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

By Dave Lindorff – This Can’t be Happening – 02/10/2013

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, focusing 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.

LAPD officers fired on this car with clear intent to kill (check out the bullet holes behind the driver-seat position). Trouble was, it was the wrong make and wrong color, and instead of Dorner, it was two Latino women, one of whom is now in serious condition from her wounds. No warning was given before the barrage.

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.

Chris Dorner, in happier days, now a fugitive on the run from the LAPD "manhunters"

Chris Dorner, in happier days, now a fugitive on the run from the LAPD “manhunters”

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.

February 11, 2013 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance, Militarism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Violent LAPD Shoots First at Anything Resembling Suspect’s Car

Activist Post | February 9, 2013

Almost proving the ex-cop Chris Dorner’s point in his manifesto of cops using excessive force, LAPD are the ones who appear to be on a rampage against anyone who’s driving a car even remotely similar to the suspect’s.

The video below tells of how cops have opened fire on yet another innocent vehicle “generally” fitting the description of Dorner’s car. Luckily the innocent driver was uninjured.

Previously, two women were hospitalized after being attacked by police for driving a blue Toyota Tacoma while they were delivering newspapers in a quiet neighborhood. Police were looking for a pickup truck of a different color, make, and model with a supposed connection to Dorner.

Upon seeing this truck drive down a residential neighborhood, police began unloading their weapons on sight. There are almost 40 bullet holes visible in this picture.

Dorner’s original complaint against the corrupt cops in the LAPD stems from their use of excessive force against civilians. And during their crazed man-hunt for Dorner, they seem to be proving his point. Whether or not Dorner is found guilty of these shootings, the LAPD and surrounding precincts are not doing their reputation any justice in their handling of this situation.


‘Heroes’ View Us as Little More Than Collateral Damage

By Steven Greenhut

Americans will rarely witness the kind of full-scale manhunt now going on throughout Southern California and the San Bernardino mountains as hundreds of heavily armed police and federal agents hunt down Christopher Dorner, a 33-year-old former Los Angeles cop and former Naval officer suspected of three murders.

Homicides are routine in Southern California, but this one is different. As Reuters reported, Dorner is “a fugitive former police officer accused of declaring war on law enforcement in an Internet manifesto.” He allegedly shot two officers in Riverside, killing one of them, and also allegedly murdered the daughter of the former police captain who unsuccessfully represented him in the disciplinary proceedings that led to his firing.

This isn’t about police protecting the public, but police protecting themselves. When one of “theirs” is threatened or killed, police act like invaders. And like any invading army, the public can expect collateral damage. While the national media focused on the basics of the manhunt, there have been too-few reports on the casualties of the ramped-up police presence.

“Emma Hernandez, 71, was delivering the Los Angeles Times with her daughter, Margie Carranza, 47, in the 19500 block of Redbeam Avenue in Torrance on Thursday morning when Los Angeles police detectives apparently mistook their pickup for that of Christopher Dorner, the 33-year-old fugitive suspected of killing three people and injuring two others,” according to a Los Angeles Times blog. “Hernandez, who attorney Glen T. Jonas said was shot twice in the back, was in stable condition late Thursday. Carranza received stitches on her finger.”

The quotation from Jonas was priceless: “The problem with the situation is it looked like the police had the goal of administering street justice and in so doing, didn’t take the time to notice that these two older, small Latina women don’t look like a large black man.”

According to reports, Dorner was driving a different color and different make of Japanese truck from Hernandez and Carranza, but whatever. If I were in Southern California this week, I’d keep the Toyota or Nissan truck in the garage given the number of police eager to mete out “street justice.” Police defenders will no doubt argue that this was a fluke, a case of a poorly trained cop overreacting (because he certainly believed his life to be in danger).

But apologists for police brutality will have a hard time with this case. As the Times blog also reported: “About 25 minutes after the shooting, Torrance police opened fire after spotting another truck similar to Dorner’s at Flagler Lane and Beryl Street.” Fortunately, no one was hurt at that one. If there were injuries, the cops would just shrug it off. The second shooting reminds us that this is how police will routinely behave. Police officials will then adamantly defend this behavior even in the federal court system.

For instance, a case that just recently headed to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal highlights the disturbing attitude of police officials toward innocent bystanders. The following are details from plaintiffs, in their lawsuit against the city of Sacramento and two of its “finest”:

On April 10, 2009, California Highway Patrol officers stopped a Honda Civic for having illegal taillights. As the officers approached the car, the driver, Manual Prasad, drove away and eventually crashed his car into a wall and started running in a residential neighborhood. Sacramento city police were called and used their helicopter to pinpoint the fleeing man who climbed a tree in a backyard.

James Paul Garcia and six of his friends had the misfortune of being in the yard where Prassad was hiding out. Without any apparent warning and without checking to see if there were innocent bystanders, the officer released a police dog into the yard. Police dogs are trained to attack and hold suspects, but they are not trained to distinguish between suspects and bystanders.

So “Bandit” headed into the yard, spotted the first person he saw (Garcia) and did what vicious police dogs do to people: bit the heck out of him and held him at the ground, as its teeth punctured Garcia’s leg in several places.

The police and the city of Sacramento argue that this behavior did not violate Garcia’s rights and of course sought every type of immunity to delay the case and keep its officers from facing discipline. The city argued that giving an adequate warning could – let’s repeat it now in unison, given that this is the trump card police always use – “jeopardize officer safety.”

In Anaheim a few years ago, police were tracking a burglary suspect through a neighborhood. A young newlywed came out of his house with a wooden dowel to see what the ruckus was about. The officer shot the bystander to death, then handcuffed him as he lay dying. Police officers reportedly were angry at the chief for apologizing to the family.

That case epitomizes the “us vs. them” mentality common among our highly militarized police forces. I wasn’t surprised, then, when years later the Anaheim Police Department acted like an invading army after residents protested some deadly shootings by police (including, apparently, the shooting of an unarmed man in the back).

When police pursue suspects, it is official, acceptable policy for officers to do anything they need to do to protect their own safety, even if it endangers the public’s safety. My advice – if you see police anywhere near you, stay very far away. And hope they don’t mistake your car for a suspect’s car. In their view, we are only potential collateral damage.

February 9, 2013 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Timeless or most popular | , , , | Leave a comment