Christopher Dorner's rampage intruded into the race for L.A. mayor this afternoon, when the candidates were asked at a forum whether they would investigate Dorner's claims of racial discrimination at the LAPD.
Speaking in front of a mostly African-American audience at Crenshaw High School, the candidates all said that racial discrimination should be investigated. However, only two — Eric Garcetti and Jan Perry — included some condemnation of Dorner in their answers, and only Perry began with that. (Wendy Greuel was absent.)
Kevin James, the Republican radio host, answered first, and used almost all of his time to discuss racial discrimination.
“Any allegations of racism and discrimination ought to be investigated within the LAPD, no matter where it comes from,” he said. “If there's any basis for it that question should be answered.”
Garcetti began his answer by referring to his father Gil Garcetti, who, before he became district attorney, worked in a unit at the D.A.'s office that investigated police abuses. He recalled that his father was once threatened by an officer who told him, “If you were lying bleeding I'd step over you and let you die.”
“While things have gotten better, that doesn't mean it's a perfect department or that things can't get worse,” Councilman Garcetti said. “There will be an internal investigation on this. I'm there right now and there will be.”
“But at the same time we've got somebody out there shooting innocent police officers,” he said, “and we have to make sure justice is served there, too.”
Emanuel Pleitez used his answer to discuss his personal experience of racial profiling when he was growing up. “LAPD has taken strides in the right direction, but absolutely there's more to be done.” Pleitez also discussed the need for more mental health care and gang intervention.
Perry started by condemning Dorner: “I don't want to lose focus on the fact that there is an individual who is out there and who poses a risk to all of us, regardless of our race and our ethnicity,” she said. “One of the individuals he killed was an African-American man.”
Perry also called for a thorough review of Dorner's case, but closed by noting that Dorner's rampage has been “tremendously terrifying” to the city and the region.
“Cover all of ourselves, all of us, in prayer and ask him to please turn himself in,” Perry said.
On another note, the L.A. Police Protective League has launched its independent campaign on behalf of Greuel, reporting to the city Ethics Commission that it has spent $332,000 on TV ads and polling on her behalf.
That comes in addition to another $222,000 spent by Working Californians, the IBEW-funded group, to air this TV ad backing Greuel.
In total, outside groups have spent $604,000 backing Greuel so far. Kevin James, the only other candidate to benefit from outside spending, has benefited from about $90,000 in spending.