The family of a Corvette driver shot and killed by police last year after an hour-long chase that was televised live will receive a $5 million settlement following a vote Wednesday by the Los Angeles City Council.
Two city council members voted against the settlement, saying they felt the city had a good chance of winning a lawsuit filed by the family of Brian Newt Beaird, 51.
Last December, Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies began chasing Beaird in his Corvette in Cudahy after they suspected he was a drunk or reckless driver. When the chase reached the LA city limits, the LAPD took over as Beaird continued to drive erratically and at high speeds on freeways and surface streets in his C6 Corvette.
With several police cars in pursuit, Beaird eventually sped through a downtown LA intersection, striking a Nissan that was passing through and sending it into a fire hydrant. Beaird’s Corvette then came to a stop and after trying to drive off, he got out of the car and staggered to the passenger side.
That’s when he was shot multiple times by officers, all shown on TV as his father watched, and Beaird died at a hospital about an hour later.
Days after the incident, LAPD Chief Charlie Beck, saying he was “very concerned,” promised an investigation to see if his officers should be disciplined or offered better training.
The family, meanwhile, filed a lawsuit against the city, asking for $20 million in damages.
Two councilmen said they did not vote in favor of the eventual $5 million settlement.
“Given the totality of the circumstances, the officers’ actions were reasonable and it was reasonable to believe he had a weapon,” Councilman Mitchell Englander said. Councilman Joe Buscaino, who had worked 15 years as a police officer, admitted that the shooting was “very unfortunate” but added that he felt the city could have challenged and fought the case.
“…In light of my experience as a police officer working 15 years on the street, looking at the totality of the incident, almost an hourlong pursuit involving three agencies … in summary, I felt that we had an opportunity to challenge this in court and ultimately win it based on what I heard in closed session,” Buscaino said.
Here was the video from that incident showing the pursuit of Beaird’s Corvette which unfortunately ended in gunfire:
Los Angeles Times
Photo Credit: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times
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