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LAPD Makes Over 100 Arrests In Tailgaiting Crackdown

LAPD Makes Over 100 Arrests In Tailgaiting Crackdown

An officer escorts a woman from the center field pavilion at Dodger Stadium. Some tailgaters complained that security inside the park was lacking. [AP]

Los Angeles Times via YellowBrix

April 15, 2010

LOS ANGELES – Opening Day is a sacred moment for those who bleed Dodger Blue, full of ritual and expectations.

But outside the stadium, some have a ritual of their own: heavy drinking, sometimes from dawn to dusk and into the night.

This year, the Los Angeles Police Department decided enough was enough.

More than 150 officers spread out around the stadium on opening day Tuesday, arresting more than 130 people, mostly for public intoxication and unruly behavior.

“We’ve got to change the culture of opening day. People have to get more responsible,” said Capt. Bill Murphy, who oversaw the operation.

Some fans don’t see it that way, complaining that the heavy police presence took the fun out of opening day and might have pushed some unruly fans into the stands. “If they were just drinking and minding their own business, what’s the point of confronting them?” asked David Romo of La Habra.

The LAPD decided to act after a particularly unruly opening day last year, which was marked by several fights and the stabbing of a fan in the parking lot.

“Opening day has become a massive tailgating party, really a drinking fest, and unfortunately a lot of people can’t control themselves,” Murphy said. “A Dodger game opening day is like a guys’ night out thing, where you have 15 guys who meet up. It’s different from any other day. It’s a lot of males, in their 20s and 30s, getting together and bonding.”

The police action has the support of the Dodgers, who have been working in recent years to stop disruptive behavior inside the stadium.

But some fans found it heavy-handed — especially given the tradition of parties before the game.

Terry Romero, who has tailgated before every opening game since Dodger Stadium opened, said the police crackdown was “ridiculous” — and did little to reduce bad behavior in the stands.

Romero, 62, said Tuesday that she saw people inside the stadium passing bottles of liquor, smoking and urinating in public.

“What was going on inside was just mind-boggling,” she said. "There was guys urinating on the poles. There was spilled beer everywhere, spilled hot dogs, people walking on hot dogs.

“All the security was outside,” she said. “Inside, there was none to be found.”

Diana Lopez, 42, of Highland Park saw two fights break out in the stands. She wondered why there were so many cops in the parking lot but apparently few she could see in the stadium.

“The police must have stayed out there too long driving around in their golf carts,” she said.

Murphy said he believes that the situation inside the stadium was more controlled than during some previous opening day games. Several years ago, the Dodgers decided to hire uniformed LAPD off-duty officers to help patrol the stands. But last year, he said, the Dodgers decided to stop paying extra to have officers wear their police uniforms. Now, the off-duty officers wear polo shirts with the team’s logo and the word “security” printed on them, he said.

“We told them we think they should keep some uniforms in there, just because the mere presence deters crime,” Murphy said. “But that’s their call. And you can’t argue with their decision because last year, we had a good season without them.”

The dozens of officers — far more than typically patrol an opening day — gathered for roll call at the station about 3 a.m. Even in the predawn, some of the fans had been drinking for a while, Murphy said. Most of those arrested were given misdemeanor citations ordering them to go to court and then they were released.

Officials said the 132 arrests were a big increase from the number of arrests during opening day in 2009. In addition to public drinking, there were a few arrests for scalping tickets and driving drunk.

Murphy said he was not surprised by the criticism over the arrests, saying that it comes with the territory.

“Last year we and the Dodgers were heavily criticized after one drunk guy stabbed another guy. It was all over the news, that it was out of control at Dodger Stadium, with a bunch of thugs drinking,” he said. “The story today is the poor tailgaters are being picked on.”

But the police efforts did win support from the Los Angeles city councilman who represents Dodger Stadium. Ed Reyes said his office often gets complaints from neighbors about unruly behavior — behavior he has witnessed firsthand on opening day.

“One time I saw a row of guys urinating against a fence, cracking up, having a good time, oblivious of anything else,” Reyes said. “It’s almost a sense of lawlessness because a lot of people are inebriated. It’s very shameful.”

Josh Rawitch, a Dodger spokesman, said he is hopeful that the police action will make next year’s opening day better.

“We’re pleased by the progress we’re making in trying to change the culture of opening day,” he said. “It’s obviously a tradition for many to come very early at the start of daybreak, but one of our core goals is for people to have the best fan experience.”

But some fans said authorities needed to chill out. No one wants drunken fans who disrupt opening day, but they argue that many of those tailgaters aren’t bothering anyone.

Sean Vasquez, 25, a season ticket-holder who was not at Tuesday’s game, said he thinks that police should direct their efforts elsewhere, “not at people who were just trying to enjoy a ballgame.”

The crackdown has made him think twice about renewing his tickets.

“You’re better off just staying home and watching the game on TV,” he said.


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  • Evgeni_nabokov_max50

    skascooter007

    almost 4 years ago

    2010 Comments

    copinsdca - - two thumbs up.

    I was at the Dodger game, these idiots were walking around with a open beer containers, no red cup but the blue design of Bud-Light can/bottles and they were drunk before the game started.
    I really liked the idea of going to an Anaheim Angles game and gathering with other fans underneath the giant A, that is part of the joys of Baseball.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    rsironron

    almost 5 years ago

    5220 Comments

    copinsdca you said it all Thanks.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Anonymous

    about 4 years ago

    Good! I hate attending Dodgers games and all the gangbangers are drinking in the parking lot and then cause problems during the game. Big reason why I only now go with a big group of off duty cops. Too much nonsense all the time with drunk idiots.

  • Justice-400_max50

    clobster

    about 4 years ago

    1552 Comments

    I like it!

    I disagree carbonfree. When I go to a game, I want to enjoy it, not have it ruined by drunken idiots who are getting to wild and completely intoxicated. People were not arrested for simply tailgating, they were arrested because they were acting inappropriately in public to the point where it was affecting those around them. I'll bet a lot of those arrests came from both police finding people who were out of control AND from fans who reported other fans getting out of control. I give the police credit for trying to keep things under control by being PROACTIVE instead of REACTIVE. It's better to ruin the day of 200 people than risk the life and limb of 10 or possibly more. Hell, I'd rather see 1,000 get their day ruined/get arrested to prevent one person from getting stabbed again! The other 40,000 fans (or however many the stadium holds) can have a better time knowing that they are safe.I don't feel sorry for the minority of people who want to drink and get rowdy.

  • Pug_max600_max50

    DALLASCRANE

    about 4 years ago

    19386 Comments

    In the new Billion plus dollar Cowboy Stadium in Arlington, Texas has tailgating on the outside perimeter of most parking lots, and the rules are have a good time, no loud music and no disorderly conduct. It's amazing how few get arrested when the rules are well known in advance.

  • Picture_008_max50

    wildsoldier

    about 4 years ago

    1246 Comments

    No matter how many officers were present there are always groups of people who just like to cause trouble. What a great place to cause trouble then at an opening baseball game. The officers should have wore bright clothing, that said POLICE on them so everyone knew they were around. I think officers understand people want to go out and have a good time and not have to deal with DICKHEADS.......Pardon my french...

  • Police_link_badge_max50

    HEYSARGE

    about 4 years ago

    16734 Comments

    carbonfree: Please know the law,know the facts, and think before you leave anymore comments that make you sound stupid!.................Simple!

  • Snoopy_6_max50

    Jonas

    about 4 years ago

    41138 Comments

    bump HeadShot on all points.

  • Headshot_max50

    HeadShot

    about 4 years ago

    736 Comments

    Damned if you do, and damned if you don't. I'm in huge support of the officers being present. Trust me, they weren't walking around and arresting people who had a miller lite in their hand; they were locking up the people who wanted to fight, scream like idiots, and refuse to be civil. Carbonfree is simply an idiot.

  • Picture_or_video_137_max600_max50

    4theblue

    about 4 years ago

    1566 Comments

    Good Work!

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Anonymous

    about 4 years ago

    taking control! I bet next year will be alot easier after making this example.

  • Sw12_max50

    436

    about 4 years ago

    574 Comments

    I'd like to know all the criminal histories of the people quoted in this story. Sounds like good work. I would want extra cops watching out for my loved ones if I am at a game and not carrying off duty because I am drinking some brews. Good Work LAPD!

  • Car6_max50

    Ahi

    about 4 years ago

    1990 Comments

    Sounds like there are a lot of people there, I doubt the officers were picking on everyone. I am sure that the people who got busted deserved it. Carbonfree, I have worked security in a stadium, just because you can drink doesn't mean it's ok to be unruly or out of control, they will kick you out and have you arrested. As far as the drinkers complaining, you will only have a problem if you get out of control, so keep it at the appropriate level and you will be fine. As far as I'm concerned if the drunks don't want to come, then it's more inviting for the families to come.

  • Me_max50

    eli4se

    about 4 years ago

    100 Comments

    Baseball games are a great place to take your family or friends. Many people gather here including life long fans and firstimers(children). It just takes a couple of unruly people to ruin the experience for them. These people are urinating in public, drunk, fighting, etc. I don't see anything wrong with tailgaters who are social drinkers, just the ones who go overboard and screw things up. I am glad that the LAPD is getting rid or these drunks, because most of them ruin the fun.

  • Blue_ine_max50

    DCCarr

    about 4 years ago

    324 Comments

    Thanks Copinsdca, you saved me some time there.

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