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Trutanich: $4.2-million Dorner settlement came 'pretty cheaply'

April 23, 2013|By Kate Mather and Andrew Blankstein
  • L.A. City Atty. Carmen Trutanich announces that a $4.2-million settlement has been reached to compensate two women mistakenly injured during the manhunt for former LAPD Officer Christopher Dorner.
L.A. City Atty. Carmen Trutanich announces that a $4.2-million settlement… (Christina House / For The…)

The two women mistakenly shot at by Los Angeles police during a manhunt for fugitive ex-cop Christopher Dorner have reached a $4.2-million settlement that will save the city millions, attorneys said Tuesday.

The Los Angeles City Council must still ratify the agreement, announced Tuesday by Los Angeles City Atty. Carmen Trutanich and Glen Jonas, who is representing the women.

Margie Carranza, 47, and her mother, Emma Hernandez, 71, were delivering newspapers in Torrance on Feb. 7 when LAPD officers shot repeatedly at their blue Toyota Tacoma. Hernandez was shot twice in the back, and Carranza's hands were injured by either broken glass or shrapnel, Jonas said.

The officers were protecting the home of a high-ranking LAPD official named in a threatening manifesto authorities said was written by Dorner, and they believed that the official could have been a potential target. Dorner at the time had already killed the daughter of an LAPD captain, her fiance -- a USC police officer -- and a Riverside police officer, officials said.

Dorner was believed to be driving a gray Nissan Titan, and there was an alert preceding the shooting that said a truck matching Dorner's was in the area.

"Hopefully this will put an end to the Dorner saga once and for all," Trutanich said of the settlement.

Dorner later died of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound after a fiery standoff with police at a Big Bear-area cabin.

Jonas said his starting point for the negotiations was $15 million or $16 million, but said the agreement insured that the women received a timely payment and avoided 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 said. "$4.2 million means a lot more to her today than potentially $7 million 10 years down the road."

Trutanich called the agreement a "no brainer because the costs were going to skyrocket."

"We got out of this thing pretty cheaply all things considered," he said.

Negotiations at times grew heated, the attorneys said -- Trutanich described one conversation as a "shouting match" -- but turned over the weekend.

"We had an opportunity, I felt, before this thing really got out of hand to try and resolve it one last time," Trutanich said.

LAPD Chief Charlie Beck was seen entering City Hall East, where the city attorney's office is located, before the news conference but was not on hand for the announcement. There was no immediate comment from the department.

Last month, the women received a $40,000 check from the city to replace their Toyota Tacoma. Jonas said they had purchased a Dodge Ram pickup -- "all leather, four-door, real nice," he said.

Jonas said Hernandez was "recovering well" from her injuries but both women were dealing with the "emotional impact of what had happened that day." He said they had "mixed emotions" about the settlement.

"This doesn't erase anything that happened on that day," he said. "It doesn't change the trauma that they've been through.... They're pleased with the fact that the case is settled, but that doesn't mean they'll run around with big smiles on their faces."

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