Is Chris Dorner a sacrificial lamb because he is bringing racist, unethical actions of the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) over the years to the media forefront? Los Angeles has a long history of abuse and racism against African Americans and Latinos. LAPD have terrorized African American and Latino residents for decades. Because space does not allow, here are just 7 of the many indications of a historic corrupt and racist Los Angeles Police Department.
- Police Chief William H. Parker began his reign of terror against African Americans and Latinos in 1950 when he became chief. Under Parker’s regime LAPD is described as having a racist power structure characterized with police brutality and racial abuse against African American and Latino residents. His longstanding policies in support of mistreatment of minorities is said to have led to the Watts Rebellion. Dr. Samad in the LA Progressive states, “The transformation of LAPD into a racially abusive paramilitary organization is the legacy of William H. Parker.”
- Chief Daryl Gates a protégée of Parker continued his predecessors’ racist and destructive actions from 1978 to 1992 during his time as chief. Among his many racist, unfair acts, policies and statements include the Rampart Scandal, Crash Unit and Operation Hammer. In an interview with The Los Angeles Times Gates had no difficulty in discussing his racist feelings in speaking of the deaths of many African Americans when arresting them with the choke hold, ''It seems to me that we may be finding that in some blacks when it is applied, the veins or the arteries do not open as fast as they do on normal people.''
- The gruesome beating of Rodney King in 1991 by LAPD was recorded by a bystander. King was beaten with batons, tasered several times and kicked. Charges with excessive force were lodged against the officers. The officers were acquitted of all charges setting off the Watts Rebellion. The LA Times explain Kings videotaped beating by the Los Angeles police became a symbol of the nation’s continuing racial tensions and subsequently led to a week of deadly race riots after the officers were acquitted
- A 1991 independent study assembled after the brutal LAPD beating of Rodney King revealed "a significant number" who "repetitively use excessive force against the public and persistently ignore the written guidelines of the department regarding force." Minority officers are often targets of racial slurs within the police department according to the report. "Sounds like monkey-slapping time," the report quoted one white officer's message referring to African Americans (New York Times).
- The Rampart Scandal in the 1990s was the widespread corruption, misconduct and perjury of the LAPD in the Community Resources Against Street Hoodlums (CRASH) initiative where many of the officers were on the payroll of the street gangs. LAPD was accused of harassing and abusing suspects, falsifying reports and being a police gang themselves according to Frontline. CRASH is also cited in a wrongful death lawsuit of rapper Notorious B.I.G.
- Racial profiling has been a rampant practice of LAPD for decades. African Americans and Latinos have been pulled over, stopped and detained for being in the wrong part of Los Angeles or just for not being white. In March 2012 for the very first time the Los Angeles Police Department’s investigation found a white LAPD officer, Patrick Smith a fifteen-year veteran who targeted Latino drivers for traffic stops because of their race, guilty of racial profiling. Smith tried to conceal his racist behavior by listing some of the Latino detainees as white to disguise that those stopped were overwhelmingly Latino (LA Now).
- Yesterday, February 7, 2013 LAPD admitted to shooting two innocent Latino women Maggie Carranza, 47 was shot in the hand, and her mother, 71-year-old Emma Hernandez was shot twice in the back and is in critical condition. The LAPD claimed mistaking them for Christopher Dorner. The elderly pair was delivering Los Angeles Times newspapers around 5:15 a.m. in Torrance, California when the LAPD opened fire on their vehicle. CBS news reports there were no warning, orders or demands just gunshots. Shortly after this shooting and not far away LAPD riddled another truck with bullets without warning. This time no one was shot.
To understand Christopher Dorner and what he must have experienced as an African American member of the LAPD you have to understand the history of the Los Angeles Police Department. No one is condoning or excusing taking a life. However, in reading Mr. Dorner’s letter to America and reviewing the racist and negative culture of the Los Angeles Police Department towards African Americans and Latinos it is clear that Christopher Dorner is a misunderstood individual who just tried to do the right thing and no one believed him.