THE CREATION OF A MANIFESTO: Black & Blue
By Cheryl Dorsey, retired LAPD Sergeant
The Creation of a Manifesto: Black & Blue is an autobiographical account of 20 years on the Los Angeles Police (LAPD) force by a young, black, female officer whose career began in the 1980s. For the very first time, Dorsey is giving readers a behind-the-scenes look at the inner workings of the third largest police department in the country. The sheets are pulled back and the LAPD is exposed. This is an undeniable, irrefutable and unfiltered look into the LAPD's internal responses to officers who dare to complain about sexism, racism, reverse-racism and sexual harassment.
Dorsey shares her first-hand experience with the department's two-tiered disciplinary system and administrative Board of Rights process, which ultimately led to the creation of a manifesto. Black & Blue is the journey of the honorably retired, Sergeant Cheryl Dorsey.
I had a supervisor tell me once that the LAPD is a machine: It will chew you up and spit you out. As an officer on the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD), one needs to recognize very early on, that you are nothing more than a cog in its wheel. On August 25, 1980, I became serial number 22607. Failure to wrap your head around this concept can cause sleepless nights, alcoholism, thoughts of suicide, diarrhea, loss of appetite and in some cases death, by your own hands.
Anyone who tries to describe the allegations of racism, unfair disciplinary practices and discrimination made by fired LAPD officer-turned murderer Christopher Dorner in February 2013 as “old news” is being intellectually dishonest. I am a first-hand witness and subsequent recipient of the backlash that awaits any officer who dares to take on the LAPD.
The LAPD will manufacture charges of police misconduct, force you to appear before a capricious administrative Board of Rights (BOR), and then terminate you at will. And when the fired officer complains publicly, the department will create an image of that officer in such a way that makes the officer appear distasteful; and therefore, anything that he or she says or do is rejected.
The department uses the press to create an image that the department can now justify. The press unwittingly becomes an accessory -- after the fact -- by repeating what the LAPD purports to be factual. The department, by its mere existence, is designed to tear an officer down in the police academy and then re-create that officer in an image the department likes. A subtle form of brainwashing occurs for some.
I resisted that treatment. I was my own woman. I needed a job true enough and I was damn good at what I did. I remained professional, courteous and compassionate when dealing with the citizens of Los Angeles. But, I never bled blue. I stayed the course. I fought the good fight. And as a result, after 20 years, I earned my service pension. Although I was beaten down and betrayed by the LAPD in the process, I managed to get out “alive.” I didn’t go on a murderous rampage when the department came after me in the twilight of my career. I understood that I was still in control. I just needed to hold on.
I was raised by a strong and independent mother who taught me all of my life to stand my ground. My father was a proud man from the South who didn’t scratch if he didn’t itch. I listened and held on to those life lessons taught to me by my working class parents. I grew up in a middle-class family, and enjoyed a comfortable lifestyle. My father was a metal-fitter at McDonnell Douglas Aircraft in Torrance, Calif. where he worked the swing shift until he retired in the late 70s. My mother worked as an accountant, and was the only black employee in all-white McKesson & Robbins, a pharmaceutical company in Anaheim, Calif. during the 1960s and 70s, before she retired in the 80s. She managed to thrive and prosper in that environment. My parents, Zango and Frankye Mae, taught me well. It was my upbringing that provided the foundation I needed to overcome obstacles and pursue my goals with passion and determination. This drive and can-do, will-do mindset would later serve me in my life and enable me to stay the course with the LAPD, retire with a pension; and most importantly, walk away with my sanity and dignity.
It is my hope that any person reading my story understands that when faced with adversity and the unrelenting gnashing by a super-employer, that:
1) you don’t have to buy into their system;
2) don’t be taken by surprise when their system betrays you; and
3) recognize that there is life after that super power. Believe that this too shall pass, and resist those feelings of helplessness and hopelessness.
For more information about retired Sgt. Cheryl Dorsey, visit www.CherylDorsey.net.