Where there’s smoke, there’s usually fire. And when something stinks this badly, there’s usually a huge pile of s%*t. Which brings us to the messy aftermath surrounding just-killed music industry executive Milt Olin: according to a pair of sources speaking confidentially to Digital Music News, the Los Angeles County Sheriff that mauled the former Napster COO last Friday could be held liable for a range of charges, including negligence, involuntary manslaughter, vehicular homicide, and wrongful death, among others. “[Milt] was killed while riding in the bike lane, [Milt] smashed into the driver’s side [of the] windshield,” one source with ties to the situation shared.
“I think the family is considering its options and that could include a lawsuit. They aren’t getting any answers [from the Sheriff’s Department].”
The LA County Sheriff’s Department has not yet responded to an inquiry from Digital Music News (the LAPD has also been contacted). Earlier, the Department indicated that an investigation was underway, but declined to name the Sheriff involved and did not disclose any conclusions or findings. The officer was traveling in the same direction as Olin, and not responding to an emergency, according to several reports.
At issue, basically, is what caused the Sheriff from somehow veering into the bike lane where Olin was riding on Mulholland Drive, without any known interference or unforeseen circumstance (that we know of). Or, wrongdoing on Olin’s part. “Cops have computers attached to their dashboards, I know that,” the second (and emotional) source relayed, also in confidence.
“We can’t text while driving, that’s the law for a reason. So this raises some questions over what exactly was happening.”
Another question is whether any serious investigation is actually happening. The Sheriff’s Department is officially investigating, but they are also investigating themselves. Certainly, a range of technologies and methods exist to reconstruct situations like these: skid marks, for example, can be examined to determine whether reckless driving or negligence was involved (and that goes for the absence of skid marks as well). Vehicular braking patterns can also be used to determine if drugs and/or alcohol were involved, though reports indicate that no substances were interfering with the Sheriff’s driving.
This could catapult into a very emotional issue for many music industry executives, at least judging by the level of response and inquiry received so far. In the days after the death, a number of executives called Digital Music News to vehemently complain about our coverage (we’ve focused too heavily on Olin’s Napster position, for example), the delays in our coverage (following the Sunday incident), or simply to share details about a possible investigation or legal action.
But perhaps the biggest smoking gun could be this: an in-dash camera on the cop car, which may have been recording during the incident. According to local newspaper The Acorn, the dashcam on this particular patrol car was enabled.
Regardless of how these issues resolve, one thing is certain: this was an individual that was extremely well-liked and well-regarded, at least judging from numerous calls and emails received by DMN. Olin, whose career also included a long stretch at A&M Records, was most recently working for the law firm he co-founded, Altschul & Olin LLP.