News & Politics

LAPD Kill Unarmed Mentally Ill Veteran on TV -- And Their Defense Won't Shock You

Brian Beaird never appeared to be a threat to the officers who shot him 21 times.

He went for his waistband. Yeah, it's so strange how much unarmed men, confronted by police with guns drawn, seem to LOVE digging in their waistband. Police claimed that they thought they saw Brian Beaird do this over and over again, but as you watch the video below, you won't see anything like this—which is probably why the City of Los Angeles just agreed to pay his family $5 million. In essence, Los Angeles, which refused to prosecute the three officers who fired 21 shots at Beaird, are forcing the taxpayers to cover it.

Brian Beaird, a 51-year-old veteran struggling with mental illness, led police on a car chase throughout Los Angeles until he crashed his car and staggered out of it with his hands up and back turned toward the officers. The entire ordeal was on live television in Los Angeles as the car chase was covered close up by news helicopter—including the final shooting, which seemed to even stump the newscasters at the time. Beaird, clear as day, posed absolutely no threat to the officers.

According to Huffington Post:

Beaird had a number of emotional problems following his brain surgery and the death of six close friends in a military helicopter crash and was paranoid at the time of the police chase, the attorney said.

"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' and kept going."

In the immediate aftermath of the shooting, LA Weekly reported that officers fired so many shots because they mistakenly thought they heard Beaird shoot at them. They didn't use this defense later.

Head below the fold to read the police account and see the actual video.

Fox 11 News says an officer who opened fire did so because a less-than-lethal beanbag round shot by a fellow cop might have been mistaken for gunfire from the suspect.

Beaird, described in reports as a disabled veteran who served in the National Guard for eight years, died at a nearby hospital about 43 minutes after the chase ended, according to City News Service.

News footage shows a "DP" plate, for disabled person, on the Corvette he was driving.

Read the official police account. It doesn't even come close to adding up.

According to the police account, Beaird got out of the car, but ignored officers' orders to get on the ground and show his hands. One officer, saying he believed he saw Beaird reaching for his waistband, fired a beanbag, causing Beaird to stagger and bend over. But he continued walking, and three officers opened fire when they said they believed he again was reaching for his waistband.

At 20:27, Beaird nears the intersection where he crashes the car.

At 20:36, Beaird crashes the car.

WATCH the following very closely ...

At 21:11, Beaird, surrounded by 14 police cars opens the door to exit his car.

Now, see if you see him posing a threat. Do you see him reaching multiple times in his waistband?

At 21:16, just five seconds later, police have already fired 21 shots at Beaird and he is dying on the street. Blood will begin to appear through the holes in his shirt. He dies less than 45 minutes later.

How is this justified? Why are we continually told to ignore our own eyes with this type of police violence? Why did the City of Los Angeles pay the family $5 million if it was justified?

Our system is broken. Agree?

Shaun King is a member of the DailyKos contributor community. 

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