Very few of us know the demons that tortured the days and nights of Christopher Dorner, but we know about the one he identified, the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD). The story will be about the alleged murders of two innocents and a police officer, all paragons of the community. While there are many unfortunate aspects of this saga, there is the question of how it will obscure the accusations Dorner has made against the LAPD. Sure, the LAPD Police Chief Beck has stated that there will be an investigation into the firing of Dorner, but how often have we seen these investigations result in the officers involved found to have acted properly?
In my mind, this is another example of a Black man destroyed by the system. Once he filed a report on the misconduct of another cop, he went from commended prospective law enforcement officer to a lying bully who had to be driven from the police force. How often have we seen that the loss of the job lead to the loss of the marriage? If what Dorner said was at least partially true, he has been waging a personal battle against bias and racism since childhood. He found himself shunned by the cadets at the police academy for reporting the behavior of other cadets. If his claims are true (they are certainly within the realm of the possible, given the history of the LAPD), then here is a guy that played by the rules, received commendation after commendation from the military for service to his country and then became ‘black-balled’ when he spoke out against the injustice and bias he found in his profession. While on one hand, if he has been outspoken against bias, he shouldn’t have been disillusioned by the response of the law enforcement community. On the other hand, it is true that there are many Blacks who feel the system can be changed from within. It is not unreasonable to conceive that Dorner ‘lost it’ with the realization that the system he was passionately committed to was irredeemable and mocked him with a string of processes and protocols which concluded with his termination.
If, as is alleged, Dorner is guilty of murdering innocents, that is never good. However, the extreme lengths some go to in their efforts to paint the police as victims can be shocking. One of the most ridiculous diatribes of BS spewed forth were uttered by former police officer Frank Rodriguez, who served as a patrolman in Progresso, Texas, during the 1990s and is now an assistant professor in the Criminal Justice Department at Mercyhurst University in Erie, Pa., “When an officer goes rogue and turns on the public, it undermines the communication police rely on between the public and law enforcement to do their job,” he says, adding, “the public can’t help but think if this officer can go bad, then maybe someone else can too.” First of all, Dorner was no longer a cop… he was fired. You would think that a law enforcement professional would be certain to get the facts straight. Second, the large numbers of cops who have been guilty of crimes uncovered and otherwise have destroyed the public trust of police long ago. Thirdly, he hasn’t turned on the public, he is targeting the police. More of this BS is articulated by Frank Scafidi, a former Los Angeles deputy sheriff and FBI agent, “because a cop has the ultimate power to deny your freedom – indeed, your life. You don’t need bad cops reinforcing all of the negative cop stereotypes served up to the population in TV shows and Hollywood movies,” says Mr. Scafidi, adding, “so when a cop goes bad, good cops go into hyper-drive to, in this case, apprehend him before any more damage is done.” Again, he was no longer a cop, he was fired. Furthermore, it is the lack of prosecution and punishment of “rogue cops” by the various police departments that generates and re-enforces the so-called negative stereotypes of police officers. Additionally, it is the harassment of unjustified activity, such as stop and frisks that undermines the public trust.
More proof of the reasons why the public has little reason to trust the cops is the often insane and arbitrary manner in which they place individuals (mostly African Americans) in mortal threat of death. In their mad and fear-filled search for Christopher Dorner they put society in greater danger than Dorner ever thought about. If you don’t believe me, ask the two ladies where shot up as they delivered newspapers. Their crime was only to be driving a truck that merely remotely looked like the truck which was burned by Dorner a little more than a hundred miles away. The LAPD didn’t take the time to notice the difference between a 71 year old Latina and her 47 year old daughter and Chris Dorner; instead they peppered their truck and the neighboring homes with dozens and dozens of bullets. To be so shamelessly driven by fear regardless of the safety of others is the definition of cowardice. One wonders if providing the two a new truck (which wasn’t even paid for by the police, it was donated) is enough to absolve the LAPD from the liability which would garner charges of attempted murder and reckless endangerment if this drive-by/ambush was conducted by any of the other gangs in Los Angeles. One would equally wonder about the liability assignable to the Torrance police department for their acts of cowardice in shooting up and ramming a white man’s truck for being another Chris Dorner lookalike. The ridiculousness of the police position is very accurately captured in the comments of the victim’s attorney, Robert Sheahen; “These lunatics broadsided the side of his truck, spun him around and started shooting at him,” Sheahen said. “Now they’re attempting to say they couldn’t tell if the guy they were shooting at was a white guy or a black guy because David’s airbag went off.” If the police want to re-establish public support, they would be transparent in the investigation and punishment of these cops for their recklessness and cowardice in the line of duty.