I knew there was more to this case when the story broke. Something didn’t sit right about the double homicide of a young couple in Irvine, California. Shot multiple times in their car like a Son of Sam hit, there was no theft, no obvious motive until a few days later. A cryptic 6,032 word message was found on Christopher Dorner’s Facebook page declaring war on all police officers. A former Los Angeles police officer, Dorner, named victim Monica Quan’s father as his attorney, whom he blamed for losing a disciplinary case that led to his termination from the LAPD. Venomous passages promised a killing spree that would only stop when his name was cleared. “A man is nothing without his name,” he wrote. Dorner dropped dates and names,imploring journalists to investigate the events that led to his termination. He criticized the police department and its code of silence, its theft of money and narcotics from crime scenes, its racism and unprovoked use of force on unarmed civilians. Disgraced and disgusted, Dorner threatened to put bullets in all police officers that wandered into his crosshairs and denounced the system and its employees as worse than the thugs they arrest.
Mainstream media quickly floated dismissive reports, taking the angle of disgruntled employee gone bat shit crazy, only this guy had skills like Bond and a body like a tank. As the days went on, versions of the Facebook communiqués were scrutinized by the media and public alike, curious about a man some joked as resembling LL Cool J. Police visibly became more and more nervous when it was discovered Dorner held awards for marksmanship and had an active career in the Navy with tours in Iraq and Afghanistan under his belt. An all-out manhunt ensued with jumpy officers mistakenly firing on innocent citizens. Within a few tense days, Southern California police picked up Dorner’s trail culminating in a carjacking and his retreat to a cabin in Big Bear where he was ultimately cornered and died from a self-inflicted gunshot to the head moments before he would have been consumed by a blazing cabin fire.
Here, publisher New York Year Zero puts together the defense packet Chris Dorner was looking for. The shorter version of his so-called manifesto is published, dense with researched footnotes, shining a light on the rigged system of Internal Affairs investigations and its impotent appeal process. A paper trail of appendices collects search warrants, LAPD interdepartmental notes, and Dorner’s document of termination and appeal. The reason for this nine day siege, which was glossed over my mainstream media, is fleshed out, stemming from Dorner filing an incident report about his supervisor’s use of force during the arrest of a mentally ill man. A claim his supervisor, Teresa Evans, who had a string of “use of force” warnings, outright denied. She claimed Dorner filed this complaint against her in retaliation of her writing an unsatisfactory review of his job performance which led to his dismissal from the force. She has since been promoted to Sergeant.
Not only a posthumous defense of a dishonored man, this is a critique of mainstream media, the skewed bureaucracy of the LAPD, and the connection between the two. Sympathetic to Dorner, New York Year Zero is careful not to condone his murder of Monica Quan, who through no fault of her own, was targeted merely for being the daughter of Dorner’s failed attorney. L.A. and its surrounding counties are not known for their squeaky clean police departments; corruption and scandal have become commonplace. A laundry list of infractions vexes departments like the Rampart division and the Fullerton PD, whose officers are responsible for the fatal beating of homeless and mentally ill Kelly Thomas. While New York Year Zero may be preaching to the choir, it also did its homework when no one else did, presenting a case where the reader has the tools to give Chris Dorner a fair trial. Recommended. –Kristen K. (New York Year Zero, year0.org)