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LA Police to re-examine fugitive ex-cop's complaints

7:18 PM, Feb 9, 2013   |    comments
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By William M. Welch and Doug Stanglin
USA TODAY

LOS ANGELES - Police Chief Charlie Beck on Saturday ordered that the disciplinary case that led to the firing of a former cop, now a fugitive wanted in three slayings, be reopened for a full review.

The move came as search teams spent a third day hunting for Christopher Dorner in snow-covered mountains 100 miles to the east, again without reporting finding any recent sign of the fugitive and accused police killer.

Beck said that the department would reopen the case to publicly address complaints made by Dorner in an 11,000 word manifesto he allegedly wrote and posted online declaring war on law enforcement officials and their families.

"I do this not to appease a murderer,'' Beck said in a written statement. "I do it to reassure the public that their police department is transparent and fair in all the things that we do.''

In his rambling manifesto, Dorner cited a string of perceived injustices, discrimination and slurs leveled his way from childhood to his brief service in the Los Angeles Police Department as a motivation for his revenge rampage aimed at law enforcement.

Beck said he has directed the department's Standards Bureau and his special assistant for constitutional policing "to compeletely review'' a complaint Dorner brought against his training officer that led to the internal board hearing and his termination for false statements. He said it would include "re-examination of all evidence and a re-interview of witnesses.''

"We will also investigate any allegations made in his manifesto which were not included in his original complaint,'' said Beck, whose force has long been an object of complaints from minority communities, but which has also been praised by community leaders for reforming itself over the past decade.

Dorner, 33, is wanted in connection with a double homicide and the killing of a police officer in a rampage that police say stems from his dismissal from the Los Angeles Police Department in 2008. He is accused of the ambush shooting deaths of an Irvine couple, including the daughter of the former Los Angeles police detective who represented Dorner in the personnel case, and a Riverside police officer searching for him early Thursday.

Police swarmed into the Big Bear mountain community in the San Bernardino mountains Thursday after Dorner's burned-out pickup truck was found. They followed his tracks until losing them.

On Saturday, helicopters with heat-sensing technology were aloft searching for any thermal clues to Dorner in the mountains. Officers have also been going door-to-door, checking lodges, huts and unoccupied cabins, and trekking through snowy forests at this popular resort nestled in jagged peaks at an elevation of 7,000 feet.

Beck, in explaining his actions, said, "I am aware of the ghosts of the LAPD's past and one of my biggest concerns is that they will be resurrected by Dorner's allegations of racism within the Department.''

"But, I also know that we are a better organization now than ever before; better but not perfect,'' Beck wrote. "Fairness and equality are now the cornerstones of our values and that is reflected by the present diversity of the department. We are a majority of minorities, almost exactly reflecting the ethnic makeup of Los Angeles.''

"As hard as it has been to change the culture of the Los Angeles Police Department, it has been even more difficult to win and maintain the support of the public. As much as I value our successes in reducing crime, I value even more our gains in public confidence,'' Beck said.

Meantime, the chairman of the review board that heard Dorner's case told the Orange County Register that he is under police protection and has not been able to leave his home and family because of Dorner's threats.

"I haven't been able for the last few days to go outside my house,'' Capt. Phil Tingirides told the newspaper. "Am I afraid? Well, I hesitate to use th word... but I saw what he did to his attorney.''

"I recognize by being the chairman of the board that read the final verdict, he will be equally enraged by my part in it,'' Tingirides said.

"We hope it ends quickly without any more bloodshed or anyone else getting hurt,'' Los Angeles police Cmdr. Andrew Smith said. "We are prepared to go as long as it takes. We're in it for the long haul.''

Police say Dorner has taunted authorities through a manifesto filled with vows of revenge on police officers and their families.

Irvine (Calf.) Police Chief David Maggard named Dorner Wednesday night as the suspect in the slayings of Monica Quan, 28, an assistant basketball coach at California State University-Fullerton, and her fiance, Keith Lawrence, a University of Southern California campus security officer.

The couple were found dead of multiple gunshot wounds in their car outside their Irvine condominium Sunday night.

Quan was the daughter of Randy Quan, a retired LAPD captain who represented Dorner in the review process that led to his dismissal from the force for making false statements.

Randy Quan was the first Chinese-American to attain the rank of captain on the LAPD force, the department has said. He later served as chief of police at Cal Poly-Pomona, part of the California State University system.

Maggard said Dorner implicated himself in the killings in the manifesto.

"When the truth comes out, the killing stops," the document reads. "The attacks will stop when the department states the truth about my innocence. PUBLICLY!!! I will not accept any type of currency/goods in exchange for the attacks to stop, no do I want it. I want my name back, period. There is no negotiation."

He is also wanted in the shooting of three Los Angeles-area police officer on Thursday, one of whom died.

The police headquarters building in downtown Los Angeles was ringed by officers on foot and parked patrol cars, and snipers were in place on the roof in case the wanted ex-cop who vowed warfare against police and their families made a move there. Other police stations throughout the area had heavy visible protection as well.

In an ll-page document, the author baited authorities.

"Any threat assessments you generate will be useless," it read. "I have the strength and benefits of being unpredictable, unconventional, and unforgiving."

Dorner served in the Navy, earning a rifle marksman ribbon and pistol expert medal. He was assigned to a naval undersea warfare unit and various aviation training units, according to military records. He took leave from the LAPD for a six-month deployment to Bahrain in 2006 and 2007.

"Here's the bottom line: We don't know if he's on foot or not," Los Angeles Deputy Chief Kirk Albanese told the Associated Press. "Is he on foot up on the mountain? Is he down the mountain? We don't know."

Contributing: The Associated Press

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