$5 million settlement in civil rights lawsuit

The Los Angeles City Council voted Wednesday to pay $5 million to the family of an unarmed, disabled man who was killed by police in a shooting captured on live television.

The council voted 12-2 in closed session to approve a settlement of a federal civil rights lawsuit filed over the Dec. 13 shooting of Brian Beaird, City News Service reported. The family of the Oceanside man had sought $20 million.

Beaird, a 51-year-old National Guard veteran, led authorities on a nearly hour-long chase after they tried to stop him for reckless driving.

Driving a silver Corvette, Beaird ran red lights and stop signs before hitting a car in a downtown intersection and seriously injuring the other driver. The vehicle then spun out onto a sidewalk.

Beaird’s father, Billy Beaird, watched live on television as his son staggered out of the car, briefly raised his hands and was shot several times. Billy Beaird had told the Los Angeles Times that his son was discharged from the National Guard in 1988 after undergoing surgery for a brain tumor and needed regular medical care.

— Associated Press

Perry pleads not guilty to charges

Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) has formally pleaded not guilty to criminal charges of leveraging his power to try to oust a Democratic district attorney convicted of drunken driving, according to court documents obtained Wednesday.

The potential 2016 presidential candidate entered his plea in a Travis County court filing. He also waived an arraignment that had been set for Friday.

The waiver was no surprise given that Perry has signaled no intention to let the felony charges interrupt a busy travel schedule to court GOP voters elsewhere. Perry was set to discuss immigration at the Heritage Foundation in Washington on Thursday, followed by a two-day stop in New Hampshire.

Perry’s plea was filed with the court late Tuesday, shortly after the longest-serving governor in Texas history was fingerprinted and had his mug shot taken. He tweeted a picture of himself stopping for vanilla ice cream on the way back from his booking.

— Associated Press

Contractor to be reinstated at Hanford

A Hanford Nuclear Reservation contractor has been ordered to reinstate a worker who the Labor Department says was fired for voicing concerns about nuclear and environmental safety, officials said Wednesday.

Richland-based Washington River Protection Solutions, a subsidiary of URS Corp. and Energy Solutions, was also ordered to pay $220,000 in back wages and other expenses.

The Labor Department said the contractor violated federal whistleblower provisions. The worker first blew the whistle on nuclear and environmental safety and permit and record-keeping violations in 2009, according to the agency. The worker was fired two years later and reapplied for the job in 2012. The reason for the initial firing was “poor performance.”

Washington River Protection Solutions said Wednesday that the employee was not fired for voicing safety concerns, but as part of 200 layoffs.

— Associated Press

Six hurt as lightning strikes school football practice: Six people were injured, one critically, when a lightning bolt struck during a middle-school football practice in southern New Mexico, a school spokesman said on Wednesday. The Picacho Middle School football team stopped training as the skies darkened and a light drizzle began to fall on Tuesday afternoon over the city of Las Cruces. Then the lightning hit a nearby tree, causing the victims to collapse.

Wildfire destroys eight homes in California: A wildfire burning in steep terrain northeast of Bakersfield, Calif., destroyed eight homes and was threatening more than a thousand others, authorities said Wednesday. The blaze near Lake Isabella was 15 percent contained after scorching about five square miles, Kern County fire officials said. Firefighters working in drought conditions continued building containment lines after stopping the spread of the flames on Tuesday.

Church files lawsuit over communion wafers: Oklahoma’s Catholic Archbishop filed a lawsuit on Wednesday to halt the use of what he said were stolen communion wafers destined for a satanic black mass ceremony to be held next month in Oklahoma City. The lawsuit filed in Oklahoma County District Court claims the black mass is a deliberate attack on the Catholic Mass as well as the foundational beliefs of all Christians.

Gay-marriage cards turn up at Mormon university bookstore: Greeting cards celebrating same-sex marriages turned up at the Brigham Young University bookstore Tuesday. Placed by Hallmark, the cards were quickly removed when bookstore staffers discovered them after photos surfaced online. The outside vendor stocked the shelves without realizing the school wouldn’t want to sell the cards marketed to buyers celebrating unions between two brides and two grooms, BYU spokeswoman Carri Jenkins said. BYU is owned by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which believes that marriage should only be between a man and a woman.

— From news services