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LAPD officers cleared in 'bath salts' beating case 'relieved'

Crime, Law and JusticeLaws and LegislationJustice SystemDeutsche Bank AG

One of the LAPD officers cleared by a jury Friday in an excessive force and civil rights case brought by a former banking and Hollywood executive said afterward that he was relieved by the verdict.

"This means the world to me," said Officer John Miller, his mother standing near him. "I am extremely relieved. This is the first time anything like this has happened to me as an officer."

Miller and Officer John Nichols were sued by Brian Mulligan, a former co-chairman of Universal Pictures and onetime Deutsche Bank vice chairman, who said he suffered multiple nose fractures, a broken shoulder blade and a bloody scalp after the two officers took him into custody in 2012.

The officers claimed he was high on bath salts, a synthetic stimulant, and was abusive and violent. 

"I am happy the truth came out," Miller said Friday. "We couldn't say anything for months.... We knew the truth and we just wanted to get it out. The reason I was so fluid on the witness stand was I was speaking the truth."

Miller praised his attorney, Denise Zimmerman: "That lady is amazing."

"All of the plaintiff's well-paid experts couldn't change the truth that these officers did nothing wrong," said Nichols' attorney, Peter Ferguson, outside court. 

The eight-person jury found the officers hadn't violated Mulligan's civil rights under both state and federal law and did not commit battery. The jury deliberated less than three hours. 

Following the verdict, Miller hugged his mother outside the courtroom and said, "Thank God." Nichols appeared to be near tears.

Mulligan, his family and his attorneys refused to comment.

LAPD Chief Charlie Beck made a brief statement to The Times.

"My thanks to the city attorney for their masterful presentation and to the jury for  their thoughtful deliberation," Beck said. "The decision was just. "

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richard.winton@latimes.com

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