The Los Angeles City Council voted last week to pay $5 million to the family of Brian Beaird, an unarmed disabled man who was shot and killed by police on live television. The council voted 12-2 in a closed session to approve the settlement to end a federal civil rights lawsuit. Beaird (below) was a 51-year-old National Guard veteran. He had been discharged in 1988 after undergoing brain surgery for a tumor removal. He led authorities on an hour long chase after police attempted to pull him over for reckless driving. Beaird ran red lights and stop signs in his silver Corvette before crashing into a car in an intersection. The other driver was injured. His vehicle spun onto a sidewalk.
Billy Beaird, his father, watched on live television as his son staggered out of the car, raised his hands, and was gunned down by police.
The family’s attorney, Dale Galipo, said, “[This vote] implicitly says they acknowledge that the shooting was inappropriate and should not have happened. It seems to take a video [to get justice in a case like this].”
The attorney went on to say that Beaird was suffering from emotional problems and severe paranoia as a result of his brain surgery. He was also suffering due to the death of 6 of his friends in a military helicopter crash.
“He couldn’t understand why the police were chasing him, and he didn’t know what to do,” Galipo said, “He called his family during the pursuit and asked what he should do. And they told him he should pull over…and he said ‘I’m afraid’.”
The lawsuit alleged that the police were inadequately trained, used inappropriate and excessive force, committed battery, and were negligent.
Two council members dissented, Mitch Englander and Joe Buscaino, a former L.A. police officer. Buscaino told the media that he felt as though due to the length and dangerousness of the chase the city could have challenged the case, “It’s very unfortunate on everyone’s part…”