Dozens of protesters gathered outside the Los Angeles Police Department headquarters downtown Saturday afternoon, holding signs of support for Christopher Dorner, the fired police officer suspected of killing four people.
Those gathered said they were protesting police corruption and the way the massive manhunt for Dorner was conducted. Authorities said Dorner appears to have died from a self-inflected gunshot wound after a shootout with police in Big Bear on Tuesday, ending a deadly rampage that stretched across Southern California.
Protesters said they believed Dorner’s claims that he was unfairly fired from the department in 2009 – grievances described in a lengthy online manifesto that has been attributed to him. Dorner also claimed that he was the victim of racism.
Protesters also said they were appalled by police mistakenly shooting at passengers in two separate trucks in Torrance, wrongly believing Dorner might be in the vehicles. One woman was shot in the back and is still recovering.
The protesters emphasized that they did not condone the killings of which Dorner is accused.
Michael Nam, 30, stood at the corner of 1st and Main Streets with a sign, painted by his girlfriend, showing a tombstone and the words “RIP Habeas Corpus.” The tombstone was engulfed in flames.
Nam, of Lomita, said he was disturbed by the burning of a mountain cabin near Big Bear where Dorner barricaded himself with a high-powered sniper rifle, smoke bombs and a cache of ammo. The blaze started shortly after police fired “pyrotechnic” tear gas into the cabin; the canisters are known as “burners” because the intense heat they emit often causes a fire.
But authorities have maintained that the fire was not intentionally set.
Dorner, whose charred body was found in the cabin, appears to have died of a single gunshot wound to the head, authorities said.
“How the police handled this -– they were the judge, the jury and the executioner,” Nam said. “As an American citizen, you have the right to a trial and due process by law.”
Nam, a former Marine and a current member of the Army National Guard, said he has combat experience from deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan.
He said he has been in situations in which a combatant has been barricaded and successfully waited until the person surrendered, eventually getting “tired and coming out on their own.”
Nam said it was “pretty obvious” police wanted Dorner dead. CLICK HERE TO READ THE ENTIRE LA TIMES ARTICLE