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Slain suspect's family files federal suit against LAPD, city

June 18, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
The family of a man shot and killed by police at the end of a chase on the 101 Freeway in April filed a federal lawsuit against the city of Los Angeles and the LAPD Monday.

This comes after the city of Los Angeles denied the family's $120-million claim. In the days following the pursuit, Jeffrey Galen, an attorney for Arian's family, filed a claim against the city of Los Angeles for $120 million, "equivalent of one million per bullet," according to a news release issued by a public relations firm representing Galen.

On April 11, Abdul Arian, 19, led police on a chase through the San Fernando Valley. The pursuit and his life both ended on the 101 Freeway when officers opened fire. Arian's car was disabled by a police unit. He fled out the passenger-side door on foot and turned toward police as he ran away. He pointed at officers in what police say was a "shooting stance." Investigators later determined he was carrying only a cell phone.

"The magnitude of bullets used in this case was outrageous," said Jeffrey Galen, attorney for the Arian family. "There never should have been a single bullet used."

Arian's family filed a $120-million federal lawsuit Monday against the Los Angeles Police Department, claiming officers used excessive force in shooting Arian. The LAPD won't comment on the lawsuit or the ongoing investigation.

But police initially said that Arian pointed his cellphone at officers assuming a shooting stance. Galen says it was obvious Arian wasn't holding a weapon.

"That was a cellphone and that is uncontradicted," said Galen.

But police say Arian called 911 during the pursuit. They've never released the audio, but did issue a transcript from part of the call when he allegedly told dispatchers:

  • "I have a gun."
  • "I have been arrested before for possession of destructive devices. I'm not afraid of the cops."
  • "If they pull their guns, I'm gonna have to pull my gun out on them."

"That in and of itself does not justify the use of excessive force or deadly force," said Galen.

But Galen and the family can't say why Arian led officers on a pursuit, or why he allegedly told police he was armed.

The family points out the toxicology report came back negative for every substance screened.

They believe the answer can be found within a nine-minute long conversation with 911 operators that Arian had the night of the shooting. It's a conversation they say LAPD is refusing to release.

"We asked them for two months now to turn it over to us informally so we can hear it," said Galen. "LAPD has refused every single request."

Galen admits the LAPD offered to let family members listen to the 911 recording the day before Arian's burial, but that they were too upset at that time. He says he'll now subpoena the recording and the family will soon be able to hear exactly what Arian told police during his nine-minute call.

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