Dodger Stadium

Family Alleges Dodger Security Targeted Them as Latinos

Rigoberto Verdin Jr. alleges one guard held a knee on his neck while he was on the ground, making it hard for him to breathe.

NBC LA

Members of a family of Los Angeles Dodger fans filed court papers Wednesday against the team, alleging they were beaten by security guards because they are Latinos.

Rigoberto Verdin, 48, and his relatives brought the still unofficial lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court, alleging negligence, assault, battery, false imprisonment and civil rights violations.

Verdin's son, Rigoberto Verdin Jr., alleges one guard held a knee on his neck while he was on the ground, making it hard for him to breathe.

All of the Verdins are "passionate and supportive fans of the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team,'' according to the plaintiffs.

The plaintiffs seek $7 million in damages. A Dodger representative did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

The confrontation occurred Oct. 9 after the Dodgers season-ending 7-3 10-inning loss to the Washington Nationals in Game 5 of a National League Division Series, the plaintiffs say.

The family was leaving the stadium and near an exit when they were "accosted'' and "battered'' by security guards who called them "gang bangers, thugs and homies,'' the plaintiffs say.

None of the Verdins are gang members and they were subjected to racial profiling even though more than half of fans who attend Dodger games are Latinos, according to the plaintiffs.

Verdin Jr., 26, was trying to help his 24-year-old brother, David, who had been put in a choke hold when the guards tackled Verdin Jr. and took him to the ground, where one placed a knee on his neck,  according to the plaintiffs.

"I can't breathe,'' Verdin Jr. shouted as he was subsequently struck on the body and head, the plaintiffs allege.

Rigoberto Sr. suffered injuries to one hand and arm after being tackled to the ground and his daughter, 18-year-old Jamie, received a broken nose, according to the plaintiffs.

Verdin Jr. and David Verdin were arrested, but not charged, according to the court papers.

The Dodgers have refused to explain the guards' alleged conduct and ignored the plaintiffs' requests for witness statements and other information, the plaintiffs say.

Copyright CNS - City News Service
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