LAPD’s Firing of Christopher Dorner Was Justified, Report Says

Joel Rubin, Los Angeles Times, June 21, 2013

Christopher Dorner, the ex-Los Angeles police officer who went on a killing rampage to avenge his firing from the LAPD, lied repeatedly to further a “personal agenda” during his short time on the force and deserved to be thrown out of the department, police officials concluded in a report released Friday.

Police Chief Charlie Beck ordered an internal review of Dorner’s 2009 firing to address claims Dorner made about the department in a rambling manifesto he posted online, in which he described an LAPD rife with racism and corruption.

Beck made the move after a chorus of critics from within the department and outside its ranks latched on to Dorner’s allegations, saying that although they condemned the killings, Dorner’s dark description of the agency rang true. That swell of harsh criticism, Beck and others feared, threatened to undo years of work by police and city officials to rehabilitate the department’s reputation after decades marked by abuses and scandal.

“I directed this review because I wanted to ensure that the Los Angeles Police Department is fair and transparent in all that we do,” Beck said Friday in a prepared statement. “All of us recognize that as a department we are not perfect; nonetheless, this report shows that the discharge of Christopher Dorner was factually and legally the right decision.”

Dorner was fired in 2009, and in February of this year, police say, he shot to death an Irvine woman—the daughter of the attorney who defended him at his disciplinary proceedings—and her fiance. Dorner then killed two police officers and wounded three other people as he evaded capture during an intense manhunt, authorities said.

After more than a week on the run, Dorner was discovered in the mountains near Big Bear and chased into a cabin in the woods, where he died from what the report confirmed was a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

The 39-page report, written by Gerald Chaleff, a former criminal defense attorney who serves as a special assistant to Beck, staunchly defended the decision to kick Dorner out of the LAPD. Police investigators at the time, Chaleff concluded, were right when they found that Dorner, then a rookie, fabricated a story in 2007 accusing his training officer of repeatedly kicking a handcuffed, mentally ill man.

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The report also buttressed the finding of officials at the time of what motivated Dorner to fabricate the story of the kicking. He made up the story, Chaleff said, only after his training officer warned him that his performance in the field had been poor and that she was contemplating whether to give him failing marks in an upcoming assessment.

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Chaleff wrote that he found no credible evidence to support Dorner’s claim. The mentally ill man who was arrested was too sick to be coherent, and three witnesses to the arrest all said they did not see the man get kicked.

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