Body burned in cabin? Where Christopher Dorner investigation goes now. (+video)
Questions remain about the body burned in a cabin – presumed to be fugitive ex-cop Christopher Dorner – as well as the manhunt leading up to Tuesday's standoff.
(Page 2 of 2)
Each department will conduct its own investigation of issues such as use of force by a police officer. This means that every time a police officer discharges a weapon, the department must make a decision about the extent to which the incident will be evaluated. In cases where people have died, each shooting will be carefully evaluated for adherence to department policies.Skip to next paragraph
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
For instance, there have been questions – and conflicting answers – about how the cabin in the final shootout caught fire. Reporters listening to police scanners have reported overhearing law-enforcement personnel saying they intended to burn the house down. But San Bernardino County Sheriff John McMahon said at a Wednesday afternoon press conference that it was not intentional.
Each jurisdiction has its own review policy, notes Commander Smith. Following a series of scandals in the 1990s, the LAPD was placed under federal oversight for eight years. “As a result, our policies on use of force by officers are some of the strictest in the nation,” he adds.
This is of particular interest to observers who wonder if accusations leveled by Dorner against the LAPD – of police abuse and coverup – suggest the department is backsliding on ethics and transparency.
“They are going to be watched very closely as they conduct these investigations,” says George Hill, a former Army Ranger and an expert on firearms and close-quarters combat.
For example, early in the manhunt, six LAPD officers shot up a truck that resembled Dorner’s. A grandmother and her teenage granddaughter, who were on a paper route, were inside and both were wounded. The officers have been put on leave, but “this is not a good sign either for the professionalism or training of LAPD officers,” Mr. Hill says.
What about the LAPD reopening its investigation into Dorner's firing?
In his manifesto, Dorner said he was fired by the LAPD in 2008 because he betrayed the "blue wall of silence" – acting as a whistleblower against a fellow cop, whom he accused of kicking a defenseless suspect. LAPD chief Charlie Beck has announced he will turn the case over to the inspector general, an independent office that reports directly to the police commission – which is a five-member civilian board that oversees the LAPD policies and functions.
Chief Beck wrote on the LAPD website that the investigation was not being done to appease a suspected murderer, but rather to reassure the community about police behavior.
“This is a matter of trust for communities and police not just in this country but around the world,” says Tod Burke, a professor of criminal justice at Radford University in Virginia. He notes that this case has lit up the Internet around the globe and is being followed closely – both by supporters and critics of law enforcement. “They want to get it right, and it will be a learning experience for all sides,” he adds.