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Review: Firing of ex-LAPD officer Dorner justified

Navy veteran killed four people in rampage

Jun. 5, 2013 - 09:05AM   |  
Christopher Dorner
Christopher Dorner (AP)
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LOS ANGELES — An internal review by the Los Angeles Police Department concluded that rogue ex-officer Christopher Dorner was justifiably fired, a lawyer who reviewed the findings told The Associated Press on Tuesday.

Civil rights attorney Connie Rice said the lengthy examination found no basis for allegations of racism and bias that Dorner made in a manifesto vowing revenge on his former colleagues and their families.

Authorities said Dorner killed four people, including two law enforcement officers, during a weeklong rampage in February that involved a massive manhunt and ended with his apparent suicide in a mountain cabin following a gunbattle with police.

The findings, which are expected to be made public this month at a Los Angeles Police Commission meeting, concluded that Dorner had a history of embellishing stories, misperceiving slights and making bogus complaints against his fellow officers, Rice said.

He took more than twice as long as most officers to complete his training, was nearly incomprehensible during the hearing over his firing, and only filed a complaint against his training officer when he learned she gave him a bad performance review, Rice said.

The department said in a statement the review had not been finalized.

“Any comments or conclusions about the contents of the review are premature,” it said. “The LAPD will announce the review once finalized.”

Police Commission President Andrea Ordin said the report still needed to go to the inspector general for review and then to the Police Commission.

Chief Charlie Beck ordered the review as Dorner was on the run after being accused of killing the daughter of his former union lawyer and her fiance and releasing the manifesto saying he would get even for being unfairly fired because he was black.

Rice, a longtime department watchdog and frequent critic, was allowed to review the findings.

“The firing was justified and his allegations are completely unfounded,” said Rice, who spent two weeks reviewing the findings. “This guy needed to go. And the question was, even if he needed to go, did the LAPD get rid of him in a way that was illegitimate? And the answer for me was no.”

The roughly 40-page report relied on about 80 documents, including 900 pages of transcripts from the Board of Rights hearing that concluded Dorner lied when he claimed a training officer had brutally kicked a mentally ill man during an arrest. He was fired for making a false report and a Los Angeles Superior Court judge sided with the department during a 2010 appeal.

The internal LAPD review conducted by Gerry Chaleff, the department’s special assistant for constitutional policing, also re-examined at least 10 complaints Dorner officially lodged with the department while he was an officer, Rice said.

In his manifesto, Dorner said the LAPD had tarnished his reputation, ruined the former Navy reservist’s military career, and destroyed his life.

“He raised all that racism stuff in my mind because he knew he’d get a rise out of them,” Rice said. “He did everything he could to hurt the department.”

The department is also conducting a review of the overall discipline system and will also review the cases of a handful of former officers who have since formally requested reviews of their firings.

Rice said she spoke with many black officers in the department who said that though the department still had issues with racism, it had changed a great deal over the past decades.

“Just because racism didn’t play a leading role in what happened to Dorner doesn’t mean the LAPD is now an inter-racial nirvana,” Rice said. “It does still have serious problems like every department does and we shouldn’t forget that.”

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