In 2008, Chris Dorner was dismissed from his duties as an officer for the LAPD. His termination was the result of an investigation initiated by a complaint he made against his training officer. When the complaint was determined to be false, the board recommended that he be terminated because of false accusations directed at a superior officer.
A week ago Dorner became the prime suspect in the murders of three people, one of which was a LAPD officer. A manhunt has been underway. In an 11,000 word, 14 page “manifesto”, Dorner claimed that his hearing by the board had been slanted in favor of the training officer who he claimed to have acted in a manner forbid by departmental policy. He vowed violence against the LAPD, and their families until the “truth” came out, and his integrity was restored.
Today, a week after the murders of a young couple in Irvine, California, Police Chief Charlie Beck ordered the charges and investigation of Dorner re-opened. He said this was not to appease the fugitive, but to ensure the citizens of Los Angeles that he had been treated fairly. “We will also investigate any allegations made in his manifesto which were not included in his original complaint,” said Beck, whose force has long been an object of complaints from minority communities, but which has also been praised by community leaders for reforming itself over the past decade.
Beck, in explaining his actions, said, “I am aware of the ghosts of the LAPD’s past and one of my biggest concerns is that they will be resurrected by Dorner’s allegations of racism within the Department.”
“But, I also know that we are a better organization now than ever before; better but not perfect,” Beck wrote. “Fairness and equality are now the cornerstones of our values and that is reflected by the present diversity of the department. We are a majority of minorities, almost exactly reflecting the ethnic makeup of Los Angeles.”
“As hard as it has been to change the culture of the Los Angeles Police Department, it has been even more difficult to win and maintain the support of the public. As much as I value our successes in reducing crime, I value even more our gains in public confidence,” Beck said.
This revelation countermands statements made in the past week. In my investigation into the allegations made by Dorner, evidence will side with the LAPD. The 2007 incident that began the eventual termination of Dorner appears to be based on testimony of witnesses, and questionable statements by the supposed victim of the training officer.
Whatever the result, there can be no forgiveness for the murders of three innocent people who had no involvement in the events that were causal to Dorner losing his position with the LAPD.
Growing up in Los Angeles, I remember constant reports about police brutality, and continual complaints about racism and bigotry. I moved from the city in 1977. When I left, it appeared the hierarchy of law enforcement had begun to reform law enforcement with psychiatric evaluation of trainees, and stringent enforcement of departmental policies. But when the “Rodney King” incident occurred, I wondered if anything had changed since I left.
Undoubtedly the outcome of all this will be the demise of Christopher Dorner. He has vowed not to be taken alive, and I believe him. Is there validity in his complaints against the LAPD? Time will tell. I commend Chief Beck for making an attempt to demonstrate the improvements made under his command, and to assure the public that, under his supervision, the department has improved the manner in which it serves the citizens of Los Angeles.
Columnist-The Guardian Express