NFL Return to Coliseum Also Brings Back Grandstand Brawls - NBC Southern California

Coverage of the Rams and the NFL team's first season back in Los Angeles

NFL Return to Coliseum Also Brings Back Grandstand Brawls

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    NEWSLETTERS

    With two preseason games and two brawls in the stands already, are Rams fans safe? Patrick Healy reports for the NBC4 News on Tuesday, Aug. 23, 2016. (Published Tuesday, Aug. 23, 2016)

    Something else returned to Los Angeles with the Rams: NFL stadium brawls.

    "When you include alcohol, adrenaline, especially football, things like that tend to happen. It's pretty foreseeable," said attorney and NFL fan Armen Yeghiayan, whose Coliseum seating Saturday turned out be right in front of where a fight broke out during the second quarter of the Rams-Chiefs game.

    On homecoming day a week earlier, Los Angeles Police reported ejecting seven from the Coliseum and arresting three.  Week two LAPD ejected "several," but made no arrests, said Officer Mike Lopez.

    Yeghiayan said he had concerns for the safety of his girlfriends, and also for a significant number of children in the area.

    "The security of fans attending our games is the top priority and we have a comprehensive security operation in place for game days," reads in part a statement issued by the Rams organization.  "After each game, we review any incidents and work with our security partners to improve the fan experience and deliver a safe and enjoyable gameday for guests."

    The post-Saturday review has yet to finish, said Joanna Hunter with Rams Corportate Communications, noting that the Rams do not return to the Coliseum until Sept. 18.

    Similar to Dodger Stadium and other sports venues in Los Angeles, the Rams use a blend of private security and law enforcement officers inside the Coliseum, the cost is paid by the Rams.  Outside in the surrounding neighborhoods, the Los Angeles Police Department assigns an even larger contingent of on-duty officers, more than 200, many on temporary loan from other assignments. City officials are pressuring the Rams to cover that cost as well.

    Yeghiayan said the first responder to the brawl was a private security officer, who did not initially attempt to break up the fight. Uniformed LAPD officers responded from as far away as the Coliseum field level, and it took them some time to get through the crowd, according to Yeghiayan.

    Fights in the seating area were becoming a growing concern during the waning days of the last generation of NFL football in the Coliseum, when the Raiders were making their home in Los Angeles. The Rams had left 15 years earlier for Anaheim, and later St. Louis.  They returned to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on an interim basis until 2019, when a new stadium in Inglewood is scheduled to be ready.

    "Given the price of a ticket," Yeghiayan said,"there should definitely be a lot more security."

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