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Torrance fighting lawsuit by man shot at during Dorner manhunt

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A man who was mistakenly shot at by Torrance police during the manhunt for Christopher Dorner will likely end up fighting the city in federal court.

In court documents filed Friday, the City of Torrance denied liability for its officers crashing into the truck being driven by David Perdue, 38. Officers fired three shots into his windshield during the search for Dorner, the former LAPD cop who allegedly went on a shooting rampage in February. They believed it was Dorner was inside the truck.

Perdue was not hit by the gunfire, but said the crash caused back pain that prevents him from returning to his job as a baggage handler at Los Angeles International Airport.

The two sides tried to negotiate a settlement last month, but those efforts stalled. Perdue subsequently filed a lawsuit against the city of Torrance, its police department and the two unnamed officers involved in the shooting. His attorney, Robert Sheahen, will not disclose how much they were asking for in negotiations and the complaint does not specify the amount of damages sought.

Attorneys for the City of Torrance said in court papers that any loss suffered was unavoidable; the officers were just doing their job. They said the city wants a jury trial.

“The acts complained of by plaintiffs were committed in the course of making a lawful seizure, arrest, and/or search,” attorneys for the city wrote. “In making this lawful seizure, the officers used only reasonable force.”

Sheahen complained that Torrance's response is a “stark contrast” to the settlement the City of Los Angeles reached with two newspaper deliverers who were mistakenly shot by LAPD during the search for Dorner. The shootings occurred a few blocks from each other at about the same time.  

“The Torrance police department issued a statement that it hoped dialogue could resume,” Sheahen said. “Instead of resuming dialogue, Torrance has retained outside counsel, at a potential cost of hundreds of thousands of dollars. This is money which in good faith should be going to the Perdue family.”

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