Father watched his son shot dead by police on live TV, files wrongful death suit

Bill BeairdAn aging Los Angeles man who witnessed his son’s violent death in real time on television is suing the city for $20 million in damages. From the Los Angeles Times:

Bill Beaird, 80, wept as he spoke to reporters outside the Los Angeles Police Department‘s downtown headquarters, the same day his family filed a $20-million claim against the city in the death of his son Brian. The claim is a legal precursor required when suing a California government entity.

Beaird explained to reporters that his youngest son called him the evening of Dec. 13 and said he was being chased by police. His son insisted he hadn’t done anything wrong, prompting the father to advise him to pull over. Instead, 51-year-old Brian Beaird led police on a high-speed chase through downtown LA, which was captured by a KTLA-TV news helicopter.

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In the video, which can be viewed here, the younger Beaird’s Corvette can be seen T-boning another car before spinning out onto a sidewalk.

The video has been truncated and ends with police surrounding the vehicle. In its original form — the form that Bill Beaird watched in sheer horror and disbelief — the driver can be seen staggering out of his vehicle, raising his hands with his back to police, then silently grabbing his abdomen and falling to the ground.

The father said he was initially confused about what transpired and wasn’t even sure it was his son. Television reporters covering the unfolding story said they thought the suspect might have been shot with a Taser. But when Beaird tried to no avail to reach his son by telephone, his concern mounted. Eventually, his worst fears were confirmed: It was not only his son in the video; Brian was dead.

According to the police report, Brian Beaird was unarmed when he exited his vehicle. Preliminary information revealed that three officers with the LAPD fired more than 20 shots at the suspect. The officers have been placed on extended leave pending the final use-of-force investigation.

LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said:

After hearing the preliminary briefing, I am very concerned about the circumstances that led up to and resulted in this officer-involved shooting.

The elder Beaird, an Army veteran, said his son followed in his own footsteps and joined the military. Brian Beaird was discharged from the National Guard in 1988 after undergoing surgery for a brain tumor. An attorney for the family, Dale Galipo, said that following the surgery, Brian Beaird developed paranoia toward figures of authority, such as police.

Of the incident, Galipo observed:

Usually the story involves, ‘He was reaching in his waistband,’ ‘He had a gun,’ ‘He had something that looked like a gun. In this case, none of those stories will work because everybody saw actually what happened on video.

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