January 25

Jury rejects former banker’s excessive force claim

Los Angeles police officers painted a picture of a man who was delusional, out of control and frothing at the mouth.

The Associated Press

LOS ANGELES — A former banker and movie executive who said police beat him with batons in a bizarre street confrontation lost his $20 million excessive force claim on Friday against the Los Angeles Police Department.

Jurors in federal court deliberated less than three hours before finding that two officers didn’t violate Brian Mulligan’s federal or state civil rights and didn’t batter him.

Mulligan, his lawyers and his wife, Victoria, rushed out of the courtroom and declined to comment to reporters.

Defense attorneys and the officers said they were delighted with the decision.

“I’m just extremely happy,” Officer John Miller said outside court. “I’m employed. ... We did nothing wrong.”

Peter Ferguson, who represented Officer James Nichols, said experts who testified for the plaintiff couldn’t persuade the jury because the officers did nothing wrong.

Mulligan’s suit claimed that he suffered a broken nose and shoulder and other injuries along with mental torture from an unprovoked beating in May 2012, and that the officers bludgeoned him with their batons.

On Friday, jurors left their deliberations room once to examine one of the batons.

During the three-day trial, Mulligan testified that he had used a drug mixture known as bath salts in the weeks leading up to the incident. Mulligan said he was driven to the drug to deal with sleeping problems but denied the substance made him paranoid during the confrontation.

The officers testified that they restrained but did not beat him, and James Nichols said he hadn’t used his baton in 13 years on the force.

The officers painted a portrait of a man who was delusional and out of control, who wandered the street with wads of crumpled $100 bills falling out of his pockets and made animal sounds when police confronted him.

“This guy had gone crazy,” Miller told jurors. “He’d lost his marbles. I was a bit scared.”

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