*After a massive 48-day manhunt, three deputy U. S. Marshals saw accused cop killer, Eric Frein “moving through tall grass…” and they “could see his hands…he had no weapon.”
Frein was taken into custody near an abandoned airport hangar, without incident.
This was very different from the Christopher Dorner manhunt which ended in a shootout and Dorner’s death. Very different from the confrontation and detention of accused jay-walker Mike Brown in Ferguson Mo. This was not at all like the detention and capture of “reasonably suspicious” Ezell Ford in Los Angeles.
As a retired LAPD sergeant, I know that officers are taught “time is on our side”; there’s no need to ‘rush in’; we can wait the suspect out.” Why didn’t the LAPD and San Bernardino Sheriff’s, after surrounding the cabin where Christopher Dorner had been hiding just wait for a while. What was their urgency? It had been reported that, Dorner had been spotted several times during the 9-day manhunt as he eluded authorities; much like Eric Frein. Why did Darren Wilson apparently need to confront Mike Brown for refusing to get out of the middle of the streets?. Why not just wait a while let him continue to walk to the sidewalk? What did the LAPD gang officers need to “talk” to Ezell Ford about that was so urgent that the officers grabbed him precipitating a confrontation which ended in his death. Why not just wait a while – “talk” to him on another day.
Eric Frein was described as a survivalist with an extensive shooting background; someone with a grudge against law enforcement and someone who had prepared for months if not years to ambush a police officer. Eric Frein had been named as one of the FBI’s 10 Most Wanted. Am I to assume that Eric Frein was “less frightening” to law enforcement than Dorner, Brown or Ford.
It was reported that Eric Frein had either left or abandoned an AK-47, ammunition and two pipe bombs as though they were bread crumbs for the pursuing officers to discover.
Yet, in the matter of Eric Frein there were no accusations of “scaring the police,” no “hand-hiding” and no “reaching for his waistband.” There were no flash bangs thrown. There were no structures burned to the ground once Frein had been spotted. Nope, Eric Frein had been allegedly caught with his guard down. Eric Frein was simply “ordered to lie face down” and handcuffed.
There seems to be striking similarities between the Christopher Dorner manhunt and the Eric Frein Manhunt, except Eric Frein is white and Christopher Dorner was black. Eric Frein and Christopher Dorner both appeared to have pre-planned their attacks. Both were considered armed and dangerous. Both were reported to be expert shooters. Both killed law enforcement officers in a cold-blooded and calculated manner. But only one was “ordered to lie face down and was handcuffed.”
I do not condone the actions of either Eric Frein or Christopher Dorner.
I am, however, bothered by the apparent disparity in the way police officers “handle” black and brown people. We are not the “boogie man.” What was the urgency in taking down Christopher Dorner? What was the exigent circumstance that precipitated the Mike Brown Shooting? What was so “scary” about Ezell Ford’s actions? When you have a real bad actor as in cop-killing, white, Eric Frein and a multi-agency strike force can bring about a non-lethal conclusion to his capture – shouldn’t that be the norm? I’m just asking.
I admit there is a lot that I don’t know about the capture of Frein, however, what I do know is – a young black man, in South Carolina, was asked to show his driver’s license to an officer and was shot several times. I know that a passenger, in a car, in Hammond, Indiana was ordered to show his identification and was tasered and arrested when he failed to comply. I know that the coroner, in Oklahoma, ruled the death of Luis Rodriguez a homicide after officers struggled with him in a movie theatre. If Dorner, Brown, Ford or Rodriguez had been white would they still be alive? I’m just asking.
Cheryl Dorsey is a retired LAPD sergeant, speaker, and much sought after police expert on important issues making national headlines. She writes and provides commentary on police culture and surviving police encounters. She is the author of “THE CREATION OF A MANIFESTO: Black & Blue,” an autobiography that pulls the covers of the LAPD and provides an unfiltered look into the department’s internal processes.