The Los Angeles Police Commission Tuesday decided the eight LAPD officers who nearly killed two newspaper delivery women by mistake during the manhunt for ex-cop Christopher Dorner violated the department’s use of force policy.
The Commission reached the decision in a secret meeting after reviewing a non-public report on the shooting and discussing its findings with Chief Charlie Beck.
That shooting report, prepared by the LAPD’s internal Use of Force Review Board, determined the use of lethal force by the officers was justified – even though they had fired at two innocents.
The L.A. Times reported Tuesday Beck plans to over-rule that recommendation and also 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.
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