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The Dorner divide

It wasn't the accused killer who drew the most criticism from Times letter writers.

February 16, 2013
  • Officers check cars on Highway 38 north of Redlands during the search for Christopher Dorner.
Officers check cars on Highway 38 north of Redlands during the search for… (Los Angeles Times )

Nearly 200 letters discussing the search for Christopher Jordan Dorner that ended Tuesday have been sent to letters@latimes.com, and if you were to guess that the primary target for criticism has been the accused quadruple-homicide suspect, you'd be wrong.

The correct answer? The police department that hunted Dorner.

To be fair, many of those letters responded to last week's early-morning shooting by police of two newspaper delivery women, whose truck officers believed to be Dorner's. The Los Angeles Police Department also came under reader scrutiny for how it handled the internal investigation that led to Dorner's firing in 2009, and for its reopening of that investigation. A handful of readers spoke up in defense of the police.

FULL COVERAGE: The manhunt for Christopher Dorner

Here is a selection of the letters.

-- Paul Thornton, letters editor

Thomas Bailey of Long Beach provides some advice on shooting innocent people:

"The killing of a police officer is an egregious act. It strikes at the core of our social contract. It weakens the line that divides civilized society from anarchy. The desire to see a 'cop killer' taken off the streets and brought to justice unites us all. And yet, the LAPD has somehow found a way to leave Angelenos shaking their heads at its conduct.

"Some in the LAPD seem to be in an uncontrolled frenzy as they shoot at and wreck the vehicles of civilians who in no way resemble their suspect. This sort of haywire response seems more reminiscent of the days when Daryl Gates headed the department than what has been represented to be the new, citizen-friendly LAPD.

"Chief Charlie Beck says he is reopening the Dorner case to assure the public his department has left its racist past behind. The department's image, tarnished once again, might be more immediately served by simply promising not to shoot any more innocent people as they try to drive down the street."

Tom Leeson of Los Angeles questions the reinvestigation of Dorner's LAPD case:

"Regarding Beck's desire 'to assure the public that his department is fair and transparent,' it is my experience that having an agenda such as Beck's is counterproductive to discovering the truth. An agenda tends to lead to an outcome that serves the agenda. Discovering the truth requires a mind and heart open to all possible options.

"I would also point out that Beck is doing exactly what Dorner claimed he was trying to do: clear his good name."

Herb Stark of Massapequa, N.Y., expressed shock at the support some expressed for Dorner:

"I couldn't believe my eyes as I read the coverage of the Dorner manhunt and shootout in Big Bear: People who actually sympathized with this alleged cop killer and blasted police for using incendiary tear gas to put an end to this horrific episode.

"The bleeding hearts are going to ruin our way of dealing with cold-blooded killers. In this case, police acted properly in doing whatever it took to stop further mayhem from being inflicted on officers and their families."

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