The City of Los Angeles has agreed to issue a $40,000 check to compensate two newspaper delivery women whose truck was damaged when police shot numerous bullets at it due to the belief that rogue ex-LAPD officer Christopher Dorner was inside.
The agreement with the women was reached relatively quickly, Trutanich said at a news conference Thursday.
Maggie Carranza and her mother, Emma Hernandez were shot while delivering newspapers in Torrance on Feb. 7 as the search for Dorner began.
LAPD Chief Charlie Beck publicly apologized and promised them a truck to replace their blue Toyota Tacoma but an attorney representing them said this week that the women had yet to receive the vehicle.
“We reached an agreement relatively quickly and got through some very, very troubling issues,” said LA city attorney Carmen Trutanich.
When Beck promised to replace the truck federal and state tax issues came into play as well as city gift and ethics issues. The deal reached doesn’t require Hernandez and Carranza to pay any taxes on the settlement.
The terms of the agreement reached Thursday includes a non-admission of liability by either party and a full release of the truck to the city that now legally owns it. Attorney's fees totaling approximately $25,000 are also being waived as part of the settlement.
Trutanich said in some ways the non-admission of liability has more value than the truck does.
“As you can imagine paying part of a claim would seem to imply liability on the part of the city for making that payment,” he said.
The non-admission of liability basically means the city can hand over the paycheck without admitting guilt and the women cannot use the payment as a way to show guilt. But the agreement reached will not keep the women from moving forward with any lawsuit against the city, said attorney Glen Jonas.
“If we can come to an agreement on the value regarding the damages suffered, then the case will be resolved,” he said. “If we don’t then we do what lawyers do. We go to trial.”
Jonas said Carranza and Hernandez are not doing well. They are emotionally stressed by what happened and still physically hurt.
“Through all this I have always believed that Chief Beck’s heart was in the right place and that carries meaning for me and my clients,” Jonas said.
Until Tuesday, the city attorney had not been consulted on the truck replacement issues. City Councilman Dennis Zine said he asked Trutanich to jump in after the owner of car dealership Galpin Ford said he would provide the truck but $10,000 in gift taxes would have to be paid.
“We know the incident occurred, there’s no denying the incident occurred,” said Zine. “The chief of police decided to offer a truck, which is obviously good intention and then the consequences after that.”
Trutanich thanked the Chief and the owner of Galpin Ford for willing to step up and make good on the promise. Beck did not attend the news conference.
This story has been updated.