It began with a message to America. It ended with smoldering ash. When ex-cop Richard Dorner decided to wreak revenge on the Los Angeles Police Department – an act that he called “a necessary evil” in a Facebook post on February 4, 2013 – it led to one of the most dramatic and violent confrontations since the days of the Wild West.
“I am a son, I am a brother, I am a military service member,” he wrote. “I am a man who has lost complete faith in the system, when the system betrayed, slandered, and libeled me … The culture of LAPD versus the community and honest/good officers needs to and will change. I am here to correct and calibrate your morale [sic] compasses to true north…”
According to Dorner, the Rodney King and Rampart scandals of the 1990s had done nothing to change the LAPD. Both events exposed serious misconduct in the department, revealing a dangerous tendency towards racism, violence and corruption. So it is perhaps not hard to understand why some people apparently empathized with Dorner. But was he really the hero he thought he was?