LOS ANGELES (AP) — The city of Torrance has filed documents denying misconduct by police officers who shot at a white surfer during a manhunt for a rogue Los Angeles former officer.
Attorneys for the city asked for a trial in the damage lawsuit brought by David Perdue who was on his way to pick up a friend to go surfing when he was stopped by officers looking for Dorner. He says police rammed his pickup truck, deploying air bags, then shot into the driver’s window with bullets whizzing past Perdue’s head. The 38-year-old man says he was held on the ground with a gun to his head.
Mediation efforts between Purdue and the city failed, and Torrance filed a 34-page answer to his federal suit Friday saying the officers acted lawfully and used only reasonable force. They also argued that public employees “are immune from liability for discharging their mandatory duties with reasonable diligence.”
“Defendants are immune from liability under the Federal Civil Rights Act because they acted in good faith with an honest and reasonable belief that their actions were necessary and appropriate,” the city said in its filing.
Authorities say Dorner killed four people, including two law enforcement officers, during a weeklong rampage that involved a massive manhunt and ended with his apparent suicide in a mountain cabin following a gunbattle with police.
He was still at large when police stopped Perdue. Authorities believed Dorner was driving a pickup, although it was a different make and color than Perdue’s truck.
Perdue is claiming he suffered head and spinal injuries and lost his job as an LAX baggage handler because of the incident. According to his lawyers, he remains unable to work. His speech and his gait are impaired and he requires regular medical attention. Once a gifted athlete, he now has difficulty even playing with his two small children, they said.
The Perdue shooting was not the only case of mistaken identity on Feb. 7. Two women delivering newspapers in Torrance were also shot at by Los Angeles police officers; the city reached a $4.2 million settlement with the women in April in addition to the $40,000 settlement for the loss of their pickup truck.
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