Mandeville, LA – Exclusive Transcript – If we don’t question the authorities when they use lethal force, then human nature tells me they’ll use it more often. To my friend Deputy Shawn out there, of course I admire and respect your work, sir, and did not mean to cast dispersions on the entire San Bernardino County police force, but you must acknowledge and we must all agree that whenever lethal force is used, the public has a duty to demand under what conditions, under whose authority it was used. This is the only way you can mitigate it. Lethal force is just that and it ought to be very rare, very extraordinarily rare. When it is used, you ought to be able to state the reasons why. Check out today’s transcript for the rest…
(Letter from “Deputy Shawn” at bottom of page)
Begin Mike Church Show Transcript
Mike: AG, you saw this, I received a letter yesterday, I won’t reveal his name, from a San Bernardino County Sheriff’s deputy who actually was intimately involved and had direct knowledge of the Dorner situation, and how his demise came about. I was assured it was not a revenge killing, as I had kind of intimated, and that law enforcement was actually just carrying out their duty. He wasn’t your run-of-the-mill criminal. He was a highly-trained, very lethal criminal. Then there are some other points made here. I got the note from the officer, and thank you for that.
One of the facts that came up in the letter that I wanted to share with the audience is this, and I’m reading from the letter. You can write me firstname.lastname@example.org.
To clarify some facts, Mike, a marked patrol unit attempted to stop Dorner’s vehicle and pursued him to that cabin. When Dorner exited, he immediately fired at the two deputies in that patrol car, shooting them both in the face before they could get out of their vehicle. One of those brave men died of his wounds. Additional deputies then arrived and surrounded the cabin Dorner fled to. Even though Dorner had killed one of their fellow deputies and was shooting at them from the cabin, attempts were made to get him to surrender. Cold teargas canisters were used first, and then the pyrotechnic versions when initial attempts were unsuccessful. Anyone being shot at, whether in law enforcement or not, is within the right to return fire at their attacker. I hope you agree with that [Mike: Of course I do] and also that you will concede that attempts were made to get Dorner out of that cabin alive. Perhaps you will not concede even that.
Mike: I will. My only question was —
AG: I don’t know if —
Mike: My only question was, if you knew that the teargas burns at 400 degrees Fahrenheit, which another police officer informed me of, or military man informed me of, then you would have to know if you toss it into a wooden cabin with wooden floors what the result was going to be. I guess you could then assume that you’d have a flash fire. My only question was, if you had him surrounded, why not just wait him out? If he’s out there slinging bullets all hither and yon and you are in fear that someone is going to take a round as a result of that, then say that as the justification for using the incendiary devices to try to get him out of the cabin. I don’t think many people are going to have that visceral of an adverse reaction to that. That’s not how it has been reported. This is how it’s being relayed to me. Then he writes:
If not, at least understand that Dorner was a man who killed four good people before his demise in that cabin, two were peace officers gunned down in the line of duty; the other two were innocents whose only offense toward this madmen was to be related to an LAPD officer that Dorner had a grudge against. That girl and her fiancé were his first victims and did nothing to him and wore no badge.
AG: I thought the letter the officer wrote was very well laid out and intelligent. He did say in a couple pieces that there are questions that are going to have to be asked, notably: Why were police officers firing multiple tens of rounds into the back of a truck with two small, old Mexican ladies when they were looking for Dorner? That’s a terrible mistake. Luckily neither of them were killed.
Mike: That was the LAPD. That was not San Bernardino County Sheriff. I want to clarify that. That was the LAPD that did that.
AG: Yeah. He ultimately lumped the police together from different counties, sheriffs, police officers. I still wonder, we looked at, two weeks ago, where that child was taken off the school bus. The crazy guy ended up shooting the bus driver, kidnapping a child, went down into his bunker. For a week, the police officers, I think it was in Alabama, ended up communicating with him, not rushing the situation. I just wonder, the idea of waiting Dorner out, a remote area, I have a hard time saying it’s all right to use these incendiary devices. If the cold teargas wasn’t working, what gave you the impression the hot teargas was going to work any differently other than starting a fire? I don’t get that part of it.
It’s a scary proposition if it is all right for police officers, sheriffs, federal government to decide what tactics to use that lead to death, whether it be in drone strikes and the president and a couple others high in his administration making the unilateral decision that this person is okay to go after, or police officers saying cold teargas doesn’t work so we’re going to use hot teargas. Ultimately what hot teargas means is, we’re throwing, as he said, a wood cabin. It’s going to be lit on fire. What is the other outcome? He’s not going through the proper checks and balances that are there in our judicial system, as terrible a guy as Dorner was.
Mike: He got the ultimate justice. He got the death penalty. California probably wouldn’t have executed him. He did meet his demise there. No one is intimating, and I would never imply or entertain the thought, that any of what this nut job, this madman did — that’s why I was asking questions about the manifesto yesterday, and why I also said I hadn’t read it. Why should I read the ramblings of a lunatic? If you agree or say he’s a madman, then why would I want to read it? I got emails, [mocking] “Why don’t you read the manifesto before you talk?” Because I have other things I want to read. I don’t want to waste my time reading manifestos written by clinically insane lunatics. That’s why, to answer the question directly.
If we don’t question the authorities when they use lethal force, then human nature tells me they’ll use it more often. To my friend Deputy Shawn out there, of course I admire and respect your work, sir, and did not mean to cast dispersions on the entire San Bernardino County police force, but you must acknowledge and we must all agree that whenever lethal force is used, the public has a duty to demand under what conditions, under whose authority it was used. This is the only way you can mitigate it. Lethal force is just that and it ought to be very rare, very extraordinarily rare. When it is used, you ought to be able to state the reasons why.
You are acting, after all, sir, if you are a sheriff’s deputy, on behalf of all the residents of San Bernardino County California. You’re not just acting on yourself trying to protect your life. You, because you took an oath and because you work for a paramilitary organization, the sheriff’s department or police department, are acting on behalf of the citizenry as their guardian against the use of lethal force. You have a responsibility to state the reasons and the cases and the rationale and legality of why lethal force was to be used. I don’t think the police, most of them, would get upset about this, nor do I think they should. I think they should cheerfully, in a solemn manner of course because there are dead people here, but happily surrender that information as to the use of lethal force.
If you think that is beyond the pale or that because you’re the law, [mocking] “I used it because I’m the law and I’m the one that gets to determine it.” No, that’s not the way law is supposed to work. We have a duty to ask these questions as citizens. You have a duty to provide answers. We all have a duty to somberly reflect on this and determine whether or not lethal force was used prudently or not. This is not to legally make someone else’s life a holy hell, but there could be other situations where lethal force could be used and cooler heads or more lengthy and solemn consideration and meditation may produce the consensus that we shouldn’t use it here. It should only be the absolute last resort. I don’t think that is being reckless and irresponsible, demagogic or any of the things that you could attach to someone that was asking the questions we were asking yesterday.
Just to be clear, I believe, again, that was a responsible use of these airwaves. The deputy’s letter is evidence of that because he did provide us with a lot more information than the LA Times has. I know a lot more about it now than I knew before, and I’m glad that I know a lot more about it. I thank the deputy for the letter and for the explanation and for his work as a peace officer. I hope that a full and totally independent reporting of this is ultimately made so that everyone understands and knows why the force was used and whether or not in a similar situation should it be used again. That’s something we debate publicly. That’s why we have self-government.
End Mike Church Show Transcript
Dear Mr. Church,
Good morning, and thank you for your daily message of personal freedom and responsibility. I am a listener, and a peace officer with the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department. Unfortunately, due to my location here on the left coast, I’m unable to call in to the program, and usually listen to a re-broadcast that better fits my time zone and schedule. However, I feel it is important I contact you regarding some of your discussion of the Dorner matter.
Many of your listeners, I think you will agree, already have a less than favorable opinion of government agencies. Especially national agencies intruding on local matters that are beyond their legal authority. However, I hope you will concede that there is a place for local law enforcement, should a County/Parish or City decide they want such. I would be among the first to condemn actions such as Ruby Ridge or Waco, in which innocents were needlessly slaughtered. However, the Dorner affair should not be compared to those. Not that you drew such comparison. However, I fear that your discussion will lead many listeners to draw conclusions that my employer, and fellow deputies, acted badly. I cannot speak to LAPD’s mistaken shooting of the two newspaper delivery drivers, whos vehicle sadly resembled Dorner’s. Something obviously went terribly wrong there. I only want to clarify some facts regarding the stand off at the cabin in Big Bear, California.
First, you referred to deputies involved in that action as “rogue” officers, and being out for vengeance. I assume you reach that opinion based on the heated radio communications picked up via scanner. I agree that those statements, made during an active and ongoing gun battle, sound bad. However, the actual actions taken during the confrontation with Dorner at that cabin were reasonable. I ask that you judge those Deputies, if you must, by those actions, rather than by some ill advised statements made during the heat of a firefight.
To clarify some facts. A marked patrol unit attempted to stop Dorner’s vehicle, and pursued him to that cabin. When Dorner exited, he immediately fired at the two deputies in that patrol car, shooting them both in the face before they could get out of their vehicle. One of those brave men died of his wounds. Additional deputies then arrived and surrounded the cabin Dorner fled to. Even though Dorner had killed one of their fellow deputies, and was shooting at them from the cabin, attempts were made to get him to surrender. Cold tear gas canisters were used first, and then the pyrotechnic versions when initial attempts were unsuccessful. Anyone being shot at, whether in law enforcement or not, is within the right to return fire at their attacker. I hope you agree with that. And also that you will concede that attempts were made to get Dorner out of that cabin alive.
Perhaps you will not concede even that. If not, at least understand that Dorner was a man who killed four good people before his demise in that cabin. Two were peace officers, gunned down in the line of duty. The other two were innocents, whos only offense toward this madman was to be related to an LAPD officer that Dorner had a grudge against. That girl and her fiancee were his first victims, did nothing to him, and wore no badge.
I have a great deal of respect for you, Mike. I enjoy your show, and despair at the state of our country. I am an Oathkeeper, a member of the CSPOA, and will do what I can to oppose this ever encroaching tyranny. Please do what you can to build bridges between decent peace officers and departments, and your audience. We will need each other in the times ahead. Sheriff McMahon, who is my boss, is a good man, and has just taken office this year. I have every hope that he will move our department in the right direction.
I do not speak for my department, or for the Sheriff of my County, only for myself. If you use any of this information, please do not characterize it as official, and respect my privacy as much as you can.
Thank you, and warmest regards to you and your family,