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LAPD chief rules officers to blame in shooting death of unarmed veteran

By Matt Bradwell
LAPD chief rules officers to blame in shooting death of unarmed veteran
Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck. UPI/Kevin Dietsch | License Photo

LOS ANGELES, Dec. 4 (UPI) -- The Los Angeles Police Department ruled three LA officers broke from protocol and were not justified in using deadly force in the fatal shooting of an unarmed veteran after a high speed police chase in December 2013.

The three officers responsible for death of 51-year-old Brian Newt Beaird testified they feared for their lives after thinking the Coast Guard veteran reached for a gun, but police Chief Charlie Beck determined their claims were unfounded.

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The officers attempted to pull over Beaird after witnessing him driving his silver Corvette erratically after 10 p.m. Beaird did not yield to the police, and instead attempted to flee, triggering a high speed chase with eight officers and a sergeant in pursuit. The chase came to a halt after Beaird crashed into another car. One officer shot a beanbag round into Beaird's leg, but when Beaird attmepted to walk away from the car with his back to the police, the officers opened fire, striking him three times.

"In their minds, they all perceived the threat and that's why they had to take action," claimed defense Attorney Larry Hanna.

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"They went out there that night trying to do the best job they could."

But Beck felt the only officer who acted appropriately was the one who shot the beanbag round.

"The preponderance of the evidence does not independently support [the officers'] perceptions that a deadly threat was present," Beck ruled.

In April, the City of Los Angeles paid Beaird's family $5 million in a wrongful death settlement.

The three officers have not yet been formally disciplined or charged with any criminal action.

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