Security short-staffed when Bryan Stow was attacked, former guard says

Security short-staffed when Bryan Stow was attacked, former guard says
Bryan Stow departs the Los Angeles County Superior Courthouse in downtown L.A. on May 28. (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

A former Dodgers security guard testified Monday that he felt unsafe the night San Francisco Giants fan Bryan Stow was attacked and that he had been informed to steer clear of fights because private security at Dodger Stadium was short-staffed.

Jerome Heavens had worked two exhibition games at the stadium before he showed up for the pregame briefing on opening day in 2011. That’s when a group of security guards was told that only 150 of the usual 300 security guards were on hand, Heavens testified in the civil trial that accuses the Los Angeles Dodgers and former owner Frank McCourt of inadequate security and lighting on March 31, 2011.

Heavens testified that the crowd that day was "rowdy" and "hostile" and gave an example of a group of Dodgers fans snatching popcorn from elderly Giants fans. He also noted that people were drinking heavily, returning from the concession stands with four or five beers.

"To put it blunt, it was crazy, it was crazy from what I saw," testified Heavens, who left the job after about one month. "And I knew early on that I didn't want to continue because of the fact that everything was out of order."


Heavens said he received no instruction from the Dodgers on how to respond to fights. "It was more or less, this is what's going to happen, there wasn't any training."

Heavens was assigned to sections 28-30 in the reserve level and said that he responded to four or five fights that day and had to protect himself. By the end of the day, Heavens said, he knew he wanted to quit.

"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."

Heavens said security was directed to go home after news spread of Stow's beating in a stadium parking lot. Heavens later contacted Stow's attorneys and volunteered to talk about his experience.

"It was moral reasons," Heavens said. "When I heard that call coming in over the radio and our supervisor told us to go home, I felt bad."

Heavens said that as he left, he walked near the parking lot where Stow had been attacked and noticed it was dark. "It could have been me or another friend or family member," he said. "That's the only reason I came forward."

Under cross-examination, Heavens grew increasingly aggravated with the Dodgers' attorney Dana Fox, who walked him through the incidents he responded to that day. According to the field incident cards Heavens turned in, Fox attempted to show that Heavens had not been involved in as many fights as he had said.

"Yes, I had, it's just that I didn't have any more [field incident] cards, that's what I'm trying to tell you," Heavens said.

Fox pointed out that the former guard had in fact attended two all-day training sessions with the organization before opening day.

"It was more orientation," Heavens said. "No one gave me hands-on ability and showed me this is what you do in this situation."

When the attorney pointed out that the former guard was not an unbiased witness because he had aligned himself with the plaintiffs, Heavens was indignant.

"I've aligned myself with the truth and the truth is my supervisor told me to leave when that man was bleeding out of both of his ears," Heavens retorted.