LAPD settles shooting for $5 million but the cops won’t be prosecuted although they may get fired

Three Los Angeles cops who killed Brian Beaird, 51, a disabled veteran, on live TV in December 2013 won’t be prosecuted even though news helicopter video proves he wasn’t reaching for a weapon after stumbling out of his crashed Corvette as they claimed. The video shows his hands in plain view and Beaird running away from the cops, after he led 14 squad cars on a chaotic chase that ended when he collided with an innocent motorist, who was seriously injured in the crash. Beaird was unarmed and they shot him in the back.

Beaird wasn’t innocent. He was a public menace. But the chase had ended and he was out of his vehicle when he was killed. It wasn’t necessary. You can find plenty of other LA police chases on YouTube that didn’t end this way. LAPD officers know how to stop suspects fleeing in vehicles without killing them.

Beaird was white; all 3 of the officers who shot him were Latino. There’s no indication that race was a factor in this police shooting. Beaird had been discharged from the National Guard in 1988 after surgery for a brain tumor, and had lost six buddies in a military helicopter crash. He had medical and emotional problems, was paranoid, and talked by phone with his family during the chase, telling them he didn’t understand why the police were chasing him, he was afraid, and he didn’t know what to do. The coroner found traces of marijuana, meth, cocaine, and an antidepressant drug in his blood.

The cops fired a total of 21 shots at Beaird. He was hit 13 times, and 3 of the bullets were fatal. The video shows him dropping to the sidewalk, flailing his arms a few times, then going still. He was pronounced dead about 45 minutes later, after being taken to a hospital.

Following an internal investigation, LAPD’s police chief concluded the officers’ use of deadly force wasn’t justified under department policies, and they’ve been suspended with pay pending a determination of disciplinary action; it’s possible they’ll be fired. The city has settled a federal civil rights lawsuit brought by Beaird’s family for $5 million.


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