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Torrance Shooting 'Unbridled Police Lawlessness,' Says Attorney

Attorney Robert Sheahan represents David Perdue, who was shot at by Torrance police officers Thursday morning as they responded to a shots fired call.

Details emerged Sunday about a second incidence of police injuring an innocent person driving a pickup truck in the initial hours of an accused cop-killer's  rampage.

Torrance police rammed a man's pickup truck, injuring the driver, and fired three shots into it on Thursday morning near the intersection of Beryl Street and Flagler Lane, fewer than 100 feet from the Redondo Beach border.

The driver was a baggage handler at LAX heading to the beach to go surfing, The Times reported. David Perdue was not shot but suffered a concussion and a shoulder injury in the crash and has not been to work as a baggage handler at LAX since.

His black 2006 Honda pickup truck was totaled.

"I don't want to use the word 'buffoonery,' but it really is unbridled police lawlessness," Perdue's attorney, Robert Sheahen, told The Times. "These people need training and they need restraint."

In a news conference near the scene of the shooting hours after it took place, Torrance police said neither Perdue nor the officers were injured in the incident.

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The incident occurred shortly after officers from the Los Angeles Police Department shot at two newspaper delivery workers, injuring one in her back and the other in her hand. That incident also occurred at about the same time that Christopher Jordan Dorner was reportedly shooting at police in Corona and Riverside, killing one officer there.

The second Torrance incident involved police units responding to a "shots fired" call, possibly the one involving the newspaper carriers, which happened near the home of an LAPD officer named in Dorner's manifesto.

Shaehen told The Times his client was flagged down by officers in a patrol vehicle. After telling the officers he was headed to the beach, the first officer let him drive off.

But a second police car rammed Perdue's truck, which was a different make and color than Dorner's gray or blue Nissan, which was later found burning in Big Bear. Perdue is white, Dorner is black, and Perdue is several inches shorter, as well as 100 pounds lighter than the former LAPD cop.

The Torrance Police Department told The Times that Perdue's pickup truck was moving directly into the path of one of their patrol cars and did not appear to be yielding to the second car.

When the vehicles collided, Perdue's airbag activated, blocking the view of the police car's driver—and one of the officers fired three rounds.

A Torrance department spokesman told The Times on Saturday that the shooting is still under investigation.

"The circumstances of the incident known to the responding officers would have led a reasonable officer under normal circumstances—and these were far from normal circumstances—to believe that fellow officers were being shot at and that the vehicle traveling toward them posed a serious risk," said the Torrance Police Department in a statement released to The Times.

"In the split seconds available to them action was appropriate to intervene and stop the actions of the driver of that vehicle."

Torrance police apologized to Perdue and offered him a rental car and payment for his medical expenses, The Times reported.

Related:

  • Police: Shootings Case of Mistaken Identity

—Editor Nicole Mooradian contributed to this report.

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Guy February 19, 2013 at 08:12 PM
It is obvious that something went wrong here. But to avoid future repetitions we have to find out what exactly it was that lead to this very unfortunate situation. We have to see what the officers perspective was and how the police training can be modified to achieve a better re/action. Sometimes officers have to make split second decisions that have a long lasting impact. Those officers may have overreacted out of fear for their lifes and a lack of time to properly assess their situation. Since just hours before this incident Dorner had ambushed and killed two Riverside PD officers.
John hacker February 20, 2013 at 04:48 AM
May have over reacted? They shot up people whose car model didnt match, license didnt match, car color didnt match and race didnt match. They had no reason to shoot those people other than the fact they are fucking pigs. That could have been you or your family. Fuck those pigs.
No Name Johnson February 26, 2013 at 08:23 AM
It's unbelievable that they would not first make a positive ID before ramming the car. And then to fire shots to boot. Clearly there are some mitigating circumstances. They heard shots and saw a vehicle leaving the area. But they still should have made a positive ID before taking action. Same thing is true for the LAPD. Inexcusable
Rachellg April 24, 2013 at 10:03 PM
YES!
Rachellg April 24, 2013 at 10:04 PM
But, it isn't the police paying the couple of million, it is the taxpayers. I just don't understand this at all. This baggage handler was uninjured and would have never in his lifetime made a couple of million.

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