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Lawsuit Might Be Filed in Alleged Fan Beating

August 24, 1993|MARYANN HUDSON | TIMES STAFF WRITER

The attorney for a man who allegedly was mistaken for a scalper and beaten in the parking lot of Dodger Stadium by Dodger security officers said his client has been suffering from severe headaches, post-traumatic stress and other related injuries since the incident.

William Powers said Monday that Deion Stephens, a 23-year old African-American from Detroit, Mich., was dropped off by his aunt at Dodger Stadium on July 18 to attend the game between the Dodgers and Montreal Expos. Powers said that Stephens proceeded to go to the window to buy a ticket, but he was unable to buy one. Powers said that Stephens then walked over to the gas station in the parking lot to use a telephone when he was "accosted by two plainclothes guys."

"They proceeded to call him (pejorative for blacks) and use racial epithets," Powers said. "Then when he broke away from them and as he ran away he met up with two uniformed guys who finished up the beating. The two other guys pounded his head and the two uniformed guys cornered him and beat him more."

Sam Fernandez, the Dodgers' in-house counsel, said Saturday that Powell had contacted the club regarding the incident, but the accounts of what happened differ greatly. On Monday, Fernandez stood by his previous statement.

"Needless to say, we do not condone and indeed abhor the type of conduct that has been alleged by Mr. Powers," Fernandez said. "At this time, however, there is no basis for concluding that what Mr. Powers is alleging is in fact what happened."

Powers said Stephens was taken to the Dodger Stadium first-aid station before he was transferred to USC County Medical Center for treatment.

"He had 12 stitches in his head for a scalp wound and has suffered from constant headaches ever since," Powers said.

"He is undergoing neurological testing. . . . His knee is in pretty bad shape and he is suffering from psychological post-traumatic stress. He hasn't slept more than two hours a night since it happened."

Stephens was in Los Angeles visiting his aunt, who lives in the San Fernando Valley, when the alleged incident occurred and he has remained with her. Powers has called a news conference for Thursday, but said he was not certain if he will file suit against the Dodgers.

Shortly after the alleged incident, Dodger security chief Jim Italiano resigned under sketchy circumstances, but the Dodgers deny that the two are related. Sources say, however, that when Dodger President Peter O'Malley was informed of the incident, he was angry and took action against Italiano. On Aug. 8, Italiano cleaned out his office before beginning a previously scheduled vacation and resigned effective Aug. 16.

A guard who works at the stadium said Monday that Italiano, who was the director of stadium operations the last two years, did not keep his security guards in check.

Italiano did not return calls from The Times.

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