A former Los Angeles Dodgers security officer testified Tuesday that he had raised concerns about safety at the stadium, including inadequate lighting, the delay of personnel to parking lots after games and a growing gang problem.
Neill Murchison, a retired Los Angeles County sheriff’s sergeant who began working for the Dodgers in April 2010, was called to the stand in the ongoing civil trial that accuses the Dodgers and former owner Frank McCourt of negligence in the 2011 beating that left San Francisco Giants fan Bryan Stow severely disabled.
Louie Sanchez and Marvin Norwood pleaded guilty to the attack earlier this year.
The stadium’s tactical plan was flawed when it came to the massive crowds that turned up at Dodger Stadium, Murchison said.
“You have a time lapse of 20 to 30 minutes of 56,000 people leaving a facility and force security personnel to obtain their equipment, change their radio frequencies, get in their golf carts and redeploy -- you have lost a tactical advantage over anything that could possibly happen in that parking lot or any venue,” he testified.
Murchison, who was a SWAT team member during the 1984 Olympics and the 1994 FIFA World Cup, said he had informed a supervisor he was worried about the parking lot lighting.
“The problem was it was not lit well,” he said. “It was a hazard for the people that were exiting this facility.”
He also said that he believed gangs were growing “progressively worse” at the stadium and that he suggested changes that were never addressed.
On opening day in 2011, Murchison was assigned to personal security detail for McCourt and walked the stadium with the former owner.
When pressed to recall his earlier deposition that described the atmosphere that night as “full of joy,” Murchison said his responsibilities were limited to protecting McCourt during the event.
Flustered at times on the stand, Murchison stood his ground when it came to the Dodgers’ alleged negligence in Stow’s attack.
“These plans by this organization … did not adequately protect those individuals in that parking lot at that specific time,” he said.