LocalL.A. Now

Family of Corvette driver shot dead by LAPD sues for $20 million

ShootingsCrimeLos Angeles Police Department
Family of man fatally shot by LAPD after downtown pursuit files $20-million lawsuit against city
$20-million lawsuit filed in death of Corvette driver shot by LAPD on live television
Father of man who watched LAPD fatally shoot his son on live television sues city for $20 million

The parents of a man fatally shot by Los Angeles police last year after a car chase that was broadcast on live television filed a $20-million wrongful death lawsuit against the city.

In the lawsuit, filed Thursday in federal court, Brian Beaird's parents allege officers violated their son's federal and civil rights by using excessive force in the Dec. 13 shooting. The suit names the city of Los Angeles and 10 unnamed officers as defendants. 

"The shooting of Decedent was excessive and unreasonable, especially because Decedent was unarmed, the Decedent was vastly outnumbered by the Officer Defendants, and the Decedent did not pose an imminent threat of death or serious bodily injury to the Officer Defendants or to anyone else," the lawsuit alleges.

Three LAPD officers remain on leave pending the completion of the department's investigation into the shooting, which occurred the night of Dec. 13 as police pursued an allegedly reckless driver into downtown Los Angeles.

The chase ended when the Corvette crashed into another vehicle and spun onto a sidewalk. Beaird, 51, staggered out of the sports car. 

Live footage from KTLA-TV showed Beaird briefly raising his hands with his back to officers, then grabbing his stomach and falling to the ground after police opened fire.

Beaird had no weapon, police said. Preliminary information indicated three officers from the LAPD's Newton Division shot more than 20 times.

Beaird's father watched the shooting on live television, he told reporters last year.

In the lawsuit, attorneys for Bill Beaird and Christal Benjamin describe their son as a disabled veteran who was "in mental health distress."

The filing lists a series of complaints against the officers and city, including allegations the officers who killed Beaird were inadequately trained, particularly regarding "encounters with the mentally ill and persons with disabilities," and used deadly force that was "objectively unreasonable."

LAPD Cmdr. Andrew Smith said policy prohibited the department from commenting on pending litigation.

In the days following the shooting, LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said he was troubled by initial accounts of the incident. The chief's comments came as he announced his decision to place the officers on extended leave pending the completion of the department's use-of-force investigation.

"After hearing the preliminary briefing, I am very concerned about the circumstances that led up to and resulted in this officer-involved shooting,” Beck said in a statement.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
Related Content
ShootingsCrimeLos Angeles Police Department
Comments
Loading