Prosecutors Wednesday declined to file charges against eight Los Angeles Police Department officers involved in a 2013 shooting in Torrance that left two newspaper delivery women injured in the midst of a manhunt for former Officer Christopher Dorner.
The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office cited “insufficient admissible evidence” to prove the officers weren’t acting in self-defense or in defense of others.
“The actions of the officers in this case nearly caused the death of two innocent victims,” according to report prepared by the District Attorney’s Office Justice System Integrity Division. “The fact that those actions were based on a significant mistaken fact does little to mollify the emotional response to such a near-tragedy. Nonetheless, this office is guided by the legal principles discussed in this memorandum. The findings in this memorandum are not an endorsement of the officers’ conduct nor of the tactical decisions made by LAPD in this situation.”
The LAPD officers — a sergeant with 22 years experience, and seven officers — fired more than 100 rounds at a blue Toyota Tacoma pickup, driven by 47-year-old Maggie Carranza, and her 71-year-old mother, Emma Hernandez, early on the morning of Feb. 7, 2013.
Hernandez suffered wounds to her back, and Carranza cuts from shattered glass. The Los Angeles City Council approved a $4.2 million settlement with the women in summer 2013.
The officers mistook the women’s pickup truck for one that was being driven by Dorner, a fugitive ex-officer who had already killed two people and then posted an online manifesto vowing to kill LAPD officers and their families.
The same day as the gunfire in Torrance, Dorner opened fire on two police officers in Riverside, killing one and wounding the other.
He was eventually tracked down in Big Bear and engaged in a firefight with law enforcement officers, killing a San Bernardino County sheriff’s detective before killing himself inside a burning cabin on Feb. 12, 2013.
In 2014, the city Police Commission found that the officers had violated LAPD policy governing the use of deadly force in the shooting of the women in Torrance. Chief Charlie Beck, who has the final decision on disciplinary actions against officers, said he was disappointed in the officers’ actions, but he allowed all of the officers to return to active duty.
Involved in the shooting were Sgt. John Valdez and Officers Jess Faber, Marlon Franco, Sergio Gramajo, John Hart, Geoff Lear, Deshon Parker and Jonathan Roman.
The District Attorney’s Office report concludes that “The available admissible evidence is insufficient to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that (the officers) … did not act in self-defense and in the defense of others or that they were not justified in acting to stop a person who the officers believed to be a fleeing felon. Therefore we are closing our file and will take no further action in this matter.”
—City News Service