Redondo Beach resident David Perdue was nearly murdered by police on the way to the beach February 7, 2013. Torrance Police Officer Brian McGee rammed his vehicle into Perdue’s truck and opened fire on the driver’s side without pausing to identify the driver, who he thought was former LAPD Officer Christopher Dorner.
A few hours earlier, Dorner – who had published a manifesto condemning the LAPD and threatening to kill officials involved in his termination from the force – had shot two Riverside County cops, killing one of them. McGee was among the thousands of police officers who took part in the manhunt for Dorner – and like all of his comrades, he was incapacitated by panic.
When he spotted Perdue’s car, McGee told investigators, he was “panicking inside, thinking if I don’t get out of this car seat, I’m gonna die. He’s gonna kill me. He’s gonna shoot me. I one hundred percent believe it’s him.”
So acting in the finest tradition of police valor, and in the name of the most important policy consideration, “Officer Safety,” the Iraq War veteran opened fire on Perdue. It was the victim’s immense good fortune that the assailant was a cop: Thanks to McGee’s good enough-for-government “work” marksmanship, Perdue survived the attack.
Dorner was a large, heavyset black man. Perdue is a slender white man. Once those obvious differences had penetrated the blinding haze of panic that had enveloped McGee, he stopped shooting.
“This guy’s killing cops,” jabbered McGee by way of explanation to his terrified victim. “He’s here to kill more. He’s killed one in Riverside, killed a couple in Irvine, he’s got a rifle, he’s military trained.”
McGee’s attack inflicted $20,000 of damage to Perdue’s truck. The victim — a member of the productive class — suffered head and spinal injuries that resulted in him losing his job as a baggage handler. Fret not for McGee: His job in the parasitic sector is secure, and he has been cleared by the L.A. District Attorney’s office.
According to the DA, McGee made a “reasonable mistake” when he rammed Perdue’s truck and tried to kill him sight unseen – because his life, and those of his fellow law enforcement officers, were of singular worth. After all, the security of the State’s punitive caste is infinitely more important than the rights of a mere Mundane.
“McGee was aware that Dorner had threatened to kill any law enforcement officers who interfered with his plan to exact revenge,” the DA’s report observes. “McGee and [his partner, Officer Erin] Sooper came away from the briefing believing that an encounter with Dorner would result in either their own, or Dorner’s death.” That report, predictably, drew exclusively from the self-serving accounts provided by the assailant and his colleagues.
A police officer’s “authority” to engage in discretionary killing is co-extensive with his personal cowardice. McGee will face no civil or legal consequences because the prospect of confronting a fellow police officer gone “rogue” had reduced him to a puddle of panic.