Los Angeles Police Department Chief Charlie Beck held a wide-ranging press conference this morning on the Christopher Jordan Dorner case, which plunged Southern California into a nightmare after the former La Palma resident is believed to have killed an Irvine couple out of revenge before taking the lives of two more law enforcement officers and then his own a week ago today.
Besides updating a media on where his department stands a week after Dorner's fiery end, Beck wanted to introduce Phil and Emada Tingirides, a captain and sergeant in the chief's department respectively who were confined with their blended family of six children in their Irvine home while the suspect was on the loose. See:
But before getting to the couple, who Beck labeled as "heroes," he covered several Dorner-related topics on his own or after being prompted by questions from reporters:
The LAPD family: Beck wanted the media and public to know the toll the Dorner case took not only on his officers but their spouses and children. He mentioned his own kids went to school in Walnut with Monica Quan, the daughter of retired LAPD Capt. Randy Quan gunned down with her fiance Keith Lawrence in their Irvine condo complex. "She was a wonderful kid," Beck said of Quan and he noted her life with Lawrence was "just beginning." The chief mentioned the human toll was also being felt by families of officers in Riverside, the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department and more than 50 people who were under LAPD protection. "Our investigation revealed Dorner certainly did his homework" [on LAPD families], Beck said. ". . . He wanted to harm the families of those he felt wronged him." Riverside cop Michael Crain was laid to rest last Thursday, and the memorial service for Sheriff's Deputy Jeremiah McKay is this Thursday. Beck also mentioned the two officers from the LAPD Newton Division who were wounded by gunfire as well as a second San Bernardino County deputy who will relive the nightmare for years to come as he undergoes various surgeries. "Yes, we are police officers, yes we sign up for some risk," Beck said, "but our families do not sign up for that, our kids do not sign up for that." He said his department is offering psychological services to officers and their families, "especially so kids can have some sense of normalcy, some sense of security. They'll be impacted by this forever." This includes past LAPD families like Quan's.
The Dorner manifesto: Beck said a special, independent investigator he hired as been "working nonstop the past three days" reviewing Dorner's wrongful termination complaints and allegations of LAPD racism. Once completed, the review be passed along to the department's inspector general, who will make the findings public and allow public comments before the matter goes to the police commission for more study and public comment. The entire process may take up to a year, Beck said. "This Los Angeles Police Department will do right by this," Beck vowed. Asked why, he explained he and other chiefs before him worked very hard to buff up the tarnished reputation of LAPD and, for him personally, especially race relations. "I want to make sure we address his concerns that have become so public in a public way." It just as important to reassure his own officers as it is the public that racism is a thing of the past in his 13,000-member agency, he said. But he also conceded some will stick to their criticism no matter what the Dorner investigation turns up. He said he does not want to prejudice the review and looks forward to what comes of it. Beck added all commanders have been instructed to talk with officers about the disciplinary process, race issues, how to file complaints and more. "Just like the public, they have to have faith in the Los Angeles Police Department," he said of his officers. "And the police department has to have faith in the disciplinary system."
(The Dorner manifesto continued:) Had Dorner brought his complaints to Beck in a different, non-violent way, "very likely a biopsy would have been done on it," the chief said. "If there is new information, an investigation must be done." Responding to a question about his own feelings post-Dorner, Beck said, "No matter how well I think I'm doing, we still have a lot to do. We all live with our past; you can't erase events. You can live through them and you can improve yourself the best you can to become a better person or with better investments, but you can't escape it. As it effects me, it obviously reminds me how strong my bond is to the men and women of this department, how much I worry about them. When I got the manifesto and saw the names, including my own, my mind automatically went to how to protect each and every one. If I could have stood over every one, I would have."
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The reward: The chief said more than 31 donors, including some private entities, contributed to the $1.1. million reward leading to the arrest and conviction of Dorner. Each has rules about dispersing those funds. As each is contacted about giving out their contributions despite Dorner's death without trial, the LAPD is collecting all the tips that might have led to the suspect. "It is my desire that the reward will be given out," Beck said. "The rules are more liberal" on giving out funds he and LA's mayor solicited, "but it is complex. It is more difficult than me coming out with a big check two days later
The use of "hot gas" to smoke Dorner out near Big Bear: "They were in a very difficult situation," Beck said of San Bernardino County deputies. "They were taking fire from high-powered, assault-type weapons. They had to take aggressive police action to stop that. They'd already lost one officer and almost lost another. As long as Dorner maintained an aggressive position, they had to protect other officers. He'd talked about having explosives [in his manifesto]. . . . When we escalate our use of gas, first you start with cold gas, which does not disperse as well, and then hot gas is the next piece in a reasonable escalation. . . . We use [gas canisters] fairly regulary without a fire. What led to this fire, whether it was hot gas or not, I'm not in a position to say. You certainly do not use the gas to start a fire."
The Torrance shootings: Beck had little to say about those incidents, which the Torrance Police Department is investigating, other than to say the two involved LAPD officers have been removed from the field and will remain that way until the investigation is done. He will make a decision on any disciplinary action based on that probe, he added.