He exited his unmarked, ex-police car in the middle of the 101 freeway in Woodland Hills, faced several officers, crouched and appeared to assume what cops described as a "shooting stance." Thinking he had a gun, officers squeezed off 120 rounds.
He didn't have a gun. And so his family sued the department and the city -- for $120 million:
The family's lawyer, Jeffrey M. Galen, said officers displayed "the use of unnecessary, brutal, excessive Police force," adding:
Abdul was shot to death just a few hundred yards away from many major Southern Californian business and retail shopping centers. Since the shooting pictures have been revealed of stray bullets embedded into nearby office buildings and trees. A Porsche Car Dealership was also struck by bullets, puncturing holes in several cars. It is clear with their actions the LAPD showed little concern for their proximity to the public.
Family members staged demonstrations and said law enforcers could have used less-than-lethal force such as bean bags or tasers.
A U.S. District Court judge this week sided with the city on this one, dismissing the suit. City Attorney Carmen Trutanich:
While we welcome Judge Klausner's decision, we cannot forget that this episode is a tragedy for the Arian Family and the Los Angeles Police Department. Too often our police officers must defend themselves in the face of grave threats, perceived or otherwise, and in this case tragic as it may have been, their defense was justified.