LAPD Terrorizes Community in Manhunt for Whistleblower Christopher Dorner

LAPD opened fire on this pickup truck, injuring two women who were delivering newspapers.

LAPD opened fire on this pickup truck, injuring two women who were delivering newspapers.

‘Manifesto’ highlights police culture of racism, brutality

Eugene Puryear

The massive manhunt continues for Christopher Jordan Dorner, and already the police have opened fire on three innocent people, two Latina newspaper workers and a Black man, in two separate incidents. The area police are well known for their “shoot first, ask questions later” approach, and this has only been magnified in the present moment. Given the muted response from the media and local officials, it is clear that they do not intend to hold these officers responsible for the shooting of innocents.

A former Los Angeles police officer, Dorner has declared war on his former employer, launching deadly attacks on police officers and their families in retaliation for what he describes as the department’s rampant corruption, racism and abuse. Dorner was fired, allegedly for making a false claim, after he reported another officer for kicking a homeless person in the process of making an arrest.

After exhausting a number of channels to appeal his firing, Dorner issued a long “Last Resort” manifesto declaring that the only way to clear his name, and defend his honor, was to launch a violent campaign against the LAPD. The main theme of the manifesto is that there is a concerted effort reaching all the way up the LAPD’s command structure to cover up police brutality and racism.

Predictably the police are painting Dorner as simply an unhinged madman. They have denied all his allegations of abuse and corruption. The corporate media has largely followed suit, essentially refusing to take seriously his claims.

That Dorner has mental health issues, and has “snapped” is fairly clear—he has admitted so himself. But he has also earned a good deal of sympathy from oppressed youth and Black communities in particular, whose lived experiences confirm the description of the police that Dorner gives in his lucid manifesto. A New York Times headline admitted, “Shooting Suspect’s Racism Allegations Resound for Some.”

Dorner’s Manifesto

While we cannot independently verify Dorner’s particular allegations, it is impossible to classify his manifesto as the rantings of a madman. In his manifesto, Dorner exposes the notion that the LAPD is somehow a reformed institution compared to its notorious white supremacist past. He names many officers from the “bad years,” including those implicated in well-known scandals, who are still on the force and in fact in leading positions.

Even if the composition of the LAPD has changed in the last few decades, its fundamental relationship with Black and Latino communities has not, and he calls out officers of color who perpetuate these patterns of violence and abuse.

He condemns the infamous “blue wall of silence,” which allows officers to violate the law with impunity and punishes the few (such as himself) who attempt to blow the whistle.

Dorner alludes to racist taunts and insults he suffered as a child, something that hardened in him a will and rage to fight back. He recounts racist behavior by fellow officers, including the open use of racist epithets around Black officers. Instead of the officers being punished, he claims he was disciplined for challenging these racists. Again, this is easily believable.

LAPD’s greatest ‘hits’

Dorner has launched what he describes as a campaign of “unconventional and asymmetric warfare.” He has killed three people, including a police officer and the daughter of a former officer who had represented him—Dorner says disingenuously—in his legal appeal of his firing. He has wounded another officer. For days, law enforcement agencies have deployed thousands of officers in a massive manhunt in an attempt to track him down.

The LAPD has a long and sordid history, and is probably the police department most associated in the public mind with rampant lawlessness and white supremacy.

The LAPD was one of the first police departments to take a paramilitary form when it established the first SWAT Team in America in 1967, which “proved” its worth by launching a four-hour attack and siege on Black Panther headquarters in Los Angeles. This assault went along with a spying operation, operating from 1970-1981, which illegally infiltrated and harassed progressive groups.

In response to the growth of street organizations (gangs) and the drug trade in the 1980s, the LAPD unleashed the “Community Resources Against Street Hoodlums” or CRASH units on poor Black and Latino neighborhoods. CRASH was a so-called cowboy justice unit that has been connected to widespread corruption and abuse in their activities.

LAPD “justice” made its major debut on the national scene in 1991 when a video surfaced of Rodney King being viciously beaten by a group of officers. The Christopher Commission, which investigated LAPD practices following the King beating, found that over 25 percent of officers told investigators that “officers’ prejudice” may result “in use of excessive force.” In addition, nearly 25 percent believed racist attitudes to be a key problem in police-community relations. If these were the perceptions of the officers themselves, one can only imagine what the percentages would be in Black and Latino neighborhoods.

The report also concluded, in artful language, that the LAPD’s internal culture tolerated and failed to punish officers with a documented pattern of brutality. Christopher Commission investigators examined police communications and found some real gems about police activities such as:

“Did U arrest the 85yr old lady or just beat her up?” Response: “we just slapped her around a bit…shes getting [medical treatment] right now.”

And:

“I left a 14yr old girl who I met yesterday handcuffed on my chin up bar wearing nothing but a blindfold and salad oil”

During the O.J. Simpson trial, tapes of Detective Mark Fuhrman revealed LAPD “best practices:”

“When I was working gang…they wouldn’t talk. So, I would go pick up three or four…bring them to the station, take one in the basement and beat the dogs— out of him, without even asking him a question. …That’s how you get information.”

Given the LAPD’s notorious record, it is no mystery why Dorner has tapped into a vein of sympathy during the manhunt, and already emerged as a sort of folk hero among some online and in the streets of oppressed neighborhoods. Even those who do not support his individual actions understand that it was a lifetime of experiencing racism, and being told to swallow the LAPD’s bigoted and corrupt culture, that pushed him over the edge.

Advertisements

2 thoughts on “LAPD Terrorizes Community in Manhunt for Whistleblower Christopher Dorner

  1. I’m terrible tired after reading the whole text of Christopher Dorner’s manifesto (14,000 words), which is his testament and probably the final statement of his life.

    This text is essential reading to understand what is going on in a tormented and wounded mind, and beyond that this is essential reading to understand the Afro American psyche and US society in general.

    Dorner has declared war on the LAPD (Los Angeles Police Department) and allegedly killed three people. He deserves no sympathy if he is indeed the perpetrator. He deserves no sympathy if he is indeed a murderer.

    Killing an assailant in self defense, in a fight for survival, as a measure of last resort would be excusable. There is no excuse for killing innocent people, and there is also no excuse for killing the guilty (in Dorner’s case the one implicated in injustice).
    Does he deserve to die?

    From my point of view nobody deserves to die. Dorner should be put in a psychiatric institution, he should be cared for with therapy of various kind, he should be counseled and educated, he should get the chance to heal mentally, to learn and to work and make a positive contribution under rigid supervision and inside the confines of this institution.

    US society doesn’t provide such care, US society puts offenders in filthy and inhumane prisons or on death row.

    In an ideal society LAPD Sergeant Teresa Evans, the woman whom Dorner accuses of mistreating Christopher Gettler, a mentally sick man, would come forward and apologize to Dorner personally and state that she deeply regrets her action.

    In an ideal society this statement would be published in all media together with the appeal that Dorner should surrender, together with the assurance, that the LDAP will root out latent racism and from now on will try to imply the highest ethical standards.

    In an ideal society everybody, even the most evil criminal, would have a right to live and die with dignity.

    • Hi mato,

      I certainly am opposed to any form of murder. While no evidence has been presented proving that Dorner has killed anyone, if he is responsible for these crimes he is to be condemned in the strongest terms.

      Dorner declared war on the LAPD, but the LAPD and all urban police departments are already at war with poor and minority neighborhoods — and the conflict has claimed countless innocent lives, not only those gunned down in cold blood but those who have had their lives ruined by being sent to jail for ‘crimes’ like marijuana possession. For a police officer, any minority youth could be an “enemy combatant” — just like President Obama deems any male of military age a “militant” worthy of death by drone.

      Police officers are murderous agents of the capitalist state. But this situation is lose-lose for everyone involved.

      Because of the campaigns of harassment, bigotry, murder, and abuse carried out by these police departments, I can understand why many poor people and minorities have come to view Dorner as a folk hero with a noble cause.

      Dorner’s manifesto is clearly the work of a person who suffers from deep depression, but it is not “crazed” or “psychotic” as the corporate media oft repeats — it is logical and concise. While I’m sure some points are embellished, I believe the essence of his story because it is not unusual. Police prey on 14 year olds and senior citizens, so kicking a schizophrenic man who has already surrendered is not out of the ordinary for the LAPD or other departments.

      And looking at the casualties of Dorner’s declared war, it’s the LAPD that has shot more people — two Latina women and a black man, the only crime they committed being driving while dark-skinned. The officers involved in shooting those innocent people have not been held accountable for their acts nor will they be.

      In an ideal society, not only would Dorner receive treatment but his claims of police corruption and brutality would be treated with the utmost seriousness and investigated to the fullest extent.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s