On Tues evening, overshadowed by the State of the Union speech, was the sad end to a sad story that was playing out like a latter-day Rambo movie
. LAPD officer Christopher Dorner died in a mountain cabin in Big Bear California either by fire or gunfire - likely self-inflicted. There are many who say this tragedy was only a matter of time. The difference was that Dorner had the training to actually carry it out.
His "manifesto" was a diatribe against the entrenched racism and bigotry that sits like a cancer in the heart of the LAPD. He set out to target those he felt wronged him when tried to report it and fight it. He is certainly no hero, but more a symptom of a dysfunctional organization that needs to be sanitized with sunlight from top to bottom.
Despite obviously carefully planning his actions, a series of mistakes and unplanned problems led to the unravelling of his plan: The boat he hijacjked got a rope tangled in the propeller, his truck axle broke, the couple he tied up when they found him in their house was able to call 911 anyway. Had any of these misfortunes not occurred, he would likely still be a story. It was apparently not meant to be.
It's impossible to feel any sympathy for a murderer, especially one who killed the innocent daughter and fiance of a police captain. There have been some "supporters" on Facebook and online who have been on the wrong side of the LAPD's rampant racism. There was also the outrage over the alleged use of a drone to look for him - wasted energy went it turned out to be untrue
Regardless, it is important to set aside the cinema verite sensationalism, and try to understand what led him to change from a "good guy with a gun" to a "bad guy with a gun". In his maifesto
, he relates that he lost his job for reporting the actions of a fellow officer. Instead of being honest about the abuse the other officer inflicted, they attempted to trump up allegations against Dorner. He eventually lost his job, and because of the reasons given, he also lost his good military standing from his previous service. The LAPD really screwed him, and he apparently snapped, feeling he had only one option.
Other former black LAPD officers have come forward sharing similar stories to Dorner's. Brian Bently
was a cop who simply wanted to make a difference in his neighborhood:
(much more at the link)
For his “rookie year” Bentley was assigned to West L.A. and worked alongside former LAPD detective Mark Furman best known for his part in the investigation of the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman and his subsequent felony conviction for perjury.
When trying to figure out where he wanted to work permanently, Brian reflects in his book, that he eliminated 77th division after speaking to Black officers with seniority. These officers told him that 77th division had the most outwardly racist officers of all of South Central Los Angeles along with white and Hispanic officers who went out of their way to make Black officers feel uncomfortable.
Brian settled on the LAPD’s Southwest division which was at the intersection of Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. and Denker Avenue in South Los Angeles.
At the time, Southwest had the second largest population of Black officers next to the Wilshire division which had been nicknamed “the plantation.”
Sargeant Cheryl Dorsey
ran into problems as well. Being a woman and being black meant she had two strikes against her in the white male dominated world of the LAPD:
Married to another LAPD officer at the time, Dorsey says she was a victim of domestic violence and after details of incidents at her home found their way into the department, she was charged with six counts of unnecessarily causing the response of an outside agency for the six calls she made to the sheriff’s department from her home in Altadena. The charge of giving false and misleading statements was tacked on when questioned by Internal Affairs.
Cheryl says that she doesn’t agree with what Dorner did but believes the claims of racism in the department made by Dorner in his manifesto and agrees with other African-American ex-LAPD officers who have come forward in the recent days to speak out. She says that she felt compelled to tell her story after reading comments on the Internet that her one-time colleagues brave enough to come forward were nothing more than “bitter former employees.”
“I believe the charges made in the manifesto,” she says. “I retired from the department in good-standing as a sergeant with my pension and I co-sign everything my colleagues have said about the racism because I experienced it as well. I don’t have a beef with the department because it did afford me the opportunity to eat and take care of my children, but that doesn’t mean LAPD doesn’t have its problems internally and race is a big issue.”
There are numerous other untold stories out there of officers who only wanted to do what was right and ran into an entrenched club of corruption and hate that forced them to bite their tongues and go along rather than risk jeopardizing their livelihoods, and possibly even their lives and freedom. Dorner said "no more" and - rather than go the MLK route - decided violence was the answer. It never is.
In a scene eerily reminiscent of Waco, Dorner met his end when a tear gas canister set the cabin in which he was holed up on fire. The police deny intentionally setting the blaze
. Considering the conversations overheard on the police scanners and the LAPD's track record, there's no reason to believe what they say about anything. Dorner was not going to be taken alive and given the opportunity to force a court case where officers would be required to testify - the LAPD was certainly intent on that.
The other officers coming forward with their stories lend credence to the notion that this was inevitable, that something was going to break at some point. It didn't have to. It is way past time for the city of LA and the state of California to bring some sunshine into the LAPD and let the light cleanse away the scum that resides there.
Let this also be a lesson to the 2nd Amendment supporters who believe we need guns to protect ourselves against tyranny. Christopher Dorner saw tyranny and used his weapons to fight it. That's the inevitable problem with tyranny - it's all in the eyes of the beholder.