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Family of unarmed man shot dead by LAPD wants $20 million

The family of an unarmed man who was shot and killed by officers following a pursuit of his Corvette through Los Angeles has filed a $20 million civil claim against the LAPD, the family’s lawyer announced Friday.

Dale Galipo, a veteran civil rights lawyer with a long track record of victories in wrongful death suits against Southern California police departments, said the deadly shooting of Brian Newt Beaird, 51, last Friday night involving three LAPD officers was “malicious” and “criminal.”

Beaird led L.A. County Sheriff’s deputies, the California Highway Patrol and the LAPD on an hour-long chase that started in Cudahy and ended in downtown Los Angeles just past 10 p.m. After he slammed into a Nissan at the corner of Olympic Boulevard and Los Angeles Street, he exited the car and tried to walk away. According to a preliminary departmental review, LAPD officers then fired 22 shots at him. He was pronounced dead at a local hospital. No gun was found at the scene.

Galipo, who appeared with the dead man’s brother and father outside downtown police headquarters, said it was fortunate that the incident was caught on video, which he said showed Beaird was “clearly unarmed” and “clearly not reaching in his waistband or pocket.”

John Beaird, Beaird’s brother, said his brother had been on the phone with their father during the chase, who urged him to pull over. For whatever reason, perhaps his fear of police, he did not.

Beaird acknowledged that his brother “made a lot of bad decisions that day.” 

“But his right to due process was taken from him,” said Beaird. “Even though his decisions were bad, the decisions pale in comparison with what those officers did.”

Bill Beaird said his son Brian had “some kind of problem” with police connected to his paranoia but he did not elaborate.

Beaird said his late son had struggled with paranoia following brain surgery and the loss of friends in a helicopter crash.

A claim is a precursor to filing of a civil lawsuit at least 45 days later. Galipo said he hoped a settlement could be reached with the police department before then.

The filing comes the day after LAPD Chief Charlie Beck announced that three LAPD officers have been temporarily relieved of patrol duty pending the outcome of criminal and administrative investigations.

“After hearing the preliminary briefing, I am very concerned about the circumstances that led up to and resulted in this Officer Involved Shooting,” LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said Thursday.  “Because of those concerns I have directed that the three involved officers be assigned home pending the final results of the investigation. Determinations regarding training or possible disciplining of the involved officers will be made at that time.”

Beck also noted “no weapon was recovered” at the accident scene. The LAPD did not immediately say how many shots hit Beaird, or offer an explanation for why deadly force was used.

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