Chris Dorner

At the time of this writing — after 1:30AM — I’m not exactly sure what happened to Chris Dorner, who is or was the ex-LAPD officer who murdered the daughter of a LAPD police union rep and her fiancé, then eluded police for over a week.

Last night, from a cabin in Big Bear, California, he allegedly killed a police offer and wounded two more before he either set the cabin fire or the police bombed it. Multiple “reliable” news outlets reported he was dead, some even referring to his “charred body,” but then the LAPD invited over-eager reporters to have several seats by announcing they have not yet found a body — any body’s body, much less Dorner’s. In fact, they haven’t even been in the cabin because it’s still too damn hot. Dorner might be on the run, or might be dead. Your guess is as good as any reporter’s.

Wild misinformation during breaking news stories has become a common place. Yesterday, some broadcast journalists played the equivalent of “Eenie meenie miney mo” to guess whether Donner was still with us or had gone to the Great Beyond. Two months ago, TV reporters mis-indentified the shooter in the Sandy Hook school killing, naming his brother instead and even flashing his picture on the news. In a rush to be “first,” some journalists are acting irresponsibly, and losing credibility.

Other journalists are filling broadcasts with bad experts or pointless discussions. Last night, CBS was so desperate to avoid dead air they didn’t even bother to check to if a man claiming to be a member of the Big Bear State Fish and Game Department was actually a real source. He was actually a Howard Stern fan who claimed to be “Ronnie the Limo Driver,”  who was “on his way to a block party” when he fired his gun at Dorner. When the reporter continued the interview after that outlandish statement, even the hoaxer was fed up. “You’re a real dumb ass” he told the reporter. “You still don’t know this is a prank?!”

I tuned into this real-life drama playing out like a made-for-TV movie sometime around 6PM. Dorner was allegedly in the cabin and surrounded by cops, but there hadn’t been any more to report in a while. All the commentators and experts were having lengthy discussions about whether Dorner should surrender to police, as if a former cop who allegedly had just killed one and injured a few more was actually going to turn himself over. Had any of them even bothered to read Dorner’s manifesto detailing how he was specifically screwed over by the LAPD, which he also found to be corrupt in general?

And it’s not like the LAPD would actually take Dorner into custody. Days earlier, two Hispanic women — one a 71-year-old — were shot by the LAPD as they rode in a truck that resembled the one Dorner was last seen driving. So like I said, there was no way in hell he was going into police custody. The options were A) suicide; B) a literal blaze of glory; or C) going out like “Cleo” at the end of Set It Off. But their reporters sat rambling on like there was a probable “D” choice, if indeed Dorner was even in that house.

As commentators and “experts” kept yapping, I wondered if I — you know as a Black member of the general public — was even the intended for the audience for these broadcasts. The experts and the reporters on CNN and MSNBC were talking about how Dorner should surrender so the LAPD would no longer be terrorized, and how sad it was that the LAPD was being targeted and living in fear. And all I could think was, “Well, now they know how Black and Brown  people in LA feel!”

Don’t get me wrong, I want Dorner caught, but it’s because he killed that poor girl and her fiance’. And because round-faced, caramel-colored Black men (that means you, LL) — and apparently, Hispanic grannys — ain’t safe on the streets until Dorner’s dead. The last thing on my mind was the pain and suffering of the LAPD. I came of age listening to NWA’s “Fuck da Police” and watching the grainy footage of the Rodney King beating. What the dominant culture calls the LA “riots,” I refer to as an uprising. Frankly, I’m real “meh” on the LAPD and its “chickens coming home to roost” Moment.

And I wish I’d caught the expert’s name on CNN who referred to the part of Dorner’s manifesto when he choked out a fellow white officer who was dropping n-bombs left and right. When confronted by Dorner, the officer told him, “I’ll say it when I want.” Oh, word? The expert said it was evidence of that Dorner was “unstable,” and I thought “oh, he must be talking to the dominant culture”  because Black folk might think that’s out of order, but not nowhere does it hold water as evidence of being crazy.

But maybe I am for relying on the news to get a story right or represent my point of view.

Demetria L. Lucas is the author of “A Belle in Brooklyn: The Go-to Girl for Advice on Living Your Best Single Life” (Atria), in stores now. Follow her on Twitter @abelleinbk

  • Guess

    What I find most fascinating is his ability to articulate himself so precisely. He left nothing up to interpretation & did something most aren’t capable of -he gave us an historical, multi-dimentional view of his inclinations, motivations & perceptions. Believe it or not, “white” America is embracing this man as well – looking at him as a superhero & avenger of all ppl. Many whites don’t trust or respect our government, either. He has thousands of fan pages, blogs & memorial pages dedicated to him – and hosted predominant by white folks. There is definitely some commonality here. Sadly, there will be plenty of copycat cases carried out against govt agents & so-called public service personnel by white militia, gun advocates, etc. This man struck serious fear in the hearts of the LAPD – had them running scared & frenzied in their own back yard – cowards. SMH

  • Suzy

    A Christ like figure? Is that some kind of joke? I don’t recall Christ killing people in cold blood? I’m sure his philosophy was one of love and peace.

    Chris Dorner was entitled to his disagreement with the LAPD, yes. It is no secret that the LAPD is corrupt and racist. If his manifesto is true as written, we can agree that this was a black man who was being oppressed and denied his rights.

    However, when Dorner decided to compile a hit list (of some 50 or so people) and start killing the innocent daughter of a police chief and her fiance then he crossed over into different territory. From then on, we were no longer dealing with a black man who had a legitimate claim for discrimination – we were dealing with a psychopathic murderer. Should the public see his actions as any different from a disgruntled boy who goes into a school and shoots children just because he’s black and faced racism?

    What did the daughter of the police chief and her fiance have to do with this whole thing? Would you have been happy for your child to be murdered in cold blood by someone who was upset with how you’d treated them?

    Yes, Dorner may have been denied a job in the LAPD but this did not give him the right to describes the lives and futures of others in such a brutal manner especially.

    I don’t condone his actions or feel bad for him just because he is black. That’s lame. If we want to discuss discrimination let’s do that, but let’s not excuse homicidal actions at the same time. So what if he’d served his country before he “went rogue”?? How does that make his actions ok?

    Perhaps he’d had a psychotic break or was suffering with some kind of mental disorder. Perhaps his treatment at the hands of the LAPD while working there was part of this. That’s very unfortunate. But it is not a normal response to kill people – and that’s the reason for which Dorner had to be dealt with.

    The most bizarre thing is that Dorner’s manifesto will never be taken seriously, nor given the time of day because of his actions. If he really intended to create some change as you suggest, I’m not sure how he thought that killing people would do that.

    Any corruption will most likely continue now in the LAPD, as will racism, as will whatever else Dorner talked about. So, what did Dorner achieve in the end, except some 5 minutes of fame (which quite frankly is probably what he really wanted)? He certainly did nothing to advance the cause of black people!!

  • Dante

    I don’t believe Dorner was “mentally ill.” I believe his reaction to his being fired was one that was not inevitable. Dorner was pushed to his limit, which is clear when you read his manifesto. How many times did he mention going to some board to testify against the evils plaguing the LAPD? Each and every time, he was denied and made to look bad.

    All of this made him snap.

    Dorner was a good man who made a very bad decision, but he was by no means a bad man or a mentally ill man. You don’t have to be crazy to kill people, you just need to have a reason.

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