Los Angeles police Chief Charlie Beck said Thursday there were “issues with supervision at the scene” where three police officers fatally shot an unarmed man following a high-speed chase last year.
“We had a number of issues in this incident,” he said. “Some of them were training issues and some of them were discipline issues.”
Beck recently disputed the three officers’ claims that they opened fire on 51-year-old Brian Newt Beaird on Dec. 13, 2013, because they feared their lives were in danger. He wrote in a report to the Police Commission that the officers’ “stated reasons” for opening fire “were unsupported by the evidence and actual actions of the suspect.”
Police shot Beaird 15 times, according to the report. Three of the bullets believed to have likely killed the National Guard veteran hit him from behind. Video footage showed Beaird turning away when the three officers opened fire.
The Police Commission, the civilian panel that oversees the department, unanimously approved Beck’s findings last month.
Beck said today the three officers who shot at Beaird were “inaccurate in their assessment of the situation,” but he does not believe they lied in their individual accounts of the shooting.
“These are officers who did not get up in that morning to become involved in an officer-involved shooting,” he said. “These are officers who did not perform to their training.”
Beck said he is barred from commenting on what punishment, if any, the officers would receive, or if they would receive more training.
City leaders agreed in August to pay $5 million to settle a lawsuit filed by Beaird’s family. At the time, City Councilman Joe Buscaino, a former Los Angeles police officer, voted against paying the settlement, saying he felt there was “an opportunity to proceed and challenge the case.”
Attorney Dale K. Galipo, who represents the family, said “we certainly welcome Chief Beck’s criticisms of the officers involved in this case,” but he still wants to know “what specific actions will be taken against the officers involved, and what, if any, new training will be provided to LAPD officers.”
Beaird was shot by police as he got out of a silver Corvette, which was badly damaged, smoking and wedged between poles on a sidewalk after crashing into another vehicle at the end of the chase.
The Oceanside man died at a hospital about 45 minutes after the chase ended near the intersection of East Olympic Boulevard and South Los Angeles Street.
Live television broadcasts showed the driver of the Corvette running numerous red lights and stop signs, and weaving as it sped through neighborhoods and commercial districts between Cudahy, southeast of Los Angeles, and the area near the Staples Center.
Just after 10:30 p.m., the Corvette smashed into a Nissan Maxima. As the car’s tires spun and smoked, the driver exited the Corvette. He was then shot, and collapsed on his back on a sidewalk.
No weapon was recovered at the scene of the shooting, according to police.
Beaird had recently bought the Corvette, according to his brother. During the chase, he called his family and said he couldn’t understand why he was being pursued, his brother said, but efforts to get him to pull over were unsuccessful.
—City News Service