Key descriptive details such as a teardrop tattoo were never entered into a computer database that might have helped identify a high-risk parolee who is now the main suspect in the beating of Giants fan Bryan Stow.
Even with suspect sketches broadcast in the news media and plastered on 300 billboards throughout Los Angeles, it took police eight weeks after the March 31 beating of Stow to arrest 31-year-old Giovanni Ramirez, and tattoos on his neck and face played a major role in his identification.
Ramirez’s parole records, obtained by The San Francisco Examiner, paint a picture of an unemployed man with narcotics problems who is affiliated with Varrio Nuevo Estrada, a violent Southern California street gang.
But some of the most telling details, a teardrop tattoo under his left eye and tattoos on his neck that included a Los Angeles Dodgers logo and a dollar sign, were never entered into the Law Enforcement Automated Data System. While there is a picture of Ramirez in that system in which his tattoos are visible, a searchable list of those tattoos is left blank on his so-called parole “face sheet.”
The LEADS computer system was introduced in 1997 as “an innovative, state-of-the-art computer system designed to provide local law enforcement agencies with current information about parolees,” according to a press release at the time.
Ramirez was also reportedly not living at the address listed on his parole sheet.
A spokesman for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, Luis Patino, said he would not comment on the case until the Los Angeles Police Department cleared him to do so. A union representative for parole agents also would not comment and Ramirez’s attorney did not return calls for comment.
The Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation has been under fire in recent years for high-profile cases in which parole agents failed to do their jobs. The state paid a $20 million settlement for Jaycee Dugard in 2010 after parole agents failed to identify her while checking on her captor, Phillip Garrido. In San Francisco, questions remain about whether murder suspect Gary Scott Holland had been under proper parole supervision when police say he killed Russian Hill socialite Kate Horan.
However, it was eventually one of Ramirez’s parole agents who cracked the Stow case, according to the Los Angeles Times. Ramirez had been discussed as a possible suspect, and when the agent called upon him for a parole check, he noticed that Ramirez had covered up some of his neck tattoos with newer tattoos.
It’s unclear which parole agent made that discovery. Three days before the Stow beating, supervision of Ramirez had been switched from one parole agent to another.
Charges have yet to be filed against Ramirez. He remains in custody on a technical parole violation. A lawyer for Ramirez has said his client was at home with his daughter at the time of the attack. Police still are looking for the second attacker and a woman seen driving away from the beating.
Stow, a 42-year-old paramedic from Santa Cruz, remains in critical but stable condition at San Francisco General Hospital.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.