Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Support Our Annual Fund Drive! We only ask one time of year, but when we do, we mean it. Without your support we can’t continue to bring you the very best material, day-in and day-out. CounterPunch is one of the last common spaces on the Internet. Help make sure it stays that way.
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Hunting Humans in California

by PETER LEE

Another element of the LA Times’ well-mannered coverage of the Christopher Dorner case that struck me was the incident in which police officers on the lookout for Dorner’s pickup truck shot up a vehicle driven by two newsies delivering the LA Times to homes in Torrance in the wee morning hours.

Here, as they say, are the relevant grafs:

The seven officers were working a protection detail Feb. 7 near the home of a high-ranking LAPD official who was a potential target for Dorner when they riddled the women’s blue Toyota Tacoma truck with bullets after mistaking it for Dorner’s gray Nissan truck.

The shooting occurred after the officers received a radio call that a pickup truck had exited the freeway and was heading their way. 

Jonas [lawyer for the two women] told The Times that the police officers gave “no commands, no instructions and no opportunity to surrender” before opening fire. He described a terrifying encounter in which the pair were in the early part of their delivery route through several South Bay communities.

Hernandez was in the back seat handing papers to her daughter, who was driving. Carranza would briefly slow the truck to throw papers on driveways and front walks. As bullets tore through the cabin, the two women “covered their faces and huddled down,” Jonas said. “They felt like it was going on forever.”

In an interview with The Times, Beck said the gunfire occurred in two bursts: The first came from an officer positioned down the block from the LAPD official’s residence, and the second when Carranza accelerated away from the gunfire and toward other officers.

Jonas estimated that the officers fired between 20 and 30 rounds. Photographsof the back of the truck showed at least two dozen bullet holes. Neighbors, <however, suggested there were more shots fired. The street was pockmarked with bullet holes in cars, trees, garage doors and roofs.

The LA Times deferentially declines to connect the dots but, reading between the lines, the term that leaps to mind is “ambush”.

If the motive was to deter an attack by Dorner with a conspicuous police presence, to my admittedly non-expert opinion, the LAPD could have simply ostentatiously parked three police cruisers outside the official’s house.

If, on the other hand, the idea was to lure Dorner into revealing himself by concealing evidence of police presence (and, for that matter, keeping the lid on the news that the LAPD already suspected Dorner in the Irvine shootings and had discovered his on-line manifesto with its list of proposed victims; as far as I can tell the LA Times only publicly named Dorner as a suspect the morning after the Torrance fiasco), then moving on Dorner after he hove into view on his mission of vengeance, that might explain why there were units on either side of the newspaper delivery truck as it approached the residence.

And, if the idea was simply to light up Dorner’s truck with a few dozen rounds from two sides in a kill box without  without prior warning, that looks something like an ambush.

Again reading between the lines, I would say that the LA Times and public opinion in general are willing to cut the LAPD a certain amount of slack.

Dorner was apparently a dangerous guy, a murderer, and he was stalking cops.  Since Dorner was an ex-cop himself, you can add the element of “LAPD cleaning up its own mess” omerta.

There has also been no publicized outcry over the the San Bernadino Sheriff’s Department’s use of incendiary tear gas shells to short circuit the siege in Big Bear instead of trying to wait Dorner out.

However, if those two women had died in that truck—parenthetically, no thanks to the LAPD that they lived, since one would think 20-30 rounds should have finished the job—there might have been more discussion of the downside of giving law enforcement a free hand to deal with Dorner.

And there is the awkward question of whether Dorner’s murderous behavior in San Bernardino County—such as the apparently unprovoked shooting of Riverside police officer Michael Crain and a trainee while their patrol car was stopped at a traffic light–was caused in part by his perception that the cops had a shoot-on-sight hunting license for him.  Maybe, maybe not. Guess we’ll never know the answer to that one.

I suspect—well, at least, I hope—that the report that the seven officers involved in the pickup truck incident have been removed from the field pending an investigation indicates that the LAPD is going to make sure that officers and their bosses treat the Dorner case as a one-off, and not a precedent.

Peter Lee edits China Matters. He can be reached at: chinamatters (at) prlee. org.

Peter Lee edits China Matters and writes about Asia for CounterPunch.  

More articles by:

2016 Fund Drive
Smart. Fierce. Uncompromised. Support CounterPunch Now!

  • cp-store
  • donate paypal

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

September 27, 2016
Louisa Willcox
The Tribal Fight for Nature: From the Grizzly to the Black Snake of the Dakota Pipeline
Paul Street
The Roots are in the System: Charlotte and Beyond
Jeffrey St. Clair
Idiot Winds at Hofstra: Notes on the Not-So-Great Debate
Mark Harris
Clinton, Trump, and the Death of Idealism
Mike Whitney
Putin Ups the Ante: Ceasefire Sabotage Triggers Major Offensive in Aleppo
Anthony DiMaggio
The Debates as Democratic Façade: Voter “Rationality” in American Elections
Binoy Kampmark
Punishing the Punished: the Torments of Chelsea Manning
Paul Buhle
Why “Snowden” is Important (or How Kafka Foresaw the Juggernaut State)
Jack Rasmus
Hillary’s Ghosts
Brian Cloughley
Billions Down the Afghan Drain
Lawrence Davidson
True Believers and the U.S. Election
Matt Peppe
Taking a Knee: Resisting Enforced Patriotism
James McEnteer
Eugene, Oregon and the Rising Cost of Cool
Norman Pollack
The Great Debate: Proto-Fascism vs. the Real Thing
Michael Winship
The Tracks of John Boehner’s Tears
John Steppling
Fear Level Trump
Lawrence Wittner
Where Is That Wasteful Government Spending?
James Russell
Beyond Debate: Interview Styles of the Rich and Famous
September 26, 2016
Diana Johnstone
The Hillary Clinton Presidency has Already Begun as Lame Ducks Promote Her War
Gary Leupp
Hillary Clinton’s Campaign Against Russia
Dave Lindorff
Parking While Black: When Police Shoot as First Resort
Robert Crawford
The Political Rhetoric of Perpetual War
Howard Lisnoff
The Case of One Homeless Person
Michael Howard
The New York Times Endorses Hillary, Scorns the World
Russell Mokhiber
Wells Fargo and the Library of Congress’ National Book Festival
Chad Nelson
The Crime of Going Vegan: the Latest Attack on Angela Davis
Colin Todhunter
A System of Food Production for Human Need, Not Corporate Greed
Brian Cloughley
The United States Wants to Put Russia in a Corner
Guillermo R. Gil
The Clevenger Effect: Exposing Racism in Pro Sports
David Swanson
Turn the Pentagon into a Hospital
Ralph Nader
Are You Ready for Democracy?
Chris Martenson
Hell to Pay
Doug Johnson Hatlem
Debate Night: Undecided is Everything, Advantage Trump
Frank X Murphy
Power & Struggle: the Detroit Literacy Case
Chris Knight
The Tom and Noam Show: a Review of Tom Wolfe’s “The Kingdom of Speech”
Weekend Edition
September 23, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Andrew Levine
The Meaning of the Trump Surge
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: More Pricks Than Kicks
Mike Whitney
Oh, Say Can You See the Carnage? Why Stand for a Country That Can Gun You Down in Cold Blood?
Chris Welzenbach
The Diminution of Chris Hayes
Vincent Emanuele
The Riots Will Continue
Rob Urie
A Scam Too Far
Pepe Escobar
Les Deplorables
Patrick Cockburn
Airstrikes, Obfuscation and Propaganda in Syria
Timothy Braatz
The Quarterback and the Propaganda
Sheldon Richman
Obama Rewards Israel’s Bad Behavior
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail