While only about 30 people appeared at Los Angeles Police Department headquarters this past weekend to protest the handling of the Christopher Dorner manhunt, LAPD Chief Charlie Beck realizes that the Dorner crisis could open some deep wounds in the community. That is why he ordered a re-opening of the case on Dorner’s allegations that racism was at the core of his firing.

Los Angeles civil rights attorney, Connie Rice, who spent years suing the LAPD over officer misconduct and racism, said the old LAPD was involved in unfairly accusing black officers of wrongs but that this is a new LAPD.

We’ve had two transformative chiefs (Bill Bratton and Charlie Beck) who have changed the LAPD from its cowboy days to today, she said.

Rice told me that the brass no longer tolerates racism in the department. She said the majority of officers are minority and that they are trying to reach out to the city’s poor and people of color.

Rice is troubled by the damage that may have been done to the progress made inside the minority community and its relations to the department. She said the community as a whole does not condone Dorner’s killing rampage.

However, she applauds Beck’s call to re-open the investigation. She said the Chief must tell the history of racism in the department and explain that things have changed. Re-opening the case shows the department has nothing to hide.

Rice, who worked closely with both Bratton and Beck in efforts to change the LAPD culture, said that this is about excising the ghosts of the old LAPD so that they don’t come back.