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Dave Lindorff
Published: Tuesday 12 February 2013
Hopefully, Dorner will realize he can do more by figuring out a safe way to “come in from the cold” so he can try to testify about LAPD crimes, than by killing more cops.

Wanted: Dead, Not Alive: The LAPD is Afraid of What Renegade Cop Chris Dorner has to Say

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Let’s not be too quick to dismiss the “ranting” of renegade LAPD officer Chris Dorner.

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.

Now there’s a “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.

Nobody 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.

Local residents say that after that shooting, which involved seven LAPD officers and over 70 bullets expended, with nobody returning fire, the street and surrounding houses were pockmarked with bullet holes. The Los Angeles Times reports that in the area, there are “bullet holes in cars, trees, garage doors and roofs.”

In roofs?

What we had here was an example of a controversial tactic that the military employed in the Iraq War, and still employs in Afghanistan, called “spray and pray” -- a tactic that led directly to the massive civilian casualties during that US war.

We shouldn’t be surprised that two brown-skinned women were almost mowed down by the LAPD--only that they somehow survived all that deadly firing directed at them with clear intent to kill.

The approach taken by those cop-hunting-cops of shooting first and asking questions later suggests that the LAPD in this “manhunt” for one of their own has no intention of capturing Dorner alive and letting him talk about what he knows about the evils rampant in the 10,000-member department. They want him dead.

When I lived in Los Angeles back in the 1970s, it was common for LAPD cops to bust into homes, gestapo-like, at 5 in the morning, guns out, to arrest people for minor things like outstanding court warrants for unpaid parking tickets, bald tires, or jaywalking.

Police helicopters also used to tail me -- then an editor of an alternative news weekly -- and my wife, a music graduate student, as we drove home at night. Sometimes, they would follow us from our car to front door with a brilliant spotlight, when we’d come home at night to our house in Echo Park. It was an act of deliberate intimidation. (They also infiltrated our newspaper with an undercover cop posing as a wannabe journalist. Her job, we later learned, was to learn who our sources were inside the LAPD -- sources who had disclosed such things as that the LAPD had, and probably still has, a “shoot-to-kill” policy for police who fire their weapons.)

Friends in Los Angeles tell me nothing has changed, though of course the police weaponry has gotten heavier and their surveillance capabilities have gotten more sophisticated and invasive.

It is clear from the LAPD’s paramilitary response to the Occupy movement in Los Angeles, which included planting undercover cops among the occupiers, some of whom reportedly were agents provocateur who tried to encourage protesters to commit acts of violence, and which ended with police violence and gratuitous arrests, as in New York, that nothing has changed.

In other words, Dorner may be irrational, but he ain’t crazy.

A black military veteran, Dorner joined the police because he reportedly believed in service. Unable to go along with the militarist policing he saw on the job, he protested through channels and was apparently rewarded by being fired. Now, in his own violent way, he is trying to warn us all that something is rotten in the LAPD, and by extension, in the whole police system in the US. Police departments almost everywhere in the US, have morphed, particularly since 9/11/2001, from a role of providing public safety and law enforcement into agencies of brutal fascist control.

As Dorner says in his lengthy manifesto (actually quite explicit and literate, but described as “ranting” in corporate media accounts), in which he explains his actions and indicts the LAPD, “The enemy combatants in LA are not the citizens and suspects, it’s the police officers.”

That could be said of many US police departments, I’m afraid.

Example: Last fall, I had the experience of trying to hitchhike in my little suburban town. A young cop drove up and informed me (incorrectly, it turns out) that it was illegal to hitchhike in Pennsylvania. When I expressed surprise at this and told him I was a journalist working on an article on hitchhiking, he then threatened me directly, saying that if I continued to try and thumb a ride, he would “take you in and lock you up.”

When I called a lawyer friend and said I was inclined to take the officer up on that threat, since I was within my rights under the law hitchhiking as long as I was standing off the road, he warned me against it, saying, “You don’t know what could happen to you if you got arrested.”

And of course he’s right. An arrest, even a wrongful arrest, in the US these days can lead to an added charge -- much more serious -- of resisting arrest, with a court basing its judgement on the word of the officer in the absence of any other witnesses. It can also lead to physical injury or worse, if the officer wants to lie and claim that the arrested person threatened him or her.

If I had been in Los Angeles, I would most likely have been locked up for an incident like that. Forget about any warning. You aren’t supposed to talk back to cops in L.A. And if you are black or Latino, the results of such an arrest could be much worse.

I remember once witnessing LAPD cops stopping a few Latino youths who had been joyriding in what might have been a stolen car. There was a helicopter overhead, and perhaps a dozen patrol cars that had converged on the scene, outside a shopping mall in Silverlake. I ran over to see what was happening and watched as the cops grabbed the kids, none of whom was armed, out of the vehicle and slammed them against the car brutally. It was looking pretty ugly, but by then neighbors from the surrounding homes, most of them Latino, who had poured out onto their lawns because of the commotion, began yelling at the cops. One man shouted, “We see what you’re doing. These boys are all healthy. If anything happens to any of them after you arrest them we will report you!”

The cops grudgingly backed off in their attack on the boys, and took them away in a squad car. I don’t know what happened to them after that, but they were most certainly saved, by quick community response, from an on-the-spot Rodney King-style beating that could have seriously injured them, or worse.

As things stand right now, with the LAPD gunning for Dorner, and wanting him dead and silenced, not captured, the public has to worry that it has more to fear from the LAPD than it has to fear from Dorner himself. At least Dorner, in his own twisted way, has specific targets in mind. The LAPD is in “spray and pray” mode.

Hopefully, Dorner will realize he can do more by figuring out a safe way to “come in from the cold” so he can try to testify about LAPD crimes, than by killing more cops. If he does manage to surrender, he’d better have a lot of support lined up to keep him safe while in custody.

It’s already clear that a lot of people in the LAPD want him dead.

ABOUT Dave Lindorff

Dave Lindorff is an investigative reporter, a columnist for CounterPunch, and a contributor to Businessweek, The Nation, Extra! and He received a Project Censored award in 2004. Dave is also a founding member of the online newspaper ThisCantBeHappening! at

LAPD... corruption from the

LAPD... corruption from the top to the bottom, just a gang of blue thieves.

I despise any attempt to

I despise any attempt to justify what this man has done. There is nothing that can excuse his violent, irrational assault on people who haven't even done anything to him. I don't believe the LAPD is completely innocent, but again, that is no justification for killing family members of officers. And, then, if you read his manifesto, he's had problems with people "lying" to him or about him, for years. He's gotten in trouble for assaulting people, but only because "they started it". This man has a troubled history, and probably needs psychiatric help. But first, he has to be stopped from murdering any more innocents.

If you think this is a

If you think this is a justification of Dorner's actions, you're misreading the article. There's a difference between understanding a thing and justifying or condoning it.

The corrupt "gang-in-blue"

The corrupt "gang-in-blue" mentality has been a function of the LA police departments going back to the 1930 and probably earlier, (this is the wild west after all). There was a time when LA police stationed themselves on the border with Arizona, Needles to be precise, and took it upon themselves to turn the "Okies" around and keep them from entering the state. Lightweight shit by today's standards, but the mentality is the same and the people in this state know it. And need I say, it has spread to all corners of the country.

Most of us can still remember Rodney King. Most of us can still remember the OJ trial. (I know. You're wondering how that applies. The defense made it clear that the police and the prosecutors office was the true subject of the trail and the jury found them guilty. The jury being citizens of LA knew all too well what kind of brown shirts they were dealing with. If they saw fit to parade their racism in a court, they were rewarded with a stick in the eye. It wasn't justice for Nicole and Ron Goldman, but it was justice for the LAPD and the hacks in the prosecutors office).

Dorner has done himself and us no favor by choosing to kill as a form of protest. The outcome of this manhunt is almost certain whether or not Dorner has the goods on the LAPD. He seems to be asking the cops to kill him and that might well be the case. I would hope he would have his day in court, just to hear his story. I doubt that will happen and I doubt that anyone is going to be making any inquiries into what happens out of the public eye in the LAPD.

when law enforcement offers a

when law enforcement offers a million dollars to "aprehend" someone who has not even been convicted of something....especially one of their own....I am suspicious. Sounds like he knows something and they want him "disabled" .. as in not able to in dead!

The nation has reached a

The nation has reached a state of emergency.

Justice for all no longer applies. Due process has been eliminated.

But it is the police, the government and the corporations that have created the state of emergency. Fascism is here.

Look what happened to NYPD's

Look what happened to NYPD's Frank Serpico for being honest and violating the cops' unwritten Blue Code of Silence.

Integrity is a serious threat to the Criminal Just Us sytem.

There may come a time, if

There may come a time, if NDAA is upheld and Keystone XL is approved - and they probably will be, when we'll all have to become Chris Dorners.

If there is anything that keeps the 1% awake at night, it is that thought.

Yesterday in Florida we saw a

Yesterday in Florida we saw a young handcuffed brown man lying on his face on the sidewalk, surrounded by police standing around chatting. We drove by ten minutes later and the young man was still lying on the sidewalk and the police were still standing around. I guess you have to hate people to be a cop.

The Republicans and the team

The Republicans and the team of George Bush and Dick Cheney gave us illegal renditions KIDNAPPINGS....They gave us waterboarding TORTURE....and they gave us our first concentration camp GITMO.......While NAZI Germany used " V-2" rockets we use DRONES.......
...and BANKRUPTCY - - We have the biggest military budget in HISTORY.....
I said from the beginning they did not wat to take Chris Dorner alive....
. . . and the same could have been said for BinLaden ( George Bush turned down his capture by the Taliban )
..The Republicans and the Democrats talked of winning at any cost ABOUT IRAN... The only talk of peace came from the third party candidates - - - secure our borders - - fix our infrastructure - - cut the military / reduce its size
ESTABLISH PEACE..... We no longer have the moral high ground.. . The Citizens of Pakistan consider us enemies not allies.........

Why is it that this story

Why is it that this story reminds me of "The Running Man", where the cop (played by Arnold) refuses to fire on innocent civilians and then is framed and hunted? I would love to believe that our police, military and politicians would not stoop to destroying people in an effort to cover their asses and protect their positions - but my many decades of life experience makes me unable to do so.

Mr. Dorner, while I cannot

Mr. Dorner, while I cannot condone his methods, has perhaps been the catalyst for a long-overdue investigation into current police tactics, particularly by the LAPD. He must in due course be tried for his alleged crimes ('innocent until proven guilty"), but for the moment, I hope he is lying low and allowing the dialogue he started to grow.

With a great deal of luck, we just might all end up a bit safer, and the police motto of "To Protect And Serve" just might return to something resembling its original meaning.

Boris Badenov's picture

Is this what they mean when

Is this what they mean when they say "The right to Bear arms against the Government"
The LAPD should not be allowed to "Hunt" this man.

This guy's story should be

This guy's story should be very revealing if he could be interviewed before being killed. We will never know the story of 911 since its main alleged actors were never given a chance to tell their side of the story.... The reason for due process is to have open trials so a jury/the public would know the story and pass judgement on the accused. There should be a law that anyone accused of major crimes should be tried in public with attorneys provided so the people know the truth....One man, W. Bush changed that condition of the constitution in his favor by declaring "YOU ARE WITH US OR WITH THE TERRORISTS"

That one man should swing by

That one man should swing by the neck until dead.

That's why he'll be blasted

That's why he'll be blasted out of existence when they find him...Just like Osama -- and for the same reason...he knows too much...



The illegal abuse of innocent

The illegal abuse of innocent people by police is an outrage. It has BIPARTISAN support, like most of the fascist and tyrannical transformations our society is going through.

Yet another reason I vote Green Party.

"He wasn't innocent--he made

"He wasn't innocent--he made all those cops chase him all that way!" That is why so many jurisdictions are voting in measures making it an offense to record officers in the performance of their duties. Evidence of police conduct while they believe they are not being observed might lead to expensive court awards in certain circumstances--rarely proactive behaviour change, because police in America are trained and compensated as relatively poorly as America's teachers are, compared to other developed countries like Canada, and European countries.

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