Three lawsuits accuse Dodgers security of violence against fans

Fans cheer in the stands at Dodger Stadium.
Fans cheer in the stands during Game 3 of the 2021 National League Championship Series between the Atlanta Braves and the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium.
(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

Three lawsuits filed Tuesday against the Los Angeles Dodgers accuse the team’s stadium security force of committing acts of violence against multiple “passionate and supportive baseball fans” during the 2021 season.

The suits, filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court, outline three incidents in which security officers allegedly perpetrated acts of assault, battery, false imprisonment, civil rights violations and emotional distress against fans at Dodger Stadium.

“Dodgers fans demand that ownership immediately change the heavy-handed security policies at Dodger Stadium,” plaintiffs’ attorney Peter diDonato said in a statement about the cases, which seek unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.


Joe Jareck, a spokesman for the Dodgers, said the organization does not comment on pending litigation. He did not answer additional questions about security protocol.

According to court documents, the team’s security force is composed of “non-sworn persons,” uniformed off-duty sworn Los Angeles Police Department officers and sworn off-duty law enforcement officers without badges.

Hi, and welcome to another edition of Dodgers Dugout.

April 1, 2019

The first alleged incident occurred in the parking lot of the Elysian Park stadium after an Aug. 17 game against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Salvador Mota and his wife, Marie, were preparing to leave the stadium when he was asked to exit his vehicle by security officers.

He was subsequently “assaulted and battered” by non-sworn and off-duty security employees dressed in dark polo shirts, the suit says.

The complaint does not describe why officers initially stopped Mota or asked him to exit his vehicle. Reached by phone Wednesday, diDonato said the attack was without provocation.

A man with facial injuries in a hospital bed
Salvador Mota was taken to a hospital and treated for injuries after, a lawsuits says, he was beaten by Dodgers security personnel.
(diDonato Law Center)

“When [fans] question the authority of either the persons in the yellow jackets or the sworn-in blue polo shirts and dark pants, that’s when they react,” he said. “Basically, they’ve become bullies, and the problem is the upper echelon security, the management, does nothing about it.”

Video provided to The Times shows Mota on the ground after the alleged assault with his hands cuffed behind his back.

“He caused this, we didn’t cause it,” one man, who appears to be a security officer, can be heard saying in the video. “It was necessary. He was fighting us.”

Mota was taken to a nearby hospital and treated for severe facial, eye, shoulder and leg injuries, diDonato said. Photographs show multiple abrasions on his face and swelling of his left foot.

The other incidents followed similar patterns.

In one, Karen Osorio was at a Sept. 14 Arizona Diamondbacks game with her family when a person described as a uniformed LAPD Dodgers employee “violently grabbed cellphones” from her daughter, daughter’s friend and grandson and accused them of conducting unspecified illegal activities, according to diDonato.

A woman with bruises and abrasions on her face
Karen Osorio’s face shows bruises and abrasions, the result, her attorney says, of an attack by Dodgers security.
(diDonato Law Center)

When Osorio questioned officers, security surrounded and attacked her as her family watched, the attorney said. She was handcuffed and arrested, but no criminal charges were filed.

Photographs show bruising and abrasions on Osorio’s face, abrasions on her arm, bruising on her chest and a large abrasion near her knee.

The third incident occurred on Oct. 3 during a game against the Milwaukee Brewers.

Adam and Monica Villa were at the game with their daughter when Dodgers security approached Adam Villa with “complaints of his enthusiastic language,” according to diDonato.

Villa agreed to stop using the language, but he was soon surrounded and attacked by six security officers, the attorney said.

A two-minute video provided to The Times shows the moments leading up to the incident, during which security officers can be heard asking the family to leave.

A woman shows her cut lip
Monica Villa shows her cut lip. A lawsuit says she and her husband, Adam, were hit by Dodgers security officers.
(diDonato Law Center)

“They told him not to cuss and he stopped,” a woman can be heard telling an officer in the video.

“We got called over here because fans were complaining about profanity,” an officer responds, adding that a code of conduct printed on the back of game tickets served as an effective warning for Villa’s behavior. “We’re not trying to have a big scene.”

When an officer touches Adam Villa’s shoulder, he appears to flinch and is quickly forced to the ground. At least one officer can be seen hitting him repeatedly.

Adam Villa suffered head, neck and back injuries, his attorney said, and photographs taken after the incident show large chunks of hair pulled from his head.

Monica Villa was also reportedly injured in the altercation, and photographs showed her with a cut lip and an abrasion on her leg.

A “culture of apathy and indifference” among game-day staffers at Dodger Stadium was among the problems identified by Major League Baseball in an assessment of the 2011 beating of Giants fan Bryan Stow.

April 3, 2014

DiDonato said security at the stadium has been “heavy-handed” since the Bryan Stow incident in 2011, in which the San Francisco Giants fan was brutally beaten by two Dodgers fans outside the stadium. The Dodgers in 2014 were found partly liable for Stow’s injuries.


“The answer is not more security, but smarter security, including transparency with fans and the public, and discipline of security personnel when necessary to maintain confidence in the system,” diDonato said.

In addition to recourse for the victims, the attorney said he hoped the cases would change the way security handles matters with fans.

“There’s a point in time when the Dodger organization has to step up to the plate — no pun intended — and be responsible,” he said. “They need to change the culture of bullies.”