3 LAPD officers who fired at unarmed driver in car chase are taken off duty

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Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck has sent the three officers home who fatally shot an unarmed, reckless driver, pending a full investigation into the officer-involved shooting.

The three LAPD officers fired 15 to 20 rounds at Brian Newt Beaird, 51, after an hour-long car chase through South Los Angeles into downtown L.A. No weapon was recovered after the shooting.

In a written statement, Beck said on Thursday: “After hearing the preliminary briefing, I am very concerned about the circumstances that lead up to and resulted in this officer-involved shooting.

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“Because of those concerns I have directed that the three involved officers be assigned home pending the final results of the investigation,” Beck continued. “Determinations regarding training or possible disciplining of the involved officers will be made at that time.”

The car chase began in Cudahy with L.A. Sheriff’s deputies, but the LAPD took over the pursuit when the driver entered its jurisdiction. LAPD Newton Patrol Division officers joined the pursuit.

The shooting was caught on video by an NBC LA news helicopter. The video shows police chasing the silver Corvette, which crashes into a passing car, sending both vehicles spinning. The passing car hits a fire hydrant; Beaird’s vehicle crashes and becomes disabled.

The helicopter news footage then shows Beaird trying to drive the car out of the crash site. When it doesn’t move, he stumbles out of the vehicle. About 20 officers were at the scene when the officer-involved shooting occurred.  

Internal investigators with the LAPD are looking into whether a non-lethal beanbag round that was fired during the shooting had any influence on why officers shot the unarmed driver.

There has been speculation that a beanbag round that was deployed during the incident could have caused confusion amongst officers or influenced the shooting. Beck told KPCC’s Larry Mantle on Wednesday during “AirTalk” that a non-lethal beanbag round was fired at the scene, but he cautioned against jumping to conclusions.

“I mean, we use a beanbag hundreds of times a year, and it doesn’t result in officers firing their weapons, so I think that’s a leap,” he said Wednesday. “Although it may turn out that that’s what this is, but it’s far too early to say.”

An LAPD press release states that departmental force investigation detectives and the LAPD multi-disciplinary collision investigation team is looking into the shooting and traffic accident.

Chief Beck said he would review the final investigation. The inspector general and the Police Commission will also review the investigation, as will the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Justice System Integrity Division.  

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