Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck cuts a fine figure on television as he condemns killer Charles Dorner and promises to bring him to justice. He even looks a little like that police commissioner Tom Selleck plays on television.
But Beck has disgraced himself by ordering a reexamination of the disciplinary case that led to the firing of Dorner. Beck explained that he wants to assure the city that his department “is transparent and fair in all the things we do.” He added that he’s “aware of the ghosts of the LAPD’s past” and concerned that they might be “be resurrected by Dorner’s allegations of racism.”
How sensitive. How politically correct.
No institution is “fair” in all it does, and Beck is silly to suggest otherwise. Moreover, to try to demonstrate one’s fairness by reexamining an old case is a fool’s errand, even as a general matter. Folks either trust the LAPD or they don’t. If some folks don’t, even after all of its efforts to overcome its old-time racism, then the department’s conclusion that it treated a particular African-American fairly will not “assure” them in the slightest.
But to reopen a case in response to claims of unfairness by a murderer is sheer lunacy. It’s as if the LAPD is granting an extra level of appeal for grievants who are willing to write a screed against the police, provided they are prepared to back it up by killing policemen. Those within the LAPD who handled the case of Dorner, now conclusively shown to be evil and deranged, are no doubt thrilled and impressed to see their Chief revisiting their work because Dorner started killing people.
As Bill Otis puts it:
So we have come to the point that mass murder prompts, not any particular doubts about the person doing the killing, but wide-eyed credulity and fretting about his “message.” This is where we are. God only knows where we are headed.