Reuters.com/ L.A. police chief finds fault with shooting of unarmed man after chase

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SHAFAQNA (International Shia News Association) Three Los Angeles police officers who killed an unarmed man after a car chase last year, in a shooting caught on live television, acted in violation of the department’s use of force policy, the police chief said in a report released on Thursday.

The three officers have said they thought 51-year-old Brian Beaird was reaching for a gun or shooting at them when they fired on him 21 times last December in an incident in downtown Los Angeles that raised questions about police use of force.

In a report approved last week by a unanimous vote of the Los Angeles Police Commission, Police Chief Charlie Beck found fault with the three officers’ actions.

“I find that the tactics utilized by (the officers) substantially and unjustifiably deviated from approved department tactical training, thus requiring a finding of administrative disapproval,” Beck wrote.

The report comes at a time of widespread protests nationally over policing practices, after a New York grand jury declined this week to indict an officer in the chokehold death of an unarmed black man there and a St. Louis grand jury similarly decided last month against charging a police officer in the shooting death of a black teen in Ferguson, Missouri.

The shooting death of Beaird, who was white, followed a car chase that began when Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies tried to pull him over for reckless driving, police said.

After Los Angeles police officers took up the pursuit, Beaird’s vehicle collided with another car in an intersection in the city’s downtown and he emerged flailing his arms, Beck wrote in his report.

An officer fired a non-lethal bean bag round at Beaird. Shortly thereafter, the three officers opened fire on him, according to the report.

One of the officers told investigators he saw Beaird with his hand inside his shirt and believed he had opened fire through the garment, and the other two officers said they thought he was arming himself.

The three officers are on leave and have not yet received discipline, a police spokesman said.

Beaird’s family previously obtained a $5 million settlement from the city over the shooting, according to media reports.

 

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