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Dorner Disaster: LA Taxpayers Shell Out $4m For Bad Shoot

Toyota Tacoma worse for wear after LAPD opened fire in a case of mistaken identity (courtesy

“Margie Carranza and her mother Emma Hernandez were delivering newspapers on early on 7 February when officers fired about 100 bullets into their car,” reports. “Los Angeles police were looking for [killer cop Christopher] Dorner when they misidentified the vehicle the women were driving and opened fire. A lawyer representing Los Angeles, said a ‘fair and swift’ settlement had been reached [$4.2m] , that was a ‘win-win’ for both parties. ‘In reaching the settlement we hope that Margie and Emma will be able to move on with their lives,’ lawyer Carmen Trutanich said, adding, ‘The city will be spared literally millions of dollars in litigation fees.’ Glen Jonas, the lawyer representing the women, said his clients would accept the payment after the end of the current fiscal year on 30 June, to help ease the city’s financial troubles.”


  1. avatar Sean says:

    They definitively deserve the payout. They also deserve to see those two officers charged with assault with a deadly weapon.

    Unfortunately the only people that will have to “pay” for this mistake will be the California tax payers.

    1. avatar Bob says:

      I would NOT have let them wait until after the end of the year. No F’ing way.

      1. avatar jaykayd says:

        It’s just the end of the fiscal year… a little over 2 months from now.

        1. avatar csmallo says:

          Two months too long. They should have demanded a check that day. Handed over by the mayor and police chief.

    2. avatar New Chris says:

      I’d go for attempted murder. There were absolutely no threat indicators, they were flat out trying to murder anyone in that truck.

      1. avatar APBTFan says:

        If it was anyone but PD sending a hail of fire into a vehicle it would be attempted murder. Maybe even aggravated (or whatever the term may be) with that amount of rounds fired not to mention hitting other vehicles and houses.

        Sad to say but at least gang bangers identify their target before blasting away indiscriminately.

    3. avatar Dr. Kenneth Noisewater says:

      The shooters’ pensions should have to go into the kitty before taxpayers get hit. Also, they need to be fired.

    4. avatar Mr. Obvious says:

      1) It wasn’t a bad shot – it was an attempted assassination;

      2) They should be charged with two counts of attempted murder.

  2. avatar Matt in SD says:

    A win-win would have been those cops keeping their booger hooks off the bang switch and those women not getting shot.

    1. avatar Matt in FL says:

      So much this.

  3. avatar mark_anthony_78 says:

    At $42,000 per round this makes Cheaper Than Dirt’s ammo prices seem like a bargain!

    1. avatar ready,fire,aim says:


      1. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

        Monitor clean up on aisle two!!!

    2. avatar Don says:

      Line du jour!

  4. avatar Megrim says:

    Who knew newspaper delivery was so dangerous and profitable? I would have settled for a new pickup and unlimited free ammo and concealed carry pass for life.

    1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

      Meh, now they have enough cash to make the appropriate donation to the concealed carry license issuing police chief — and a “good and substantial reason” for it.

      1. avatar Hank says:

        Enough to move. I’d pick up that check in a U-Haul.

  5. avatar john says:

    …..and the lapd weasels it’s way out of another lawsuit……

    1. avatar William says:

      You bet. How is this supposed to deter the force from continuing this wanton recklessness in the future? The taxpayers foot the bill , the cop budget us not snipped: EVERYBODY WINS, if you believe these lying-ass lying lawyers and administrators…

      IT SHOULD HAVE COST THEM $400 MILLION! The budget should have had a broadax taken to – that a REAL LESSON MIGHT BE LEARNED.

      NAAHH. The force and the city got another intentional walk.

      1. avatar Bob says:

        Yep. The police have no incentive to do the right thing, and no disincentive to doing the wrong thing.

  6. avatar Colt Magnum says:

    Anyone know what’s going on with the other individual, who was also shot, during the hunt for Dorner?

    1. avatar jaykayd says:

      Yeah… he wasn’t shot, just shot at and forced to crash. The bullet hole in his windshield was right at eye level. Although it’s not $4.2M bad, it’s still bad.

      1. avatar APBTFan says:

        I think getting blasted by the cops for no good reason is enough for 4.2 million.

        Maybe when the taxpayers shell out millions they don’t have to spare they might start asking questions about their police shooting at people without verifying the target. LAPD’s actions were nothing less than a hysterical mission to blast Dorner to pieces no matter what.

  7. avatar tim says:

    too bad our legal system would never think of charging cops with the crimes they commit

  8. avatar JPT says:

    Why would the cops be charged…they are of a higher class and held to different standards than the rest of us.

    1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

      … and since our U.S. Constitution prohibits “titles of nobility”, we should be able to eliminate all the stupid firearm restrictions — or exemptions for law enforcement — via a lawsuit. Of course that would only work if the courts actually did their job.

  9. avatar kobalt60 says:

    Cops should be held personally and legally responsible for every round that exits their weapon. Just like we are.

  10. avatar ready,fire,aim says:

    4.2 mill…..shoot me….shoot me….me next…me next

    1. avatar Avid Reader says:

      Nah, you just want a new truck.

  11. avatar mountocean says:

    If only LA had shut down the city while they were searching.

  12. avatar Joke & Dagger says:

    This is my smiley face. 🙂

  13. avatar Bob Barker says:

    Yeah, $4.2M would certainly help me move on with my life. OTOH, settling this quickly means they probably left money on the table. I wonder what the lawyer’s cut is.

    1. avatar Mark N. says:

      At this stage, probably one-third ($1.4 million). The amount the plaintiffs receive is nontaxable.

      1. avatar Gov. William J. Le Petomane says:

        If they were smart they would have got a lawyer on a stepped contingency and since it settle up so quick and easy he’d probably get 25%. The down side is if it gets bogged down in appeals he’d get 50%.

        He probably did a little investigation, wrote a nice letter to the LAPD. Met with the clients and relayed to offer. Went to bank with a million dollar check. Good work if you can get it.

    2. avatar APBTFan says:

      I’d have taken the city as far as I could for every penny I could. I don’t care if my payoff was five bucks after legal fees I’d be perfectly content knowing the reckless actions of the LAPD cost the voters there dearly.

      So much for LAPD cleaning up their act after the early 90’s.

      1. avatar 16V says:

        ‘Training Day’ has just moved a little more underground. Very little.

        Rampart was the tip of the iceberg, and it ain’t close to melting.

      2. avatar uncommon_sense says:

        And the irony: their actions are the entire reason that Dorner went on his rampage. All the po-po did was confirm Dorner’s “cause”.

  14. avatar dwb says:

    thank god the police are terrible shots. 100 rounds, what 3 hits?

    So nice to let them put it on the credit card until june 30. Not me, not in CA. Cash only. Most of those municipalities live too close to bankruptcy for my taste. maybe they’ll issue a bond to pay legal bills. hahaha.

  15. avatar Mk10108 says:

    I want to know status of the two cops..

    1. avatar pk in AZ says:

      From what I’ve read, all of the officers involved are on “desk duty” pending the outcome of the “internal” investigation……

      Wonder if they’re still allowed to carry their firearms…..

      1. avatar Jared says:

        If precedent follows in CA (FL as well) they will be returned to full duty…. They will also collect 3% at 50 for a pension, and they will get their 5 year California “CCW authorized” retirement creds. And when the fine sharpshooter travel out of state, they can take their retired LEO creds and qual on a range for a years worth of LEOSA coverage.

        Both cops should be fired without question. If it was my agency, they would have been fired…… Or they would have promoted.

        1. avatar Mk10108 says:

          To serve & protect. To serve themselves and protect their jobs. Absolutely no respect for the uniform.

  16. avatar DrVino says:

    Can’t we all just get a loan?….

  17. avatar Jeremy says:

    4 million for a hundred rounds…what’s that, about 40 grand per? Must be shooting 9mm!

  18. avatar Professor X says:

    Take the money out of the LAPD pension fund. Then wait and see how long the officers involved stay on duty.

    1. avatar Gov. William J. Le Petomane says:


      The problem with these settlements is that the bureaucrats in charge have such a wonton disregard for their own taxpayers that they are driving them into bankruptcy without the settlements. This just adds to the burden of the citizens and those responsible are let of with a “stern talking to”.

      1. avatar APBTFan says:

        Pretty easy spending chumps’ money innit?

        I’d love to see that money come out of LAPD’s pension. I’d bet money there’d be a change or two right quick.

  19. avatar Ralph says:

    We members of the bar want to thank the fine officers of Los Angeles for making a sincere effort toward promoting full employment for lawyers. Grazie mille. And I really mean the mille part. Or in this case, mille.4.

    If Johnnie Cochran was alive, it would have been $10 million.

  20. avatar Accur81 says:

    Looks like a lose / lose situation to me. LAPD looks like idiots, lawyer makes 1 million plus, city and taxpayers lose a cool $4.2 million.

    1. avatar Ralph says:

      And let’s not forget the bullet holes in the woman. That’s a major lose right there.

      1. avatar Accur81 says:

        Point taken. I guess I factored that into LAPD looking like idiots. I’m glad that I don’t work for that department.

    2. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

      There were bullets in houses, cars, through windows/doors/etc downrange all over the place. If a real lawyer had taken hold of this case, the LAPD would have been dragged out into the bright sunlight and their feckless incompetence seen by the entire country.

      The LAPD (and most other urban PD’s) want to make fuster-clucks like this go away with as little press and sworn testimony on the stand as possible. Hence a big payout on the condition of no further litigation.

      This isn’t an exercise in looking smart. This is an exercise in minimizing how dangerous, stupid and incompetent the LAPD looks. They already look plenty bad, but they can make this go away in a couple days’ of news coverage now. If there were a trial, it would go on for weeks.

  21. avatar jwm says:

    This is the first good picture I’ve seen of the pickup. How the frack did those women get out of there alive? were the lapd using bb guns?

    1. avatar Void says:

      Rule #4… what about background? I’m sure the homeowners had a bunch of fine mementos embedded in their house. Maybe they could sell remnants on Ebay to help with repair costs. Oops, I forgot. Forensics prolly removed ’em all as collected evidence.

      Be curious if their homeowner’s insurance would cover repair $ and then insurance goes after city.

      1. avatar Accur81 says:

        LAPD will likely eat those costs as well. Our department has a shooter’s checklist that tracks all rounds down range in a shooting incident and where each round impacted. I imagine LAPD has the same. I’d spend more time tracking such things, but TTAG is pretty on top of it. Plus, I’ve got to finish my investigation of a fatal crash, and those things take awhile.

  22. avatar Randy Drescher says:

    This is attempted murder. If they have eyesight slightly better than Mr Maggoo they could see they were in not in harms way. If a regular citizen did this it would be 15 years + a civil suit, Randy

  23. avatar Mike says:

    and again, the taxpayers are held responsible for the incompetence of the LAPD.

    Every employee of the LAPD should have their wages garnished until the money is paid back. Same with pension payments. Maybe then they’ll sit up and take notice.

  24. avatar John says:

    After I read the BBC article, I googled for US news sources. Not an exhaustive search, but none if the US sources mentioned delaying the payout to make it easier on the city. Wonder if the financial toll of a relatively small settlement is being hidden from the US public?

  25. avatar Nickbnumbers says:

    LA has about 4,000,000 people.
    1,800,000 have jobs
    100,000 are tax-eater “jobs,” so we have 1,700,000 left
    adjusting for low-paying jobs (that will have no tax burden), we have about 1,400,000 left.
    adjusting for the demographics that “speak english less than ‘very well,'” and are likely not reporting income, we probably have about 1,100,000 jobs left.
    because it’s April, there are only 1,000,000 jobs. (Hey, if the BLS can seasonally adjust their numbers, so can I!)
    Also, this being California, you just know there are at least 100,000 jobs in non-profit climate research organizations that live on government grant money.

    I’d say at best there are 800-900,000 semi-productive people in tax-paying private industry in LA.

    So it’s about $5 each.

    Could you imagine a cop coming to your door and saying “Hey, gimme 5 bucks.”
    you: “For what?”
    cop: “I shot the newspaper lady in the neck.”
    you: “Screw off. Go away.”
    cop: “If you don’t give me 5 bucks, I’ll lock you in a cage or shoot YOU in the neck.”
    you: “Fair enough. Here’s your 5 bucks.”
    cop: “Thank you, citizen. I’ll see you in 5 years: I’m gonna need a pension bailout. That one will be in the billions, it’ll probably be $5,000-$10,000 or so.”

    The biggest crime against productive people is payroll withholding. I wish the government had to collect each tax individually.

    1. avatar Mk10108 says:

      Something else…dated a workman comp lawyer and she stated every police officer insures between their 8-14 year they report a knee or lower leg related injury related to an arrest to gain coin in retirement.

  26. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

    Hmmm. Multi-megabuck payout on the taxpayers’ backs… and none of the “at least seven” officers[*] involved in the incident are given any discipline or accountability, at least none that is being reported.

    Golly…. who predicted this outcome a couple months ago here on TTAG? Who could that veritable Nostradamus of gun nuts have been?

    Personally, I wish the plaintiffs’ attorney had litigated this and had brought the incompetence of the LAPD out into the public view for all to see. But lawyers are all about the quick buck, and the LAPD knows that, so they just upped the settlement high enough to get the parties to sign a confidentiality agreement on the terms and such, and they sweep it neatly under the rug. SOP for a modern urban police department.

    [*] The LA Times, in an article published in the Saturday edition of the paper (which is where the LA Times likes to publish things that are highly inconvenient for the pretty people of LA, or elected officials the LA Times has endorsed or supported) quoting an LAPD official that “…at least seven officers…” were “involved” in the hosing down of the victims’ pickup truck. Seven. Not two, seven. As I commented at the time, I could see (but not justify) how two officers would light up an unidentified vehicle (senior officer in the patrol car starts, rookie chimes in to back the senior officer’s play).

    But seven? And no one took a moment to say “Is that really who we are seeking?” That’s prima facie evidence of staggering incompetence and a threat to public safety.

  27. avatar matt says:

    So isnt this 4m going to count as income for tax purposes? From what i’ve seen online, these ladies will pay 10.3% + 90.7k for Cali income tax and another 37.9% for federal income tax. Sucks that they’ll really only be getting 1m each. Plenty of homes around LA cost more than 1m. Then you have to factor in medical bills too.

    And I want to know what a lawyer could possibly do which cause this case to cost millions to litigate it. There really isnt any question of what happened wrong here. You’d think it would be only a few days at most.

  28. avatar Raymond says:

    its non taxable as stated above…

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