Eight Los Angeles police officers will not face criminal charges for firing 107 shots at two innocent women in a case of mistaken identity. Since cops were looking for a lone African-American male, they certainly didn’t fit the description of the suspect, and neither did their vehicle which was a different make, model, and color than the suspect’s vehicle, but the because the officers were scared and incompetent, the shooting was declared justified.
Margie Carranza and her mother, Emma Hernandez, were delivering newspapers in the early morning hours on February 7, 2013, when they suddenly found themselves the target of eight bungling LAPD officers who opened fire on them with no warning, for absolutely no reason.
According to the district attorney’s 52-page memorandum, officers were looking for ex-cop Christopher Dorner, who had gone completely bonkers when he was fired from the police force, claiming racism was the motivating factor behind his dismissal.
Dorner declared an all-out war on the police in a manifesto and embarked on a deadly rampage of revenge that left four people dead and three wounded.
The eight officers had been sent to guard LAPD Capt. Justin Eisenberg in a part of the city that was unfamiliar to them. Eisenberg had been a member of the board of rights that was responsible for firing Dorner, and had been named specifically as a target in the manifesto.
According to the justice system integrity division of the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, all of these factors put together caused the officers to be “on a heightened state of alert,” and they were also providing a security detail “with limited planning or tactical instruction.”
In other words, they were scared shitless and had no idea what the hell they were doing.
They had been told that Dorner was driving a light-gray Nissan Titan with the license plate 8D83987. The women were driving a blue four-door Toyota Tacoma with a license plate that began “8D,” but the rest of the numbers were different.
Officers saw Carranza’s truck pull into the neighborhood around 5:10am. Carranza was driving, and Hernandez was riding in the back seat. Hernandez was handing newspapers up to Carranza so that she could toss them out the window into the residents’ driveways.
When officers heard the sound of the newspapers hitting the ground, they were just sure it was gunfire and they were all gonna die, so they unloaded 107 into the truck.
The memo describes the terrifying experience of these two innocent women:
She heard a large number of gunshots coming from behind her. Carranza stopped her car due to the shots being first. Gunshots began to strike her truck. She screamed out and tried to yell that she was working. She felt the tires of the car ‘explode’ and glass passed by her face. Carranza was in a panic. Hernandez told her, ‘Don’t be afraid.’ “
Miraculously, both women lived through the harrowing ordeal. Carranza’s hand was cut from broken glass, but Hernandez, who was 71-years-old at the time, was shot in the lower back and scapula.
A year after the shooting, LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said that this shooting wasn’t up to his standards.
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 also said that all eight of the officers involved were in violation of department policy and “discipline could be anywhere from extensive retraining up to termination.” Although state law prevents him from disclosing the specific punishments the officers received, he did say that they had all been taken off of field duty.
According to the district attorney’s office, the chief’s decision requires a lower burden of proof than criminal charges.
The women were awarded a $4.2 million settlement by the City Council as a consolation prize for nearly being slaughtered and also eventually received $40,000 to replace the pickup truck the eight brave officers shot up because a newspaper smacked the ground.
Dorner was found hiding out in a cabin in Bear Lake, California on February 12, 2013. Police fired tear gas canisters into the building, which caught the cabin on fire. According to the autopsy, he died from a single gunshot wound to the head, which was thought to be self-inflicted.
Featured image via video screen capture
April has studied political science, psychology, and philosophy. Back in the good old days she was a reporter for “old fashioned” print newspapers. In addition to news and politics, she also blogs about service dogs and disability advocacy. As a black woman with a disability, she is fed up with the right-wingers who would prefer that she and others like her didn’t exist.