The eight police officers who, while hunting for a large black man in a grey pick-up truck, mistakenly fired over 100 rounds into a blue pick-up truck driven by two Latino women will be released back into the field. RT reports that, "although the both the chief of the Los Angeles Police Department and a civilian oversight board agree that eight LAPD officers violated official policy during the one-sided shootout in Torrance, CA last February 7, an internal memorandum obtained by members of the media on Wednesday reveal that those cops will continue to work the streets of Southern California."
The two women were delivering newspapers while the LAPD engaged in a massive manhunt for the former cop turned renegade, Christopher Dorner. Remarks made by Police Chief Charlie Beck earlier this week indicate that the sound of a newspaper hitting the pavement was mistaken for a gunshot, prompting the nervous officers to relieve the itch on their trigger fingers.
"While I certainly empathize and understand the conditions and circumstances that led to this particular officer-involved shooting, I hold our police officers to the highest standards in the application of deadly force," Beck told reporters on Tuesday while revealing the findings during a press conference.
What Beck didn't tell the press, but was revealed by an internal LAPD memo hours after the press conference, was that despite being found to be in the wrong, the officers involved won't be losing their jobs. They aren't even going to tethered to a desk. Instead, they will merely be asked to undergo a bit of additional training before they pick up their guns and badges to head back out on patrol.
Attorney Glen Jonas who represented the two women barraged with bullets commented to the AP, "If either of the women had been killed, you can bet your bottom dollar somebody would be fired and maybe prosecuted. A stroke of luck, firing more than 100 rounds and missing, should not mean the discipline is lighter."
It seems that all of the local media outlets for Los Angeles are taking the view that these officers' actions were inexcusable. Stress and anxiety are no excuse for firing on innocent civilians when stress and anxiety are a standard part of the job. Perhaps the outcry from this information being made public will change the Police Chief's mind.
As the L.A. Times said, "Nerves are not an excuse for carelessness, particularly when the result is a fusillade directed at innocent people."