Eight Los Angeles police officers who opened fire on two women delivering newspapers in a pickup truck during the hunt for Christopher Dorner violated the police department’s policy on using deadly force, the department’s oversight body found yesterday, reports the Los Angeles Times. The Police Commission followed the recommendation of Police Chief Charlie Beck, who faulted the officers for jumping to the conclusion that Dorner was in the truck. Beck said the officers compounded their mistake by shooting in one another’s direction with an unrestrained barrage of gunfire.
Reports made public yesterday offered new details of the hours that led up to the shooting and how it erupted into a wild, one-sided firefight in which the officers fired shotguns and handguns more than 100 times. One woman was shot twice in the back; her daughter received superficial wounds. “This is was a tragic cascade of circumstance that led to an inaccurate conclusion by the officers,” Beck said. “I sympathize with the officers, but I have a very high standard for the application of deadly force, and the shooting did not meet that standard.” The findings come after months of internal debate over whether the officers should be excused in light of the intense pressure they were under as they kept watch for Dorner, who had killed three people and vowed more bloodshed as he sought vengeance against the law enforcement officials he blamed for his firing.