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Hunt for Christopher Dorner becomes major PR problem for L.A. police (+video)

Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck says he will review alleged cop killer Christopher Dorner's charges of racism. It could be an important step in reversing the LAPD’s history of corruption and abuse.

By Staff writer / February 10, 2013

A digital billboard along Santa Monica Boulevard shows a 'wanted' alert for former Los Angeles police officer Christopher Dorner, suspected in a spree of violence as part of a vendetta against law enforcement after being fired by the department.

Reed Saxon/AP

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The hunt for alleged cop killer Christopher Dorner has turned into a major public relations challenge for law enforcement officials, in particular the Los Angeles Police Department, working its way back from a history of corruption and abuse.

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Not only have hundreds of well-trained officers equipped with military-style vehicles – including helicopters with thermal imaging devices one pilot says can pick out a rabbit in a snowstorm – been unable to find the man charged with killing three people and wounding two others on a rampage aimed at police officers and their families, but the LAPD also has been forced to reexamine the reasons for Mr. Dorner’s dismissal as a police officer in 2009 – brought about, Dorner charges in the 11-page manifesto he posted on Facebook, by racism in the department. And the LAPD is having to make amends to the two people – a middle-aged Hispanic woman and her mother delivering newspapers – wounded when police riddled their truck with gunfire. (The women’s truck was neither the make nor the color of Dorner’s pickup, which was later found abandoned.)

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The search for Dorner continued Sunday in and around the San Bernardino mountains east of L.A., but police were on edge and alert to the possibility that the alleged killer had left California. Police in Las Vegas (where Dorner owns property) are now traveling in pairs, and motorcycle patrol officers have been ordered into less-vulnerable cruisers.

Given Dorner’s claims about why he was fired, which detail specific episodes with specific senior officers named, LAPD Chief Charlie Beck has ordered an official review of the case, which occurred before he took over the department.

"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 Beck said in a statement Saturday. "Therefore, I feel we need to also publicly address Dorner's allegations regarding his termination of employment."

In his manifesto, Dorner warns that the killing will continue until “the department states the truth about my innocence.”

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