A digital billboard along Santa Monica Boulevard shows a "wanted"… (Reed Saxon / Associated…)
The resolve of a group of donors that raised a $1-million reward in the Christopher Dorner case suffered another blow Friday as a second major contributor withdrew its pledge.
Directors of the 64,000-member Peace Officers Research Assn. of California voted overwhelmingly to withdraw the association's $50,000 commitment, said Ron Cottingham, the union's president.
The move comes on the heels of a similar decision this week by elected officials in Riverside, who opted to take back the city's $100,000 pledge to the Dorner reward.
FULL COVERAGE: Sweeping manhunt for ex-cop
Like Riverside, Cottingham said his group was pulling back because the criteria for the reward had changed.
When first solicited, Cottingham said he was told the reward would be given in exchange for information that led to the arrest and conviction of Dorner, a disgruntled former LAPD officer who was the subject of a massive manhunt last month after he went on a killing rampage to avenge his firing from the force.
Dorner, however, died during a standoff with police from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot.
WHO THEY WERE: Victims in the Dorner case
Despite not being able to bring Dorner to trial, officials from Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villarigosa's office and LAPD Chief Charlie Beck have insisted that the reward should still be paid to a deserving person or people.
"We made a pledge based on very specific information and criteria," Cottingham said. "Now everything has changed. It is not what our board of directors voted on."
Others among the roughly 25-member donor group are also considering whether to follow Riverside and the Research Assn. Most notably, the head of the L.A. Police Protective League, which represents rank-and-file LAPD officers, said his group is weighing its options.
The latest about-face further complicates matters for Villaraigosa and Beck, who have dug in amid the mounting concern by other donors. Vicki Curry, a spokeswoman for the mayor, vowed in an interview with The Times last week that no matter how many groups withdraw there will still be a $1-million reward offered.
In total, donors ended up committing more than $1 million and, so, there is still enough money pledged to cover the reward, Curry said Friday. If more groups back out and the pledge total drops below $1 million, however, Curry said she "doesn't know what the plan is" for finding additional funds.
LAPD Deputy Chief Kirk Albanese, who is coordinating the reward for Beck, said that while it is up to each donor to decide whether it wants to follow through on its pledge, it would be "disingenuous" to withdraw the reward altogether simply because Dorner was not brought to trial.
Overshadowing the matter are two claims that have been made on the reward 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.
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