I usually don’t follow closely stories about massive manhunts for killers and initially largely ignored the story of Christopher Dorner, the former Los Angeles Police Department policemen who killed three people all connected in some way to the LAPD and then went on the run. It seemed on the surface to be yet another case of a person snapping under the stresses of life and lashing out at those around him.
But this article suggests that the manifesto Dorner released reveals that there is more to the story than just that of a psychotic breakdown, going back to the LAPD’s long history of problems with racism. In a bizarre twist, Dorner has even acquired online fan clubs.
You just know that this is going to end with Dorner’s death, either self-inflicted or at the hands of the police. The police are undoubtedly furious at the death of their colleague and likely have little interest in capturing him alive.
In their anger, they seem to have thrown caution to the winds. For example, while searching for Dorner, they riddled two trucks with bullets simply because they were similar to the one Dorner was driving, hitting two women delivering newspapers, seriously injuring one of them. The people in the trucks had no resemblance to Dorner. People in the neighborhood reported being terrified by the fusillade of bullets that were unleashed. It was lucky no one was killed.
Meanwhile, in Cleveland, we recently had a situation in which there was a 25-minute chase through busy city streets at speeds exceeding 100 mph in which 13 officers fired over 140 rounds at a car, killing its two occupants. The state’s Attorney General has released a report that suggests that the chase might have been triggered by the dead driver’s car simply backfiring, which the police took to be a gun shot. No gun was found and it was not clear why the victims did not stop. The report shows that 62 police cars were involved in the chase involving over 100 officers. It was chaotic and the Attorney General said that the police were firing all over the place and that it was a ‘miracle’ that no one else was killed in the crossfire.
One thing that struck me from both these stories is that when the police are angry and scared, they seem to forget much of their training that tells them to not fire until a positive identification is made and act almost as recklessly as any one of us.