Saturday, February 9, 2013

Civil rights during a manhunt

At a friend's birthday party, the topic of the missing killer on the loose in southern California came up.

"I really hope they find him," said one of the men earnestly.

His tone struck me--why did he care so much?

He told us.  

On Thursday about noon when I was driving east on the 105, suddenly I noticed a couple of police cars behind me, pulling me over.

I thought: my speed?  my signals?  And then I remembered the earlier news about this guy Dorner who had killed some people.

As I listened to Melvin, I realized the problem: he's a bald, light-skinned African American man. 

"But you're about a hundred pounds lighter than that guy," I said.

Right--I'm 185 and I wasn't driving a truck, said Melvin.  But I'd seen his photo, and I realized some driver must have reported me.

I pulled over, and 12 police cars pulled up behind me.  No officer came to my window, however.  One stood behind my taillight on the left.

"Do you want me to get out of the car or show you my license?" I asked.

"No--stay where you are.  Don't move," said the officer.

I sat there, not reaching for anything, waiting.  They were clearly running the license of the car, and from that getting my driver's license and my photo.

Then all at once the officer got back in his car and they all drove off.  

The officer didn't come to the window of my car or anything.  No apology.  They just drove off.

When I and a couple of others heard this story, we were aghast.  But we heard that many people were stopped like this.  

Furthermore, two women delivering newspapers were shot.  Waiting lines at the US border to enter Mexico grew long and tedious.  Here and there in malls and gas stations, someone reporting sighting Dorner and everyone's day was interrupted as police cars arrived.  

Tonight Dorner died in a fiery inferno--not a happy ending, but at least closure.  

LAPD can stop the frantic search, and people who resemble Dorner or simply find themselves in the path of armed officers can stop fearing for their lives.


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