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LCF resident's 'bath salts' beating case against LAPD heads to jury

January 24, 2014|By Richard Winton

Jurors are scheduled to begin deliberating Friday in the excessive force and civil rights case of Brian Mulligan, a former co-chairman of Universal Pictures, against the Los Angeles Police Department.

The onetime Deutsche Bank vice chairman and La Cañada Flintridge resident suffered multiple nose fractures, a broken shoulder blade and a bloody scalp after two officers took him into custody in Highland Park in May 2012, he says.

Mulligan's attorney, Louis “Skip” Miller, said Thursday in closing arguments that his client's testimony and medical evidence show he was struck in the face with a baton by officer James Nichols, the Los Angeles Times reports.

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A baton also was used to break Mulligan's shoulder blade as his hair was torn from his scalp during an early morning encounter on Meridian Avenue, Miller said.

“The most compelling evidence is the pictures,” Miller said, flashing an image of Mulligan's bloodied face on a high-definition TV just feet from the eight-person jury. “Pictures tell a thousand words and don’t lie.”

He noted that an expert medical witness for Mulligan’s legal team testified that only a baton could have caused such injuries and that if his face hit the curb or sidewalk on the right side, he would have suffered road rash, which he did not.

Miller conceded his client had previously used a legal drug known as bath salts -- a synthetic stimulant designed to be like cocaine or methamphetamine -- but was not under the influence of the drug that night.

Earlier that night, he said, the officers detained Mulligan near Occidental College. Instead of letting him go after determining he was not under the influence of drugs or committed a crime, Miller said, the officers took him to the Highland Park Motel — an establishment a third officer testified was known for housing criminals.

Once there, Miller said, they ordered Mulligan to stay at the motel until morning, warning him he would be dead if he left. Fearing for his safety Mulligan fled, the attorney said.

Nichols caught up with Mulligan a few hours later and smashed him across the nose with his baton, Miller said.

“James Nichols — our position is he is a rogue. He is a sadistic person,” Miller said.

Miller questioned Nichols' testimony that he never took his baton out of his police cruiser and he never used it that night.

“Sure looks used to me,” Miller said, holding up the worn-looking weapon.

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