Two former Torrance police officers, fired after the accidental shooting last year of an unarmed suspect, pleaded not guilty Wednesday in Los Angeles Municipal Court to charges that they gave false accounts of the incident to their superiors.
Timothy Pappas, 27, and Mark Holden, 30, are free on $2,500 bail.
Each is charged with conspiracy to obstruct justice and conspiracy to falsely charge another with a crime. If convicted, they could be sentenced to up to three years in prison.
Pappas and Holden were fired from the Torrance Police Department after the May 9 shooting of Patrick J. Coyle, 30. Pappas fired a single shot that struck Coyle in the chin and lodged in the back of his skull, leaving him partially paralyzed.
Pappas and Holden, who arrived in a second squad car to provide backup, said Coyle made a sudden movement that provoked the shooting, according to Deputy Dist. Atty. Christopher Darden. In fact, Coyle was unarmed and did not move before the shooting, Darden said.
Coyle has sued the city, which has admitted liability in the incident. No settlement has been reached.