Beck upgrades to 'very concerned' about killing of unarmed Corvette driver

Thumbnail image for lapd-car-protect-serve.jpgLAPD Chief Charlie Beck today placed three officers who shot and killed an unarmed suspect on extended home leave pending the completion of an investigation. The suspect, Brian Newt Beaird, was shot on Dec. 13 after crashing his Corvette at Olympic Boulevard and Los Angeles Street downtown following a police chase that began in Cudahy. According to video, Beaird staggered out of the car and appeared to have his back to the officers with his hands up when they opened fire. The officers fired more than 20 rounds. From the LA Times:

"After hearing the preliminary briefing, I am very concerned about the circumstances that led up to and resulted in this officer-involved shooting,” Beck said in a statement.

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

Police have faced numerous questions about the Friday shooting, which occurred after Beaird, 51, crashed his Corvette in downtown Los Angeles and staggered out of his vehicle.

Live footage from KTLA-TV showed Beaird briefly raising his hands with his back to officers, then grabbing his stomach and falling to the ground after police opened fire.

Police previously said they were looking into whether any non-lethal munitions were fired prior to the gunfire, prompting the shooting. The KTLA footage shows an object bounce and roll across the sidewalk almost simultaneously with gunfire...

The chief had said preliminary information indicated a beanbag round had been deployed, but it was unclear whether that had any effect on the officers' decision to fire their weapons.

Beck told the police commission this week there has been 43 officer-involved shootings so far in 2013. There were just seven last year. But Beck said the total for 2013 was about the average and less than the 58 recorded in 2011.

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