Ex-Universal Exec Claims Top L.A. Officials ‘Orchestrated’ Effort to Discredit Him After LAPD Beating

Brian Mulligan
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Former Universal Pictures co-chairman Brian Mulligan claims in a new court filing that Los Angeles chief of police Charlie Beck and other top city and police union officials “orchestrated” an effort to discredit him as he pursued a complaint after being beaten by two officers as he visited an Eagle Rock medical marijuana dispensary in May, 2012.

Mulligan, who is suing the LAPD and police union for $20 million, is focusing on the Los Angeles Police Protective League’s release in October of a tape of a visit that Mulligan made to the Glendale police department several days before he was beaten. In the tape, he admits to using “bath salts,” the designer street drugs that experts say can produce episodes of paranoia and violent behavior. Mulligan lost his job the next month as a senior executive at Deutsche Bank.

In a filing on Monday, Mulligan’s lead attorney, Skip Miller of Miller Barondess, claims that “the LAPD’s top brass were working with the Union and the publicist to get the tape and use it to hammer Mulligan.”They say that the release of the tape was in violation of the LAPD’s own policy, including that department files are confidential and show not be disclosed by officers except “in performance of their official duties.”

Mulligan’s legal team says that a series of emails obtained during the discovery process show that the LAPD’s Force Investigation Division and its head, Capt. Robert Lopez, obtained the tape from Glendale city officials “under false pretenses.” Included in their filing is a sworn declaration from Glendale City Attorney Ann Maurer, in which she says that “if I had been told that the audio recording would be released to any third party other than in connection with the LAPD use of force investigation, I would not have agreed to informally provide the recording to the LAPD.”

Mulligan’s filing claims that Beck had to give the order for the LAPD’s Force Investigation Division to seek the tape from Glendale P.D., and emails show that he was aware of attempts to obtain it.

Mulligan’s legal team includes copies of emails, including an Oct. 10, 2012 e-mail from assistant city attorney Cory Brente, made on his personal email account, to Tyler Izen, president of the Los Angeles Police Protective League. It shows that Brente sent a message to Izen with “Mulligan Recording” in the subject line. “Tyler, Here it is. Let me know if you have problems opening it.” “Got it. Thanks.” Izen responds.

Other emails, from members of the police union, show them making light of the May, 2012 incident. One, from Jason Oliverez to Kristi Sandoval and Melissa Afable, show a picture of Mulligan in a business suit and a photo of his beaten face, taken after the beating, with the wording “Before Bath Salts” and “After Bath Salts.” “Can we use any of these? (hehe)” Oliverez writes.

A spokesman for the LAPPL, Eric Rose, said in a statement, “The Los Angeles Police Protective League does not determine LAPD policy. It is the position of the LAPPL that the unedited, complete version of Mr. Mulligan’s tape recorded conversation with another law enforcement agency is not confidential.”

Commander Andrew Smith, a spokesman for the LAPD, said that they refrain from commenting on pending litigation, and that an internal investigation is ongoing about Mulligan’s allegations, including the release of the tape. “We cannot comment on ongoing Internal Affairs investigations,” he said.

“The truth of this matter will come out in the court case, and we look forward to that day,” he said.

Rose, a P.R. executive with Englander Knabe & Allen, and Smith are each included in Mulligan’s filing, along with emails, as among those who “orchestrated” the release. Also named were Beck, deputy chief Rick Jacobs, special assistant Gerald Chaleff, Brente and Izen. Mulligan’s claims came in response to a discovery dispute in which the defendants seek depositions from Mulligan’s wife, Victoria, and two adult children, Brooke and Nolan.

The LAPD claims that Mulligan’s wounds and gashes were suffered as two officers, James Nichols and John Miller, attempted to restrain him.

The LAPD’s version of events differs substantially from Mulligan’s. It said that Mulligan needed to be forcibly restrained and that resulted in his hospitalization. They said that although he passed a drug evaluation test, at his request they dropped him off at the Highland Park Motel nearby.

Several hours later, however, they got a call of a man running through traffic a few blocks from the motel. According to police, he was contorting his hands in a clawlike manner and snarling, and force was necessary to restrain him. They say that at “no time was Mulligan struck in the face.”

“Officers performed drug evaluation tests, and determined that he was not under the influence of an illegal controlled substance,” the LAPD, the union and the officers said in a recent filing. But Mulligan admitted to officers that he was using bath salts, and, their filing states, “the ‘high’ from these drug has been reported to last as long as six days.”

In his suit, Mulligan alleges that he was “minding his own business” on the night of May 15, visiting the Eagle Rock neighborhood of Los Angeles to fill a prescription at a medical marijuana dispensary.

His suit claims that after he was stopped by Nichols and Miller, they gave him a field sobriety test and he passed. Rather than let him go, they handcuffed him, searched him and, without his consent, his car, where they discovered about $3,000 in cash.

Even though there “was nothing to arrest him for,” Mulligan said he asked to call his wife, or for the officers to drive him home, but they refused.

Instead, the suit states, the officers handcuffed him in the back of their car and took him to a motel, where they checked him in and ordered him not to leave or he would be “a dead motherfucker.”

Worried that he was being “set up,” Mulligan fled the motel, but encountered Nichols and Miller again.

As he tried to run, the suit claims, “they attacked him. Nichols hit Mulligan in the face with his baton, swinging it like a baseball bat, shattering Mulligan’s nose and kicking Mulligan to the pavement. Nichols and Miller the beat Mulligan in the head. Mulligan, bleeding profusely and drifting in and out of consciousness, pleaded with them to stop.”

The suit says that Miller then “inserted his baton under Mulligan’s arms and torqued Mulligan’s shoulders back, breaking Mulligan’s scapula (shoulder blade). He repeated the maneuver, breaking the bone again.

The suit claims that at the time of the incident, Nichols was under investigation by the LAPD’s internal affairs division for assaulting women “using a similar modus operandi to the one he employed with Mulligan; transporting them by threat and force to a private location; and ordering them to be compliant.”