Should Living Victims of Christopher Dorner Be Entitled to the Reward Money?

And to now argue that because Dorner was not arrested and convicted, as the legalistic terms of the reward required, opens an even more troubling avenue of discussion, one that was addressed in a March 31 editorial in the Los Angeles Times.  Writing to urge that the reward be paid, the editors concluded their piece with this chilling thought experiment.  “Finally,” they wrote, “there is this dystopian alternative to consider: If public agencies offer rewards for arrest or conviction and then withhold them in cases in which a suspect dies, they have, in effect, created a financial incentive for police to kill suspects rather than arrest them.  That’s a troubling bit of motivation.”

Troubling indeed, and just the sort of thing that would make for front-page, above-the-fold coverage in the Times should such a scenario or anything close to it ever unfold.  There has been no shortage of conspiracy-mongering in the Dorner case, but how much worse would it be if it had been the LAPD that cornered him rather than the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department?

And what if someone with a reward on his head is killed by someone other than the police?  Suppose Christopher Dorner’s whereabouts had been reported to the police by some acquaintance motivated by the reward.  But suppose also that Dorner had learned of it before the police could get to him, then sought retribution against the informant for the perceived betrayal.  If the informant lawfully defended himself by means of deadly force, would he be any less deserving of the reward, or should such an informant be forced to weigh the potential financial cost against the risk to life and limb?

So as to bring some objectivity into the process of parceling out the reward, a panel of three retired judges will determine which, if any, of the claimants will be paid from whatever remains of it, an amount that currently stands at $1 million.  All things considered, that strikes me as a bargain.  Let’s give the people their money and be done with it.