Eight LAPD officers who mistakenly fired on two vehicles, injuring two innocent bystanders, during a manhunt for a murderer will neither face criminal charges nor lose their jobs.
The cops were chasing Christopher Dorner, a spurned former LAPD officer who swore revenge in an online manifesto after he was fired. He got it—Dorner killed the daughter of a former LAPD official, her fiancé, and two police officers. The police pursued him for 10 days before he killed himself.
But not before the cops had fired 103 shots at an unrelated vehicle, injuring the two women inside. The two women, Margie Carranza, 47, and her mother, Emma Hernandez, 71, were delivering newspapers. Nerves on edge, the cops thought the sound of the newspaper hitting the pavement was a gunshot, and opened fire.
Carranza suffered minor injuries from broken glass, while her mother was shot twice in the back. In a settlement they won $4.2 million in damages.
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The cops also shot at David Perdue at close range right after riddling the newspaper carriers’ car with bullets—despite the fact that Perdue and his car did not at all resemble Dorner and his vehicle.
It appears that that will be the end of the story, as prosecutors decided that the eight police officers will receive additional training, but no other discipline or charges.
In a department message obtained by the Associated Press, LAPD Police Chief Charlie Beck said he "found it to be very concerning that officers fired before adequately identifying a threat; fired without adequately identifying a target and not adequately evaluating cross fire situations."
However, he said that despite the flaws in planning, the officers should not carry the blame.
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"I have confidence in their abilities as LAPD officers to continue to do their jobs in the same capacity they had been assigned. In the end, we as an organization can learn from this incident and from the individuals involved," Beck said.
Prosecutors agreed. They wrote in their report that as the officers were “extremely anxious” and “on high alert,” the shootings were justified and based on a reasonable belief that Dorner was behind the wheel of the women’s truck.
But the victims’ defense attorneys weren’t buying it. Perdue’s attorney, Robert Sheahen, said the prosecutors accepted the officers’ erroneous testimony without further examination.
“The idea that you can justify a police shooting based on anxiety and panic is beyond the pale,” Sheahen told the LA Times. “Anxiety and panic have no place in law enforcement. These are the people we entrust with weapons.”