The Los Angeles City Attorney's office has reached an agreement to pay two newspaper delivery women $40,000 for the loss of their truck, which was shot up by police in a case of mistaken identity during the search for ex-LAPD officer Christopher Dorner.
The Los Angeles Police Department had said it planned to replace the mother-daughter pair's truck, which was shot at more than 100 times while they delivered newspapers in Torrance, according to the women's attorney.
But the women were told they would need to pay income taxes on the value of the truck after a private donor got an involved — and 71-year-old Emma Hernandez and daughter Margie Carranza refused that offer.
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Details on the "property agreement" with Hernandez and Carranza to compensate them for the truck were announced at a 3 p.m. press conference by LA City Attorney Carmen Trutanich's office. Both Trutanich and the women's attorney, Glen Jonas, were at the event at LA City Hall.
The attorneys said the women will get a check for $40,000 for the value of the truck, and they will not have to pay attorney's fees or income taxes on the amount. Jonas will not be compensated for his work related to the truck.
The agreement releases both sides from liability for the property loss, and it allows the truck to be used by the city as evidence until it's no longer needed. Then the seriously damaged truck will be returned to the women.
The money will come out of the city's general fund.
Trutanich said he believed the agreement was a "fair resolution." Earlier in the week, he had said he wanted to find a way to compensate them for the truck, calling it a "no-brainer."
"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 Trutanich, who faces reelection on May 21, on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, Trutanich's office is examining a demand letter over the shooting sent by Jonas. The letter asks for compensation related to the shooting beyond to the value of the truck.
"I don't understand how they survived," Jonas said last month. "They're grappling with a lot of issues — the fact that they were almost killed by the police."
On Thursday, he said he's hopeful that the city and his clients can come to an agreement — based on the ease with which compensation for the truck was worked out.
"I'm pleased to have it done; my clients are pleased to have it done. Everybody gets to move forward, put this incident as far as the donation was concerned, behind us, and get down to business," Jonas said.
"If we don't, we do what lawyers do. We go to trial," Jonas said during the news conference.
The women were shot at Feb. 7 when they drove their blue Toyota Tacoma in the dark, early morning hours toward the Torrance home of one of the police officials who was under protection because of threats in an angry manifesto posted online by Dorner, who was later killed after an extensive manhunt.
Hernandez was shot in the back and still suffers from nerve pain, Jonas said.