After what he called a thorough seven-week investigation, LAPD Chief Charlie Beck announced the arrest of “documented gang member” and ex-convict Giovanni Ramirez in the brutal beating at Dodger Stadium of Giants fan Bryan Stow.
believe we have the right guy,” Beck told reporters at press conference on Sunday May 22 with the mayor at his side. “I wouldn’t be standing here in front of you. I certainly
wouldn’t be booking the guy.”
Beck displayed the political sensitivities that got him this job by praising Lamar Advertising and AEG’s Staples Center for putting up sketches of the possible suspects on their billboards — sketches that could have led to the arrest of any one of tens of thousands of head-shaven Latino men, including Councilman Ed Reyes who attended the press conference and urged other suspects to surrender.
Beck repeated over and over in the following weeks that Ramirez was the violent felon who assaulted Stow — and he did so solely on the basis of an Orange County couple’s identification of him in a lineup and in the face of mounting evidence of his innocence presented by prominent defense attorney Anthony Brooklier.
The chief talked when Ramirez was arrested about 630 leads, hundreds of tips — including a key one from a probation officer — 20 detectives workin full-time and putting in 6,000 hours on the case with 1,000 hours in overtime.
Yet, three weeks later, Beck’s case was so pathetic that D.A. Steve Cooley wouldn’t file charges so they arranged to send Ramirez to prison for 10 months on a parole violation — presumably pleasing the probation officer who presumably fingered him — and to call in for the first time the LAPD’s top investigators from Robbery-Homicide..
This is what passes for Beck’s justice who only admitted Ramirez was innocent on Thursday after two suspects the chief swears were the real assailants, the “right guys.”
This is the kind police behavior we saw on his worst day from Daryl Gates, the chief-for-life who nobody ever suspected to any orders from two-bit politicians.
Not so with Beck. His appointment as chief was widely seen as purely political, leapfrogging over far more qualified and experienced candidates because he would play ball with the mayor and other City Hall politicians.
Nothing has happened since to suggest that Beck is anything but the politicians’ tool and thus is politicizing the LAPD in a way that could set it back to where it was before we spent hundreds of millions of dollars to clean it up.
Nothing will clear up the questions that arise from the false arrest of Giovanni Ramirez except a full and independent investigation of exactly why Beck acted the way he did.
What pressure was he under from the mayor — who stood next to Beck back in May and again Thursday night basking in glory — or others to make an arrest no matter who it was, no matter what evidence justified the arrest?
What discussions went on with his command staff and the District Attorney’s office about the validity of arresting Ramirez?
What will seizure of emails, telephone logs and other communications reveal about what really happened?
What pressure and influence was used by the Dodgers to get an arrest so the fear of being beaten at a ball game would abate?
The LAPD has made a sympathetic figure of a thug like Ramirez and will have to pay him a million dollars or more in hush money to keep the truth from coming out in a court of law.