Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck has changed his tune about alleged cop killer Christopher Dorner’s writings about being wrongfully terminated, announcing yesterday that the department was opening an investigation into Dorner’s firing. The massive manhunt for the former Los Angeles cop and Navy officer moves into its fourth day, apparently centered on the mountains of Big Bear 80 miles outside of Los Angeles.
Though Beck had initially dismissed Dorner’s allegations made in his lengthy online manifesto that the department was still riddled with racism and corruption, Beck yesterday implied that he was reopening the case as a public relations move — not to appease Dorner.
“I am aware of the ghosts of the L.A.P.D.’s past, and one of my biggest concerns is that they will be resurrected by Dorner’s allegations of racism within the department,” Chief Charlie Beck said in a written statement.
“Therefore, I feel we need to also publicly address Dorner’s allegations regarding his termination,” he said. “I do this not to appease a murderer. I do it to reassure the public that their Police Department is transparent and fair in all the things we do.”
In his manifesto, Dorner, 33, says the killing won’t stop until the LAPD holds a press conference and tells the public the truth about his wrongful termination so that he can clear his name.
“The question is, what would you do to clear your name?” Dorner wrote in his manifesto, which was published in its entirety on a site called LAist.com after it had been removed from Facebook. “A name is more than just a noun, verb, or adjective. It’s your life, your legacy, your journey, sacrifices and everything you’ve worked hard for every day of your life as adolescent, young adult and adult. Don’t let anybody tarnish it when you know you’ve live up to your own set of ethics and personal ethos.”
Dorner’s 2009 termination centered around an allegation he made in 2007 that he witnessed a female officer abuse a mentally ill homeless man. He believes he was fired by a corrupt department in retaliation.
Some supporters on the Internet called Dorner, “Rambo” or “the black Jason Bourne,” after popular movie characters, although the case feels like a real-life enactment of the Jamie Foxx-Gerard Butler movie “Law Abiding Citizen.” There have been Facebook pages created in support of him and messages all over the Internet from people who say his claims deserve to be investigated.
On the Facebook page entitled “I Support Christopher Dorner,” which had more than 3,500 “likes” as of Saturday morning, the page’s creator explained: “This is not a page about supporting the killing of innocent people. It’s supporting fighting back against corrupt cops and bringing to light what they do.”
In an interview with the Los Angeles Daily News, the unidentified creator said, “I don’t condone the acts of killing people, but I was going to try to spin it in a way that people can actually learn from him. It’s a perfect story about a person who wanted to just do the right thing, but couldn’t catch a break. Maybe if enough people talk about it, hear it, see it, maybe some change can come out of it.”
Police suspect Dorner’s first two targets were Monica Quan, 28, the daughter of one of his former LAPD colleagues, Randy Quan — who was the first Asian-American captain in LAPD history — and her fiance, Keith Lawrence, 27. Quan, who later became a lawyer, represented Dorner during his wrongful termination hearings and Dorner wrote that Quan was still working to protect the LAPD.
Quan’s daughter Monica was an assistant women’s basketball coach at Cal-State Fullerton and Lawrence was a public safety officer at the University of Southern California. The two met when they were student athletes at Concordia University. They were found slumped over in their car in a parking garage near their condominium in Irvine. They had been killed on Sunday evening after leaving a Super Bowl party.
On Thursday in Corona, Dorner is accused of shooting an LAPD cop who had been assigned to protect one of the officers he threatened in the manifesto, according to LAPD Officer Tenesha Dobine. Dorner is also suspected of ambushing two Riverside officers at an intersection, killing one and sending the other to the hospital.
“The department has not changed since the Rampart and Rodney King days,” Dorner wrote, citing the LAPD’s most high-profile case of corruption (Rampart) and police brutality (the Rodney King beating). “It has gotten worse. The consent decree should never have been lifted. The only thing that has evolved from the consent decree is those officers involved in the Rampart scandal and Rodney King incidents have since promoted to supervisor, commanders, and command staff, and executive positions.”
Dorner lashes white, black, Latino, Asian and lesbian officers for contributing to the culture of abuse and corruption in the department. He cited white officers who join the department with the sole intent of victimizing minorities, black officers in supervisory positions who abuse and belittle their white subordinates and “breed a new generation of bigoted caucasian officer,” Hispanic officers who demean and disrespect other Hispanics to gain the acceptance of white officers, lesbians in positions of authority who go out of their way to demean male officers, and Asian officers who watch it all without raising a word of protest because they just want to avoid conflict.
Dorner even encourages civilians not to help police officers in need because “they would not do the same for you.”
“They will let you bleed out just so they can brag to other officers that they had a 187 caper the other day and can’t wait to accrue the overtime in future court subpoenas,” he wrote. “As they always say, ‘that’s the paramedics job… not mine.’ Let the balance of loss of life take place. Sometimes a reset needs to occur.”
The search party pursuing Dorner has had a difficult time because of a snowstorm in the San Bernardino mountains, where his burned-out pickup truck was discovered Thursday.
Apparently weapons were found in the truck, a source told the AP. Investigators are trying to determine whether the truck broke down or was set ablaze as a diversion. Although the truck had a broken axle, investigators are trying to see whether it was already broken when they found it, or whether it was damaged when it was towed away.
In other developments, surveillance video shows Dorner tossing several items into a trash bin behind an auto parts store in National City on Monday. The items apparently were a magazine full of bullets, a military belt and a military helmet, the store manager told FOX5 in San Diego.
Evidence apparently was collected from a Buena Park storage unit. Ten bags of evidence, including five electronic items, were removed from a La Palma house belonging to Dorner’s mother.