‘I Felt Pure Fear’ — Ex-Universal Exec Brian Mulligan Recounts LAPD Beating as Trial Begins

Brian Mulligan
Chelsea Lauren/Getty Images

Trial begins in federal court in LA

Former Universal Pictures co-chairman Brian Mulligan told jurors Tuesday that he was “scared to death” that the LAPD would kill him as testimony began in his lawsuit against the LAPD and two officers.

“I felt pure fear,” Mulligan said in Los Angeles federal court as he testified about details of the harsh beating he says he underwent in Eagle Rock on May 16, 2012.

The trial, expected to resume Wednesday, presented two starkly different versions of the events of that evening — one of Mulligan as a buttoned-down investment banker seeking a sleep aid at an Eagle Rock marijuana dispensary who was told by officers that they were shooting him up with heroin in order to kill him; and the other as an unhinged and incoherent drug abuser who was frothing at the mouth and threatening the officers with physical harm.

Mulligan claims he was the victim of excessive force by since-suspended officers James Nichols and John Miller, who broke his nose in 15 places and broke his shoulder blade. The LAPD and the two officers contend that they had responded to someone breaking into cars who matched Mulligan’s description; they also said that he had earlier gone into the Glendale police station to admit use of “bath salts,” the then-legal street drugs that experts say can produce episodes of paranoia and violent behavior.

Mulligan admitted on the stand on direct examination that he had last used bath salts two weeks before the beating in the form of a product called “white lightning,” but had not used them after that.

Defense attorney Denise Zimmerman told the eight-member jury in her opening statement that officers found two bottles of “white lightning” in Mulligan’s car along with “tons” of wadded currency, numerous prescription drugs, sex toys and a plastic bag of lubricant that had exploded.

“He was talking non-stop and said he had not slept in four days,” Zimmerman noted. “He did not want to go home because he was divorcing his wife.”

Zimmerman also indicated that the defense will introduce an audio recording, made by Glendale Police several days before the incident, in which Mulligan is heard admitting to an officer that he had used bath salts 20 times. She had just began a cross-examination of Mulligan in which she took issue with Mulligan’s assertion that he had taken and passed an exam by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority on the previous day.

Zimmerman said there was no record of the test while Mulligan strongly disputed that assertion.

U.S. District Court Judge Gary Klausner has set the schedule of the case so that the issue of excessive force goes to the jury by Friday. If the rules in favor of Mulligan,  the trial will proceed to its second phase, where the jury will be charged with determining damages and whether the LAPD was negligent in supervising Nichols.

Mulligan’s legal team, led by Skip Miller of Miller Barondess, has asserted in the suit that LAPD knew or should have known of sexual assault complaints against Nichols prior to the beating. The city claims that a complaint made to Internal Affairs in 2010 was not substantiated.

Mulligan said the officers forced him to go to a dilapidated apartment building after they confronted him outside the marijuana dispensary. He did so but left and headed for Occidental College, where the officers met him again and gave him a field sobriety test, which he passed, then handcuffed him and forced him to check in to the Highland Park Motel — threatening to kill him if he left before morning.

The officers also refused to let him call his wife and told him repeatedly to “shut the f–k up.”

Fearful that he was being set up, Mulligan left the motel but encountered the officers an hour later. He testified that Nichols struck him with his baton, swinging it like a baseball bat, shattering his nose and knocking him to the pavement. He testified that the officers then beat him in the head, put him on the curb, cuffed his hands behind his back and “torqued” his shoulders and broke Mulligan’s scapula.

“It was the worst pain of my life,” he said. “It was a nightmare night.”

Mulligan was terminated from his job at Deutsche Bank shortly after the police union, the Los Angeles Police Protective League, released the Glendale tape to the media.

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  1. Bubba (appropriate name), This is Brian Mulligan. Unlike you I have never felt I was above the law & used to think police were there to help you. If the people read the transcripts and compare them to the FID interviews (not avail to the public for God knows what reason – police BS) and police report the horrific lies across the board would the cops on trial for pugery, i mho – but we know cops and government lawyers are allowed to lie in court. I really wish I would have known that a lot earlier. Further the witness who were threaten by the government have come forward. I am happy to meet you anywhere anytime. You are a lying coward paid for by the LAPD or the even more cowardly LAPPL. You know where I live since you cowards sent busses of occupancy wall street to terrorize my family 3 times and vandalize my home. I am 55 YO & unarmed I realize your 4 fellow cowards said who are twice my size, military trained, with guns taser, batons & half my age were in fear of life of me. I don’t care how much you paid pid me I would never say that. Real people aren’t as stupid as the ones your government were able to get on the jury and the insane rulings. But I assure you I will have no problem meeting with your over weight uneducated pasty mouth breathing self. But unlike court I will bring in every fact including the charges against your finest, specifically, the sexual assault charges while on duty and the transcripts of the victims (fascinating reading (of course you would have to be able to read), the police report and FID interviews and I might have a few new eyewitnesses and even better some video that somehow wasn’t turned over. They won’t be excluded in my case, as when the govt is running the show. I am here forever to combat corruption (your well compensated lies by the people of the state and city) and will do everything I can legally can to get you in a cell.
    Blake no I am not an ass-hole. But in fairness I can see how the media can make you think that. I was very poor growing up. Tried to be as helpful as possible, worked my tail off and never forgot where I came from and treated the janitor better than the CEO. There is no one who your will find who really knows would say different. Lesson here don’t believe the bought and paid for media. I will take this as far as possible, supreme court, because it was minorities who enable our family to eat when I was young and I owe it to them. If they can do this to me imagine what they do to the the less fortunate. If you care for the real story – not the govt gamed one. http://technorazzi.com/brian-mulligan-fighting-police-brutality/ tell me if I am an A hole.

  2. Bubba says:

    This is a Bank Exec. and a Movie Mogul who thinks he’s above the law. He’s also a complete asshole. The LAPD officers did what he asked when he wanted to be dropped off at a motel and a supervisor was present when that happened. This is a drug addict who in a amped up condition because of his drug use attacked the police. The knuckleheads below haven’t read the facts of the trial. He’s admitted to using bath salts 20 times but of course the night he went nuts, he was having a Pepsi and eggroll. It took the jury 2 hours to find this jackass guilty. This reminds me of the Phil Spector case. Lucky the police caught this guy before he hurt someone.

  3. Ronan says:

    Whenever an officer breaks protocol, it’s usually done for the wrong incentive. If somebody is going to be arrested, and claims to be hungry, do the cops usually take them to Denny’s?

    What I want to know more than anything is why they took him to a hotel?

  4. Isobel says:

    Brian is innocent and someone is definitely trying to set him up on this and justice needs to prevail. The LAPD need to have integrity and tell the truth. The real corruption needs to stop in this country and innocent people should not be victims of this corruption that seems to continue.

  5. alex says:

    now there were sex toys too? wow, they sound desperate to make him look bad. bottom line, nothing in his car was illegal, and he passed drug tests given that night, AND he has no previous criminal record. these cops have a very shady past. the math is simple. i think he will be able to prove excessive force. the pics speak for themselves.

  6. John Blake says:

    Before the rights get on here and say he deserved it for being on drugs and belligerent to the cops, I’d like to say that if you can’t detain a suspect, especially one who looks like he weighs about 160 pounds and has never thrown a punch in his life, without smashing his nose with a baton and breaking his collar bone…then you shouldn’t be a cop.

    Cops are supposed to be TRAINED to take down perps without breaking their bones, yes, even when the perp is trying to hurt the cop. And might I remind you that WE are the ones who pay for the medical bills for these cons when they’re beat to shit by the cops and the lawsuit payouts when they win their claims.

    Yes, Mulligan is a fucking asshole (based on this report, which could be erroneous) but he didn’t deserve to be pummeled by those who are supposed to protect him and us.

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