“The Ashes of A Manifesto: The LAPD and the Deaths of Christopher Dorner and His Victims” l February 16, 2013 l 10 pm ET

OUR COMMON GROUND with Janice Graham

dornergun“The Ashes of A Manifesto: The LAPD and the Deaths of Christopher Dorner and His Victims”

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February 16, 2013 10pm ET

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“His self-definition could not survive separation from the institution that became his personal nemesis. In the end, he was as lonely as Rambo in First Blood, and just as politically lost.

A public death belongs to the public. Dorner’s fans, his African American public, whom he did not serve but who would inevitably embrace his weeklong death-throe defection from the LAPD, imbue him with qualities they wish were reliably available to the struggle: a Nat Turner, a Spook Who Sat by the Door. The Bronx, New York dope dealer, Larry Davis, who in1986 succeeded in shooting six of seven cops who came to his sister’s apartment to arrest or assassinate him, achieved similar fame. Davis eluded capture for 17 days, negotiated a surrender at his public housing hideout as residents chanted “Lar-ry! Lar-ry!” – and beat the charges of attempted murder of cops. (William Kunstler and Lynne Stewart were his lawyers.) His fans forgave Davis’s dope dealing ways, just as Dorner’s fans forgave his previous service to the Los Angeles Occupation Army.

The enduring lesson of Dorner’s saga is that the transformation of the LAPD into a majority-minority police force does not change its nature as an army of occupation whose mission is racist to the core, regardless of its ethnic composition. That fact finally dawned on Christopher Dorner – and it killed him.”
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The Execution of Christopher Dorner l Counterpunch

FEBRUARY 13, 2013

 

The State of the Union Amidst the Ashes of Extrajudicial Death

The Execution of Christopher Dorner

by GEORGE CICCARIELLO-MAHER and MIKE KING

If the murder of Oscar Grant on an Oakland transit platform marked the dawn of the Obama era, the cold-blooded murder of former Naval reservist and Los Angeles Police officer Christopher Dorner might just mark the end of whatever optimistic hope people can muster in his administration. Whether an innocent young man just trying to get home, shot in the back after being racially profiled and slurred, or a man driven to his breaking point after being fired from a similar police force that operates according to its own warped morality and overarching objectives, the state of the union is a powder keg whose wick has gotten shorter due to decades of looking the other way.

Just minutes before Barack Obama began his state of the union address, San Bernardino County Sheriffs, knowing full well what they were doing, burned Christopher Dorner to death. From police brutality and racism to political unaccountability, from lack of economic opportunities to the extrajudicial murder of anyone deemed an enemy of the state, Dorner’s life and death offers us a much clearer picture of the state of this union than last night’s speech or media commentary.

In the years between the murder of Oscar Grant and Dorner’s last stand, March of 2009 to be specific, we were among those observing the case of Lovelle Mixon in Oakland, a parolee who decided he was not going to return to prison, opening fire on police at a traffic stop, killing two. Police went in to execute Mixon, not expecting that he would be holding an SKS. Two more cops died as a result. The logic of Dorner’s desperation, and the chain of events that led to his ultimate death, parallels Mixon’s; proud men without hope, cornered, deciding to go out fighting.

Neither man was a self-understood revolutionary and it would be inaccurate (or perhaps too accurate a reflection of the dearth of revolutionary activity in contemporary society) to try and declare otherwise. However, the material conditions that produced Dorner, as with Mixon, are not uncommon. The meaning and the effects of their actions speak volumes about the depth of racialization, criminalization and hopelessness in Obama’s supposed “post-racial” America.

dornergunLAPD Endgame: Street Justice on a Snow-Capped Mountain

The scene could not be more surreal: the remains of a cabin south of Big Bear still smoldering, the President delivered his State of the Union Address. To be fair, they had yet to confirm that the person they were incinerating in a cabin near Big Bear actually was Dorner. Earlier in the day, San Bernardino County Sheriffs received a call reporting a stolen vehicle driven by someone matching a description of Dorner. If the experience of the past five days is any indication, this narrowed it down to Black men, Asian women, and skinny white men.  The $1 million dollar reward offered for information leading to Dorner’s capture or death, also offered a measurable rubric for the value of the lives of police officers, as traditionally rewards in homicide cases are closer to $20,000.    

In the gathering of hurried interviews some interesting truths from the public made it into the TV news. An MSNBC reporter asked a witness: “Where you worried when you learned that Christopher Dorner was so close to your house?” But the witness responded “Actually, I was just afraid of the cops.” Given the unrestrained violence unleashed in recent days by the LAPD, this sentiment is perhaps unsurprising, but demonstrating a degree of hubris matched only by an utter absence of ironic intent, LAPD chief Charlie Beck said, evidently with a straight face, “To be targeted because of what you are… that is absolutely terrifying.” To which many nationwide responded with an audible guffaw: welcome to the club.

An interview with the man who was allegedly carjacked by Dorner said that, while police had told the man not to tell the whole story, he reported that Dorner had simply said “I don’t want to hurt, take your dog and go.” When sheriff’s deputies found thevehicle yesterday, the driver allegedly retreated into a cabin, at one point re-emerging amid the smoke of a diversionary device to exchange more than 100 rounds of fire with deputies. Two police were injured, with one later dying. Police quickly established a large perimeter, closing highways around Seven Oaks, south of Big Bear up to twenty miles away.

Establishing the perimeter also seemed to mean keeping the media at an arm’s length. While press helicopters had been providing live shots of the cabin in which Dorner was allegedly holed-up, the SBSD quickly requested that media withdraw to roadblocks miles away and that news choppers cease to transmit live video for fear of providing strategic information to Dorner himself. The San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department requested that media outlets and individuals cease and desist from even tweeting about the manhunt and shootout.

Even more astonishing than the request was the immediate compliance: press outlets abruptly ceased to tweet about the developing story, and duly retreating to the roadblocks, abandoned their task of reporting the news and waited for it to be fed to them. To paraphrase but one of many incredulous observers, we speak of press blackouts in China, but all the police had to do here was ask nicely and the press complied without batting an eyelash.

With a voluntary media blackout in effect, the Twittersphere, punctuated with a plethora of indignant and sharply worded refusals to comply with the police, became one of the only sources of developing news. What we know about what happened thereafter owes almost entirely to those who scoured the web for scanner feeds from the San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department and intently followed the story these feeds told.

“The Burn Plan”

Shortly after 4pm Pacific Standard Time, the cabin was engulfed in flames, with CNN helicopters broadcasting plumes of black smoke from a distance of five miles. A single gunshot is reported from within the house. A narrative quickly emerged among the mainstream media, which we should recall was conspicuously absent from the scene, that police agencies had only deployed tear gas, and that perhaps Dorner himself had set the fire. Soon, what seems to be a cache of ammunition is exploding sporadically.

But for those of us listening to the San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department radio frequency, there was little question what had occurred. Nearly a half hour prior, officers had referred to “going ahead with the plan with the burner,” with another adding that the plan was to “back the Bear down and deploy the burner through the turret.” (Live audio during the preceding shootout seems to confirm this intention). Soon, the message was straightforward and expected: “Seven burners have deployed and we have a fire.” No surprised tones, no suggestion that the fire be extinguished.

In fact, there was the exact opposite: a female voice on the scanner repeatedly asks if the fire crews should be allowed to approach, and is told that it’s not time yet, that we need to wait until all four corners are engulfed, then that we need to wait until the roof collapses. At one particularly repulsive point, those on the scene realize that the house has a basement, and an authoritative male voice indicates that the fire crew would not be called until the fire had “burned through the basement.” They were going to let him die.

References to the 1993 massacre at Waco, Texas, the murderous 1985 bombing of the MOVE Organization in Philadelphia were immediate, and will serve as opposing frames for Dorner’s death in the days and weeks to come.

A murder? An assassination? A lynching? An execution.

State of the Union: Flammable

This is a day of a million possible metaphors, but central among these should be the image of the burning house. In an effort to distinguish what he called the “house negro” from the “field negro,” Malcolm X had once observed that the two responded differently when the master’s house caught fire: “But that field negro, remember, they were in the majority, and they hated their master. When the house caught on fire, he didn’t try to put it out, that field negro prayed for a wind.” While the metaphor may seem a strange one, given the fiery death of a man some have compared to a runaway slave. But as many Americans choose to gaze, mesmerized, at the glowing embers of the Dorner saga rather than watching the State of the Union, it’s worth wondering: whose house is really on fire? And who is praying for wind?

The eclipsing of the State of the Union, with some networks airing a split screen of the President’s speech alongside images from Southern California, or omitting pre- and post- speech coverage to report on Dorner’s likely death (a speech given in the context of ongoing war and occupation, unending recession and social crisis and a heated debate about, well, gun control) speaks volumes about our society, the conditions which produced Dorner and has helped produced a surge in mass killings generally. Persistent racist policies couched in the language of security, and failed imperial ventures with war tactics re-imported into American policing, are routinely covered over by the trite conflicts of celebrities, whether they be Kardashians or Congressmen.

Dorner was not just a product of a racist police department, he also no doubt adored his ‘fifteen minutes,’ stealing time from the President he nevertheless supported during the biggest planned speech of the year. Although Dorner’s actions were not driven by a radical consciousness, they are ‘as American as cherry pie’ in an apolitical vacuum that (at least on the surface) resembles Oliver Stone’s Natural Born Killers far more than the political contexts of the 1960s.

As Obama was taking to the lectern, police agencies were insisting that they had not set the fire that killed Christopher Dorner, and the compliant media were parroting this clearly implausible message. As members of Congress stood and sat on cue to rapturously applaud the Commander-in-Chief, more than 14,000 people have liked just one of the Facebook pages in support of Dorner, some because they know what racist policing is like, some because ours is a time of resisting injustice by any means, and some simply for the joy of backing an outlaw to the grisly end.

Dorner was not a radical, but his short war was not simply the story of broken man or of individualistic vengeance. The issues of brutality and racism perpetually covered up by a corrupt police department created the insurgent Dorner and resonated with many people who endure the reality of urban policing on a daily basis. The sympathy and the support Dorner received is a clear indicator of the very real and deep structural inequalities that helped forge the path of Dorner’s life and his fiery death. The great radical historian Mike Davis concluded a recent articleon Dorner with a peculiar question: “Does anyone cheer Dorner?” What is peculiar is that, for better or worse, there’s no denying that the answer is “yes.”

There’s no telling what sort of a fire they could start tomorrow.

George Ciccariello-Maher is assistant professor of political science at Drexel University. He is the author of We Created Chávez: A People’s History of the Venezuelan Revolution and can be reached at gjcm(at)drexel.edu.

Mike King is a Ph.D candidate in sociology at UC Santa Cruz, and can be reached at mikeking0101(at)gmail.com. Both study policing and counterinsurgency.

 From CounterPunch

More Dangerous than Django! l Commentaries on the Times l Playthell Benjamin

More Dangerous than Django!

Christian Jordon Doner - black avenger

The Happy Bush Whacker

 

And he’s All the Way Live

“Good name in man and woman, dear my lord, Is the immediate jewel of their souls:
Who steals my purse steals trash; ’tis something, nothing; ‘Twas mine, ’tis his, and has been slave to thousands; But he that filches from me my good name Robs me of that which not enriches him And makes me poor indeed.”   William Shakespeare

 *************

Political officials in southern California have just announced that they are placing a million dollar bounty on the head of Christopher Dorner the 270 pound angry black man who is an ex-cop, naval officer and military sharp shooter that is terrorizing members of the Los Angeles police department.  Described by his former “brothers in blue” as “a trained assassin,” Dorner is accused of having gunned down the daughter and future son-in law of his former superior in the LAPD, and opened fire on a squad car killing one officer.

Yet in listening to the statements from politicians and police officials, one finds no plausible explanation for this murderous outburst from a man who has dedicated his life to the defense of this nation and its citizens, at home and abroad.  And the press is not doing a much better job at it.   The gaps in reportage was noted by that indefatigable media watchdog and great American writer Ishmael Reed, who did a content analysis of a CNN report on the shooter, but he pointed out that it never mentioned the charges of racism, anti-Semitism and abuse of police powers made by Dorner.

According to Christopher Dorner it was his attempt to expose these practices by blowing the whistle on offending officers, who appear to be white that led to a conspiracy by fellow officers, in cahoots with police brass, to drive him out of the LAPD.   According to Dorner his problems with the LAPD began with the following incident:

In 8/07 I reported an officer (Ofcr. Teresa Evans/now a Sergeant), for kicking a suspect (excessive force) during a Use of Force while I was assigned as a patrol officer at LAPD’s Harbor Division. While cuffing the suspect, (Christopher Gettler), Evans kicked the suspect twice in the chest and once in the face. The kick to the face left a visible injury on the left cheek below the eye. Unfortunately after reporting it to supervisors and investigated by PSB (internal affairs investigator Det. Villanueva/Gallegos), nothing was done. I had broken their supposed “Blue Line”. Unfortunately, It’s not JUST US, it’s JUSTICE!!! “

Mr. Dorner goes on to tell an incredible tale about what followed.

“In fact, 10 months later on 6/25/08, after already successfully completing probation, acquiring a basic Post Certificate, and Intermediate Post Certificate, I was relieved of duty by the LAPD while assigned to patrol at Southwest division. It is clear as day that the department retaliated toward me for reporting Evans for kicking Mr. Christopher Gettler. The department stated that I had lied and made up the report that Evans had kicked the suspect. I later went to a Board of Rights (department hearing for decision of continued employment) from 10/08 to 1/09. During this BOR hearing a video was played for the BOR panel where Christopher Gettler stated that he was indeed kicked by Officer Evans (video sent to multiple news agencies). In addition to Christopher Gettler stating he was kicked, his father Richard Gettler, also stated that his son had stated he was kicked by an officer when he was arrested after being released from custody.”

Then Dorner describes what must have seemed like a surreal experience, and it destroyed his faith in the integrity of the LAPD, as he describes all of the cronyism, chicanery and double dealing in the process that led to his demise:

“This was all presented for the department at the BOR hearing. They still found me guilty and terminated me. What they didn’t mention was that the BOR panel made up of Capt. Phil Tingirides, Capt. Justin Eisenberg, and City Attorney Martella had a signigicant problem from the time the board was assembled. Capt. Phil Tingirides was a personal friend of Teresa Evans from when he was her supervisor at Harbor station. That is a clear conflict of interest and I made my argument for his removal early and was denied. The advocate for the LAPD BOR was Sgt. Anderson. Anderson also had a conflict of interest as she was Evans friend and former partner from Harbor division where they both worked patrol together. I made my argument for her removal when I discovered her relation to Evans and it was denied.”

From all that I have heard from those who worked with him, most of whom don’t want to appear on camera for security reasons, Dorner loved his job as a cop; he was what we used to call in the military “gung ho.” And I have seen no compelling evidence of wrongdoing that would justify the LAPD kicking him to the curb.  Alas until the police department addresses this question in a convincing manner, I shall be forced to rely on Mr. Dorner’s version of the story.

Dorner says he has resorted to violence because the LAPD has besmirched his good name and smeared his reputation with invented lies.  He has demanded only two things: an apology from the LA Chief of Police, and that the press investigates his charges of racism and corruption in the LAPD.  Thus far neither request has been met.  The Police Chief Beck, responded to questions about Dorner’s complaints at his press conference with this arrogant comment: “This is a homicide suspect who has committed atrocious crimes. If you want to give any attribution to his ramblings on the Internet, go ahead, but I do not!”

Hence it is reasonable to conclude that the killings will go on until they catch him. He tells us in an eleven page manifesto that he posted online the importance he places on his good name…which he claims the LAPD callously destroyed to conceal its crimes against citizens of that that city.

“The question is, what would you do to clear your name?   Name; A word or set of words by which a person, animal, place, or thing is referred to. Synonyms: reputation, title, appellation, denomination, repute.  A name is more than just a noun, verb, or adjective. It’s your life, your legacy, your journey, sacrifices, and everything you’ve worked hard for every day of your life as an adolescent, young adult and adult. Don’t let anybody tarnish it when you know you’ve live up to your own set of ethics and personal ethos.” 

After telling a round unvarnished tale of whole sale violation of the rights of citizens, especially non-whites, whom the white officers regularly called “niggers” while inflicting physical abuse, Dorner goes on to observe in his manifesto:

Terminating me for telling the truth of a Caucasian officer kicking a mentally ill man is disgusting. Don’t ever call me a fucking bully. I want all journalists to utilize every source you have that specializes in collections for your reports. With the discovery and evidence available you will see the truth. Unfortunately, I will not be alive to see my name cleared. That’s what this is about, my name. A man is nothing without his name. Below is a list of locations where I resided from childhood to adulthood.”

To describe this man as a common criminal is obviously a misnomer, although one can readily see why it is convenient to do so. That way they don’t have to investigate his charges; they can simply dismiss them.  However if Christopher Dorner were a common criminal he would probably be conducting a clandestine robbing spree and living it up in anonymity; knocking off a cop whenever he wanted and not getting away with it. Instead he chose to commit acts of public violence against the police force…a decision that he clearly believes will end in his destruction…in fact he predicts it in his Manifesto.

This is not the behavior of a criminal; these are the acts of a man who wishes to make a political statement that will be impossible to ignore.  And he has lost all faith in the American justice system, which he had dedicated his life to defending, to grant him justice.  Hence he has declared war on those who enforce the system, and he has his former colleagues wetting their pants when they take a leak, because they are holding their Johnson in one hand and their Roscoe in the other, and both hands are shaking.

If any substantial part of Mr. Dorner’s story is true it is clear that the LAPDs racist behavior has pushed him to the point that revenge.  He insists that he is the victim of a racist plot that no self-respecting Black man could silently endure.

“I have exhausted all available means at obtaining my name back. I have attempted all legal court efforts within appeals at the Superior Courts and California Appellate courts. This is my last resort… The LAPD has suppressed the truth and it has now lead to deadly consequences. The LAPD’s actions have cost me my law enforcement career that began on 2/7/05 and ended on 1/2/09.

They cost me my Naval career which started on 4/02 and ends on 2/13. I had a TS/SCI clearance (Top Secret Sensitive Compartmentalized Information clearance) up until shortly after my termination with LAPD. This is the highest clearance a service member can attain other than a Yankee White TS/SCI which is only granted for those working with and around the President/Vice President of the United States. I lost my position as a Commanding Officer of a Naval Security Forces reserve unit at NAS Fallon because of the LAPD.

I’ve lost a relationship with my mother and sister because of the LAPD. I’ve lost a relationship with close friends because of the LAPD. In essence, I’ve lost everything because the LAPD took my name and new I was INNOCENT!!! Capt Phil Tingirides, Justin Eisenberg, Martella, Randy Quan, and Sgt. Anderson all new I was innocent but decided to terminate me so they could continue Ofcr. Teresa Evans career. I know about the meeting between all of you where Evans attorney, Rico, confessed that she kicked Christopher Gettler (excessive force.” 

Then Dorner announced with the deadly finality of judge and executioner:“Your day has come.”  After detailing what had been unjustly taken from him, Dorner once more reminds us of his real character; emphasizing that he does not fit the racist stereotypes that his white colleagues hold of young black men.

I’m not an aspiring rapper, I’m not a gang member, I’m not a dope dealer, I don’t have multiple babies momma’s. I am an American by choice, I am a son, I am a brother, I am a military service member, I am a man who has lost complete faith in the system, when the system betrayed, slandered, and libeled me. I lived a good life and though not a religious man I always stuck to my own personal code of ethics, ethos and always stuck to my shoreline and true North. I didn’t need the US Navy to instill Honor, Courage, and Commitment in me but I thank them for re-enforcing it. It’s in my DNA. “

His fellow cops may claim not to understand Dorner’s motives, which is what whites always do when they are called out on their institutionalized racist practices – they know that they have created a formidable killing machine, and their lives and those of their family and friends are in danger every minute he remains at large.  For Dorner is clear in his purpose, which he clearly spells out in his declaration of war.

I will conduct DA operations to destroy, exploit and seize designated targets. If unsuccessful or unable to meet objectives in these initial small-scale offensive actions, I will reassess my BDA and re-attack until objectives are met. I have nothing to lose. My personal casualty means nothing. Just alike AAF’s, ACM’s, and AIF’s, you can not prevail against an enemy combatant who has no fear of death. An enemy who embraces death is a lose, lose situation for their enemy combatants.  Hopefully you analyst have done your homework. You are aware that I have always been the top shot, highest score, an expert in rifle qualifications in every unit I’ve been in. I will utilize every bit of small arms training, demolition, ordnance, and survival training I’ve been given.

Do you know why we are unsuccessful in asymmetrical and guerrilla warfare in CENTCOM theatre of operations? I’ll tell you. It’s not the inefficiency of our combatant commanders, planning, readiness or training of troops. Much like the Vietnam war, ACM, AAF, foreign fighters, Jihadist, and JAM have nothing to lose. They embrace death as it is a way of life. I simply don’t fear it. I am the walking exigent circumstance you created.

The Violence of action will be HIGH. I am the reason TAC alert was established. I will bring unconventional and asymmetrical warfare to those in LAPD uniform whether on or off duty. ISR is my strength and your weakness. You will now live the life of the prey. Your RD’s and homes away from work will be my AO and battle space. I will utilize every tool within INT collections that I learned from NMITC in Dam Neck. You have misjudged a sleeping giant. There is no conventional threat assessment for me. JAM, New Ba’ath party, 1920 rev BGE, ACM, AAF, AQAP, AQIM and AQIZ have nothing on me. Do not deploy airships or gunships. SA-7 Manpads will be waiting. As you know I also own Barrett .50′s so your APC are defunct and futile.”

It is no wonder that the officers named in this manifesto are cringing in their hiding places under armed guards.  This guy is their worst nightmare.  He is akin to a killer Robot who has rejected the orders of its programmers then disappeared, and is now stalking them with all of the death dealing capacity the programmers have given it.  Dorner, a 270 pound bruiser, conjures up images of the “bad nigger” that has haunted the consciousness of many whites since Thomas Jefferson observed his slaves working in the fields one day and said: “I shudder when I reflect upon the fact that God is just.”Dorner is the kind of dude described in the old Afro-American folk ditty about Stagolee:”He got a tombstone disposition/ and a graveyard mind / He’s a mean motherfucker /and don’t give a fuck about dying!”

While the end of this story is already written, it’s anybody’s guess what kind of drama we will witness until they finally kill him.  We will follow the case closely here, and all of us should demand that his very specific charges of racism, brutality and corruption in the LAPD be seriously investigated by the national press…I, for one, am not interested in police reports on this matter because I believe they will all be self-serving.  I would welcome an investigation of the US Department of Justice!

Already there are Facebook pages and Web sites going up that present Mr. Dorner as an avenging hero who is giving the LAPD just what they deserve…one booster is even touting him for President!  And there are a lot of young black and Hispanic males in LA who view Dorner as a real life Django, as they are smoking blunts and pouring spirits in his honor.  Given his growing folk hero status Dorner might prove very hard to find because many are willing to give him aid and comfort as he scrambles to escape the widening police dragnet, which ironically was the location of the famous 1950’s  radio and television cop series Dragnet – which tempts on to wonder if life is imitating art.

Ready to Rumble

Christian Gorner

The LAPD done created a Monster!

*************************

 

Playthell G. Benjamin

Harlem, New York

February 11, 1013