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No charges for L.A. officers in mistaken manhunt shooting

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    Law enforcement officers looked over the scene of an officer-involved shooting where Margie Carranza and Emma Hernandez were wounded after being misidentified by LAPD officers during the Feb. 2013 hunt for rogue ex-cop Christopher Dorner.

LOS ANGELES » Prosecutors are declining to criminally charge 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 today.

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.

The two women, a mother and daughter, were delivering newspapers in a Torrance neighborhood where police were protecting a Dorner target’s home.

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.

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.

Attorney Glen Jonas, who represented the two women, criticized the district attorney’s office for the heavily redacted report, which has the majority of statements from the officers involved completely blacked out.

“I can’t tell from that report whether the charging decision is correct,” Jonas said. “I don’t have faith in the decision … Either release it unredacted or don’t bother.”

The biggest question still in his mind, Jonas said, was which officer fired the first shot and why.

“That’s a key question if you’re going to convince the public that you can’t prove beyond a reasonable doubt,” he said. “We need it to know what happened with that first shot — who took it and why they took it to determine if it was reasonable or unreasonable.”

Jane Robison, a spokeswoman for the district attorney’s office, said the statements from the officers are considered compelled and that prosecutors are barred from releasing them because they’re part of their personnel records.

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  • Another example of police officers exhibiting “monkey see, monkey do” reflex instead of common sense and good judgment. Hard to believe two female newspaper delivery ladies looked anything like a single heavily built black man. In this case lethal force was used without clearly identifying a target (and it’s difficult to believe any amount of post-selection training can remedy this). Termination of all officers involved would’ve been appropriate, and for the future, far more stringent psychological and emotional maturity tests for police academy recruits required.

    • This: “Officers unable to see clearly into the truck sprayed it with 103 rounds…” is the part that I have the biggest problem with.

      Officer, do you always empty your mag at things you can’t see?

      That and the fact that while shooting at a presumably stationary target they managed to hit seven homes and nine other vehicles. I believe they couldn’t see.

      • Imagine a six-foot tall individual standing next to the SUV as it was being shot at. Why, after the shooting stopped, he’d have to seek medical attention (if still alive) from specialists ranging from brain surgeon to podiatrist!

        • I don’t even think he’d have to be standing next to it to be in danger. Do you see the hits on that vehicle? No rhyme, no reason, no target.

  • Those officers involved in the shooting should have been terminated from the police department for discharging their weapons without identifying a threat instead there was contagion fire because someone shot first and the rest of the officers followed suit which resulted in over 100 rounds discharged…it’s amazing that those two unfortunate ladies weren’t killed along with any other bystanders that were in the line of fire……

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