Jury clears LAPD officers in 'bath salts' beating case filed by LCF resident

January 24, 2014|By Richard Winton

A federal jury on Friday found that two Los Angeles police officers did not use excessive force when they arrested a one-time bank and Hollywood executive they believed to be under the influence of the drug bath salts, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Brian Mulligan, 54, sued the Los Angeles Police Department and two of its officers, James Nichols and John Miller, in federal court. He alleged they violated his civil rights, used unreasonable force and committed battery during a May 16, 2012, arrest.

The decision by the eight-person jury means there will not be a second phase of the trial to decide whether the city negligently supervised the officers, according to the Los Angeles Times.


Assistant City Atty. Denise Zimmerman, who represented the city and Officer John Miller, told jurors the case came down to credibility and two completely different stories about the night of the arrest. She said it came down to whether they believed Mulligan or the two officers and a series of witnesses to his bizarre behavior.

Mulligan testified that Nichols during the final confrontation at Avenue 54 and Meridian Street swung his LAPD baton, fracturing the banker’s nose and then broke his shoulder as Nichols' partner held Mulligan.

He told jurors that after Nichols broke his nose he blacked out, only to come around with the officers sticking something in his back and Miller whispering he was going to overdose that night and they were injecting him with heroin.

Mulligan admitted using bath salts, a legal drug designed to act like cocaine or methamphetamine, 20 times to help him sleep but said he had not consumed them in two weeks before he was beaten

Mulligan’s attorney, Louis “Skip” Miller, told jurors Nichols was “a rogue” cop who punished Mulligan.

But because of a ruling before trial by U.S. District Judge R. Gary Klausner, the attorney was unable to tell jurors that Nichols is facing a disciplinary hearing in which the LAPD could seek to fire him in connection with an investigation involving coerced sex with women.

One of the women involved in the case that names Nichols and a second officer who worked with him in the Hollywood Division recently won a $575,000 settlement from the city.

But officers Nichols and Miller testified they were only trying to help a man in the middle of what one of their lawyers termed “a drug-induced psychosis.”

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