A major part of the fallout from the Christopher Dorner manhunt is now over, as the city of Los Angeles has agreed to pay a total of $4.2 million — $2.1 million each — to the mother and daughter who were hurt when police opened fire on their pickup truck. Police mistook the women’s vehicle for the truck being driven by the fugitive Dorner.
L.A. officials announced the settlement yesterday, putting an end to one of the more embarrassing episodes during the Dorner manhunt. Observers couldn’t understand how officers could mistake the blue Toyota Tacoma driven by the two women for Dorner’s gray Nissan Titan—and then send a hail of bullets into the truck.
Emma Hernandez, 71, was shot twice in the back and her daughter, Margie Carranza, 47, suffered hand injuries from flying debris. The women were delivering newspapers in the early morning hours in Torrance, Calif., when the officers, who were protecting one of Dorner’s named targets, fired upon them.
During the course of a massive manhunt that upended life in Southern California, law enforcement employed hundreds of officers searching for Dorner and protecting the dozens of police officials he named in a long, detailed manifesto on Facebook.
After he killed four people in a vendetta against the LAPD, Dorner died on February 12 in a fiery standoff with police in the mountains above Los Angeles.
“In reaching this settlement, we hope Margie and Emma will be able to move on with their lives, the city will be spared millions of dollars in litigation expense and time, and this unfortunate chapter of the Dorner saga will be put to rest,” Los Angeles City Attorney Carmen Trutanich said in a statement.
The settlement still must be ratified by the Los Angeles City Council.
In March, Trutanich reached a different settlement with the women, providing them $40,000 to replace their truck, which was left with multiple bullet holes.
“They are still grappling with a whole range of emotional issues related to the incident,” said the women’s attorney, Glen Jonas.
Jonas told the Los Angeles Times that his starting point for the negotiations was $15 million or $16 million. He said he took the $4.2 million to ensure that the women got the money quickly and to avoid the potential risks of going to trial.
“I have a 71-year-old client. You think she wants to risk the appellate court reversing it for one reason or another?” Jonas asked.
Trutanich said the agreement was a “no-brainer, because the costs were going to skyrocket.”
“We got out of this thing pretty cheaply, all things considered,” he said.