Innocent people in Los Angeles have been shot at by police in California because the police thought they were Christopher Dorner, the man who has killed several people, including police officers, in the past week. Dorner has posted his grievances with the LAPD on-line, and promises to keep killing policemen and their families until he is stopped. A massive manhunt is underway and a large reward for his capture has been offered by the city of Los Angeles.
In these incidents, police have shot at people in vehicles that resemble Dorner’s truck, which is now known to have been driven up into the mountains, then abandoned and set on fire. Police maintain that the officers involved were justified in their actions because of the dangerous nature of the situation. Apparently being a slender Caucasian or a Hispanic grandmother makes it easy for you to be mixed up with a heavy-set man of African descent.
These police officers have abandoned their roles as enforcers of the law. Rather, they’ve decided that because some nutjob is making threats against LAPD, they have the power to be judge, jury, and executioner. Know your target and what’s behind it doesn’t come into play if what you’re shooting at doesn’t present a clear and present danger to you or other innocents. Even if Dorner was the person being shot at, if there isn’t a reason to believe that innocent life is in peril, then shooting at him isn’t justified.
Thanks to the policy of qualified immunity, they probably have very little to worry about. I sincerely doubt that a prosecutor will charge them, and if they are sued for their actions, even if they lose, the taxpayers will pick up the tab.
If the rest of us can’t be justified in preemptively murdering someone who scares us, then neither should the police. I want this whackjob locked away as much as everyone else, but shooting him on sight, and even worse, shooting anyone that the police think is him, is beyond the pale.