FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Hunting Humans in California

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.

More articles by:

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

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
Weekend Edition
December 13, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Melvin Goodman
The FBI: Another Worry in the National Security State
Rob Urie
Establishment Politics are for the Rich
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: That’s Neoliberalism for You
Paul Street
Midnight Ramble: A Fascist Rally in Hershey, Pennsylvania
Joan Roelofs
The Science of Lethality
Joyce Nelson
Buttigieg and McKinsey
Joseph Natoli
Equally Determined: To Impeach/To Support
Charles Pierson
The National Defense Authorization Act Perpetuates the Destruction of Yemen
REZA FIYOUZAT
An Outrageous Proposal: Peace Boats to Iran
Lee Hall
Donald Trump Jr., Mongolian Sheep Killer
Andrew Levine
A Plague on Both Their Houses, Plus a Dozen Poxes on Trump’s
David Rosen
Mortality Rising: Trump and the Death of the “American Dream”
Dave Lindorff
The Perils of Embedded Journalism: ‘Afghan Papers’ Wouldn’t Be Needed If We Had a Real Independent News Media
Brian Cloughley
Human Rights and Humbug in Washington
Stephen Leas
Hungry for a Livable Planet: Why I Went On Hunger Strike and Occupied Pelosi’s Office
Saad Hafiz
Pakistan Must Face Its Past
Lawrence Davidson
Deteriorating Climates: Home and Abroad
Cal Winslow
The End of the Era: Nineteen Nineteen
Louis Proyect
If Time Magazine Celebrates Greta Thunberg, Why Should We?
Thomas Drake
Kafka Down Under: the Threat to Whistleblowers and Press Freedom in Australia
Thomas Knapp
JEDI Mind Tricks: Amazon Versus the Pentagon and Trump
Jesse Jackson
Trump’s War on the Poor
Michael Welton
Seeing the World Without Shadows: the Enlightenment Dream
Ron Jacobs
The Wind That Shook the Barley: the Politics of the IRA
Rivera Sun
Beyond Changing Light Bulbs: 21 Ways You Can Stop the Climate Crisis
Binoy Kampmark
The Bloomberg Factor: Authoritarianism, Money and US Presidential Politics
Nick Pemberton
Ideology Shall Have No Resurrection
Rev. Susan K. Williams Smith
What Trump and the GOP Learned From Obama
Ramzy Baroud
‘Elected by Donors’: the University of Cape Town Fails Palestine, Embraces Israel
Cesar Chelala
Unsuccessful U.S. Policy on Cuba Should End
Harry Blain
The Conservatism of Impeachment
Norman Solomon
Will the Democratic Presidential Nomination Be Bought?
Howard Lisnoff
The One Thing That US Leaders Seem to Do Well is Lie
Jeff Cohen
Warren vs. Buttigieg Clash Offers Contrast with Sanders’ Consistency
Mel Gurtov
The Afghanistan Pentagon Papers
Gaither Stewart
Landslide … to Totalitarianism
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
How Blaming Nader in 2000 Paved the Way for Today’s Neo-Fascism
Steve Early
In Re-Run Election: LA Times Journalist Wins Presidency of NewsGuild 
David Swanson
If You’re Not Busy Plotting Nonviolent Revolution for Peace and Climate, You’re Busy Dying
Nicky Reid
Sorry Lefties, Your Impeachment is Bullshit
John Kendall Hawkins
The Terror Report You Weren’t Meant to See
Susan Block
Krampus Trumpus Rumpus
Martin Billheimer
Knight Crawlers
David Yearsley
Kanye in the West
Elliot Sperber
Dollar Store 
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail