February 14, 2013
By Maleena Lawrence
LAWT contributing writer
In recent days we have been trying to come to grips as to why Chris Dorner, a decorated military soldier and former LAPD officer chose the path of “necessary evil” to clear his name. To get a better understanding of his actions, I read his manifesto in which he states that by crossing the Blue line, he was retaliated against, persecuted and terminated, thus effectively ending both his military and law enforcement careers.
As I read Dorner’s manifesto, it reminded me of a prior incident with a current LAPD officer, Sergeant Randy Franklin. Who could better understand the frustrations of Dorner than a fellow officer who also believed the department he served was one of integrity, honesty, and dignity?
I interviewed Sgt. Franklin after reading an L.A. Times article about his battle with police corruption written on May 28, 2009 by Joel Rubin, then again, in the intense days of the LAPD announcing it’s plan to reopen Dorner’s case followed by an attached bounty offering $1 million for his capture.
For those unfamiliar with Sgt. Franklin’s case, in 2005, his home was illegally searched by LAPD. The search warrant (falsely written) stated the location was a gang hangout with "numerous citizen complaints of gang activity and blatant narcotic sales/use at the location."
A LAPD internal investigation cleared the officers of all allegations of misconduct stating there was no evidence that the officers had falsified a search warrant. Sgt. Franklin was then forced to seek remedy through a civil suit. The jury unanimously found the officers involved, liable for falsifying a search affidavit, which is a crime, and their conduct to be outrageous in doing so. Sergeant Franklin again asked that these officers be disciplined but LAPD refused and instead promoted them. According to Franklin, “… it’s a pattern of conduct that the LAPD covers up crime, the white officers get promoted and the black officers get fired”.
Sergeant Franklin then sought aid from the Police Commission, Los Angeles city council members, FBI, NAACP, ACLU, and the mayor of Los Angeles, all of whom refused to acknowledge or respond.
Today, Sergeant Franklin is still fighting the same injustice Chris Dorner talks about in his manifesto. He is still implicated in an unsolved murder in which they took his duty weapons during the illegal search and placed them into an unsolved murder investigation to imply a connection. The “path of moral corruptness” and racism runs deep in LAPD, so deep that Sgt. Franklin thinks it will never go away.
If one wants insight into the mindset of Dorner one simply needs to speak to Sergeant Franklin. Both are military trained, male Black police officers who reported injustices and endured the racist wrath of the Los Angeles Police Department. Both have spent large amounts of their personal incomes to fight the injustice of the department. The difference is, Sergeant Franklin chose a much less tragic route to air his grievances and reclaim his name. He has spent the past eight years trying to get the aforementioned people to listen and correct what they have done but to no avail.
Mentally, this makes you wonder, how many more officers silently suffer under the Blue Line instead of speaking out?
Unfortunately, it has taken a Dorner manifesto and several targeted deaths to get LAPD to take notice. If you ask Sergeant Franklin, what he thinks of the LAPD today, he will tell you, “They lack integrity, honor, dignity, discipline, reverence for the law and respect for the people they swore to serve.” This comes straight from someone who believes that the greatest mistake in his life was joining the LAPD.