L.A. officials pledge heavy security at Dodgers games

By Dan Whitcomb

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Moving to stem a furor over the brutal beating of a San Francisco Giants fan at Dodger Stadium on Opening Day, Los Angeles police pledged on Thursday to deploy a "sea" of officers at the team's next home game.

The announcement comes one day after the Dodgers, who have come under withering criticism for the attack that left Giants fan Bryan Stow in a coma, said they would hire the city's former police chief, Bill Bratton, to review stadium security.

"If you go to that home stand next week, you're going to see a sea of blue and its not going to be Dodgers fans," Police Chief Charlie Beck told reporters at a press conference with Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

"People will be awed by the response of the Los Angeles Police Department, because we will not suffer this as a city again," Beck said.

Stow who drove more than 300 miles from Santa Cruz to Los Angeles to watch his beloved Giants play the Dodgers on Opening Day last week, was attacked and beaten in the parking lot by two men after the game.

The 42-year-old paramedic and father of two, who was apparently assaulted because he wore Giants garb, remains listed in critical condition at a local hospital.

His assailants, who were dressed in Dodgers gear, have not been caught despite a $150,000 reward.

"He's roughly in the same condition as he has been the last few days," his cousin, John Stow, told Reuters. "He's still having small seizures and they currently have him sedated again."

John Stow said he welcomed the promise of increased security by city officials.

"I wish it would have been done earlier but I'm glad to see that the Dodger organization has started to take people's safety seriously," he said.

"Hopefully Dodger Stadium will go back to the way it used to be and families will be able to take their children there without fear of being around thugs," Stow said.

Dodgers owner Frank McCourt and city officials have been roundly criticized in the local media and by talk-radio hosts for lax security at the stadium, where pundits say an atmosphere of intimidation and thuggish behavior have gone unchecked for several years.

Commentators say the stadium parking lot also suffers from poor lighting and that residents of surrounding neighborhoods have for years been subject to vandalism, littering and rude behavior from fans.

(Editing by Tim Gaynor)