More than four years after he was fired from the Los Angeles Police Department for making false statements and filing a false complaint, Charles Dorner is alleged to have murdered Monica Quan, the daughter of a former police captain, and her fiancé Keith Lawrence; assaulted a senior citizen in an attempt to steal his boat; shot a police officer guarding a potential victim; fired on two more police officers, killing one of them; mailed a package to Anderson Cooper; and pledged in an online “manifesto” to kill many more. Los Angeles is in a state of panic. The authorities have issued a $1 million reward for information leading to the arrest of Dorner, who remains at large.
The New York Times, meanwhile, reports that the ravings of this murderous lunatic “have reopened old wounds” in Los Angeles:
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.
So were the riots themselves, in which 53 people were killed, thousands were injured, and up to $1 billion in property was damaged. The Times further reports that the LAPD, in order to heal the old wounds quickly, will reexamine the circumstances surrounding Dorner’s termination:
Late last week, Chief Beck said he believed that Mr. Dorner’s dismissal had been “thoroughly adjudicated” and “reviewed at multiple levels.” But that did little to quiet speculation in some quarters that the former officer had legitimate claims of racism.
“They’re turning him into some kind of a folk hero,” Najee Ali, “the executive director of Project Islamic Hope, who has been a frequent critic of the department,” tells the Times. Still: Would it be too much to refrain from “quiet speculation” until this armed and dangerous and delusional fugitive is brought to justice? To treat the fresh wounds before re-opening the old ones? Last I checked, even “legitimate claims of racism” do not justify triple homicide.