Christopher Dorner: Fugitive ex-cop's online rant puts focus on LAPD's troubled racial legacy

Christopher Dorner (AP Photo)

LOS ANGELES (AP) - A fugitive ex-Los Angeles police officer's claim that his career was undone by racist colleagues is putting a focus on the LAPD's troubled racial legacy.

Christopher Dorner is suspected in a string of vengeance killings. In an online "manifesto" police say he wrote, Dorner depicts himself as a black man wronged, whose badge was unjustly taken in 2008 after he lodged a complaint against a white female supervisor. Dorner claims "the department retaliated" against him and racism lingers despite the widely held perception that the LAPD has evolved since the Rodney King beating and the O.J. Simpson trial.

Dorner's problems at the LAPD played out without public notice more than four years ago, as the department gradually emerged from federal oversight following a corruption scandal. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa declared, "this is no longer your father's LAPD," after the federal clampdown ended in 2009.

Civil rights attorney Connie Rice says open racism is gone and the department's "overall culture has improved enormously." But she adds the LAPD should review Dorner's case and his claims.