It seems as if reports of police brutality and corruption are servicing almost everyday. More than ever now we ask who polices the police? I am honored to have had the opportunity to interview spoken with retired LAPD Sergaent, Cheryl Dorsey, author of Creations of a Manifesto is speaking out about the injustices done by the LAPD.
Can you describe your experience with racism within the LAPD?
My entire career. It never ended. It never stopped. Yeah, it was always. Understand it wasn’t full scale. I mean it wasn’t sheer agony. There were times when I worked the in the gang unit, and when I worked CRASH, I was around a lot of Blacks, and it was a good time. I worked CRASH for two years, and that was one of the better times during my career, but there was always that under current and as I started to be more seasoned on the department and as I started to rise in rank, of course I stopped tolerating a whole lot less. And then at some point I had support, not necessarily below, but I had support above me in terms of my command staff. I had my lieutenant, my captain,- who supported and mentored me, and who would not let the powers that be mess with me, if that makes sense. So by the time that I made sergeant I was in a pretty good place, because I had time on the job plus I had made sergeant, and I had spent all of my time with LAPD working what we called field operations, which is time in the field. You know I call myself a ground pounder, and I’m very proud of that because when I came on guys would always think or say that women only came on the job for two reasons: to go inside and get a job shuffling paper around or to get a husband. When I came on LAPD, I didn’t do either of those. I came on LAPD, and I spent my entire career in field operations, and there’s not another woman on LAPD that can say that to this day…. I would venture to think. I’ve been gone for thirteen years. So my position and where I come from is so unique and so different, that’s why I felt compelled to tell my story, because I could tell it in a way that nobody else could. Nobody else could say that they have had the jobs that I’ve had. Nobody else could say that they went through what I’ve went through and survived it the way that I did.
Why did you decide to share your story?
Understand that when Christopher Dorner lost his mind and started killing people, I don’t condone what he did, and I knew that he certainly gone about it the wrong way and that the department would do what they normally do which is circle the wagon and protect the city, protect those officers that they felt that they needed to protect and then discredit Dorner. Now that he’s dead and gone, he can’t speak anymore about it, and I just felt compelled to write my story about what I went through and I did it in a way, that LAPD cannot say that I am a liar, because I talk about real life instances. I name people in some cases, and in other cases I don’t. I talk about real life circumstances that if you Google it, you will see exactly what I am talking about so the department can’t creditibly say I’m lying, or they can’t say that I am crazy, because I didn’t do what Dorner did going on a killing spree. I wasn’t a problem officer. I hadn’t been in all sorts of disciplinary hearings during my twenty year career. Most imporantly, I’m honorably retired. I spent 20 years in that department, so I’m not a disgruntled employee. They cannot say that I’m unhappy, and I have a bone to pick with the department, because I don’t. It’s about what’s fair and being truthful about what really goes on, because nobody talks about it.
When this whole thing happened with Christopher Dorner and our police chief went on tv and acted like he was sick that you would have a police officer who’s targeting other police officers and police officer’s family members, and that whatever this thing was that caused him to lose his mind he wanted to make sure that this would never happen again, and this was such a terrible situation. I’m listening to him, and I’m thinking, “he’s serious, right?” And then a couple of days later I’m watching tv, and he puts this Black chick upon tv in uniform who happens to be married to this white guy, a LAPD officer who is one of the guys who Dorner was coming after, and this Black woman is a sargent for LAPD, and she says that LAPD is great. There’s no racism in the department and she doesn’t know what Christopher Dorner was talking about. He was liar. He was unfit. This wasn’t true! So when I saw that I was done, because I knew that the chief of police had no intentions of doing anything differently. Now had she gotten up there and said, “Personally, I’ve never experienced anything that Dorner talked about.” I could buy that, but to say that racism does not exist anywhere in the Los Angeles Police Department is being intellectually dishonest.
What do you think needs to be changed within the LAPD?
The thing about Christoper Dorner was sent to an administrative hearing and the thing that is so blatantly unfair about that system is there are no rules and regulations. People that run those hearings are usually supervisors, captains, and above, and what happens is if you are not in the right camp and you have people on your board who don’t like you or who like the person that you may be accusing of doing wrongdoings which was the case of Christopher Dorner. You can see how that system is not going to be a fair system, and so the things that I would like to see changed I don’t know if I ever will because a lot of the problems (in my mind) are cultural and systematic, and LAPD won’t even admit that there’s a problem. Therefore, they are not going to do anything differently, as in the case with Christopher Dorner. That’s what set him off. I didn’t know Christopher Dorner but I know LAPD, and I know what was talked about, what was factual, because the things he complained about happened to me fifteen years earlier and nothing has changed. What would be fair is to have someone like retired judges sit on these boards, someone outside of LAPD who can make unbiased decision about the evidence one way or the other. As long as you have employees sitting on those boards, it’s going to be problematic.
That’s something that’s going on right now, where these officers lied and put him under arrest, and had it not been for that dash camera,which they tried to hide, but somehow the prosecutors got their hands on it, but not for that he would have been facing five years in prison. It’s nothing new. It’s just the matter of do you have the financial wherewithall to get an attorney who will scratch and dig and go under that case for you. You do understand that most people that go to jail, wind up with a public defender, and a public defender is not going to vigorously defend you. They’re going to try to get you to cop a plea, and now you’re in the system, but every now and then you actually get somebody who’s willing to put a defense and fight, and sometimes we find that when that happens that the officers weren’t being honest, and that’s what happened with this Jeter guy.
Follow Dorsey at:
Facebook: Cheryl Dorsey Retired LAPD Sergeant
Interview written and conducted by Francheska