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Family of Abdul Arian, the teenager killed after he fled police, sues for $120 million

A screenshot from Abdul Arian's Facebook timeline header showing that he had photos of police vehicles on his profile.
A screenshot from Abdul Arian's Facebook timeline header showing that he had photos of police vehicles on his profile.

Abdul Arian led police through the Valley on the night of April 11. It was a car chase that ended in his death on the 101 Freeway in a flurry of gunshots from eight L.A. police officers who thought he was carrying a gun. Monday his family announced they plan to sue the City of Los Angeles for $120 million.

According to a 911 phone call with the 19-year-old during the pursuit, he told the dispatcher that he had a weapon and he was going to kill the police with it if they continued following him. Police initially approached him for a traffic incident.

"I have a gun," Arian is reported to have told the dispatcher. "I’ve been arrested before for possession of destructive devices, I’m not afraid of the cops," he warned. "If they pull their guns, I’m gonna have to pull my gun out on them,” he added.

When Arian ultimately ended the car chase on the freeway near Woodland Hills, he leapt from the passenger's side of his car and pointed at the police the way one would point with a gun. But it wasn't a gun, it was his cell phone. Unfortunately it was past 10 p.m. and police could not clearly see what was in his hand, but in a statement they said Arian appeared to be taking "an aggressive 'shooting stance.'" 

"You can see the suspect doing something with something in his hands," Lt. Andy Neiman said earlier.

Police shot at him between 90 and 120 times.

According to a statement the Arian family released Monday, the lawsuit was filed by an attorney named Jeffrey M. Galen who "has been employed by multiple international Fortune 500 corporations and has been lead counsel in numerous multi-million dollar cases."

The $120 million figure "equates to one million dollars per bullet in compensation for the grieving family," the statement reads. "It is the hope of Mr. Galen that this action will result in the reform of officer training and cultural diversity," says the statement.

“It is unfortunate that our society has come to the place where a lawful command from an officer goes ignored," wrote Tyler Izen, President of the Los Angeles Police Protective League in a statement also released Monday.

"Oftentimes, this sets into motion a regrettable series of events, as in this case. When a person decides to engage officers in a pursuit, refuses police orders to end the threat they are posing to the safety of officers and the public, tells the police that they have a gun, exits a vehicle and takes an aggressive shooting stance, extends their arms out and points an unknown object at the officers, they are subjecting themselves to the consequences of their actions, which may include being shot," Izen wrote.

Abdul Arian's funeral will  take place on Tuesday, April 17at 1:00 p.m. in North Hollywood, California. A press conference will be held before the funeral at noon at the cemetery, according to the family's statement.

Correction: An earlier version of this story was missing a word and failed to cite a source. Those omissions have been corrected.