A radio reporter who was beaten up while covering last month's riots filed a $20 million suit in federal court Monday against the city for failing to provide adequate police protection.
UPI Radio Network reporter Bob Brill was hit in the head with a bottle and stomped on April 29 while on assignment at the corner of Normandy and Florence avenues where violence broke out following the acquittal of four white police officers in the videotaped beating of black motorist Rodney King, the suit said.Nearly 60 people were killed, nearly 2,500 injured, and damage was estimated at $1.5 billion in the rioting.
According to the suit, Brill sustained a minor skull fracture and broken eardrum and thumb after he was attacked by several men as he called in his story from a phone booth.
"Brill believed, unbelievably, that the police would, should and could protect him, but he was very wrong," attorney Stephen Yagman said.
"Instead of protecting Brill, or anyone else . . . the cowardly police left the insurrection scene."
Among the defendants named in the suit are Police Chief Daryl Gates, Mayor Tom Bradley, the City Council, Police Commission Chairman Stanley Sheinbaum and "100 unknown named LAPD officers."
UPI Executive Editor Steve Geimann said in Washington that Brill is acting on his own in filing the suit and UPI is not involved.
In a stinging criticism of the Police Department and city government, Yagman charged that the civil insurrection resulted from "nearly five decades of a brutal, incompetent, out-of-civil-control police force . . . "