by Maria Lloyd
In a lengthy manifesto, former LAPD officer Christopher Dorner attempts to explain the core of his violent actions. Throughout the manifesto, he references racism, disappointment, and revenge. He explains his well-to-do upbringing, where he was only one of two African-American students in his elementary class. He also explains his first encounter with racism in the first grade. Then he goes into what brought him to where he is today — a runaway fugitive who is wanted for murdering the daughter and future son-in-law of a retired LAPD captain who sat on the board that terminated him for reporting the unethical acts of another officer and for shooting three LAPD officers, killing one.
According to a study conducted by Lorena Estrada-Martinez, assistant professor at the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis, different types of stress, particularly from racial discrimination, can influence the risk for violent behaviors and depressive symptoms in African-American young adults. “African-American youth who were at greatest risk for engaging in violent behaviors while transitioning into adulthood were those who experienced higher levels of racial discrimination in addition to general daily stressors. Contrary to expectations, stress that stemmed from financial shortage and neighborhood stress were not associated with the risk of violent behaviors during emerging adulthood,” Estrada-Martinez says. Assuming his manifesto is truthful, is it safe to assume that years of discrimination may have caught up with Dorner?
Read excerpts from his manifesto below (officers’ names were removed out of respect for their privacy):
On the racist culture of the LAPD:[…] The department has not changed since the Rampart and Rodney King days. It has gotten worse. The consent decree should never have been lifted. The only thing that has evolved from the consent decree is those officers involved in the Rampart scandal and Rodney King incidents have since promoted to supervisor, commanders, and command staff, and executive positions.
On being called a n*gger by a fellow officer/co-worker:[…] The sad thing about this incident was that when Detective XXXX from internal affairs investigated this incident only (1) officer (unknown) in the van other than myself had statements constistent [sic] with what actually happened. The other six officers all stated they heard nothing and saw nothing. Shame on every one of you. Shame on Detective XXXX (same ethnicity as XXXX) for creating a separate 1.28 formal complaint against me (XXXX complaint) in retaliation for initiating the complaint against XXXX and XXXX. Don’t retaliate against honest officers for breaking your so-called blue line. I hope your son XXXX, who I knew, is a better officer than you, Detective XXXX. The saddest part of this ordeal was that Officer XXXX and XXXX were only given 22 day suspensions and are still LAPD officers to this day. That day, the LAPD stated that it is acceptable for fellow officers to call black officers n*ggers to their face and you will receive a slap on the wrist. Even sadder is that during that 22 day suspension XXXX and XXXX received is that the LAPPL (Los Angeles Police Protective League) paid the officers their salaries while they were suspended. When I took a two-day suspension for an accidental discharge, I took my suspension and never applied for a league salary. Its called integrity.
On his first encounter with racism:[…] Find any incidents where I was ever accused of being a bully. You won’t, because it doesn’t exist. It’s not in my DNA. Never was. I was the only black kid in each of my elementary school classes from first grade to seventh grade in junior high and any instances where I was disciplined for fighting was in response to fellow students provoking common childhood schoolyard fights, or calling me a n*gger or other derogatory racial names. I grew up in neighborhoods where blacks make up less than 1%. My first recollection of racism was in the first grade at Norwalk Christian elementary school in Norwalk, CA. A fellow student, XXXX if I can recall, called me a n*gger on the playground. My response was swift and non-lethal. I struck him fast and hard with a punch an kick. He cried and reported it to a teacher. The teacher reported it to the principal. The principal swatted XXXX for using a derogatory word toward me.
On the LAPD victimizing minorities:[…] Terminating officers because they expose a culture of lying, racism (from the academy), and excessive use of force will immediately change. PSB can not police their own and that has been proven. The blue line will forever be severed and a cultural change will be implanted. You have awoken a sleeping giant. I am here to change and make policy. The culture of LAPD versus the community and honest/good officers needs to and will change. I am here to correct and calibrate your morale compasses to true north. Those Caucasian officers who join South Bureau divisions (77th,SW,SE, an Harbor) with the sole intent to victimize minorities who are uneducated, and unaware of criminal law, civil law, and civil rights. You prefer the South bureau because a use of force/deadly force is likely and the individual you use UOF on will likely not report it. You are a high value target. Those Black officers in supervisory ranks and pay grades who stay in south bureau (even though you live in the valley or OC) for the sole intent of getting retribution toward subordinate caucasians officers for the pain and hostile work environment their elders inflicted on you as probationers (P-1′s) and novice P-2’s. You are a high value target. You perpetuated the cycle of racism in the department as well. You breed a new generation of bigoted caucasian officer when you belittle them and treat them unfairly.
His warning to LAPD officers:[…] No one grows up and wants to be a cop killer. It was against everything I’ve ever was. As a young police explorer I found my calling in life. But, As a young police officer I found that the violent suspects on the street are not the only people you have to watch. It is the officer who was hired on to the department (pre-2000) before polygraphs were standard for all new hires and a substantial vetting in a backround investigation. […] Suppressing the truth will leave to deadly consequences for you and your family. There will be an element of surprise where you work, live, eat, and sleep. I will utilize ISR at your home, workplace, and all locations in between. I will utilize OSINT to discover your residences, spouses workplaces, and children’s schools. IMINT to coordinate and plan attacks on your fixed locations. Its amazing whats on NIPR. HUMINT will be utilized to collect personal schedules of targets. I never had the opportunity to have a family of my own, I’m terminating yours. XXXX, XXXX, XXXX, and BOR members Look your wives/husbands and surviving children directly in the face and tell them the truth as to why your children are dead. […] 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.
This is no attempt to support the violent actions of Dorner; however, this is an attempt to open the floor for conversation about racism and its damaging affects. If America does not discuss racism head-on, society will continue to cultivate more Chris Dorner’s. Racism brings forth feelings of anguish, betrayal, and frustration. Anyone who has frequently been on the receiving end of racial discrimination has felt like Dorner at one point and time. Fortunately, most victims of racial discrimination have managed to exert their frustrations in a non-violent/non-life threatening manner, but the more we continue to pretend as if racism does not exist, the more violence will erupt. You can read the whole manifesto by clicking here.
Do you believe Dorner’s actions are the result of racism?
Maria Lloyd (@WritingsByMaria) is the Business Manager for the Your Black World Network and Dr. Boyce Watkins. She is a graduate of Clark Atlanta University and an advocate of dismantling the prison industrial complex, increasing entrepreneurship, reforming education, and eradicating poverty.