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Drunkenness, Fighting Spoil Game for Many : Hooligans: Fourteen fans are arrested and 55 ejected from Anaheim Stadium, but no serious injuries are reported at Ram-Raider game.

November 14, 1994|KEN ELLINGWOOD | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Fans of the Rams and Raiders Sunday celebrated what could be their last game as cross-town rivals in their customary way.

They drank and fought.

Police counted at least 26 altercations and arrested 14 people--mostly for drunkenness and fighting--during a sold-out football game that drew 65,208 spectators and was watched as closely for the battles in the stands as on the field. Besides those arrested, 55 fans were ejected for unruly behavior.

"I saw men just beating on each other rapid fire," said Rob Harvath, a visiting retail analyst who watched the game--and the fights--from a luxury box. "I've been to several hockey games in St. Louis but never seen crowd fights like at the game today."

The violence, in which no one was seriously injured, might have been worse but for the scores of extra police and Anaheim Stadium security personnel placed on duty after the last brawl-marred meeting between the teams, a preseason game in August during which more than 20 were arrested.

This time, at least, the fighting waited until the start of the game, which the Raiders won, 20-17. In August, police reported people were going at it during the national anthem.

"The third quarter started turning kind of south," said Sgt. Gerald Stec, who heads the Anaheim Police Department's stadium detail. By the fourth quarter, officials had turned off the beer spigots to an upper-deck section where as many as two dozen people were involved in the afternoon's biggest brawl.

A clash erupted near the end zone among fans who seemed oblivious to the fact that it was a crucial point late in the game and the Rams were about to score right in front of them.

Stec said the added police presence--groups of a dozen or more uniformed officers were posted near end-zone trouble spots--helped prevent other large fights and kept the mayhem to a minimum. He said police were able to stamp out most of the skirmishes quickly and without serious injury to fans.

First-aid workers reported four to five fight-related injuries, but only one of those people was taken to a hospital.

"I'm a season ticket-holder and I'm disgusted by it," said Ram fan Ed Stevens of Costa Mesa, who left the game early with his 11-year-old son after watching brawls break out in the stands. "It's notorious--every time the Rams and Raiders get together."

Stevens blamed drinking for the trouble. "I don't think they should serve beer when these two teams get together," he said.

Even the cap vendors were steering clear.

Concessionaire Mike Winn tended a stand high up in the stadium's top level--far away, he hoped, from the kind of scrapping he saw during the August game. "There must have been 30 fights," Winn recalled. "I said, put me someplace where I can't get hurt."

Raymond Steed, a Downey iron worker, played down the rivalry between the teams.

"What it all boils down to is, this is just a game," he said.

"It's just L.A. It's just the L.A. get-together. Ther's enough violence here. We don't need any more."

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