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LAPD commissioner says penalties weak in Dorner mistaken ID shooting

LAPD commissioner says penalties weak in Dorner mistaken ID shooting
Police investigators examine a blue pickup truck riddled with bullets on Redbeam Avenue in Torrance. Officers, thinking shooting suspect Christopher Dorner might have been in the vehicle, unleashed a fusillade, wounding a woman and her mother. (Bob Chamberlin / Los Angeles Times)

The president of the police commission expressed disappointment that Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck is not issuing more severe penalties for the seven officers who mistakenly opened fire on two women during the hunt for Christopher Dorner

Steve Soboroff, whose panel oversees the LAPD, made the statements to The Times in response to a message Beck sent through the department's internal communication system.

In that message, which was obtained by The Times, Beck said he had determined that the officers violated LAPD's use-of-deadly-force policy.

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But he said they will be returned to field after spending a year on desk duty. 
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"I have confidence in their abilities as LAPD officers to continue to do their jobs in the same capacity they had been assigned," Beck said. "In the end, we as an organization can learn from this incident and from the individuals involved."
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Beck's decision to retrain the officers does not preclude him from imposing discipline on some or all of them, although several police sources said it is unlikely he will do so.

Soboroff acknowledged that the authority to discipline belongs to the chief but added, "With that said, I would have expected more significant discipline for the actions of most of the officers in this incident. I trust that the training will be extensive and the department and officers will move forward from this tragic incident."

During his weekly appearance Thursday morning on "KTLA News," Beck declined to address Soboroff's comments.

"Steve is a new police commissioner and we can't comment on discipline," Beck said. "He shouldn't … I'll leave it at that. We can't comment on discipline.

On Tuesday, Soboroff and the Police Commission followed Beck's recommendation to find that the officers violated department policy. Beck faulted the officers for jumping to the conclusion that Dorner was in the truck they opened fire upon. Beck said the officers compounded their mistake by shooting in one another's direction with an unrestrained barrage of gunfire.

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