A man who was shot at by police in a case of mistaken identity during a frenzied manhunt for an ex-LAPD officer on a deadly rampage has filed an excessive force lawsuit against the officers involved in the shooting.
David Perdue was on his way to the beach for an early-morning surf session on Feb. 7 before work when police fired at his Honda truck without any warning, according to court documents filed in federal court in Los Angeles on Monday.
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Police fired at least three bullets at Perdue’s truck before ordering him out and detaining him for an hour. He was shot at even after being cleared by other officers after they were satisfied he was not the man they were looking for, court documents said.
Police encountered Perdue -- who even showed officers the surfboards in his truck -- while searching for ex-officer Christopher Dorner, wanted in a revenge-fueled killing spree.
Perdue, 38, who is white and under 6-feet tall, was mistaken for Dorner, an African American man, who stood 6 foot 2.
Dorner’s gray Nissan Titan didn’t match Perdue’s black Honda Ridgeline.
“Even though it should have been apparent that David was not a 6’2” 270-pound black man, defendants later claimed they could not actually see who they were shooting at,” the lawsuit said.
Dorner was responsible for a series of shooting attacks from Feb. 3–12 that left four people dead, including two police officers, and left three other police officers wounded.
Dorner fatally shot himself as police surrounded a Big Bear cabin he was hiding out in, officials said.
On the day Perdue was shot at, officers were in the Torrance neighborhood on protection duty for another officer feared under threat by Dorner.
The Perdue shooting was the second case of mistaken identity that morning. Police shot and wounded two women who were in a blue pickup truck delivering newspapers. The city of Los Angeles was ordered to pay the women a $4.2 million settlement in that case.
Perdue, who lives with his wife and two children in Redondo Beach, had a concussion when his airbag was deployed and suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, his lawyers said.
Because he has been unable to work, Perdue lost his job and health benefits as a baggage handler for United Airlines.
"He now moves slowly and unsteadily," the lawsuit said. "His speech is altered. He has problems with his memory. He has nightmares."
The two Torrance police officers involved in the shooting, one of whom shot the three rounds, are back at work pending the outcome of an investigation by the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office, officials said.
Torrance officials would not comment on the mediation session between the city and Perdue, citing a confidentiality agreement.
"The City of Torrance understands the public concern and the severity of the unfortunate incident," said Sgt. Robert Watt, a Torrance Police Department spokesman, in a statement. "We are hopeful that a resolution can be reached soon."
Perdue filed the lawsuit after failing to reach a settlement with the city of Torrance, his attorney said.
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