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Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION

LAPD chief's reopening of Dormer firing inexplicable

Posted: 02/14/2013 1:53 PM | Comments: 0

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In the way of the times, Christopher Jordan Dorner posted his deepest thoughts and aspirations to Facebook for the world to see. Typically, spree killers targeting police officers and their families are not so helpful.

The Dorner manhunt, the largest in California history, consumed and terrified the state and nation. Armed and dangerous, trained by the Los Angeles Police Department and U.S. Navy, he eluded capture for more than a week until Tuesday, when dozens of officers surrounded him in a cabin in mountainous Big Bear, Calif., for a final showdown that ended with his apparent death.

Dorner is believed to have killed two law enforcement officers, a former officer’s daughter and her fiance. Authorities say he injured at least three other officers, two in ambush shootings and another who tried to arrest him Tuesday. Last week, panicky LA police shot two women delivering newspapers after apparently mistaking their truck for Dorner’s; thankfully, they survived.

His online manifesto promised as much — and much more.

He expressed admiration for politicians (President Barack Obama and his wife, Joe Biden, Bill and Hillary Clinton, George H.W. Bush, Chris Christie), entertainers (Charlie Sheen among them) and media personalities (Piers Morgan, Joe Scarborough and Anderson Cooper but definitely not Fareed Zakaria). Politically, he stood strongly for marriage equality and stricter gun laws (and against the NRA’s "vile and inhumane" Wayne LaPierre).

But the real focus was his bitterness at the LAPD for firing him in January 2009, his justification for killing officers and their families as revenge. He insisted then, and on Facebook, that he told the truth about seeing his training officer kick a handcuffed suspect and that he blamed racism dating to childhood for his troubles.

We are not here to judge his claims, although it’s noteworthy that years of appeals did not overturn a police disciplinary board ruling against him. Monica Quan, the woman Dorner is accused of killing Feb. 3, was the daughter of the LAPD captain turned lawyer who represented him at his board hearing.

What does seem inexplicable was the decision last week by Police Chief Charlie Beck to reopen the investigation into Dorner’s firing. Had Beck done that before Dorner started killing, that would have been internal LAPD business. Given the department’s well-documented racial history and efforts to improve community relations since Rodney King, Beck might have had a point.

By ruling after shots were fired, the chief gave every indication that he was caving to the vengeful rantings of an accused murderer, despite specifically denying he was. The U.S. government maintains an official position against negotiating with terrorists, in part to deny the next terrorist an incentive to kill until he gets what he wants.

What demand will Beck agree to meet for the next murder suspect on the run? When Chris Dorner started acting on his stated intentions, he forfeited his right to favor. We would have hoped the LA police chief would have grasped that.

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