Dorner Manhunt Echoed Hollywood Crime Tales

The drama involved the classic plot of a rogue cop trying to clear his name.

With elements echoing many of the fixtures of Hollywood’s fictional crime tales, Tuesday’s showdown with real-life fugitive Christopher Dorner brought the conflicting agendas of law enforcement and the media into sharp relief, spotlighting the challenges — and pitfalls — of such immersive live coverage,” AJ Marechal reported Tuesday for Variety.

“Uncensored obscenities made it on the air, phone conversations interrupted live coverage and journalists were asked by authorities to restrict their coverage to avoid tipping off the suspect.

“The confrontation featured aspects that viewers have seen often in the reporting of real-life incidents (swarms of helicopters, roadside checkpoints) as well as fictional onscreen tales ranging from ‘The Negotiator’ and ‘The Fugitive’ to ‘High Sierra,’ (rogue cops seeking to clear their name, a multi-jurisdictional manhunt playing out in a remote locale). . . . “

The Los Angeles Times reported Wednesday, “Charred human remains have been found in the burned cabin where police believe fugitive ex-cop Christopher Dorner was holed up after trading gunfire with law enforcement, authorities said.

“If the body is identified to be Dorner’s, the standoff would end a weeklong manhunt for the ex-LAPD officer and Navy Reserve lieutenant who is believed to be responsible for a string of revenge-fueled shootings following his firing by the Los Angeles Police Department several years ago. Four people have died, allegedly at Dorner’s hands. . . .”

The saga was fraught with racial implications. “Fugitive and suspected murderer Christopher Dorner may have been found dead in a burned-out cabin in Big Bear, Calif., on Tuesday evening, ending a weeklong manhunt,” Hillary Crosley wrote Wednesday for the Root. “However, for many the story of the former Los Angeles police officer and Navy reservist gone rogue isn’t a clear-cut one of death and destruction, but rather of race, police brutality and the blue wall of silence. . . . “

Coverage bumped up against President Obama’s State of the Union message. Wayne Bennett, who blogs as the Field Negro, wrote Wednesday, “As one of my tweeter fam said, it’s the ‘state of the Dorner coverage’ on the news tonight. Sorry Mr. President, but this is like a real live Hollywood movie playing itself out in SoCal.

“I know that a lot of my cousins are cheering for Dorner because dude is getting Robin Hood love from certain quarters, but I hope that these folks remember that he started his killing spree by killing a brotha. . . .”

Caitlin Dickson, Daily Beast: Carter Evans, the Reporter Caught in the Christopher Dorner Crossfire