Ex-LAPD officer Dorner reportedly being hunted by drones as wide-ranging search continues
By End the Lie
According to a report out of the UK, former Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) officer and alleged murderer Christopher Dorner is now being hunted by drones as the massive search continues.
While some might find this surprising, readers of End the Lie are likely far from shocked given that I just reported on the fact that over 80 public agencies have been authorized to fly drones in the U.S. not to mention the fact that documents reveal that drones fly over the U.S. regularly.
Furthermore, the military flies drones and shares data with law enforcement, at least one National Guard unit flies drones over the U.S., the Department of Homeland Security is embracing drones and American colleges and universities are offering more drone programs to keep pace with the domestic drone boom and the Pentagon identified 110 potential drone bases in June of last year.
The Express, out of the UK, reported today that drones equipped with thermal imaging cameras “may be our only hope” of capturing Dorner.
“The thermal imaging cameras the drones use may be our only hope of finding him,” an unnamed senior police source told the Express. “On the ground, it’s like looking for a needle in a haystack.”
When Riverside Police Chief Sergio Diaz was directly asked if drones have already been deployed in the search, he said, “We are using all the tools at our disposal.”
Diaz is jointly leading the massive task force searching for Dorner who has become what the Express called “the first human target for remotely-controlled airborne drones on US soil.”
This statement isn’t all that accurate given that a Predator drone was used to locate a man who allegedly stole some cows in North Dakota in 2011. Local police at the time admitted that they used two Predator drones out of a nearby Air Force base in at least 24 surveillance missions.
The use of drones has only ramped up since then leading to an anti-drone resolution in Charlottesville, Virginia, a potential state-wide two-year drone moratorium in Virginia and many other states looking at pushing back against the use of drones not to mention potential federal action as well.
Meanwhile, a leaked Justice Department white paper revealed that the federal government believes they have the authority to kill Americans with drones without charge or trial (or clear evidence) and the program has no end in sight.
The use of drones was explicitly confirmed by Customs and Border Protection (incorrectly identified as “Customs and Border Patrol” by the Express) spokesman Ralph DeSio. Keep in mind, CBP is an agency of the Department of Homeland Security.
DeSio “revealed agents have been prepared for Dorner to make a dash for the Mexican border since his rampage began,” according to the Express.
“This agency has been at the forefront of domestic use of drones by law enforcement,” DeSio said. “That’s all I can say at the moment.”
So far two women delivering newspapers and one man on his way to go surfing – all of which look nothing like the suspect – have been shot at by police.
The Hispanic women, one 71 the other 47, were victims of what the LAPD called “a tragic misinterpretation.” Emma Hernandez, 71, was shot twice in her back and is expected to recover according to the Los Angeles Times, while her daughter was not struck by any bullets.
In the other case of mistaken identity, the man was driving a different make and color than that of Dorner, not to mention the fact that “Perdue looks nothing like Dorner: He’s several inches shorter and about a hundred pounds lighter. And Perdue is white; Dorner is black,” according to the Los Angeles Times.
There is now a $1,000,000 reward for Dorner and the LAPD recently announced that they will reopen the investigation into his 2008 firing.
UPDATE: While the joint task force refuses to comment on the reports of drone use in the search for Dorner, an LAPD spokesperson told KPCC that they are not using drones. DeSio (quoted above) also reportedly repudiated the report saying, “Reports that U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s unmanned aircraft systems are being used are incorrect. CBP UAS (unmanned aircraft systems) are not flying in support of the search.”
While the LAPD claim they are not using drones in the search, it is interesting to note that the joint task force refused to comment since the task force includes “LAPD, Irvine and Riverside police departments, the San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department, Orange County Sheriff’s Department, the FBI and the U.S. Marshals Service,” according to KPCC.
“We do not discuss tactical strategies or investigation details,” a task force spokesperson said, according to KPCC.
UPDATE 2: Mashable reported a statement from an LAPD Public Information Officer that completely contradicts the above reporting from KPCC.
Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai writes for Mashable:
Public Information Officer Alex Martinez told Mashable that the department doesn’t discuss these issues with the press. “That would tip off any suspect watching media, right?” he said in a phone interview. “So, to answer your question, we’re not gonna answer that. Obviously because he has access to media and we’re not going to let him know how we’re approaching him.”
Now contrast with the report from KPCC:
Los Angeles police spokesperson Lt. Andy Smith said Sunday afternoon that the department is not using drones to find Dorner.
LAPD Deputy Chief Jose Perez reiterated the point to reporters Monday afternoon during a news conference in Riverside. ”No, LAPD doesn’t have any drones,” he said, adding that he wasn’t aware of any drones being used during the search.
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