17 February 2013


National media are finally getting around to asking questions about law enforcement tactics in the killing of accused murderer Christopher Dorner ~ questions which I first posed six days ago before Dorner had been located, and elaborated upon two days ago in the wake of the gun battle and deliberate arson (by sheriff's deputies) which took Dorner's life.  Last night on the CBS Evening News there was a brief report featuring video on which law enforcement could be heard making radio calls, including ~

  • "Burn that f***ing house down.  Get going right now."
  • "Burn that motherf***er.
  • "We're going to go forward with the plan with the burner.  Like we talked about."
The "burner" refers to a remote-control battering ram (there were seven of them on the scene) used to deliver the incendiary tear gas which set ablaze the house in which Dorner had taken refuge.  

At a press conference, San Bernadino County Sheriff John McMahon (image above) stated that "we did not intentionally burn that house down", in contradiction to the recorded radio calls.  He also said that the most likely cause of death was a self-inflicted gunshot wound.  A single shot can be heard on the tape after the house had become an inferno, but it is impossible to tell from the remains whether Dorner died of smoke inhalation, or burned to death, or was killed by a police bullet or by one of his own rounds set off by the intense heat.  If Dorner did take his own life, he knew he was already a dead man.

Culpability for this major mishandling of a manhunt rests squarely with several law enforcement agencies, most immediately with the San Bernadino County Sheriff's Department.  One has to wonder whether they would have been as aggressive and impatient to silence Dorner if he had been white rather than black, and if there had been no other controversies surrounding his dismissal from the Los Angeles Police Department.

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