As law-enforcement authorities continue a massive manhunt for Christopher Dorner, a former Los Angeles Police Department officer accused of killing three people, conspiracy theories have become part and parcel of the media narrative.
Also a former member of the U.S. Navy Reserve, Dorner was fired by the LAPD in 2008 after he filed a complaint against a white female supervisor in a case involving alleged police brutality, as the Associated Press reported.
As retribution for his personal and professional downfall, authorities have said, he shot and killed a young couple in a parking garage in Irvine, Calif., last weekend before killing an LAPD officer days later.
The woman who was found dead, Monica Quan, is the daughter of the retired police captain who represented Dorner during the disciplinary hearings that eventually led to his dismissal in 2008. Along with killing Quan and her fiance, Dorner is accused of shooting two LAPD officers, grazing the head of one and mortally wounding the other.
“It is clear as day that the department retaliated against me,” Dorner reportedly wrote on Facebook in a 14-page manifesto, which alleged the LAPD has become even more racist since the notorious beating of Rodney King. “This is a necessary evil that I do not enjoy but must partake and complete for substantial change to occur within the LAPD.”
Investigators are searching for Dorner in the mountains of California, as well as in Arizona, Nevada, and New Mexico. His truck was found burning near Big Bear Lake -- roughly 100 miles from Los Angeles -- leading police on a fruitless search there on Friday.
Dorner served in the Navy Reserve overseas, winning awards for his marksmanship. Authorities have acknowledged his level of training mean he is capable of bringing “unconventional and asymmetrical warfare to those in LAPD uniform whether on or off duty,” as indicated in his manifesto.
Dorner's manifesto, coupled with the decades of assertions that the LAPD is indeed racist, has led to rampant online speculation that the manhunt for him is not only a matter of justice, but an effort to silence the former insider.
A former counterintelligence agent for the FBI, Joe Navarro, appeared on Fox 11's "Good Day LA" and compared Dorner’s mental outlook to that of Unabomber Ted Kaczynski, who also wrote an infamous manifesto.
“It’s amazing how much is in the manifesto,” Navarro said. “One gets a sense about his personality and his character, and we begin to sense that this individual is very egocentric, very narcissistic; has a high sense of himself, a high sense of entitlement. ... What throws him into the special realm of dangerous personalities is the fact that he is a wound collector. He sees social slights, indifference, human imperfections, diversity and catalogs them and nourishes those wounds ... so that he can justify his actions.”
Most contributors to a lengthy discussion on social news site Reddit agreed Dorner was wrong, but many compared the LAPD to an organized gang and criticized police for apparently having no intention of taking Dorner alive. Chief among conversation topics was the picture of a blue truck riddled with holes caused by bullets fired by police who had confused two Hispanic women for Dorner, despite obvious differences in sex and vehicles.
“I tend to be pro-police and pro-military, but even I think LAPD is acting very guilty,” said one contributor. “Vigilante vs. due process. Even if they're afraid he'll open fire right away, they could have noticed wrong color, 2 people, etc. And they did it twice. ‘Kill him before he talks.’”
Other contributors were less conspiracy-minded.
“I'm starting to think that this is exactly what he had hoped to happen when this all started,” wrote one Redditor. “His goal was to expose the LAPD for being overly violent and then protecting their own once they stepped over the line and hurt innocent people. So he writes this manifesto and gets the entire LAPD scared for their lives and on edge by threatening them, then sits back and does nothing, while the LAPD starts shooting innocent people in a panic.”