A Los Angeles Police Department Use of Force Review Board has decided the officers who nearly killed two newspaper delivery women by mistake during the manhunt for ex-cop Christopher Dorner were justified in using deadly force, several LAPD officials have confirmed, and the L.A. Times reported Tuesday Chief Charlie Beck plans to over-rule the recommendation and find the officers violated policy.
Beck, who called the shooting in Torrance last February a “tragic mistake,” will now decide whether or not the officers and sergeant who opened fire with handguns and shotguns should face any discipline.
The Los Angeles Police Commission reviewed the Chief’s recommendations and the use of force report in closed session today.
According to LAPD statements at the time the officers said they mistook a compact blue Toyota pickup for Dorner’s gray full-size Nissan, and began shooting after the Toyota swerved down Redbeam Ave. around 5 a.m. February 7 while the officers were protecting the home of an LAPD captain who had been named in Dorner’s online revenge letter.
The City of Los Angeles paid delivery drivers Margie Carranza and her mother Emma Hernandez $4.2 million last year to avoid a lawsuit.
The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, that said last month it would not pursue criminal charges against a Torrance Police officer who fired at another innocent man in a related mistaken shooting the same morning, has begun reviewing the evidence in the LAPD shooting and is expected to issue a finding any day, according to a spokeswoman.
In the Torrance shooting, the D.A.’s office found it was within the law for the officer to have fired blindly at a pickup truck before seeing who was behind the wheel, because the officer was fearful Dorner was driving the truck and had heard gunfire from the LAPD’s mistaken shooting several blocks away.
The Use of Force Review Board is a panel of LAPD officers and commanders that meets in secret to evaluate serious use of force incidents such as officer involved shootings.
-- Eric Leonard