Los Angeles Police Department Chief Charlie Beck said Tuesday he was not surprised prosecutors declined to file charges against three officers involved in the fatal shooting of a man following a December 2013 chase, but said the department will now decide how the trio should be disciplined.
Beck, who last year found the officers’ actions violated the department’s use of deadly force policy, said the district attorney’s decision not to press charges “was expected.”
“I know the D.A. takes into account many circumstances … ,” he said. “Discipline moves forward with these officers and the department will begin that process.”
The three officers will now go through the city’s board of rights discipline process, Beck said.
The three officers have been identified as Armando Corral, Leonardo Ortiz and Michael Ayala. The three have been relieved of duty without pay pending disciplinary action, according to an LAPD spokesman.
The District Attorney’s Office found there was insufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the officers “did not act in self- defense, and in defense of others.”
Brian Beaird, 51, a National Guard veteran, died after the officers fired at him multiple times as he staggered away from his silver Corvette around 10:30 p.m. on Dec. 13, 2013. Beaird’s vehicle had just collided with another vehicle at the intersection of Olympic Boulevard and Los Angeles Street after a 30-minute chase.
The chase and its fatal ending were broadcast live. Among those watching was Beaird’s 80-year-old father.
The decision by prosecutors, first obtained by the Los Angeles Times, determined that a toxicology report showed Beaird had marijuana, methamphetamine, cocaine and an anti-depressant in his system.
In 2014, the city paid Beaird’s family $5 million to settle a federal civil rights lawsuit.
In its decision, the District Attorney’s Office said the officers were in the midst of a “tense and chaotic” situation, with one officer describing Beaird as “angry and agitated”.
Three other officers said they had seen Beaird reach for his waistband before the shots were fired, the prosecutors said, according to The Times. Television reports during the pursuit, citing police scanner broadcasts, said officers believed Beaird may have been armed.
One officer, who was not cited, fired a beanbag round at Beaird, The Times reported, and then Corral, Ortiz and Ayala opened fire as he turned his back.
The Times said Beaird was struck by more than a dozen rounds, with three of the bullets causing fatal wounds.
— City News Service