“A Reasonable Mistake”: California Police Ram the Car of Innocent Man And Shot Wildly Into His Car . . . Cleared Of All Charges

davidperdue175px-CA_-_Torrance_PoliceIf you recall, Torrence Police Department was responsible for a shootout with an unarmed innocent man during their search for ex-LAPD officer Christopher Dorner. Surfer David Perdue only survived due to the poor marksmanship of Torrence Brian McGee. The district attorney now cleared that officers and said that they were just in a state of “panic” with a cop-killer on the loose. Of course, I thought officers were trained not to panic, but more importantly, I fail to see any reference to the termination of the officers or even discipline for the attack on Dorner. The coverage does mention that the district attorney cleared the officers without even interviewing the victim or his passenger.

Dorner killed four people, including two law enforcement officers before committing suicide in a mountain cabin.

What is interesting is that Perdue and a friend had just been cleared by another set of officers and had only gone 300 feet when McGee and his partner, Erin Sooper, pursued him and rammed his car. McGee then unloaded on him with three shots into the car.

Perdue is white and Dorner was black. Perdue is slight and Dorner was large and muscular. According to reports, Perdue was was driving Honda Ridgeline while for Dorner was driving a Nissan Titan. However, that did not stop the use of lethal force any more than the fact that he was unarmed. The same lack of discipline was evident in the LAPD shooting at two women, which led to a $4.2 million settlement with the women in April.

The District Attorney insisted that the officers were “extremely anxious” and that McGee he was “justified in using force to stop the vehicle and in discharging his firearm” as a “split-second decision to take action based on a rapidly evolving situation.” The sole test appears to be subjective” “Although mistaken, McGee honestly and reasonably believed that Dorner was driving the truck.”

I can understand that reluctance to bring criminal charges, but shouldn’t an officer be fired for allowing panic to overcome judgment? Why is it justified without the appearance of weapon or even a remote match to the suspect.

We recently discussed a New Mexico case where officers were not fired or disciplined in the face of a horrific case of abuse. The message sent by such cases is unmistakable and chilling for citizens in dealing with police.

Perdue was given just $20,000 by Torrence and is now suing. Here is the conclusion of the district attorney:

McGee’s actions are analyzed based on the totality of circumstances, which include McGee’s knowledge of Dorner’s previous threats and actions in the days and hours preceding these events, which gave rise to an atmosphere of fear and extreme anticipation. Those circumstances created a situation in which a reasonable mistake of fact, namely that Dorner was driving the truck, nearly resulted in a horrific tragedy. Nonetheless, given the circumstances, as detailed above, we conclude that Officer McGee was justified in using force to stop the vehicle and in discharging his firearm. Therefore, prosecution in this matter is declined and this office will take no further action.

Notably, this was the same defense made recently by the officer fired for shooting into a van of children. We discussed that case with outrage but the officer is now seeking reinstatement. Notably, there is no word on any discipline for the other officers who smashed the windows of the van as children screamed in terror.

Source: NBC

Kudos: Michael Blott

34 thoughts on ““A Reasonable Mistake”: California Police Ram the Car of Innocent Man And Shot Wildly Into His Car . . . Cleared Of All Charges”

  1. If a police officer panics every time there is a “cop” killer on the loose, they all should be sedated. Think about it, the killer was an ex cop and cops are spending a lot of time trying to kill innocent civilians or at least brutalizing them. Cops seem to be so afraid of their shadows that they should not be allowed to carry guns. They are dangerous.

  2. And, as of yet, no justice for John Wrana either. Want to kill? Easy, just buy a gun. Want to kill legally? Become a cop.

  3. JH

    I don’t know why the spam filter nicked your comments but I reposted one for you. The disallowed words are cuss words not things such as al qeda and such. Don’t know why it happend, I didn’t see anything in what you posted would be not allowed.

    From time to time the spam filter is a little more aggressive, but given that it is frequently the case to get 200+ spams a day that the filter gets it is good to have one.

  4. Dorner was murdered to shut him up. First they denied that they burned him alive then the audio came out were you heard them say” start the burn” then media black out. Hear is the deal. 911, Sandy Hook, Boston, LAX, were all false flag operations and each one has been completely exposed on youtube. All you have to do is spend a little bit of time and you will see crazy things like cops with drawn guns running with a mannequin at LAX or Robie Parker laughing off camera the day his daughter was killed and that he had a donation site up before the body was cold. You will see That Jeff Baur, the guy who got his legs blown off in Boston was really a crisis actor and exsoldier who lost his legs in Afghanistan. They had him at a Bruins game two weeks later waving a big “Boston Strong ” sign. Ridiculous. You might check out the new footage of WTC7 were you can clearly see demolitions prior to freefall speed collapse and you might learn that more than two thousand architects for 911 truth say it was demolition. Lastly you will learn that MSM especially CNN and the BBC were in on it from the beginning and covered it up. I could go on but really most people simply do not want to know the truth and will do zero research and continue to believe the MSM lies no matter how many times they get caught.

  5. in the last 12 years military casualties on foreign soil are roughly 4,400. In the same amount of time, american civilian casualties amount to 5,000 or more at the hands of law enforcement.

  6. Since september 11th, 2001, roughly 4,400 U.S. soldiers have lost their lives, on foreign soil at the hands of the al qaeda terrorist organization.
    Since september 11th, 2001, 5,000+ civilians, on american soil, have lost their lives at the hands of the domestic terrorist organization known as law enforcement.

  7. I fail to see how this officer should not only be fired. The job is a tough one, but it also involves the responsibility that they must only use that force when it is absolutely necessary. This idea of tension or being anxious is an excuse for unprofessional and dangerous activity is in my mind, ludicrous. This is a whitewash for the officer and the department and as suggested earlier, can only lead to the citizens losing respect and faith in the officers which can lead to further issues.

  8. okay just ignore this comment cause I am doing this as an experiment to see if there is a word filter on this blog.. I have a comment that I want to make yet it refuses to post.. I do a simple post of one word “test”, and it posts immediately. The other post I have contains the words al qaeda, and terrorist.. so lets see if this goes through

  9. I was in San Diego when this Dorner case occurred. There was a sense of anger in the air regarding cops, not so much panic, but anger.

  10. On the subject of outrageous shootings. There was a post here month or two ago about a NM State Trooper who fired @ a minivan full of kids. The Trooper was a 53 year old Trooper w/ decades of clear service. He was terminated but not charged. I saw him interviewed on local news in Colorado. He is trying to get his job back. He told the reporter he was shooting @ the tires, which I’m sure he was. The he said, he didn’t know there were kids in the minivan. That’s very hard to believe. The case has not been adjudicated for the reckless mother.

    1. Darren I agree that a lot of information is missing in this case so it is hard to make a really definitive legal judgment. The impression that most of us have is that the victim was just driving along the road, and the cops opened fire on him. If that in fact is the case, the cops should be facing criminal charges and the DA should be replaced at the next election. If they shouted commands at him to stop and made it evident that they ordered him to stop visually, then I can see the DAs point. In this scenario, I think that departmental sanctions are appropriate. If I were a cop in Torrance, I would be really worried about this cop staying on the force, since he is liable to panic and shoot anything that moves, including other cops and/or innocent bystanders.

      In aviation we eliminate pilots who panic by either the FAA, the company, or accidents doing the job. That is one reason for having mandatory minimums for hours of flight time to become an aircraft captain. After enough hours, a pilot has experienced a lot of real emergency situations, and has either successfully gotten the adrenaline under control, or eliminated themselves by their failure, by death or by being fired.

      Nick, the cop who shot at the tires could not see the interior of the van since it had heavily tinted windows, and he had just arrived on scene and missed the sight of the young man assaulting the other officers. So I cannot say that he was reckless with his limited information. At least he did not go to prison as Officer Hernadez of Rock Springs, TX who shot at a van at night when it tried to run him down during a traffic stop. The Texas Rangers investigated, and cleared him, but the US attorney wanted to make an example of him and charged him because one of the illegal immigrant occupants was wounded in the mouth by a bullet fragment after he shot out the tires to prevent it getting away.

  11. As you know I prefer to have as much as I can when making a judgement on a case such as this but it is not looking good for the officer.

    I would be interested in knowing if there was some radio traffic or something that might have given the shooting officer some reason to take on the car having the victim inside. If the victim was told to turn around and then went 100 yards toward where the would-be target captain was living that might be mitigating in some respects if the radio traffic indicated a possibility that the wanted, renegade officer was inside the vehicle.

    Other than the above situation, that is in absence of anything that might have reasonably given the shooting officer reason that the real suspect was in the car I would say his actions were questionable.

    There is something to be said about who the police were looking for. He was a suspect in the killings of other officers and a worst case scenario in the LEO world is having another officer who flipped out and went on a rampage. This type of suspect is extremely dangerous in that he completely knows police procedures and can anticipate what the responses might be making him hard to take down. So I can see how extra percationary measures should take place.

    But that is not to say LEOs should lose their minds in doing so. You have to follow the same basic cautions when dealing with any possible armed suspect, but you have to know there is always the possibility of what you expect might not be what is the truth.

    This was a case of luck that the victim did not get hit when the shooting happened. I don’t think the prosecutor’s decision was a bad one, it could really have amounted to him making a charging decision knowing it might not have resulted in a jury finding the officer guilty and hence not worth dedicating resources to. As far as department procedures are, that is what might be used to suspend or terminate him, this is one of the cases where having the internal investigation file is going to be crutcial.

    I have studied this type of incident and I know how bad information can lead to outcomes but I also know that over-reaction can be a factor also. Some commentators have stated that police should know the difference and not over-react. That is very true. If there was no reason for the officer to believe this was the suspect he should have used better judgement and discipline could be warranted.

    Having been in these situations myself I can tell you all that losing control of one’s emotions and letting panic and fear takeover decision making is going to lead to their getting hurt or killed or someone else as well.

  12. Steve #1 you are correct.

    I was reading the other day somewhere that officers no longer need any training if they served in the military, if this is true it’s no wonder this type of event is happening more than ever. There’s no oversight at all over local, state, and federal police and if I was one the tin-foil-hat people (I am) I would be wondering if we haven’t already entered into a police nation. Sad


  14. It is time to relieve the DA of his job. If we cannot fire the cops, then we sure can get rid of the DA next election. In Houston, we had a case in which on duty cops late at night were drinking and drunk in front of the police union headquarters. They decided it would be a good idea to shoot up their office and blame it on gay militants. So they shot a number of rounds into the office. When other detectives investigated they found a lot of discrepancies in their shooting reports along with some beer cans. The Chief fired all of them, but the civil service review board in Austin, restored all but one to duty. The one who was fired was on probation since he was a new hire.

  15. Two standards – one for the police, one for the rest of us.

    Looking at the percentage of officers prosecuted for “wrongful actions”, one has to conclude that they are almost bulletproof (legally speaking).

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