No evidence Dodgers could have prevented attack on Stow, expert says

No evidence Dodgers could have prevented attack on Stow, expert says
Bryan Stow, bound to a wheelchair and surrounded by family members, leaves the Los Angeles County Superior Courthouse in May. (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

The Dodgers had an impressive security plan in place the day Bryan Stow was beaten outside the stadium and there is no evidence the organization could have prevented the attack, a sports facility and event management consultant testified Thursday.

Bill Squires, who was once the vice president and general manager for Giants Stadium in New Jersey, said that he pored over "boxes upon boxes" of evidence and concluded that the Dodgers acted reasonably at the opening day game. He commended the organization for its training practices and security manual and said he was impressed by the number of personnel hired for March 31, 2011.


"In my opinion, there's only one way to have a safe event," Squires said.

"And how's that?" Dodgers attorney Dana Fox asked.

"That's nobody goes to the game."

Squires' testimony in the ongoing civil trial, in which the Dodgers and former owner Frank McCourt are accused of creating an environment that led to the attack on Stow, countered that of an expert called to the stand last week by Stow's attorneys.

Gil Fried, a professor in the management of sports industries program at the University of New Haven in Connecticut, said that Stow more than likely would have avoided the attack in a Dodger Stadium parking lot if the organization had employed more security and followed its policies and procedures.

During cross-examination that day, Fox picked apart Fried's resume and pointed out that he had never had any hands-on involvement in the day-to-day operations of a sports complex, likening his expertise to that of an "armchair quarterback."

On Thursday, the attorney spent nearly 45 minutes asking Squires about his credentials, which include director of stadium operations at Yankee Stadium, stadium manager for Cleveland Browns Stadium and general manager for Disney's Wide World of Sports.

Fried himself had asked Squires to lecture to his students and contribute to his textbook, "Managing Sport Facilities."

The Dodgers, Squires said, had put a lot of detail into its security training manual and demanded many training hours from its staff, including full-scale training during the All-Star break. He also said the organization's fan code of conduct, which encourages visitors to call or text a hotline number with complaints, was implemented because stadiums look for spectators' input.

"It's the world we live in now," Squires said. "I have to refer to New York. You don't get on a subway, you don't get on a plane, you don't go into a bus station without seeing a sign that says, 'If you see something, say something.' And I think we've taken that to another level at sports facilities."

Witnesses have testified that one of Stow's attackers had been harassing fans during the game, although no one notified security.

Earlier testimony revealed that the two security guards assigned to Parking Lot 2, where Stow was beaten, were not in the area when the attack took place. Squires said that it was reasonable to expect the guards to have taken some time to get to their posts after the game.

A former Dodgers security guard testified earlier in the trial that he had been told during the pregame briefing that only half of the usual 300 security guards were on hand for opening day. Jerome Heavens said he had been ordered to steer clear of fights because the event was short-staffed, but was forced to protect himself from a hostile crowd.

"I felt that I wasn't safe," he testified. "This is the first security job that I had worked where there really wasn't any order to how things should be done as far as my safety, the protection of fans."


But the Dodgers' head of security, who testified last week but was called back to the stand Thursday, said the Dodgers had never employed 300 security personnel for a game, even during playoffs, and that a statement about fewer guards was not made to Heavens.

Earlier in the day, the jury toured Dodger Stadium, walking from the right field pavilion where Stow was sitting during the game over to the location where he was beaten, the Los Angeles County Superior Court judge presiding over the case told the Times.

Judge Victor E. Chavez said he made the arrangements after a juror asked to see the stadium up close. "I decided it would be a good idea," Chavez said. The stadium is so vast, he said, that he wanted the jurors to get an idea of its layout.

Chavez said he, the attorneys and the jurors rode a bus together from Stanley Mosk Courthouse. Counsel for both sides wrote out statements of facts they agreed could be made during the trip.

Times staff writer Ryan Menezes contributed to this report.