Rogue Cop on the Lam Becomes Folk Hero to Some: LAPD Appears to Want Dorner Dead, not Captured and Talking
Let’s not be too quick to dismiss the “ranting” of renegade LAPD officer Chris Dorner, who is fast becoming something of a folk hero in his one-man challenge to the LAPD, one of the nation’s biggest and baddest police departments.
Dorner, a three-year police veteran and former Lieutenant in the US Navy who went rogue after being fired by the LAPD, has accused Los Angeles Police of systematically using excessive force, of corruption, of being racist, and of firing him for raising those issues through official channels.
By all media accounts, Dorner “snapped” after his firing, and has vowed to kill police in retaliation. He allegedly has already done so, with several people, including police officers and family members of police already shot dead or wounded.
Now there’s a record huge “manhunt” involving police departments across California, focussing on the mountains around Big Bear, featuring cops dressed in full military gear and armed with semi-automatic weapons. (Some 40-50 senior LAPD officers specifically threatened by Dorner are also being heavily guarded by LAPD cops.) Dorner has so far skilfully eluded his pursuers, despite a $1-million bounty on his head and thousands of people in the posse hunting for him. He has meanwhile developed a large and growing following of people who are actually rooting for him, with some comparing him to the Batman of “Dark Knight,” striking terror into, and wreaking vengeance on a corrupt police culture.
Few would argue that randomly killing police officers and their family members or friends is justified, but I think that there is good reason to suspect that the things that Dorner claims set him off, such as being fired for reporting police brutality, and then going through a rigged hearing, deserve serious consideration and investigation.
The LAPD has a long history of abuse of minorities (actually the majority in Los Angeles, where whites are now a minority). It has long been a kind of paramilitary force -- one which pioneered the military-style Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) approach to “policing.”
If you wanted a good example to prove that nothing has changed over the years, just look at the outrageous incident involving LAPD cops tasked with capturing Dorner, who instead shot up two innocent women who were delivering newspapers in a residential area of Los Angeles. The women, Margie Carranza, 47, and her mother, Emma Hernandez, 71 (now in serious condition in the hospital), were not issued any warning. Police just opened fire from behind them, destroying their truck with heavy semi-automatic fire to the point that it will have to be scrapped and replaced. The two women are lucky to be alive (check out the pattern of bullet holes in the rear window behind the driver’s position in the accompanying photo). What they experienced was the tactics used by US troops on patrol in Iraq or Afghanistan, not the tactics that one expects of police. Their truck wasn’t even the right make or color, but LAPD’s “finest” decided it was better to be safe than sorry, so instead of acting like cops, they followed Pentagon “rules of engagement”: They attempted to waste the target.