LAPD Chief Beck Vows Open Dialogue Over Dorner Case
Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck says his department is starting a series of serious reflections and "rational discussions" now that the largest manhunt in California's history has come to an end.
Beck spoke about the Christopher Dorner investigation at a news conference Tuesday morning, addressing lingering questions about the victims, reward money, use of hot tear gas and other decisions made by the L.A. Police Department and the other involved law enforcement agencies leading up to Dorner's death in the charred Big Bear cabin last week.
The Chief thanked the multiple agencies involved, including the San Bernardino, Riverside and Irvine Police Departments, the FBI and the U.S. Marshals.
One of the officers targeted in Dorner's manifesto also spoke at the conference. L.A. Police captain Phil Tingirides and his wife, sergeant Emada Tingirdes, were of those listed in Dorner's extensive manifesto because of captain Tingirdes' position as chair on Dorner's Board of Rights hearing, which ultimately led to Dorner's termination in 2009.
"Dorner raised many issues in his manifesto," said Beck. "We are taking a reexamination of these issues…and that review will be made public. It will be looked at by the inspector general, police commission and also have public comment so everyone can see the transparency."
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Dorner's manifesto could damage the public's relationship with the L.A. Police Department, especially the African American community, and Beck says it probably already has.
"What I am trying to do is have a rational discussion about what happened," said the Chief. "I am not trying to prejudge this, i want to look at everything in that manifesto and attach or not attach validity to it and then make it public and from there we can have an honest discussion."
Beck said that attorney John Chalif has been working "nonstop for the past three days" reviewing Dorner's reopened case. The Chief said the result could take several months or longer, depending on if Chalif finds the original investigation lacking and decides to reconduct interviews, or start over.
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Reopening a termination case so many years later is a rare situation, explained Beck. But a thorough biopsy should be done on the case and the police department is not taking any of Dorner's accusations lightly.
"Had this case come to my attention earlier, or in another way, I probably would have looked at it," said Beck. "But nothing is considered closed and done."
The status of the $1 million reward, the largest in Los Angeles law enforcement history, is also still under review. Over 30 agencies contributed to the large sum and will also be involved in the recommendation process.
"We put together a collaboration to review investigation and made recommendations on who should reward money given to, could be split up," said Beck. "We want to ensure that reward is fairly and equitably distributed it is my desire that reward money be used because we received hundreds of tips because of it."
Beck also defended the officer's decision to use flammable tear gas canisters during the standoff in Big Bear, which resulted in the fire that burned Dorner's hideout to the ground.
"Those officers were in a very difficult situation they were receiving fire from high power assault weapons, Dorner was well armed and had a lot in his possession and we knew that from observations and his actions and those officers had to take aggressive police action to stop that."
Police transitioned from coal to hot gas as "the next piece in a reasonable escalation to force Dorner out," said Beck. It is still unknown if the tear gas caused the aggressive fire, though Beck assured the media that was not the department's goal.
Beck defended the decision to use the hot gas, saying that officers had been under tremendous fire and had already lost a few of their own in the fight.
Dorner had done his homework on his targets, said Beck. And the department is almost positive that Dorner conducted previous surveillance operations on several homes.
"It certainly fits his motive," said Beck. "Which was to harm the families of all those who wronged him."
The fear and anxiety felt by the involved law enforcement agencies after Dorner's manifesto was released probably provoked the mistaken identity shooting in Torrance. But Beck did not say whether those officers acted wrongfully or irresponsibly, and said that those with questions should contact the Torrance Police Department.
The L.A. Police Department officers who shot at the two newspaper delivery women in Torrance, however, have been removed from the field, and Beck, and they will stay out of the field until the investigation is completed. Beck will then make a "decision about them."
Beck also addressed Dorner's accusations of racism and ranking in the L.A. Police Department, as well as the debated issue about transparency in police misconduct and termination hearings.
"It is not in my ability to allow the public to see disciplinary hearings," said Beck. "But I've lobbied to have that done. I believe in a transparent system and I want one."
We all sign up for some degree of risk," said Beck, whose name also appeared in the Dorner document. "Our families don't sign up for that. Our children don't sign up for that.
Beck says it is still too early to tell what the Los Angeles Police Department could have done differently in the Dorner case, but he wants to address all aspects of the case publicly and "rebuild bridges that have been damaged."
"No matter how well i think I'm doing, we still have a lot to do. the past is always present," said Beck." We will work on improving. We will be better because of this. That's the history of Los Angeles."
Read more of Neon Tommy's Coverage on Christopher Dorner.
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