LOS ANGELES (LALATE EXCLUSIVE) – Giovanni Ramirez had nothing to do with Bryan Stow. But that’s not what Police Chief Charlie Beck told citizens in 2011. Following Beck’s remarks, most news agencies found massive gaps in LAPD’s assertions that Ramirez matched the suspect description in the Stow case. Eventually Beck admitted that he had the wrong guy and apologized to Ramirez. Now Ramirez is suing Beck and LAPD for defamation. But is there a problem with the case?
Ramirezâ€™s assertion is that he was defamed by Beck and LAPD when the two held a live news conference on Sunday May 22, 2011. In that news conference, Beck called the person he had arrested as responsible for the Stow beating and called the suspect a thug. While a copy of Ramirezâ€™s complaint has not been released to news, he claims his defamation derives from that May 22 news conference.
During that live press conference covered here on May 22, Beck did not release Giovanni Ramirezâ€™s name. Beck specifically told news that he was withholding the suspect’s name at the time. “We have Bryanâ€™s assault victim in custody … We are not going to give you the name of the individual we have in custody. â€¦ That person will be booked at Rampart tonight and his name will be released thenâ€ť.
But Beck’s news conference wasn’t just a simple update about the Stow case. It was a shoulder-patting press conference in which Beck proclaimed how well he does his job. Beck told news â€śTo be a police department in this city, it has to be effective. We have to be effective to put this thug in custody.â€ť He added that he had â€śan abundanceâ€ť of evidence beyond just witness identification and testimony. “I wouldn’t be standing here in front of you. I certainly wouldn’t be booking him later on tonight.”
Eventually weeks later, Beck would admit he messed up after, calling the error “regrettable”. The City has yet to comment about the matter.