Eight LAPD officers who shot up a newspaper delivery driver’s pickup will not face charges in a “mistaken identity” shooting that saw 103 rounds fired because on-edge officers mistook the sound of a thrown newspaper with gunshots.
Prosecutors are declining to criminally charge against eight Los Angeles police officers who injured two innocent women after mistakenly riddling their pickup truck with more than 100 bullets during a manhunt for cop-turned-killer Christopher Dorner, according to a report released Wednesday.
The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office said there was insufficient evidence to prove the officers acted unreasonably when they shot up the truck on Feb. 7, 2013, according to the report, dated Friday.
Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck previously found the 2013 shooting violated department policy. But, he said the officers involved would be allowed to return to the field after additional training because he had confidence in them.
The mistaken shooting unfolded after Dorner, a fired Los Angeles police officer, claimed he was unfairly dismissed and vowed revenge against law enforcement officers in a rambling online manifesto.
He killed the daughter of a former LAPD police official, along with her fiance, and two law enforcement officers over 10 days before being cornered and killing himself in a burning mountain cabin in San Bernardino County.
The shooting involving the two women happened in the middle of the chaotic manhunt for Dorner.
The two women, a mother and daughter, were delivering newspapers in a Torrance neighborhood where police were protecting a Dorner target’s home.
When one of the women threw a newspaper onto the pavement in the early-morning hours, an officer believing the sound was a gunshot opened fire. Officers unable to see clearly into the truck sprayed it with 103 rounds, and hit seven nearby homes and nine other vehicles with gunshots and shotgun pellets.
Margie Carranza, then 47, suffered minor injuries from broken glass. Her then-71-year-old mother, Emma Hernandez, was shot in the back but survived.
The women won a $4.2 million settlement from the city.
In declining to press charges, prosecutors said they weren’t endorsing the officers’ conduct that day, but that they’re guided by legal principles.
The women were driving a light blue Toyota Tacoma, a mid-size pickup. Dorner drove a dark gray full-size Nissan Titan. That noted, the women were driving with their lights off in the pre-dawn hours when the shooting took place, as this group of officers were dealing with a cop-killer who was specifically targeting the family home they were guarding.
I can really understand how the officers would be on edge…
…they fired wildly, excessively, and inaccurately, hitting nine vehicles and seven homes, endangering dozens of lives.
I would have been much more sympathetic if they fired a dozen or even a couple of dozen rounds if they kept them on the target. They didn’t.
Ultimately, the city paid out $4.2 million in a settlement to avoid a civil suit that could have seen the victims bleed the city for far more in a civil trial, and the officers were said to have been retrained.
I’m generally sympathetic to police officers, but the number of rounds fired due to sympathetic fire here and in other incidents such as the Boston Marathon shootings (more than 1,000 rounds fired, some full-auto, in crowded neighborhoods), makes me wonder if we aren’t holding officers as accountable as we should for this kind of shooting event.
They did, after all, fire 103 rounds because a newspaper hit the ground.