The Dodgers' vice president of security and guest management testified Thursday that he left a previous stint with the franchise in part because the team decided to have fewer uniformed off-duty Los Angeles police officers inside Dodger Stadium during games.
Testifying in the trial of Bryan Stow's negligence lawsuit against former Dodger owner Frank McCourt, Shahram Ariane said the reduced presence of uniformed officers was not a revamping of team policy, but rather a philosophical move by his boss at the time. He told a Los Angeles Superior Court jury that he thought it was unwise to have many of the officers transition to wearing polo shirts instead of their regular patrol attire.
"People behave differently with a uniformed police officer as opposed to a person in a polo shirt with the word 'security' on the back," Ariane said.
Ariane said his first stint with the Dodgers began in September 2005 and ended in March 2010 after the LAPD uniform change was made. He said he returned in March 2011 and helped finalize a team security training manual.
Stow suffered brain damage when he was punched and kicked in one of nearly 30 parking lots outside Dodger Stadium following the opening-day game on March 31, 2011. He filed suit against McCourt and Los Angeles Dodgers LLC two months later.
Stow's attorneys maintain that Stow's assailants should have been kicked out of Dodger Stadium hours earlier for unruly behavior and that more uniformed security within the stadium could have acted as a deterrent to their misconduct. Ariane said there were 19 uniformed off-duty LAPD officers working in the stadium that day.
Ariane said he got along well with Francine Hughes, who was the team's director of stadium operations and oversaw security as part of her duties. Stow's attorneys have questioned her qualifications for the position.
Ariane said he began his current job with the new Dodger ownership in February.
Rialto residents Louie Sanchez, 31, and Marvin Norwood, 33, pleaded guilty in January to carrying out the attack on Stow and were sentenced to eight- and four-year terms, respectively. They are also both facing a federal weapons charge that could land them in a federal lockup for up to 10 years.
Defense attorneys say Sanchez, Norwood and Stow are to blame for his injuries. They assert Stow was drunk, gestured toward his assailants and made sarcastic remarks.
However, several witnesses for Stow have denied during the trial that the former paramedic antagonized his assailants.