Police Commission President Steve Soboroff’s Comments on The Adjudication Of Two Officer Involved Shootings Which Occurred on February 7, 2013

February 4, 2014

Los Angeles: Today, Los Angeles Police Commission President Steve Soboroff stated the following:

Today, my fellow Commissioners and I completed our review and deliberation regarding two Officer Involved Shootings that occurred on February 7, 2013. One of these occurred in the City of Corona and the other in the City of Torrance.

These two incidents were investigated by the Los Angeles Police Department’s Force Investigation Division. Based on the recommendation of the Chief of Police and the independent review by the Office of the Inspector General the Board of Police Commissioners adjudicated each of these cases.

As a result of the actions of former Los Angeles Police Officer Christopher Dorner and his manifesto that was posted on-line, certain Los Angeles Police Department personnel were identified as possible targets of his violence and protection details were assigned to their residences. On February 7, 2013, at approximately 1:20 AM, while enroute to a protective detail in the Riverside County area, two Los Angeles Police Officers were advised by a citizen that he saw a vehicle and person that he believed was Dorner leaving a service station. The officers located the vehicle and, after a short time following the vehicle, it pulled to the side of the road. Immediately, the driver’s door opened and an individual exited who the officers immediately recognized as Dorner had an assault rifle and began firing at the officers. An intense gun battle ensued with the officers’ vehicle being disabled and one officer receiving a graze wound to the head and the other being sprayed with shattered glass. Dorner fled and a short time later shot two Riverside Police Department police officers, fatally injuring one and seriously injuring the other.

In this case the Police Commission unanimously adopted the recommendations of the Chief of Police for both officers which were:

Tactics – Tactical Debrief
Drawing/Exhibiting – In Policy
Lethal Use of Force – In Policy

The second case occurred in the City of Torrance while Los Angeles Police Officers were deployed in a protective detail at the residence of an identified target in Dorner’s manifesto. The officers deployed at this scene were aware of the vehicle description of Dorner’s vehicle and that earlier Dorner had been involved in an Officer Involved Shooting with Los Angeles Police Department officers in Corona and had killed a Riverside Police Officer and seriously injured another.

At approximately 4:29AM a radio broadcast was made advising the suspect vehicle description. The vehicle was described as a 2005 Nissan Titan pickup, charcoal grey with oversized tires and ski rack, and that the suspect had changed the license plate to one beginning with the characters "8D." Subsequently, at approximately 5:15 AM, officers on the protection detail observed a 2007 Toyota Tacoma pickup, blue, four-door, tinted windows, with a California license plate beginning with the characters "8D" being driven into the residential area. The vehicle was observed by the officers driving slowly, then accelerating and crossing the center line of the roadway. The first two characters of the license plate were identified as the same on the possible suspect vehicle. Ultimately, the officers believed by the erratic manner the vehicle was driving that it was occupied by Dorner. These observations led the officers to discharge their weapons at the vehicle to stop the threat. At the conclusion of the shooting, it was determined that the vehicle was occupied by two women who were delivering newspapers. Both women suffered injuries as a result of this incident.

In this incident the Police Commission unanimously adopted the recommendations of the Chief of Police for all officers who discharged their service weapons, which were:

Tactics – Tactical Debrief
Drawing/Exhibiting – In Policy
Lethal Use of Force – Out of Policy, Administrative Disapproval

Both of these incidents were tragic for all involved, the officers who were injured in the first incident and the innocent women injured in the incident in the City of Torrance. As in all Use of Force incidents, the Department has completed a thorough review and will adopt the lessons learned, both good and bad from these incidents. Consistent with the City Charter, disciplinary matters for the incident which occurred in the City of Torrance will now be determined by Chief Beck. The Office of the Inspector General’s abridged summary of this incident will be available at www.lapdonline.org by today at 5:00 pm. Pursuant to California law, my fellow Commissioners and I, along with those who were present in the closed session meeting, are unable to divulge any of the information discussed or our deliberations that took place, including our justification leading to our individual decisions.