LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Police Department will reopen its investigation into the 2007 episode that led to the firing of Christopher Dorner, the former police officer who is wanted in three killings, department officials said Saturday night.
Dorner pledged revenge against Los Angeles police officers in a manifesto he posted online, in which he also claimed that racism in the department had led to his dismissal. He is wanted in connection with the killing of a former police captain’s daughter and her fiance last Sunday and the shooting death of a Riverside, Calif., police officer on Thursday morning.
“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," 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."
The killings and Dorner’s online manifesto have reopened old wounds for some black residents here, even as they condemned the violence. For decades, the Los Angeles Police Department was known nationwide for racism and corruption. And memories are still fresh of the riots in 1992 that followed the beating of a black man, Rodney King, by white police officers. The beating was caught on videotape and broadcast around the country.
In explaining why he chose to reopen Dorner’s case, Beck acknowledged his department’s difficult history.
“The Los Angeles Police Department has made tremendous strides in gaining the trust and confidence of the people we serve," he said in his statement, and he conceded that “Dorner’s actions may cause a pause in our increasingly positive relationship with the community."
Dorner, who joined the police department in 2005, was fired in 2008 for giving false statements, after he accused his training officer of kicking a suspect. He sued the department for wrongful termination, and lost at trial and again on appeal.
The decision to review Dorner’s termination marks a reversal from the tone Beck struck just two days ago, when he was asked about Dorner’s accusations of racism at a news conference.
“You’re talking about a homicide suspect who has committed atrocious crimes," he said. “If you want to give any attribution to his ramblings on the Internet, go right ahead. But I do not."