Real Life Rambo or Public Enemy Number 1?

proxy.storify.comThe frantic hunt for an ex LAPD officer turned shooter has turned into a series of odd and frightening events. The manhunt started out as a search for what was thought to be a spree shooter with a manifesto. The manifesto is available on line and talks about Christopher Dorner’s beef with his former employer the LA police department. It seems the LAPD is now in a stranger-than-life manhunt that is providing more support for Dorner’s manifesto than for the hunt for the ex cop who shot and killed 3 people, including a police officer and the daughter of a former police chief.

We now know that the man hunt for the ex-soldier isthe first known case of a Drone being used to hunt down a US citizen on US soil.

It was revealed that Dorner has become the first human target for remotely-controlled airborne drones on US soil.

It appears that the drone came from the Customs and Border Control Federal Agencies as reported by the UK-based Daily Express.  You’ll notice that most of the chilling and accurate coverage in this post comes from the UK.

POLICE plan to use spy drones in the hunt for a Rambo-style ex-soldier and policeman who has murdered three people and vowed to kill again.

They believe burly, heavily-armed Christopher Dorner is holed-up in the wilderness of California’s snow-capped San Bernardino mountains 80 miles east of Los Angeles.

The burnt-out shell of his pick-up truck was discovered in the nearby resort of Big Bear, where residents and tourists have been warned to stay indoors as the search continues.

Yesterday, as a task force of 125 officers, some riding Snowcats in the rugged terrain, continued their search, it was revealed that Dorner has become the first human target for remotely-controlled airborne drones on US soil.

A senior police source said: “The thermal imaging cameras the drones use may be our only hope of finding him. On the ground, it’s like looking for a needle in a haystack.”

Asked directly if drones have already been deployed, Riverside Police Chief Sergio Diaz, who is jointly leading the task force, said: “We are using all the tools at our disposal.”

The use of drones was later confirmed by Customs and Border Patrol spokesman Ralph DeSio, who revealed agents have been prepared for Dorner to make a dash for the Mexican border since his rampage began.

He said: “This agency has been at the forefront of domestic use of drones by law enforcement. That’s all I can say at the moment.”

Dorner, who was fired from the LAPD in 2008 for lying about a fellow officer he accused of misconduct, has vowed to wreak revenge by “killing officers and their families”.

The most bizarre and sad stories from this chase are the number of innocent people who have been shot and endangered by police who appear to be chasing down anything remotely resembling Dorner’s transportation.  This included an elderly Hispanic woman and her daughter delivering newspapers and neighborhood homes surrounding their ambush.

Two women who were delivering newspapers in Torrance, Calif., early Thursday were shot by jittery Los Angeles police officers who mistakenly thought cop-hunting fugitive Christopher Dorner might be in their vehicle, NBCLosAngeles.com reported.

One was shot once and the other twice; both were were expected to survive. Police did not release their names.

Police detectives investigate a shooting scene involving a black Honda pickup truck in Torrance, Calif. Police opened fire on the vehicle in a case of mistaken identity while searching for former Los Angeles police officer Christopher Dorner.

The LAPD detectives were in the neighborhood to watch over a home they believed Dorner might target. Hours earlier, the fired cop had allegedly ambushed officers in two other cities, killing one of them.

Across the region, cops on high alert were on the lookout for Dorner’s dark-colored Nissan truck. In the predawn dark, they saw a blue pickup rolling through the streets with no headlights on.

It’s unclear what happened next, but LAPD Chief Charlie Beck confirmed the officers fired on the vehicle, hitting the two occupants. He said it was a tragic case of “mistaken identity.”

The second person was a young, skinny white man.

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.

“I don’t want to use the word buffoonery but it really is unbridled police lawlessness,” said Robert Sheahen, Perdue’s attorney. “These people need training and they need restraint.”

Police gave no warning to any of these folks.  They obviously didn’t look very carefully either as two petite hispanic women and a skinny white dude don’t look a bit like the suspect who is a well built,  large black man.

The women’s lawyer, Glen Jonas, told the Times LAPD not follow protocol or the rules of engagement before they decided to exercise deadly force.

‘With no warning, no command, or no instructions, LAPD opened fire on their vehicle,’ Jonas said.

‘This wasn’t even close,’ their attorney said.

‘This was two petite Latina women versus a large black man, with a different vehicle, different color. The police didn’t take the time to do the identification.  They didn’t give  the “suspect” the opportunity to surrender. So the whole thing was just mishandled, and we expect that the city will acknowledge that and go from there.’

The police have lost track of the suspect and are now offering a huge reward for information leading to the suspect’s arrest.  Given the trigger happy police and the drone, I doubt arrest is what these folks have in mind.  The most interesting thing is the shift of public opinion.   The LAPD has a PR nightmare on their hands as well as the manhunt. This is from the Christian Science Monitor

The hunt for alleged cop killer Christopher Dorner has turned into a major public relations challenge for law enforcement officials, in particular the Los Angeles Police Department working its way back from a history of corruption and abuse.

Not only have hundreds of well-trained officers equipped with military-style vehicles – including helicopters with thermal imaging devices one pilot says can pick out a rabbit in a snowstorm – been unable to find the man charged with killing three people and wounding two others on a rampage aimed at police officers and their families.

The LAPD also has been forced to reexamine the reasons for Mr. Dorner’s dismissal as a police officer in 2009 – brought about, Dorner charges in the 11-page manifesto he posted on Facebook, by racism in the department. And the LAPD is having to make amends to the two people – a middle-aged Hispanic woman and her mother delivering newspapers – wounded when police riddled their truck with gunfire. (The women’s truck was neither the make nor the color of Dorner’s pickup later found abandoned.)

A California Public TV station reports that a number of social media outlets are seeing increased expressions of support for Dorner.

America’s history is sepia-soaked with outlaws who have engendered popular support. In keeping with this difficult-to-deconstruct go dorner gophenomenon, a number of social media corners are cheering on suspected murderer Christopher Dorner while authorities are still trying to track him down.

Frankly, I find it very disturbing that the police are using more and more military style tactics.  There are now scads of articles where military tactics used in Iraq are being used in the streets of the US by police departments.  BB pointed out a few of these to me and you may want to look a them.

To counter gangs, Springfield adopts tactics from war zones

Police deployed military tactics to rescue hostage in Alabama bunker

So, there is a growing question about the usefulness of these insurgency tactics in Afghanistan, but apparently, it’s fine to use them in US cities.  This first jumped into public awareness in 2008 as John McCain suggested it was a good thing during his campaign for POTUS.

Senator John McCain has suggested adopting tactics used in Iraq to combat urban crime here at home. McCain made the comment while he spoke before the National Urban League.

Sen. John McCain: “And some of those tactics, very frankly — you mention the war in Iraq — are somewhat like that we use in the military. You go into neighborhoods, you clamp down, you provide a secure environment for the people that live there, and you make sure that the known criminals are kept under control. And you provide them with a stable environment, and then they cooperate with law enforcement.”

We’ve had our own issues down here in New Orleans with our corrupt police, our broken criminal justice system, and out of control urban shootings.  I believe this will continue to be an issue.  Here’s a related thing I just learned today  and it’s been on the ACLU’s radar since 2006. It’s just been expanded to something really frightening in a DHS Report which many lawyers believe is a direct violation of the 4th amendment.

The Department of Homeland Security’s civil rights watchdog has concluded that travelers along the nation’s borders may have their electronics seized and the contents of those devices examined for any reason whatsoever — all in the name of national security.

The DHS, which secures the nation’s border, in 2009 announced that it would conduct a “Civil Liberties Impact Assessment” of its suspicionless search-and-seizure policy pertaining to electronic devices “within 120 days.” More than three years later, the DHS office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties published a two-page executive summary of its findings.

“We also conclude that imposing a requirement that officers have reasonable suspicion in order to conduct a border search of an electronic device would be operationally harmful without concomitant civil rights/civil liberties benefits,” the executive summary said.

The memo highlights the friction between today’s reality that electronic devices have become virtual extensions of ourselves housing everything from e-mail to instant-message chats to photos and our papers and effects — juxtaposed against the government’s stated quest for national security.

The President George W. Bush administration first announced the suspicionless, electronics search rules in 2008. The President Barack Obama administration followed up with virtually the same rules a year later. Between 2008 and 2010, 6,500 persons had their electronic devices searched along the U.S. border, according to DHS data.

So, we should really be worried about our due process and the access of police departments–all ready out of control–to sophisticated military tactics, techniques, and equipment via Homeland Security.  Meanwhile, keep your eyes on the Dorner case.  It appears to be layered with morality plays and plots from movies.

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37 Comments on “Real Life Rambo or Public Enemy Number 1?”

  1. Eric Pleim says:

    Maybe the righties are correct. We DO need to arm ourselves against gun violence foisted upon us by the government!

    • dakinikat says:

      I kept running into links from Glenn Beck’s Blaze on the 100 mile zone around the borders on the search and seizure thing. That made me do a double take.

  2. bostonboomer says:

    Excellent post, Kat. I put a link to the full text of Dorner’s manifesto in your post. Here it is again.

  3. ecocatwoman says:

    Both of these stories from Alternet have some interesting points about Dorner, the LAPD & the media:
    http://www.alternet.org/world/scary-flashes-iraq-and-afghanistan-wars-lapds-manhunt-chris-dorner

    http://www.alternet.org/news-amp-politics/ca-shooter-i-am-man-who-has-lost-complete-faith-system?paging=off

    One news report on NPR this AM said the LAPD was reopening Dorner’s case against his training officer. I haven’t seen that mentioned anywhere else however.

    • bostonboomer says:

      I was just about to post that one by Joshua Holland comparing the LAPD shootings to the shootings of civilians in Iraq. It was very interesting.

      • ecocatwoman says:

        I had read it this AM. I agree – interesting & disturbing. After reading that & then seeing Nick Turse on Moyers & Company it just confirmed my POV about the over glorification of the military. Not saying that many in the military aren’t courageous and/or heroic, but there are atrocities committed that these men & women have to live with because they were following orders. And now, with the wars ended/ending, these professional soldiers are returning home and expected to easily integrate into so-called normal society. Add to that the US obsession with guns and it seems like a recipe for disaster across the country.

        I added Turse’s Kill Anything That Moves to my Amazon wish list.

      • bostonboomer says:

        I’m reading it now.

        • ecocatwoman says:

          Please let us know what you think. I was glad that Bill Moyers interviewed Turse, especially since Moyers was a White House insider during Johnson’s presidency. Turse said the policy went as high up as the White House, but I got the impression that Moyers wasn’t privy to it. Then again, I may be naive/prejudiced.

      • bostonboomer says:

        I heard him on Fresh Air.

  4. bostonboomer says:

    The really scary thing is how many bullets the LAPD officers let loose on the two women delivering papers. The bullets went into many cars in the neighborhood and even into houses.

    Law enforcement sources told The Times that at least seven officers opened fire. On Friday, the street was pockmarked with bullet holes in cars, trees, garage doors and roofs. Residents said they wanted to know what happened.

    “How do you mistake two Hispanic women, one who is 71, for a large black male?” said Richard Goo, 62, who counted five bullet holes in the entryway to his house.

    …..

    Jonas estimated that the officers fired between 20 and 30 rounds. Photographs of the back of the truck showed at least two dozen bullet holes. Neighbors, however, suggested there were more shots fired.

    A day after the shooting, residents in the street surveyed the damage.

    Kathy Merkosky, 53, was outside her stucco home pointing out the six bullet holes in the bumper and grill of her silver Acura MD-X. She knew her truck was damaged when she spotted it on television and “saw fluid flowing into the street.”

    Her Ford Focus was hit as well — a bullet shattered the windshield and another flattened a front tire.

    “I’ve never heard gunfire on my street,” Merkosky said. “Or ever in my life…. I hope they catch the guy so all this craziness will end.”

    Goo also was startled by the early-morning blasts.

    “When I heard all the pop-pop-popping, I dropped to the ground, crawled around and pulled my wife out of the bed and I got on top of her,” he said.

    Goo said he could hear the bullets hitting the front door and feared they were coming through the house. He said he called 911 for the police, but was notified that they were already there.

    • bostonboomer says:

      But the LAPD chief made excuses for the officers–saying their behavior was understandable because they’ve been under so much stress. If they can’t handle stress better than that, they shouldn’t be police officers, period.

      • dakinikat says:

        Don’t I know that …

      • ecocatwoman says:

        Isn’t it full knowledge that police work is stressful? Just because law enforcement can rapidly fire a number of rounds on crowded streets, in neighborhoods or traffic on television doesn’t mean it can or should be done in REAL life.

        • dakinikat says:

          The Problem is that they are not paid enough and they aren’t given the kind of support they need. They should be rotated and given plenty of time off and not allowed to work all those overtime details. They need on going counseling too. It’s the usual problem that were the best are needed they get the worst pay and the worst working conditions because the damned rich taxpayers in this country won’t pay for anything but private guards, teachers, and gates and things for themselves.

      • RalphB says:

        Frankly, most people who become police officers have no business doing that job. It’s one of the main problems.

      • NW Luna says:

        Kat, you are so right.

  5. bostonboomer says:

    Interview with the two wounded women’s attorney.

  6. bostonboomer says:

    From one of Connie’s Alternet links (see above)

    In 2011, reports of endemic, interdepartmental racism led to a shakeup in the LAPD’s central division. One allegation from the case noted a Sergeant presenting an African American officer “a cake topped with a piece of fried chicken and a slice of watermelon.” In March, a 15-year LAPD veteran was charged with pulling people over based on racial profiling. And just last November, a video surfaced showing LAPD officer Jorge Santander using a Taser stun gun on a handcuffed woman, conflicting earlier claims Santander made in 2010.

    And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. According to a spreadsheet published by the Los Angeles Time, the LAPD paid hundreds of settlements from 2002 to 2011 in cases of brutality, sexual harassment, civil rights and discrimination based on race, gender, disability and sexual orientation. This list of abuses bears profound resemblance to the culture Dorner describes in his manifesto:

    From 2/05 to 1/09 I saw some of the most vile things humans can inflict on others as a police officer in Los Angeles. Unfortunately, it wasn’t in the streets of LA. It was in the confounds of LAPD police stations and shops (cruisers). The enemy combatants in LA are not the citizens and suspects, it’s the police officers.

    • Alibe says:

      Do we really know that he killed the people he is supposed to have killed? Just wondering.

      • bostonboomer says:

        I think so. He didn’t deny it. He gave the names of the people he planned to kill and called the man whose daughter he shot.

  7. bostonboomer says:

    OT – video of tornado in Mississippi.

  8. bostonboomer says:

    Via Twitter, LAPD has a Lowe’s store in lockdown at Northridge Mall because of Dorner sighting. I hope they don’t shoot any innocent civilians.

  9. Fannie says:

    Something that has been on my mind, maybe you all might recall this event back in 1985……Do you remember the city that bombed itself……………Philadelphia, Pa……………….They went into a neighborhood of protesters who all wore dreadlocks, and all of them took on the surname of Africa…………….John Africa……….You might remember how horrible that was, because it was the city who decided to bomb the home, and killed a dozen or so people including little kids. They ended up damaging 70 or more homes, and I don’t know how many were injured, but not one single person was ever charged for this destruction…………not one.

    It reminds me also of the Donald Defreeze home in Los Angeles, they went in and burned it down, don’t remember how many were killed. He was ex felon………..Not to mention all the shoot outs with LA cops and the panthers, including Oakland.

    This kind of thing has been going on for some time in this Country………….. I am reminded also of Waco………as I was in that town when that happened.

    • RalphB says:

      Mayor Frank Rizzo, former police chief, of Philadelphia had that neighborhood bombed. Damndest thing I’ve ever seen.

      • Fannie says:

        That’s him……………the people belonged to a group called MOVE……………….I don’t know what exactly their politics were, but they dropped a bomb then, and will do it again, and no one gets held accountable.

  10. Adrienne in CA says:

    No question in my mind that Dorner is public enemy #1. Monica Quan and Keith Lawrence, whom Dorner executed in cold blood, were both people of color, and both innocent bystanders. No wonder LAPD are scared sh*tless and making stupid mistakes trying to stop this maniac. It’s not only their own lives, but those of their children that are under imminent threat.

    Everything I’ve read about Dorner, including the manifesto, sounds like extreme narcissistic rage. I hope he is found dead or shot dead soon.

  11. Fannie says:

    I bet you Dorner has killed himself already……………..dead.