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Torrance pays for truck of man mistakenly shot during Dorner hunt

August 18, 2013|By Joel Rubin
  • David Perdue's pickup truck was damaged when Torrance police rammed it and shot at him in February during the manhunt for former LAPD Officer Christopher Dorner.
David Perdue's pickup truck was damaged when Torrance police rammed… (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles…)

More than six months after David Perdue was wrongly targeted by Torrance police during the search for former LAPD Officer Christopher Dorner, the city of Torrance has reimbursed him $20,000 for the damage officers did to his pickup truck, his attorney said.

Early on the morning of Feb. 7, Perdue, 38, was driving toward the beach to surf before starting a shift at his job as a baggage handler at Los Angeles International Airport when a Torrance police cruiser rammed into his truck and at least one of the officers in the car fired repeatedly at Perdue.

Perdue, a father of two, was not hit by the gunfire but sustained back and head injuries that have left him unable to work and with speech problems, according to his attorney, Robert Sheahen.

The officers were part of a massive dragnet across the region searching for Dorner, who had announced his plans to seek revenge for his firing from the department by killing those he blamed for his downfall as a cop. Dorner died several days later from a self-inflicted gun shot wound after he was cornered by police.

The incident was similar to another one nearby earlier the same morning when Los Angeles police shot at another pickup truck. In that vehicle were a Latina mother and her adult daughter who were delivering newspapers. 

Despite police being on edge because of Dorner's vows to attack, the incidents drew sharp condemnation and raised questions about how the shootings could have occurred. Dorner, who was a large African American man, looked nothing like the Latinas or Perdue, a small white man. And the pickup trucks they drove were different models and colors than then the one police believed Dorner was driving.

Sheahen lashed out Sunday at Torrance officials for the time it has taken to reimburse Perdue for the truck. More "outrageous," he said, was the city's handling of a lawsuit Sheahen has filed in federal court against the city on behalf of Perdue.

Torrance officials have so far refused to allow experts hired by Sheahen to examine the truck, the attorney said. He added that the city has stalled on any meaningful settlement talks, rejecting Perdue's latest offer to drop his case for $3.7 million and not budging from an initial offer to settle for $500,000.

"They have done everything they can to stonewall us," Sheahen said in a brief interview.

The way the case has played out so far stands in contrast to the way Los Angeles officials handled the shooting of the newspaper delivery women. In that incident, the women received cash for a new truck in March and the following month settled their case for $4.2 million.  

Torrance officials could not be reached for comment. Both sides are scheduled to next be in court in October.

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Twitter: @joelrubin

joel.rubin@latimes.com

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