LA Cops Make Killer Look Good (Bumper Sticker Update)
Christopher Dorner is not a hero. His manifesto is not a condemnation of anyone or anything. He is a killer, crazy and as unreliable a source of information as exists. No, it doesn't matter that aspects of his claims of police abuse and corruption are independently supported by other evidence. It changes nothing about Dorner.
But the fear he has struck in the hearts of Los Angeles police reveals what cops have always tried to conceal from the public; that their primary goal is to protect themselves. Even if it means they mindlessly, needlessly, kill others in the process, This may be the most flagrant example of the First Rule of Policing, and there are no arguments or twisting of facts that can shield it from view.
From the LA Daily News, Emma Hernandez, 71, and her daughter, Margie Carranza, 47, for being in a pickup truck that was marginally similar to the one allegedly used by Dorner. The real reason is that they were close to the home of a police captain, a named target of Dorner's, and didn't drive in a fashion that struck the cops as expected. A million miles away from a righteous shoot, but close enough for them.
It's not that there was no explanation for this shooting by the cops, but that the explanation isn't close to good enough to justify it. The motive needs to be said: they were willing to take the risk of killing the two women rather than allowing one of their own to be threatened with harm.
Then came the second mistake:
David Perdue was on his way to sneak in some surfing before work Thursday morning when police flagged him down. They asked who he was and where he was headed, then sent him on his way.
Seconds later, Perdue's attorney said, a Torrance police cruiser slammed into his pickup and officers opened fire; none of the bullets struck Perdue.
His pickup, police later explained, matched the description of the one belonging to Christopher Jordan Dorner — the ex-cop who has evaded authorities after allegedly killing three and wounding two more. But the pickups were different makes and colors. And Perdue looks nothing like Dorner: He's several inches shorter and about a hundred pounds lighter. And Perdue is white; Dorner is black.
Again, a million miles away from propriety, but so what? They will take the hit for the mistake rather than the hit of a bullet any day. After all, a mistake merely risks the death of some guy they don't know and whose life means nothing to them. The alternative is the potential risk to one of their own. That cannot happen.
Whenever a credible apologist is needed for incredibly stupid police conduct, the media turns to John Jay College, where they are happy to oblige:
"Nobody trains police officers to look for one of their own," said Maria Haberfeld, a police training professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York. "I wouldn't want to be in their shoes and I don't think anybody else would."
Is it necessary to be trained to look for an ex-cop before one doesn't mistakenly murder civilians? Of course not. It's a red-herring, but then, it's not like Haberfeld had as much time to develop an excuse as the LAPD.
A department spokesman said Saturday that the shooting is still under investigation. In a statement to The Times, the department said: "The circumstances of the incident known to the responding officers would have led a reasonable officer under normal circumstances — and these were far from normal circumstances — to believe that fellow officers were being shot at and that the vehicle traveling toward them posed a serious risk.
"In the split seconds available to them," the statement continued, "action was appropriate to intervene and stop the actions of the driver of that vehicle."
Aside from no shots being fired and the truck being stopped, great explanation. The department tossed in the usual "split seconds" excuse, one that always serves the police well. Sadly, it's only available to police. Lest anyone else think they, untrained and wholly unprepared, claim they made a mistake in a split second exercise of judgment, they will learn that there is no leeway for a mistake for anyone who is not a police officer. That's because the First Rule of Policing doesn't apply. You are expendable.
The latest word is that the LAPD has offered a $1 million reward for the capture of Dorner, together with re-opening his dismissal from the force and a promise that if he surrenders, he won't be harmed. LA Police Commissioner Charlie Beck announced:
If you don't, if you decide to try to take the life of another Los Angeles police officer or their family member, then you'll have to suffer the consequences."
Apparently, the message is that if they capture Dorner, they will kill him as punishment. This trio is really comprised of two messages, one for Dorner and the other for public consumption. The reward is for the benefit of the public, who hasn't taken kindly to the LAPD shooting people for no particularly good reason. So they are offering a lottery. You gotta be in it to win it, and who couldn't use a cool mil? It's hard to imagine they would ever pay out a million dollars, but it's the first sign of giving anything back to the community and it's all they've got.
The other message, the one for Dorner, is the fist in the velvet glove. While denying the offer to reopen his dismissal is meant as appeasement to a killer, of course it is. Maybe Dorner is crazy enough that this will somehow sate his delusions. If not, there is always the announcement that he will never be allowed to make it to a courtroom. Given that newspaper delivery people can't make it home without being shot, this is hardly a stretch.
While it's Dorner's conduct that exposes so much about the Los Angeles police, it's not because he's right. Not about anything. It's because the LA cops are wrong, and when the First Rule is challenged so flagrantly, they are fully prepared to shoot anyone, do anything, to prevent harm to one of their own. They will never, however, do this for you, because you are not them.
Update: Via Reddit's Bad Cop No Donut, a bumper sticker well worth the price: