LOS ANGELES (CBS) — The family of a 19-year-old man slain during a police shooting say they plan on suing the city of Los Angeles and the L.A. Police Department.
Police began chasing Abdul Arian through the western San Fernando Valley the evening of April 11 after he ran a red light.
The Winnetka resident called 911 during the pursuit and told dispatchers he had a gun and was prepared to shoot officers.
According to police, Arian told a 911 dispatcher during the pursuit: “I’ve 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.”
The high-speed chase ended at approximately 10 p.m. when Arian exited his vehicle on the Ventura (101) Freeway near Woodland Hills. He exited his car, started running on the freeway and reached for his waistband — which prompted officers to open fire.
Arian was shot dozens of times and his family says officers’ reaction was unnecessary. His relatives say officers engaged in a mass display of excessive force, firing more than 100 rounds at Arian after he began running from them.
The city rejected a $120 million claim filed by the family, opening the door for a lawsuit, according to attorneys for the family.
Police say they shot Arian because he had told dispatchers he was armed and they felt their safety was threatened.
Although Arian was not armed and was carrying only a cell phone, video shot by news crews showed him getting out of his car at the end of the pursuit and taking a shooting-type stance toward pursuing police just before officers opened fire.
The family’s attorney, Jeffrey M. Galen, said officers could have used non-lethal force to subdue Arian.
“If the officers were in such fear of their life which they claim, appropriate protocol and policy would be to take cover,” Galen said. “It doesn’t make sense that they would risk their own lives by aggressively charging a suspect.”
Tyler Izen, president of the Los Angeles Police Protective League, the union representing LAPD officers, said shortly after Arian’s death that the shooting was regrettable, but Arian ignored commands from officers and then appeared to be prepared to open fire at them.
“It is unfortunate that our society has come to the place where a lawful command from an officer goes ignored. Oftentimes, this sets into motion a regrettable series of events, as in this case,” Izen said.
“When a person decides to engage officers in a pursuit, refuses police orders to end the threat they are posing to the safety of officers and the public, tells the police that they have a gun, exits a vehicle and takes an
aggressive shooting stance, extends their arms out and points an unknown object at the officers, they are subjecting themselves to the consequences of their actions, which may include being shot.”
Arian had been enrolled in the LAPD’s Explorer Academy, which teaches teens about careers in law enforcement, but he was removed for “disciplinary reasons” in October 2009, according to the LAPD.
Arian’s family will announce the filing of a federal lawsuit against the city and LAPD Monday.
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