Family Alleges Dodger Stadium Security Targeted Them for Being Latino

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistJune 26, 2020

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 26: The scoreboard displays the time as it turns to midnight during game three of the 2018 World Series between the Boston Red Sox and the Los Angeles Dodgers on October 26, 2018 at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)
Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images

The Verdin family filed a $17 million lawsuit against the Los Angeles Dodgers after allegedly being attacked by security following the team's Oct. 9 playoff loss to the Washington Nationals.

Leanne Suter of KABC reported Friday the court filings by Rigoberto Verdin Sr. and his relatives allege they were targeted because they're Latino. The claims include negligence, assault, battery, false imprisonment and civil rights violations.

"Without warning, my clients were jumped by security," Peter diDonato, the family's attorney, said. "Not only were they accosted and stopped, there was no inquiry of them. They were on the ground—chokehold, knee on neck."

Rigoberto Sr. suffered injuries to his hand and arm, while his daughter, Jamie, suffered a broken nose, according to the court papers. His sons, Rigoberto Jr. and David, were both arrested but not charged following the confrontation with security.

The lawsuit alleges David was placed in a chokehold and, when Rigoberto Jr. tried to intervene, he was tackled and a security guard placed his knee on his neck, leading him to shout, "I can't breathe," per KABC.

"I was just in shock the whole time. It was unexpected, out of nowhere," David Verdin said.

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The family stated the incident, which allegedly included the security staffers calling them "gang bangers, thugs and homies," began after a man near them leaving Dodger Stadium was acting erratically.

Per KABC: "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."

Family members said their attempts to contact the MLB organization about "witness statements and other information" didn't receive a response, per KABC.

The Dodgers haven't commented about the lawsuit as of Friday morning.

L.A.'s loss to the eventual World Series champion Nats on Oct. 9 ended their 2019 season. The 2020 campaign has yet to begin because of the coronavirus pandemic, though MLB announced Wednesday it's tentatively set to open the regular season July 23 or 24.