LAPD Officers Who Fired Over 100 Bullets at Two Unarmed Women Will Face No Charges

Prosecutors said "barrage of gunfire was tremendous and troubling" but wasn't criminal.

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The LAPD officers who fired more than 100 bulle

"Fear of Dorner"
Dreamstime/Nipitphand Kooksakulwattana

ts at two unarmed women in an SUV they mistakenly believed was carrying suspected (and now deceased) cop-killer Christoper Dorner will not face any criminal charges, the Los Angeles District Attorney's office announced on Wednesday.

In the memorandum announcing the decision, the DA's Justice System Integrity Division wrote, "The barrage of gunfire was tremendous, and troubling," but because "the fear of Dorner was understandable and justified" the shooting stopped short of being a criminal act. The memo adds, "There is no evidence to suggest that the officers did not honestly believe that Dorner was in the vehicle, nor is there evidence to suggest that the officers did not honestly believe they were being fired upon." 

A disgruntled police officer who was enraged by what he saw as systemic racism in the LAPD, Dorner had been the subject of a statewide manhunt after allegedly killing several people, including three police officers. He released a manifesto and had threatened a number of law enforcement figures, including a police captain who lived in Torrance.

The officers posted outside the home of said police captain were on the lookout for a blue or gray Nissan Titan truck, which Dorner had reportedly been seen driving. A little after 5 a.m., all hell broke loose on the street.

The Los Angeles Times recalls the fateful morning of February 7, 2013:

The officers saw a truck creep down the street, its headlights and hazards on. The officers thought the vehicle was Dorner's. When one officer heard what he thought was a gunshot, the group opened fire.

The sound, however, had come from a newspaper hitting the ground.

The newspaper had been thrown by either Margie Carranza, 47, or her mother Emma Hernandez, 71. Hernandez was shot twice in the back while she tried to shield her daughter from the onslaught of bullets and broken glass. They had been delivering newspapers in their blue Toyota Tacoma (which is not a blue or gray Nissan Titan).

The women received a $4.2 million settlement from the city for "personal injuries, legal costs, medical bills and emotional damage" but had hoped for some official accountability from the police department. 

Also from the Times:

Their attorney, Glen Jonas, criticized the district attorney's handling of the case, saying a special prosecutor should have been appointed. Prosecutors, he noted, redacted key information from the 52-page memo that was made public, including statements from the officers who opened fire.

"I'm not looking to have people charged when they shouldn't be charged," he said. "But how do we have any faith in this decision based on the letter that we're reading?"

A spokeswoman for the district attorney's office said prosecutors could not release the compelled statements of officers who fire their weapons because those comments are part of their personnel records, which are confidential under state law.

An attorney representing the officers told the Times:

They truly thought they were fighting Chris Dorner at that moment…When they realized what they did, they all felt terrible.…But at the time that they did it, they felt absolutely that they had to do what they had to do.

Emotionally overwrought officers, spooked by a noise that isn't plausibly comparable to a gunshot, recklessly and randomly fired into the wrong vehicle because "they thought they were fighting Chris Dorner." But they weren't being fought with at all, and clearly little to no effort was made to verify whether the vehicle matched the reported description or whether or not Dorner was in the car.

Even if Dorner had been in the car, nothing happened that would reasonably constitute a genuine threat to make such a show of force justified. The fact that Dorner was suspected of terrible crimes and had made threats against police officers didn't make him a one-man-army so dangerous that scores of bullets had to be fired while his supposed car was half a block away. 

It is miraculous that no one was killed or gravely wounded in this shooting. You have to wonder if one or both of these women were killed, would prosecutors have considered "fear of Dorner" to be sufficient justification for unleashing a hail of bullets at innocent people?

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    1. Yeah, a civilian in those exact same circumstances would be gone for life. Fact is cops are above the law.

    2. As best as I can tell, Palin’s Buttplug hasn’t been seen since this article from the 12th.

      1. This is better than I could have hoped for.

        1. If you are ever in my neck of the woods (Western suburbs of Nicoleland) I shall buy you an adult beverage for this.

    3. Think about what this means. They weren’t prosecuted because there was no evidence that they didn’t honestly believe it was Dorner and that he was firing at them. OK, what kind of evidence can ever prove that someone isn’t thinking a particular thought? Absolutely none. So now anytime an LA cop shoots someone they apparently have an airtight defense: I thought I was being fired at. No potential evidence needs to be analyzed to determine the facts and no opinion about reasonable doubt needs to be formulated. If they say they thought it, it must be true. And if this was you or me, what are the chances that a prosecutor would decide not to charge us rather than let a jury determine the facts?

  1. The sound, however, had come from a newspaper hitting the ground.

    Wow.

    1. Nice to know the PD is staffed with people routinely having paranoid hallucinations.

    2. It’s as if these cops have almost zero knowledge of firearm use, sounds, safety, etc. But that can’t be, right? Cops are, like, firearms experts, right? Wouldn’t they have to be for their job?

      Ok, I almost pulled that off without laughing. Almost.

      1. When’s the last time YOU heard a potato gun that wasn’t on television?

        1. I refuse to answer that question on the grounds that it may incriminate me.

          (It was Tuesday.)

        2. I get to shoot a giant potato gun that shoots 2x4s at work. Fenestration testing is fun.

      2. I had ANY soldier under my command that pants-shit/panic fired like that….they would have been quietly disarmed and sent back to have a chat with a shrink and the chaplain, before they were sent home.

    3. The paper must have been delivered by the Paperboy 2000.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9I7vsJxz-0A

      1. I loved this show.

        “Felipe! Felipe!, Im being attacked by sea monkeys!”

  2. You can’t file charges until we know whether or not they’ll quietly get their jobs back after arbitration.

    1. Oh wait… shit… I was confusing this with the other cops that killed the couple after the car chase.

      Ok, sorry, reset.

      Yeah, this is bullshit. Especially the DAs comments about how Dorner was really, really scary, so the cops essentially were justified in shooting everything that moved.

      1. But he was really, REALLY scary, Paul! He was like the Hulk crossed with Lex Luthor crossed with Dr Doom!

        1. On BATH SALTZ AND PCP!!!!!

  3. How about 100 rounds, but nobody died? Can they file charges for that?

    1. Not sure if that’s a metric we want the cops improving.

    2. Criminal inaccuracy?

    3. two cops, 2 sidearms (lets say Beretta M9), that is 30 rounds per volley, that is 3 full reloads by both cops, six empty mags on the ground, and another ten rounds from somewhere. At my BEST this would take 30-45 seconds AT LEAST for just my half. Also, what cop carries 4 loaded mags, jeebus I am paranoid and I don’t carry that much (I figure if 1 reload don’t get me out of there or winning then it is over anyway).

      I hope A. there were more cops than two. B. the 100 number is an exaggeration C. they are laughed at every single day of their lives for being pants shitting pussies who can’t aim.

      1. I guarantee you it was just two cops and they just mag dumped again and again…because they are pants-shitting pussies who can’t aim.

        Now, having four loaded mags on your person…that is a real head-scratcher, though if they were on “guard duty” for the captain who Dorner threatened, they might have ammo-ed up just in case. But still…60+ rounds? Jesus, learn to hit what you aim at.

        1. They were armed with shotguns and handguns. Here is the photo of the truck from the linked LA Times article. That is bright blue. That article is obscene.

          1. They had shotguns and couldn’t hit shit?!?

          2. Huh. I can see “TACOMA” from way back here.

            1. That’s funny, because if I get on I-5 south, I can smell Tacoma before I can see it.

            2. Papers aren’t delivered in the bright light of day, Mr. White Collar.

        2. When I started upland bird hunting, back in the days when the dinosaurs roamed the earth, one started with a single shot shotgun for this very reason. You had to learn to make each shot count before you could graduate to a pump action or semi-auto.

          Those who started with semi-autos, were trigger happy and never learned to aim and lead properly.

    4. Only imperial stormtroopers are so precise.

        1. Are you sure it’s only 1 sandperson? I’ve heard that they ride in single file to conceal their numbers.

          1. DORKS!!

  4. The sound, however, had come from a newspaper hitting the ground.

    Lying cops are lying liars who tell lies.

    This was the ‘justification’ for the initial attack- which was undoubtedly purely based on visual sighting.

    For those of us that actually know something about firearms, the likelihood of mistaking a newspaper (even a Sunday edition) hitting the ground and a gunshot would probably be nil.

    1. For those of us that actually know something about firearms, the likelihood of mistaking a newspaper (even a Sunday edition) hitting the ground and a gunshot would probably be nil.

      For those who do not know anything about firearms too, because how many times have the police been called out for gunfire complaints during the morning delivery?

      1. “There’s a kid riding a bicycle around the neighborhood, carrying a canvas bag and firing shots randomly at all the houses!”

        That has happened exactly never.

        1. *loads Winchester and lies in wait for paper delivery*

    2. Paperboy 2000 dammit!

  5. A spokeswoman for the district attorney’s office said prosecutors could not release the compelled statements of officers who fire their weapons because those comments are part of their personnel records, which are confidential under state law.

    How very clever. If a cop breaks the law, make it an ’employee/employer’ issue which goes into the personnel file and voila, off limits and eyes only. I’ll hand it to these motherfuckers, they’re playing chess while the rest of us are playing checkers.

    1. Why are public servant’s records off limits to those paying their salaries?

      Fucking goons!

      1. BFYTW

  6. Listen, if you don’t want 100 bullets fired at you, don’t deliver papers like a thug. It’s very simple.

    1. They were clearly asking for it. Did you see the car they were driving?

    2. (slow clap)

      Bravo. Bravo, I say.

    3. Thug Life Newspaper Delivery Service. Up before dawn and tossin’ on your lawn.

      1. That means something entirely different in the UK.

        1. People don’t jerk off in Kentucky?

          1. That’s what cousins is for

        1. Dorner was a bona fide retard.

          To be clear: that doesn’t make what the rest of the police did OK.

          But again, Dorner was not a hero, nor was he talented.

  7. We need to establish some sort of reverse-proportionality measurement to even understand this. Had I, as a commoner, fired 1 round under similar circumstances at two unarmed, unrelated people – in the state of CA – not only would I be held as guilty from day one but the sentence would have been about 100 years.

    1. You just don’t have the training to fire 100 rounds at the wrong people, Tejicano. When I took hunter’s safety in high school, the first thing they teach you is to fire wildly at creepy trucks. Doesn’t the military teach you guys anything?

      1. Yeah, but only with direct orders from the white house

      2. You just don’t have the training to fire 100 rounds at the wrong people and not hit what you’re aiming at. FTFY

    2. You are so right. Just showing a weapon is considered a crime her in the Golden State. It’s known as “Brandishing a weapon or firearm”.

      A high school friend once showed a knife to some retards that harassed he and his girlfriend as she got off late one night from work. That very same night, the local PD showed up at his parent’s home and made a lot of threats.

  8. Well, I’m just glad our Heroes In Blue survived that newspaper-assault by Not Chris Dorner.

    1. How can you be sure ? Based on police reactions I assume millions of police are gunned down daily !!!

  9. those comments are part of their personnel records, which are confidential under state law.

    So? Unless the law says that they are not to be produced even under subpoena, there is no reason the DA and a grand jury couldn’t have gotten them.

    Confidentiality does not protect anything from legal process. Only privilege does that. And I doubt the personnel files are privileged.

    Perhaps an intrepid reporter might look into it, and confirm that these people are just blowing smoke as part of a coverup?

    1. Perhaps an intrepid reporter might look into it, and confirm that these people are just blowing smoke as part of a coverup?

      Methinks if this intrepid reporter doesn’t hail from Reason Magazine, there won’t be much intrepid reporting.

    2. You need to do a Pitchess motion in California in order to get a cop’s records. Because our heroes in blue need more protection for their records than the proles do.

      I had a case against a sheriff for unlawful use of force. Brought the Pitchess motion – denied. Judges like to cover for their own.

  10. Well this is a happy ending. No one got hurt No one important got hurt and justice was done. I know for certain that if I had fired 100 rounds at an old woman and her middle aged daughter because I incompetently honestly believed the two of them constituted a 300 pound black fugitive, that’d I’d be given a pass by the local prosecutor. Dumbfuck reckless good intentions are all that count, it’s certainly not about costumes.

    Fucking equality under the law, how does it work? I don’t want to talk to no lawyers, they be lyin’ and making me pissed. /prosecutor

  11. It is miraculous that no one was killed or gravely wounded in this shooting. You have to wonder if one or both of these women were killed, would prosecutors have considered “fear of Dorner” to be sufficient justification for unleashing a hail of bullets at innocent people?

    Well, the city might have saved $4.2 million. I suspect the cops won’t make this mistake next time.

    1. “I suspect the cops won’t make this mistake next time.”

      Ha ha ha ha! Do you think that $4.2 million came out of the cops’ paychecks or retirement funds? Ha ha ha ha ha!

      1. Two citizens shot at

        Ten million citizens pay for it

        1. So sad!

  12. DA’s Justice System Integrity Division

    So the DA knows it has an integrity problem enough to create a separate division for it But apparently integrity only concerns the DA in cases against his employer.

    The rest of you get the Non-Integrity division, if you didn’t already know. At least they flat out tell you they don’t actually give a flying fuck about justice.

    1. They keep all their integrity in that division. So that it doesn’t get all over the streets.

  13. The “Integrity Division”, right. I guess the DA is George Orwell.

  14. I love this statement:

    There is no evidence to suggest that the officers did not honestly believe that Dorner was in the vehicle

    … because somehow firing 100 rounds at a guy in a car would be *ok* if he was actually a murder suspect.

  15. Interesting that Fear of Dorner is justification for opening fire on anybody you think might be Dorner – but all I know about this Dorner monster is that I should be in mortal fear of him and shoot anybody I might think is him, and that he apparently wears a cop’s uniform. Tragic accidents might occur, but what are ya gonna do?

    1. Given the apparent frequency with which cops get away with what would be murder for anyone else, ‘fear of cops’ might not be an implausible legal defense for us proles to shoot anything in a police uniform that happens to turn its attention on us.

  16. Well, I’m glad all I have to do to get away with murder is feel like it.

    1. If you have a badge

  17. 100 rounds, that means they both reloaded and didn’t blink long enough to see if their initial rounds had any effect. That to me is overkill and wanton disregard. In other words they did not want to arrest they wanted to kill which is murder. I think maybe they watched the Gauntlet movie too many times.

    1. The DA dropped the case because he can’t go around investigating why the LAPD put a hit out on someone who used to work for them.

  18. If the officers truly felt terrible then they ought to consider suicide. Otherwise I somehow don’t buy it.

    1. If only seppuku was an expected outcome for police brutality.

    2. Dan White.

  19. This disproves that women catch .76 bullets for every bullet men catch.

  20. When they realized what they did, they all felt terrible.?But at the time that they did it, they felt absolutely that they had to do what they had to do.

    It is literally all about their feelings, and the time and right afterwards.

  21. Wait, they just got through with an investigation of an incident back in February 2013?

    Is this sort of delay customary?

    1. Seems like you could wrap this investigation up in a couple of hours. Depending on your grand jury schedule, you could have indictments in a week.

  22. Ha, reading that memo, those redactions are hilarious.

  23. … but had hoped for some official accountability from the police department.

    Yeah… no.

  24. At least the prosecutor didn’t pass the buck to the grand jury this time, so we’ll be spared the “abolish the grand jury!” misdirection.

  25. “They truly thought they were fighting Chris Dorner at that moment…When they realized what they did, they all felt terrible.?But at the time that they did it, they felt absolutely that they had to do what they had to do.”

    Jesus Christ.

    1. You know who else had to do what he had to do?

      1. David Berkowitz?

      2. Hitler.

        This is getting boring.

      3. Charles Manson?

      4. Rocky? …or was it Rambo?

    2. More like Pontious Pilate.

  26. That is some weaselly horseshit right there.

    By that reasoning anyone who shoots a cop, especially these two, is not committing a criminal act.

    1. Right? If the cops are out on a manhunt, everyone has a reasonable fear of being shot and killed by some idiotic panic-stricken badge monkey over a case of mistaken identity.

  27. “You have to wonder if one or both of these women were killed, would prosecutors have considered “fear of Dorner” to be sufficient justification for unleashing a hail of bullets at innocent people?”

    No, I don’t have to wonder, because I know exactly what would have happened. In fact, something very much like this actually _did_ happen recently, when the cops got away with murdering two people because their car backfired.

    1. Yeah, you’d think Reason writers would know better. Of course the result would have been the same.

  28. I truly hope these P O S cops are the next ones I hear about in the news being “clipped” in the line of duty. Worthless Piece of SH#! cops. They are nothing but COWARDS.

    http://www.Full-VPN.tk

    1. A bit bloodthirsty, bot. But perhaps understandable.

      1. Well we sure don’t want to shed any blood. Especially the blood of psychopaths with a license to kill. Yes, sir, can I have another?

  29. I sure hope Trump isn’t elected because…because… oh yeah if trump is elected, pigs will still have a license to kill. Nevermind.

  30. Please bring back public floggings!

    1. Shee-it, I’d settle for tar, feathers and a rail.

  31. The revolution has come. Gentlemen – and women – prepare yourselves!

  32. It should be clear that prosecutors are the old timey dark ages scrunchy nasty old dudes that wandered the fucking catholic stone towns hauling bloody axes and toothy smiles with eyes fucking goddamn rolling away from yours when they look atcha.

    Modern America can’t host old dead aged dungeon monsters? Why not?

    ALL FUCKING SOCIETIES try to be real and now. And we all pretend that Christ Christie types and that Maine fuck dummy killer Gov are not ISIS types////// BUT they are..

    ISIS is pretty fucking cool…
    here.is.why.

    ISIS says… guess what niggas!!! YO, you THINK you all GITTIN past 500 years ago? FO REAL< NIGGA? FO REAL?

    All your Murican politaxes are filled with mix
    of nasty super gangsters that drop laws
    and lines o’ pages like motherfucking lawyer mixes
    bring down the shagging tank of real life, bro

    your AMERICA is FILLED with the fucking MIDDLE AGES
    but… but… but… mama sweet Hullinger sez we is about just jesus and rule of law and the nigga Carson with his amens and floating smarmy underbeard gray crap and shit

    yea, praise the tunes of the iowa Christians because they are so… real?… cool?… assjoles?… yea….
    Iowa christians suck asshole….
    Jesus hates Iowa christians because Iowans are fucking plain ass dummies with brains filled with CloverMan cum.

  33. It’s a good thing the innocent have nothing to fear from the police.

  34. You have to wonder if one or both of these women were killed, would prosecutors have considered “fear of Dorner” to be sufficient justification for unleashing a hail of bullets at innocent people?

    Sadly, I don’t have to wonder. We all know the answer.

  35. I say we put the cops in the same car and let the women shoot 100 rounds into the car. OK, ?. I get it now ?. let’s put the cops in the car, two at a time naturally, and let the women shoot the 100 rounds at them. How many officers were there? More than two? Four, I hope ?. so that none of them get double jeopardy by having to be in the car more than once.

    I’m just saying ?.

  36. Every time I take the pooch out for his constitutional and I reach down to pick up that steamy, stinking pile of dog crap, I think to myself, “This is the stuff of which police officers are made.”

  37. Looking for a gray Nissan Titan and found a blue Tacoma? You know who else saw blue where there wasn’t blue?

  38. “…nor is there evidence to suggest that the officers did not honestly believe they were being fired upon.”

    So, hallucination is a valid defense now? Oh that’s right, insanity…

  39. “n they realized what they did, they all felt terrible”

    Poor babies. They should file a grievance.

    Maybe even sue those two bee-atches, for causing them to feel terrible.

    “Thin blue line” my ass.

    1. “WHEN they realized” etc. (Stoopid phone … )

  40. The sound, however, had come from a newspaper hitting the ground.

    A newspaper hitting the ground sounds like a gun shot?

  41. Don’t all you cop haters out there get it? The police are allowed to shoot at the general public as long as they say they are scared. The poor things. They need to shoot someone when they are scared and there is even a chance they’ll hit a guilty person. Hiring cops with guts who won’t fire first and ask questions later discriminates against the craven and cowardly. Everybody should be willing to take a bullet for law and order. If they just keep shooting eventually they’ll get a bad guy.

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