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The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

Christopher Dorner: LA police department hero or villain?

Five people shot dead. A 10-day manhunt. One final shootout, one burned-down cabin and one ex-cop on a killing rampage.

Christopher Dorner, former Los Angeles police officer and United States Navy reservist, killed four and wounded three on Feb. 3 under the pretense of a vendetta with the LAPD. Dorner was confirmed dead 10 days later, after U.S. Border Control found him in a well-hidden cabin.

The 33-year-old hid near the police command center in California’s Big Bear Lake area. The search for Dorner led border control agents and police to the San Bernardino Mountains, where Dorner was cornered after a shootout on Feb. 12.

The shootout resulted in the death of Sheriff’s Deputy Jeremiah MacKay and left another wounded.

Dorner was ultimately found in a cabin, which caught fire as police were approaching from the outside.

“We did not intentionally burn that cabin down,” Sheriff John McMahon told CNN.

It is speculated that the cabin caught fire due to highly flammable tear gas, used by police to coerce Dorner from the building.

“The information that we have right now seems to indicate that the wound that took Dorner’s life was self-inflicted,” said Captain Kevin Lacy of the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department in a press conference.

The rampage began on Feb. 3, when Dorner killed Monica Quan, 28, and her fiance Keith Lawrence, 27.

Monica was the daughter of Randall Quan, retired police captain and the attorney who represented Dorner in disciplinary hearings that determined his dismissal from the force.

The day after Dorner killed Monica and Lawrence, Randall received a phone call from Dorner who told Randall that he “should have done a better job of protecting his daughter.”

Dorner also killed Michael Crain, a police officer in Riverside on Feb. 7.

Dorner justified his killing rampage by claiming that the LAPD was racist and corrupt.  He wrote a 6,000-word manifesto and posted it on his Facebook page, accusing the police force of driving him away and firing him without legitimate reason.

“(Officer Teresa) Evans kicked the suspect twice in the chest and once in the face,” Dorner wrote.

Dorner said that the LAPD accused him of fabricating his allegation against Officer Evans. He was relieved of his duties 10 months later.

In his manifesto, Dorner noted that he had broken the force’s “supposed Blue Line,” also known as the unwritten rule that discourages reporting fellow officers for misconduct.

“Policing subculture is very prominent in policing; there’s no question it exists,” said Sanjay Marwah, Guilford’s assistant professor of justice and policy studies. “You don’t rat on a fellow police officer … that also probably lessened his credibility.”

Dorner said that he wanted to alter the “Blue Line” and the LAPD’s allegedly racist culture.

“I am here to change and make policy … I am here to correct and calibrate your moral compasses to true north,” stated Dorner’s manifesto.

“Self preservation is no longer important to me. I do not fear death as I died long ago on  Jan. 2, 2009.”

Marwah spoke to Dorner’s mindset.

“I think he might have had personality and emotional problems,” said Marwah. “In his mind, he thought ‘everybody was against me.’”

Nancy Dorner, the perpetrator’s mother, issued a statement on behalf of the Dorner family.

“It is with great sadness and heavy hearts that we express our deepest sympathies and condolences to anyone that has suffered losses or injuries resulting from Christopher’s actions,” said Nancy. “We do not condone Christopher’s actions.”

However, a Facebook page entitled “We Stand with Christopher Dorner” has over 27,000 followers. Many of the people who side with Dorner do not condone his killings, but support his message.

“The way he responded to discrimination is not the correct way,” Donald Tibbs, a Drexel University professor who studies race and civil rights, told The Times. “At the same time, his accusations seem to take us back and remind us of the days of old — maybe they’re not so old.” The LAPD has a history of controversy with race dating back to Rodney King in 1991.

Guilford Junior Alejandra Ruiz, an Los Angeles native, shared her perspective.

Ruiz believes that Dorner’s message was to uncover the LAPD conspiracies.

“I think Dorner wanted to expose the LAPD for what they really are,” she continued. “The LAPD has a series of turbulent (racist and police brutality) cases that have been brushed off, and he wanted to show the public how unfair and discriminatory they are.”

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