5:48 p.m. | Updated
A former top Deutsche Bank deal maker sued the city of Los Angeles and two of its police officers on Wednesday, accusing the men of beating him and then smearing his reputation in a widely publicized arrest last year.
The former banker, Brian Mulligan, contended in the lawsuit that contrary to reports that he had attempted to assault the officers, the men tried to extort him for about $ 3,000 on the night of May 15. They later severely beat him, leaving injuries that required extensive facial surgery, according to the complaint.
Mr. Mulligan, who also names the Los Angeles Police Protective League and 10 unnamed individuals as defendants, has sued claiming civil rights violations, assault and false imprisonment. He is seeking $ 20 million in damages.
Sandy Cooney, a spokesman for the Los Angeles city attorney’s office, said he was not aware of the suit and had no immediate comment.
Eric Rose, a spokesman for the police protective league, said he had not yet seen the lawsuit. But, in statement, Mr. Rose said that Mr. Mulligan had earlier “thrust himself into the public eye” by holding a newsconference to air his allegations. Those, said Mr. Rose, are at odds with Mr. Mulligan’s own tape recorded remarks about the incident to the Glendale police department, as described in a Los Angeles police department news release that included a link to the recording.
Mr. Rose said the protective league was handling queries to the two officers named as defendants, James Nichols and John Miller, but that neither would comment publicly about the incident.
The legal action is the strangest turn yet for Mr. Mulligan, a Hollywood executive turned investment banker with a number of notable deals under his belt. A former high-ranking executive at Universal Pictures, he helped sell Seagram to Vivendi.
Before that, he was a chairman of Fox TV and a co-chairman of Universal Pictures.
The lawsuit, filed in Federal District Court in Los Angeles, paints a far different picture from what emerged in initial media reports last year. Representatives of the Los Angeles Police Department said last August that Mr. Nichols and Mr. Miller, responded to reports of a man trying to enter occupied cars in the Eagle Rock neighborhood.
They found Mr. Mulligan, who appeared dazed, though he later tested negative for narcotics. The police officers took him to a motel, though they later found him wandering about. It was then that the banker assumed a “fighting stance” and charged.
The allegations later led to his firing by Deutsche Bank in November for “concerns about publicized disclosures related to personal matter,” according to the complaint.
But Mr. Mulligan remembers the event quite differently.
In the lawsuit, he contends that he had stopped by a pharmacy to buy THC pills as sleeping aids. Mr. Nichols and Mr. Miller then stopped him, made him take a sobriety test and then searched him.
After finding $ 3,000 in cash — an amount Mr. Mulligan said was necessary for business travel — in the banker’s car, the officers handcuffed him and took him to a nearby motel. They warned him not to leave, lest he end up dead, according to the complaint.
Mr. Mulligan said he then fled the motel, fearing for his life, but ran into Mr. Nichols and Mr. Miller. The officers then hit him in the head and breaking his shoulder blade, according to the complaint.
At one point, Mr. Nichols told Mr. Mulligan, “You’re going to die tonight of a heroin overdose,” the complaint contends.
The banker also accused other police officers of conspiring to disseminate defamatory information about him, including by claiming that Mr. Mulligan was “suffering from delusions as a result of drug use” and had fabricated the entire incident.
The complaint also contends that the Los Angeles Police Protective League improperly leaked a recorded conversation between Mr. Mulligan and an officer from the Glendale Police Department. The banker can be heard admitting “I am a little paranoid” to an officer, as well as having bought “white lightning,” a form of drug popularly known as bath salts.
Despite the claims by police, the complaint adds, no charges were filed against Mr. Mulligan.
The complaint repeatedly notes that Mr. Nichols, a 12-year veteran of the Los Angeles Police Department, is under investigation by police internal affairs over allegations that he and his former partner intimidated informants and women they had previous arrested, demanding sex.
Because of the inquiry, Mr. Nichols was reassigned to Los Angeles’ Northeast Division, which encompasses the Eagle Rock neighborhood where he encountered Mr. Mulligan.