A federal judge Monday ruled that a onetime Hollywood power broker can pursue a civil rights lawsuit against the Los Angeles Police Department, the police union and two officers who he alleges severely beat him in Highland Park, leaving him with facial fractures and a broken shoulder blade.
U.S. District Judge R. Gary Klausner denied a request to toss out the lawsuit filed by Brian C. Mulligan, who at the time of the May 2012 incident was managing director and vice chairman at Deutsche Bank.
Officer James Nichols and the Los Angeles Police Protective League had both filed separate motions to dismiss the suit. But without ruling on the merits of the legal action, Klausner decided that Mulligan should be able to pursue his $20-million lawsuit.
Mulligan, a former Universal Pictures co-chairman, alleges that after he accused the officers of beating him, the LAPD and police union engaged in a retaliatory smear campaign revealing a statement he'd made two days before about his use of "bath salts," a synthetic drug that can trigger hallucinations.
Klausner let the suit stand against the union but did dismiss one claim, saying the union's statement did not amount to "threats, intimidation or coercion.”
But in a victory for Mulligan, Klausner ruled that Nichols' alleged history of abuse and improper conduct is relevant to the suit and whether the department acted negligently. Nichols was transferred to that area after the LAPD began an investigation into allegations that he preyed on women and used his badge to get them to perform sex acts, according to court records.
Mulligan alleges he was detained while walking in the Eagle Rock area, where he had gone to legally buy the active ingredient of marijuana. Nichols and Officer John Miller in a police report said they stopped him because they believed he was under the influence and that he then consented to a search of his car, where they found $3,000 in cash.
Mulligan’s suit alleges he was forced to go to a Highland Park motel and when he fled in fear, he was attacked and beaten by the officers, who left him with a broken nose, facial bones and shoulder.
Nichols and Miller claimed they used forced to subdue a snarling, thrashing man who arched his back, waved his arms, stiffened his fingers like claws and charged at them, and who had told them he had used the drugs known as bath salts, according to a police report viewed by The Times.
In the aftermath, the suit alleges, the Police Protective League leaked a taped conversation Mulligan had with a Glendale police officer two days before the violent incident. In that conversation, Mulligan revealed he taken “bath salts” because he could not sleep and indicated he had paranoid episodes.
The police union said it was Mulligan who initially made public statements on the incident. "We accept the court's ruling and are considering our options. In any event, we still fully expect to be vindicated in this matter," the police union said in a statement.
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