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Dorner: Riverside defends rescinding $100,000 reward

March 27, 2013|By a Times Staff Writer

Riverside's mayor on Wednesday defended the city's decision to pull back a $100,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of fugitive ex-cop Christopher Dorner.

The LAPD says there's still enough for a $1-million payout, culled from various sources during the manhunt.

Riverside rescinded its $100,000 contribution for information leading to Dorner's "arrest and conviction." Dorner was killed at the end of the standoff.

"Because the conditions were not met, there will not be a payment of a reward by the city,"  Riverside spokeswoman Cindie Perry said last week.

Riverside Mayor William Bailey on Wednesday defended the action, saying the city probably could not pay the reward because Dorner was dead, the Press-Enterprise reported.

The reward "called for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the perpetrator, and that didn’t occur," Bailey said, according to the paper.  "We were bound by government code to obey the language of our resolution and not give a gift of public funds."

 The city came under some criticism for its action.

FULL COVERAGE: Sweeping manhunt for ex-cop

Two claims have been made on the money since Dorner's death Feb. 12 -- by a couple near Big Bear who were tied up and whose car was stolen by Dorner, and by a man whose pickup truck Dorner later hijacked.

But some groups that are reconsidering said they offered the reward for information that would have led to the capture and conviction of Dorner, neither of which occurred. Dorner committed suicide when cornered in a burning cabin near Big Bear.

Underlying their objections is a moral argument that donors will not make publicly. Some find the claims for the money unseemly.

WHO THEY WERE: Victims in the Dorner case

They believe reward seekers had called police to report they were victims of crimes by Dorner and now seek to profit from their brief encounters, which left them unharmed, during a rampage that devastated the families of police officers and of others he killed.

Police believe Dorner went on a 10-day killing rampage of revenge against law enforcement officials whom he blamed for his 2009 firing from the LAPD. Dorner is thought to have killed Riverside Police Officer Michael Crain; San Bernardino County Sheriff's Deputy Jeremiah MacKay; Monica Quan, the daughter of a retired LAPD captain; and Quan's fiance, Keith Lawrence.

More than 25 donors pledged reward money, including state and local police unions, civic organizations and individuals. But now, many are hesitating to follow through.

"I've spoken with some groups -- including a few that are substantial -- that have already decided to withdraw their pledges," said Ron Cottingham, president of the 64,000-member union Peace Officers Research Assn. of California, which has placed its own pledge on hold pending additional information. "They said the reward doesn't fit their criteria."

The LAPD, responding to the arguments donors make publicly, says the money should be paid.

LAPD Deputy Chief Kirk Albanese said that to deny someone the reward because Dorner died before he could be put on trial "would be disingenuous" and would undermine future attempts by police to get information about unsolved crimes by offering rewards.

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