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Nadra Kareem Nittle

Race, Racism and The Christopher Dorner Manhunt

By February 11, 2013

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The manhunt for ex-cop Christopher Dorner, suspected in the murders of three people around Southern California, has made international headlines. Dorner not only remains on the loose but also wrote a "manifesto" explaining that he decided to resort to murder because the Los Angeles Police Department fired him in 2009 for accusing a fellow officer of kicking a suspect during an arrest. The LAPD ruled that Dorner lied about what he'd witnessed, which Dorner adamantly disputes. Dorner claims that the department's dismissal of him resulted in him losing his family and future. Hence, he had no choice but to target the law enforcement personnel involved in his firing and their loved ones to clear his name. The City of Los Angeles is now offering a $1 million reward for anyone who can provide information leading to Dorner's arrest, but the L.A. Weekly evidently believes that the black community won't be quick to hand Dorner over. According to the alternative rag, we black folks think of Dorner as a "hero."

The Weekly's Dennis Romero writes: "Disgraced ex-LAPD cop Christopher Dorner has been described by police and experts as a delusional and perhaps even psychopathic killer. But in the African American community he's often viewed in a different light--as a victim of racism who became unhinged only after exhausting legitimate avenues to fight the good fight against his firing. Some are even calling him a hero."

Romero then goes on to quote one, I repeat, one Twitter user who wrote "Dorner Stay safe, we believe you." I don't know how this one person amounts to the millions of people who make up the African-American community, but I guess I should be used to blacks being stereotyped and generalized about at this point. While Romero does go on to quote two Los Angeles-based black activists--Earl Ofari Hutchinson and Jasmyne Cannick--both never refer to Dorner as a hero. Hutchinson and Cannick simply state that many people share Dorner's view that LAPD is a corrupt organization where racism flourishes. In his screed, Dorner wrote: "Terminating officers because they expose a culture of lying, racism (from the academy), and excessive use of force will immediately change. PSB [Public Safety Bureau] 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."

It's safe to say that most Angelenos want a police department that trains officers to be honest, moral and anti-racist. But anyone with integrity would argue that murder isn't the way to combat police use of excessive force. Pointing this out, though wouldn't feed Romero's sensationalistic claim that two "distinct communities view a man so differently." Actually, we don't. To suggest that Dorner is a hero to blacks and a menace to whites is completely irresponsible, especially given that Dorner allegedly killed a young, black man with a bright future. Police say Dorner fatally shot Concordia University grad Keith Lawrence and his fiancée, Monica Quan, on Feb. 3 in Irvine, Calif. Why? Because Quan is the daughter of Randal K. Quan, a retired LAPD captain Dorner says gave him the short shrift at the hearing that led to his dismissal from LAPD. I doubt Lawrence's family views Dorner as a hero, or aren't they part of the black community?




February 17, 2013 at 4:45 pm
(1) iecede says:

I think it’s instructive that the police shot as many innocent people as he was accused of shooting, while they were looking for him.

February 17, 2013 at 8:10 pm
(2) Robert says:

Hi Nadra…

Last night I watched Howard Hawk’s Movie “His Girl Friday” (But the title really doesn’t fit the movie… I would go into the inherent sexism but this is not the place)… a very strong theme in the movie is the press media desire to sensationalize events to sell papers. I suspect this is what is going on here.

I briefly saw mention of a “rally” which occurred downtown of those in support of Doner… there may have been a dozen people who attended… this dozen or so people do not represent the African American Community in Los Angles… as I and my clique of friends don’t represent the gay/lesbian community, the liberal/left/spiritual community, the pseudo-intellectual artsie community or the Social Worker of Los Angeles… we represent ourselves…

the media short hands things a little too often and compartmentalizes a little too bluntly… thus taking potential truths and turning them into lies…

I am very glad you posted this… thank you.


February 17, 2013 at 8:21 pm
(3) robert says:


Doner killed four people…. just thought I mention that…

February 25, 2013 at 5:23 pm
(4) Robert says:

Doner also had a a white cop and his black wife and children on his hit list. This cop was on the panel that removed him from the force. The cops black wife is also a cop. The LAPD had to escort all his children to school and guard his home. If you recall doner didn’t kill the white couple he tied up when he was hiding in Big Bear. I don’t think color had anything to do with Doner, just the people he hated white or black, or Asian that were connected to his dismissal.

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