The tragic case of a woman killed in police crossfire has raised an uncomfortable question: did police do the right thing?

To shoot an innocent bystander in pursuit of a violent criminal is every police officer’s nightmare. In Los Angeles, with its vexed history of police brutality, racial tension, and high-speed car chases that local television networks feast on, it elicits a special sort of horror, a throwback to an ugly not-so-distant past that the city would much rather forget.

It has been just over a week since Melyda Corado, the young manager of a Trader Joe’s grocery store, was inadvertently killed by a police bullet. It happened after a fast-moving chase and shootout that took the cops and their quarry through densely populated, affluent neighborhoods in and around Hollywood and culminated in a three-hour siege inside the grocery store with 40 shoppers held hostage.

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Read More A Trader Joe’s shootout, an innocent death, and soul searching for LAPD

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