Los Angeles police chief Charlie Beck said he’ll meet Wednesday night with a South L.A. anti-violence group to talk about Christopher Dorner and the allegations of racism and misconduct he made against the department.
“I think it’s important that people understand that this police department, while not perfect, strives for that,” Chief Beck told KPCC’s Patt Morrison Wednesday in an interview.
Wednesday’s community meeting is with the the Southern California Cease Fire Committee, hosted by activist Najee Ali.
RELATED: See all of KPCC's Dorner coverage
Chief Beck said he met Tuesday with developer and Los Angeles Sentinel publisher and South L.A. community organizer Danny Bakewell Sr., who put together a meeting Tuesday with religious leaders.
“Dorner’s allegations struck a chord with some folks, and we want to make sure that we address that,” Beck said. “I’d be foolish and insensitive if I didn’t recognize that occurs."
In an online manifesto, Dorner wrote about how he was called derogatory names during LAPD police academy training. He also alleged the department went to extra lengths to cover for his supervisor who Dorner claimed lied about using excessive force on a mentally-ill arrestee.
“Whether that’s justified or not, it doesn’t really matter. Perceptions are difficult things to change and it’s a long process,” Beck said.
Beck has promised to make the reinvestigation into Dorner’s disciplinary case public. At a news conference on Tuesday he said the first part of the review process should be complete by the end of February. It would then be forwarded to the Police Commission and the department’s inspector general.
Beck told Patt Morrison he couldn’t put a dollar figure yet on how much the manhunt for Dorner cost the department. He said the LAPD has made a request to the federal government to ask for money to pay the overtime that was incurred over the last two weeks.
LAPD’s Robbery Homicide Division, which led the investigation for the department, was temporarily shut down after Dorner’s death last Tuesday, Beck said.
“We sent everybody home to burn off the time they had accrued,” Beck said.
Here’s a sampling of other questions Patt Morrison pitched to Chief Charlie Beck during her regular radio segment. The written questions and answers are abbreviated. You can listen to the full interview at the AirTalk page.
Patt Morrison: There were criticisms that the police seemed more ardent in protecting their own than civilians.
Chief Beck: I make no apology for protecting those that protect others. There is a contract that is made between the people of a community and their protectors, their police officers. And that contract is we will lay down our lives for you. We don’t even have to know you. We will do what it takes to protect you.
But that contract has to be supported on the other side. A community has to stand up for its officers when they are under attack. How else can I expect this giant workforce of mine, young people with lives and families, to put their lives on the line for you if you won’t respect their safety?
There’s one more investigation that you must be conducting internally, and that was the shooting of the two women who were delivering newspapers.
Beck: I am very, very concerned with the Torrance officer-involved shooting. All the officers involved have been taken out of field duties until the investigation is completed. I’ve reached out to the victims and apologized to them.
I want to tell your listeners what great people they are and how gracious they were for accepting my apology and actually forgiving the officers. I thought that was extremely gracious.
I’ve reached out and procured a new vehicle for them to replace the one that was their livelihood. I have had conversations with the L.A. Times to ensure they still have their job. That is not to mitigate or reduce the city’s liability, that’s just Charlie Beck doing what he thinks is right.
There’s also been a backlog on rape kit tests. Where does that stand now with DNA tests?
Beck: We are absolutely caught up on rape kits. We have about a 90-day wait time, that’s how long the testing can take when we send it out. But we do real-time rape kit testing now. We’re very proud of that. That was a long uphill fight.
Correction: An earlier version of this story misspelled the L.A. Sentinel's name.