Los Angeles Father, A Witness to Son’s Death, Files Wrongful Death Lawsuit Against Police
Sacramento, CA (Law Firm Newswire) July 8, 2014 - This grim story resulted in the father of a man shot by the police, live on Los Angeles television, filing a $20 million wrongful death lawsuit.
“The lawsuit states that the victim’s federal and state civil rights were violated when Brian Beaird was shot by police,” explains accomplished Sacramento wrongful death lawyer, Deborah Barron, not involved in the case. “This story with a fatal ending began on December 13, 2013 at 9:30 pm. Beaird, discharged from the National Guard in 1988, was being pursued by officers for allegedly driving in a reckless manner resulting in a mid-intersection collision near Los Angeles Street and Olympic Boulevard. His Corvette spun out after the impact and ended up on a sidewalk in downtown Los Angeles.”
Beaird, 51-years-old at the time of his death, was a disabled veteran and the police pursuit created enough media interest that it was broadcast live, attracting a large television audience that included Beaird’s father. The 80-year-old father watched his son get out of the car, raise his hands and fall to the ground after being shot numerous times by three police officers. “This is a horror like no other, watching your son being gunned down in the streets,” says Barron. “The three officers allegedly fired an estimated 22 times at an unarmed man who had survived brain surgery for a tumor but was left with traumatic brain injury after the operation.”
Shootings by police have been on the rise in the Los Angeles area recently and according to the family’s lawyer, over the last three decades there has not been one criminal prosecution of an officer for a shooting. If a civilian had shot Beaird in the same manner, under the same circumstances, they would be charged with first-degree murder.
The family opted to file a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of their son, alleging the police were not trained properly, committed battery, were negligent and used excessive force. Their message to others in similar situations was that it is time for the police department to do something about their customs and practices that led them to use deadly force, seemingly without any evident ramifications for the officers involved in a shooting. “Many wrongful death lawsuits are not about obtaining compensation. They are about finding closure to move on and sending a message to defendants and others who may be in the same situation. Whether or not Beaird’s questionable death and subsequent lawsuit changes LAPD policies remains to be seen,” comments Barron.
The three officers involved in this incident were put on leave pending an investigation into the matter. They may either receive further training or be disciplined.
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