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LAPD officers deny beating former bank executive

Two Los Angeles officers denied Wednesday that they beat a former Deutsche Bank executive with a baton in May 2012.
January 22, 2014 12:00:00 AM PST
A former bank executive who's suing LAPD over an alleged police beating took the witness stand Wednesday.

The two officers involved also took the stand and denied beating the man with a baton during the bizarre encounter that ended with broken bones and a $20 million lawsuit.

On Wednesday, jurors viewed the facial injuries Brian Mulligan says he suffered after what he described as a nightmare encounter with LAPD.

The question for the jury: did officers James Nichols and John Miller use excessive force when arresting him, or was Mulligan, a former executive with Universal Studios and Deutsche Bank Vice Chairman, under the influence of a street drug? Did he resist arrest and cause the injuries himself?

The officers described two almost word-for-word identical encounters with Mulligan in Eagle Rock in May 2012. The first time they encountered him, they said, he was rambling and incoherent.

"He was covered in sweat. He was very jittery," Nichols said. "He said he was going through a divorce. He was very upset. His children didn't like him."

In his car, they found wads of money and bath salts called "white lightning" in his car.

He agreed to go to a motel to sleep it off, but officers testified he ran out and caused a disturbance, claiming someone was hiding in his nightstand.

Officer Nichols testified that Mulligan pointed inside a nightstand drawer, saying, 'there he is'. Officers say they reassured him then left.

About an hour later, Miller testified that Mulligan was back on the street in traffic and that he tried to get into a moving car.

When the officers tried to approach him, they say he raised his hands, growled at them and charged at Officer Nichols.

They said the banker was acting so strangely and uncontrollable they feared he would do damage to himself or others.

"This guy had gone crazy," Miller said. "He'd lost his marbles. I was a bit scared. I'd never seen anybody frothing at the mouth and growling as an adult human being."

Mulligan disputes their account. He testified he had an enormous fear of the LAPD and that he was trying to get away.

Dr. Harry Lincoln Smith, an ER doctor who also has a Ph.D in engineering, testified in his support. Smith said Mulligan's injuries were consistent with being beaten with a baton.

The damage was so extreme that Mulligan's olfactory nerve was destroyed and he cannot smell," Smith said.

Bruises on his back were the same size of the police baton's tip. He said Mulligan's shattered bones could not have been caused by a fall.

Mulligan testified that it was Nichols who inflicted the blows.

Nichols, who is 5 foot 6 inches tall, says he never attacked Mulligan who is closer to 6 feet tall. He said he and two other officers pinned Mulligan who was thrashing and writhing.

As for the use of a baton, Nichols says he never used it in his 13 years on the force. He said that in his haste to chase Mulligan down the street, he had left it behind in the patrol car.

Both officers suggested Mulligan may have injured himself by banging his face on the ground.

Mulligan was initially arrested on suspicion of resisting arrest, but prosecutors declined to file charges.

A third police officer who was at the scene of the incident will testify in court Thursday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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