Prosecutors have cleared a Torrance Police Department officer of criminal wrongdoing for trying to kill surfer David Perdue -- after mistaking Perdue ‘s Honda for ex-cop Christopher Dorner during last February’s manhunt.
The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office said in letter January 9 the, “atmosphere of fear and extreme anticipation,” amongst police in part justified the use of deadly force by officer Brian McGee -- even though the officer fired at an innocent person who did not match Dorner’s description.
“Those circumstances created a situation in which a reasonable mistake of fact, namely that Dorner was driving the truck, nearly resulted in a horrific tragedy,” wrote Deputy D.A. Geoffrey Rendon.
According to D.A.’s report, McGee said he believed gunfire he heard from LAPD officers mistakenly firing at two newspaper delivery drivers blocks away was the driver of the Honda firing at him from, “20 feet away,” and after ramming Perdue’s truck, began firing at the driver’s head through an open front passenger window.
Perdue wasn’t hit.
“McGee ordered Perdue to show his hands,” the report continues. “Perdue complied and McGee immediately observed that Perdue was Caucasian, unlike Dorner, who was African-American.”
The D.A. said
“We think it’s outrageous,” said Perdue’s civil attorney Robert Sheahen after reviewing the D.A.’s findings.
“By the logic of the D.A.’s opinion, the officers could’ve shot at any one of one-million pickup trucks on the road that day, and it would have been justified,” he said.
Perdue has filed a civil suit in federal court for damages from the shooting.
Torrance Police spokesman Sgt. Robert Watt said the incident is still under administrative review.
"The D.A. report speaks for itself, and unfortunately I cannot comment on it any further at this time," he said.
-- Eric Leonard