Los Angeles, CA — Police officers have an extremely high pressure job, particularly in large cities. At any minute they could be called to act in a dangerous situation, like a high speed pursuit or a standoff with an armed suspect. Officers are generally given a certain degree of leeway to use their own best judgment to resolve a volatile situation and restore order, but there are rules about the use of force by officers. Breaking those rules means that officers can face official reprimand and the possibility of criminal prosecution.
This week a letter from the District Attorney's office revealed that three LAPD officers who shot an unarmed man following a police pursuit would not face criminal charges for their actions. On December 13, 2013, Armando Corral, Leonardo Ortiz, and Michael Ayala shot Brian Beaird, 51, a total of 13 times following a police pursuit that ended in downtown LA. Both the crash and the shooting were captured live by TV cameras. A toxicology report from the coroner's office showed that Beaird, a national guard veteran, had multiple drugs in his system at the time of his death.
Because the incident unfolded at night, prosecutors have said that it can not be proved beyond a reasonable doubt that the officers couldn't possibly have interpreted Beaird's hand movements as reaching for a gun, rather than raising his hands to surrender.
Although the officers will not face criminal prosecutions, Police Chief Charlie Beck announced in December of last year that it had been determined that they had broken department rules about the use of force. They are currently suspended without pay. Last summer the city council settled a civil rights lawsuit from Beaird's family for $5 million.
No matter what charges you're facing, the worst decision you can make if you've been accused of a crime is to act as your own attorney. Though there have been examples of laymen successfully defending themselves, these are decidedly the exception rather than the rule. A qualified criminal defense attorney has years of training and experience arguing cases in court that can be an invaluable resource throughout the process of an investigation and trial.
At the Law Office of Michael L. Guisti, we've been defending clients against all kinds of felony and misdemeanor charges for over 16 years. We know the best strategies for having charges reduced or dismissed in Southern California's state and federal courts. Our seasoned criminal defense lawyers have successfully fought charges of domestic violence, assault, drug possession, theft, and fraud. We aren't afraid to take on difficult or high profile cases and we never give up on our clients.
At our firm, the client's needs come first. We know how difficult it can be to fight criminal charges, and we'll do everything in our power to help you through the process. Our offices are conveniently located throughout Orange County in Santa Ana, Irvine, Newport Beach, and Garden Grove. As part of our dedication to serving a diverse client base, we also offer foreign language services as needed.
So if you've been charged with a crime in Southern California, call us today at (714) 707-2797 for a free consultation with one of our highly qualified legal professionals.
Abdollah, Tami. "No charges filed against LAPD officers who fatally shot man." http://www.scpr.org/news/2015/02/23/50014/no-charges-filed-against-lapd-officers-who-fatally/. 89.3 KPCC. 23 February 2015.
Mather, Kate. "LAPD officers won't be charged in fatal shooting of Corvette driver." http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-lapd-criminal-charges-corvette-shooting-20150223-story.html. Los Angeles Times. 23 February 2015.