.'"
Dorene Sanchez said she drove her white Acura out of the parking lot and didn't ask what happened. She said she noticed that Norwood had blood on his hand.
Later that night, the group met Sanchez's parents for dinner at a Chinese restaurant.