Two women whose truck was riddled with bullets by LAPD officers who mistook the pair for a fugitive ex-officer have yet to get a new truck, despite a pledge from Chief Charlie Beck to replace it. LA City Attorney Carmen Trutanich is stepping in, saying the issue could be resolved in a matter of days. Hetty Chang reports from Downtown LA for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on March 13, 2013.
The Los Angeles city attorney is stepping in after the LAPD's plan to donate a truck to newspaper delivery women 71-year-old Emma Hernandez and her daughter, Margie Carranza, has proven to be unsuccessful.
Traveling in their pickup truck while delivering newspapers in a Torrance neighborhood, the pair was shot at by police during a frenzied manhunt for an ex-officer wanted in a revenge-motivated killing spree.
"It's going to be handled competently, it's going to be handled appropriately and in the best interests of the city of Los Angeles," said City Attorney Carmen Trutanich.
Trutanich on Wednesday was working with his staff to find a more efficient way to compensate the women for the loss of their Toyota Tacoma, which is now riddled, according to the women's attorney, with as many as 102 bullet holes.
"We may not get them an automobile, it may just be a check that will compensate them fully for their loss, without an admission of liability," Trutanich said.
Trutanich, who faces re-election on May 21, said he is personally working resolve the issue.
The women no longer want the truck after they were told they needed to fill out a 1099 form and pay income tax on the donation.
But the larger issue is the demand letter sent to his office by Glen Jonas, the women's attorney.
"I think he's done the right thing by sending us the demand letter, putting us on notice that there is a claim that's going to be filed," Trutanich said.
A lawsuit may not have to be filed if the two sides can come to an agreement.
While neither side would disclose the proposed settlement amount, Jonas did offer some perspective. He indicated the $25,000 in medical bills the women are now facing represents a very small portion of the total amount he is asking for in his demand letter.
He characterized the total proposed settlement amount as "very reasonable."
"It's a starting point for negotiation and as such, it's a very reasonable number in light of what happen to them and how their lives have been ruined," Jonas said.
The pair was driving a dark-colored pickup truck when they slowly approached the home of an officer named in ex-officer Christopher Dorner’s angry manifesto. Apparently thinking Dorner was inside, police opened fire on the truck.
After the shooting, Jonas said he was shocked by the officers’ actions. He said neither the size of the women nor the blue Toyota Tundra truck they were in matched the description of Dorner's Nissan Titan.