Christopher Dorner has become the target of one of the largest domestic manhunts in U.S. history. The search currently spans four states and is reaching into Mexico.
Dorner’s crimes center around his alleged killing of three people, including an LAPD officer. The other two victims were the daughter of a former LAPD attorney and the daughter's husband. In response to these murders and a manifesto released by Dorner, the LAPD have ramped up security in certain areas of the city but have committed serious blunders in their attempts to apprehend Dorner.
The day after Dorner allegedly killed the LAPD officer, a truck was shot up by officers who mistakenly thought Dorner was driving. It turns out that two women were in the vehicle, neither of whom remotely matched Dorner’s physical description.
One woman was hit in the back and is currently hospitalized with serious injuries. The second escaped major harm. Shortly after, on the same day, another truck was shot at by the LAPD. Like the first, this truck also did not contain Dorner.
With its shoot-first approach in this manhunt, the LAPD are sending a strong message about its lack of respect for civil rights, due process and the general safety of the population. The entire point of police procedure is to ensure that mistakes such as this do not happen and citizens are kept safe.
In certain circumstances, such as when the officer is being fired at or is in imminent danger, lethal force would be warranted. That was clearly not the case when these officers opened fire. They were given no reason to feel threatened, nor did they even identify the driver of the truck. If they had identified the driver before making the decision to unleash a hailstorm of bullets, an innocent woman would not be in the hospital.
The fact that two independent incidents of firing at wrong targets occurred gives some insight into the LAPD’s approach in this manhunt. It is not looking for a fair trial. It is not looking to bring Dorner in. The LAPD is looking to silence Dorner for good and administer its own justice for the crimes he is accused of. When the people who are sanctioned by the law to preserve and defend justice begin to twist that law to their own purposes, serious issues emerge.
The LAPD has had issues in the past with police abuse and misuse of authority. Those issues are again at the heart of the Dorner case; Dorner was given a trial after he accused an officer of police abuse. Instead of taking his accusations seriously, or attempting to work with him, the LAPD dismissed the ex-soldier and wiped their hands of his grievances. This is no justification for the crimes Dorner committed, but it should be taken into consideration in light of the troubled history of the LAPD.
Police brutality and negligence is not a new thing. Over the years, individual cases of cops abusing their power have popped up uncountable times and will continue to do so.
The bigger problem is a deep rooted attitude within certain police departments, which seems to say we have the power here, and we are going to use it in whatever way we see fit.