Well, it only took about a year to state the obvious, but a civilian panel has finally determined that the Los Angeles Police Officers who fired more than 100 rounds of ammunition at two innocent women during a pursuit of Christopher Dorner violated departmental policy on deadly force.
Dorner, the ex-LAPD officer whose violent revenge-fueled crime spree left three police officers dead and fueled one of the largest manhunts in California history, was reportedly driving a "charcoal Nissan Titan pickup truck with a ski rack and oversized tires" during his rampage.
Unfortunately for two innocent women, they were driving a truck which slightly resembled that description and officers mistook it for Dorner's vehicle:
Emma Hernandez, then 71, and her daughter Margie Carranza, 47, were delivering newspapers from their pickup truck, which was a blue Toyota Tacoma with no ski rack and regular sized tires. When one of the woman delivered a newspaper, a police officer mistook the sound of the paper hitting the ground with a gunshot, and all hell broke loose.
All hell, indeed. The two unarmed women faced 103 rounds of ammunition in those harrowing moments.Hernandez was shot twice in the back. Her daughter luckily only sustained superficial wounds. At the time, police chief Charlie Beck tried to explain the officer's actions by explaining the officers were under "incredible tension."
During the investigation, his tune changed a bit:
Police chief Charlie Beck told the commission that the officers should have made "every effort that they determine that the truck was in fact Dorner's." Since the trucks were clearly not the same, he decided that they did not. Also, while the pen is mightier than the sword, Beck found that a newspaper is "not an object that could be reasonably perceived to be an imminent deadly threat."
The women have since received a $4.2 million settlement as well as $40,000 to replace their truck.
According to the L.A. Times' sources, this ruling almost didn't happen at all. A "panel of high-ranking police officials that reviewed the shooting urged Beck to clear the officers of wrongdoing."
"I sympathize with the officers, but I have a very high standard for the application of deadly force, and the shooting did not meet that standard," Beck said.
Image via AP.