A 51-year-old army veteran who led Los Angeles police on a high-speed chase was shot dead by officers after crashing his car and stumbling out onto the road.
Brian Beaird was unarmed and did not appear to be a threat at the time he was killed, according to the Los Angeles Times.
A local television channel filmed the entire incident from a helicopter camera. One person watching events unfold from his home was Beaird’s father, Bill. The 80-year-old man is now filing a $20 million lawsuit against LAPD.
“He didn’t deserve something like this,” said the elder Beaird in a tearful interview with the LA Times. “He didn’t hurt people. Brian was a wonderful, wonderful son.”
Brian had served in the National Guard until 1988, when he underwent surgery for a brain tumor. He needed regular medical care ever since the surgery, and had developed a paranoia about police, according to his family.
Just before his death, Brian had called his father and reported that he was being pursued by the police, despite having done nothing wrong. Bill told his son to pull over and do whatever the officers asked. Brian agreed to do so, but never complied.
“He was simply afraid and paranoid of the police, even though he has never been convicted of any felonies,” said Dale Galipo, a lawyer for the Beaird family. “And that paranoia of the police is one of the reasons why he didn’t pull over.”
Brian’s car–a silver corvette–T-boned another car during the pursuit, and both spun off the road. When Brian got out of his corvette, he reportedly began raising his hands to surrender. Three officers then fired on him 20 times, killing him.
“Usually the story involves, ‘He was reaching in his waistband,’ ‘He had a gun,’ ‘He had something that looked like a gun,’” Galipo said. “In this case, none of those stories will work because everybody saw actually what happened on video.”
The officers have been placed on leave pending an investigation. LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said the incident was troubling, and promised to review the matter.