If 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.
Kudos: Michael Blott