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On the “Christopher Dorner Offical” Facebook page, users posted multiple videos of apparent police brutality and a link to an official White House online petition asking Mr. Obama to grant Mr. Dorner a full pardon.

Tweets supporting Mr. Dorner noted that police mistakenly fired upon innocent civilians during the manhunt, shooting and wounding two people inside a blue pickup truck resembling the fugitive’s vehicle.

During a Wednesday panel discussion on the same network, Columbia University professor Marc Lamont Hill said Mr. Dorner was like “a real life superhero to many people.

“Now, don’t get me wrong,” he said. “What he did was awful, killing innocent people was bad, but when you read his manifesto, when you read the message that he left, he wasn’t entirely crazy.”

Mr. Hill then compared Mr. Dorner’s rampage to director Quentin Tarantino’s 2012 film “Django Unchained,” a violent revenge fantasy in which a freed slave travels across the antebellum South and the Old West to rescue his wife from a plantation owner.

“[Mr. Dorner] had a plan and a mission here,” Mr. Hill said. “And many people aren’t rooting for him to kill innocent people. They are rooting for somebody who was wronged to get a kind of revenge against the system. It’s almost like watching ‘Django Unchained’ in real life. It’s kind of exciting.”

While Mr. Hill’s cinematic comparison drew immediate criticism, in one sense it may have been apt: Both American films and pop culture at large have a long history of celebrating violent criminals and portraying them as heroic underdogs, from the real-life Bonnie and Clyde and Jessie James to fictional rap personae and the protagonists in the “Grand Theft Auto” video game series.