Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck, center, talks about the $1 million reward for accused killer and fired Los Angeles police officer, Christopher Dorner as Los Angeles Mayor, Antonio Villaraigosa, left, and Irvine, Calif., Mayor Steven Choi look on during a new conference at the Los Angeles police department in Los Angeles, Sunday, Feb. 10, 2013.
The million dollar-plus reward for Christopher Dorner was the biggest local reward offered in U.S. history.
But now the bounty is shrinking, with at least one donor refusing to pay - and others reconsidering their pledges.
More than 35 donors made the reward a record setter, but each of those contributors had their own stipulations for what would merit a payout.
Even Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and LAPD Chief Charlie Beck—who have both said the reward should be paid out—seemed to be on different pages when they announced the bounty in February.
Villaraigosa said the reward would given for information leading to the “capture” of Dorner, while Beck said it was for the ex-LAPD officer's “capture and conviction.”
At the time, no one appeared to notice the distinction—but now it could turn out to be crucial.
The city of Riverside says it won’t pay its $100,000 portion of the reward because its guidelines require information that leads to an “arrest and conviction.”
“These conditions were not met,” said Riverside mayor William Bailey in a statement. “The intent of a reward is always to encourage new information from the public that may otherwise not come to the investigation and investigators without such a reward.”
The Peace Officers Research Association of California (PORAC)—a Sacramento-based law enforcement lobbying group-may back out of its reward pledge, too.
“The original wording and the wording that I sent out to get my board of directors to approve the award was for the arrest and conviction of Christopher Dorner," said Ron Cottingham, president of PORAC. “Obviously there was no arrest or conviction.”
Cottingham is polling his board to determine if PORAC should still pay its portion of the reward. He said he had heard from other donors who were considering withdrawing.
But USC has indicated it will honor it reward pledge, and the Riverside County Board of Supervisors—which voted on its reward a day after Dorner died—says it will do the same. Board chairman John Benoit says Riverside County wanted to show solitary with law enforcement.
“Knowing there might not ever be a conviction, we actually altered the wording of the standard reward to remove the conviction from the apprehension and conviction criteria," said Benoit.
More than 35 donors chipped in money for the reward—from AEG to the Dodgers to the FBI. Chief Beck says the city is in touch with all them to determine who still wants to pay up.
“We’ll be able to dispatch what reward remains,” Beck told reporters Tuesday. “I know the mayor is still committed and so am I.”
Beck says he still thinks the reward can be paid out quickly. But first the city has to figure out another tricky question: Who gets the money?
Two claims have been filed: one by the Big Bear couple tied up by Dorner, and another by the man whose pickup truck he stole.