Christopher Dorner Report Accepted by LA Police Panel; Irvine Couple's Autopsies Released
See Update No. 2 at the bottom of page 2 on the Los Angeles Board of Police Commissioners accepting the report on Dorner's firing hours after the autopsies on his first presumed victims, an Irvine couple, were released. Update No. 1 on page 2 is about the LAPD report concluding Dorner's firing was "appropriate."
ORIGINAL POST, JUNE 5, 7 A.M.: The Los Angeles Police Department firing of Christopher Jordan Dorner, the former La Palma resident and "rogue ex-officer" who presumably took his own life after terrorizing Southern California law enforcement and killing four in early February, has again been deemed justified, according to a veteran civil rights attorney.
But the LAPD insists the review has not yet been completed and no conclusions have been reached.
An LAPD Board of Rights had concluded that Dorner lied when he alleged a training officer had kicked a man during an arrest. He was fired for making a false report, and a judge later upheld his firing.
Connie Rice, co-director of the Advancement Project, told The Associated Press Tuesday that she had reviewed a 40-page internal LAPD report that reopened the Dorner firing case. It concluded Dorner's firing was justified and his allegations of racism and bias were totally unfounded, Rice said.
"I can assure you that is not accurate information," LAPD Sgt. Rudy Lopez told City News Service, denying any conclusions had been reached in the new Dorner firing investigation.
According to Lopez, the department is working to finish the review, although there's no timetable for its completion. "We are working quicker on this one than most," Lopez said in reference to the high-profile nature of the case.
Once the report being conducted by Gerald Chaleff, special assistant for constitutional policing, is completed, it will be presented to the Police Commission, Lopez said.
Before 33-year-old Dorner was even cornered in Big Bear, Beck had ordered a thorough examination of the apparent madman's accusations about his 2008 firing. "I do this not to appease a murderer," Beck said at the time. "I do it to reassure the public that their police department is transparent and fair in all the things we do."
It is believed Dorner gunned down 28-year-old Cal State Fullerton assistant women's basketball coach Monica Quan and her fiance, 27-year-old USC public safety officer Keith Lawrence, in Lawrence's car in the parking structure of their Irvine condominium building on Feb. 3.
In an online manifesto posted the next day, Dorner claimed he'd been wronged by Quan's father, lawyer and former LAPD captain Randall Quan, who'd represented the cop trainee during the Board of Rights process.
The manifesto went on to claim others besides Quan--including Beck--would pay for their misdeeds. Multiple examples of racism, Dorner alleged, proved the LAPD "has not changed since the Rampart and Rodney King days.''
The 6,000-word manifesto and days of confounding cops hellbent on capturing and/or killing Dorner made him a folk hero among some of the LAPD's harshest critics (a view that likely won't change with the report Rice claims to have seen).
A former Navy lieutenant who worked as a police officer from Feb. 7, 2005, until Sept. 4, 2008, Dorner was the subject of a massive Southern California-wide manhunt after the Irvine slayings.
According to authorities, he was involved in a shootout with LAPD cops guarding an officer's home in Corona, leaving one officer with a graze wound to the head. About 20 minutes later, he is alleged to have fired on a pair of Riverside police officers stopped at a red light, killing Officer Michael Crain, 34, and wounding the other cop.
After being traced to Big Bear, Dorner engaged in a firefight with law enforcement while holed up in a cabin. San Bernardino County Sheriff's Detective Jeremiah MacKay was fatally shot in the gun battle.
From a bar television in a Mexican restaurant near her La Palma home, Dorner's mother watched the cabin walls burning around her son on Feb. 12. He is believed to have shot himself in the head before the entire structure burned to the ground.
UPDATE, JUNE 20, 3:06 P.M.: The Los Angeles Police Department will forward a report to the Board of Police Commissioners Tuesday that will show the firing of Christopher Dorner was "appropriate" and the "only course" of action, LAPD announced.
"After a thorough review of all the available information, my analysis concludes that the discharge of Christopher Dorner was justified," LAPD Special Assistant Gerald Chaleff says in a statement. "His discharge was based on his own actions. The allegations he made against his training officer appeared to have been made in an effort to forward his own agenda."
Chaleff, who was appointed to the LAPD by then-Chief William Bratton in 2003 and currently serves as the special assistant for Constitutional Policing to the Chief Charlie Beck, led a staff that spent five months poring over evidence that included the now-deceased Dorner's so-called "manifesto." Beck had appointed Chaleff to lead the probe not because the chief believed Dorner's allegations of racism and brutality but to reassure the public.
The Chaleff report concludes discharging Dorner from the LAPD "was not only appropriate, it was the only course the Department could have taken based on the facts and evidence." Today's statement add, "Dorner was discharged due to consequences of his own actions and that decision was found to be sound and just."
The report and Tuesday's Board of Police Commissioners agenda is available to view at www.lapdonline.org/police_commission.
A second report will be published later this year to "specifically address issues raised by Dorner and others regarding the Department's disciplinary system and the state of employee relations within the Department," the LAPD statement notes.
UPDATE NO. 2, JUNE 25, 4:26 P.M.: The Los Angeles police commission board today accepted the LAPD report on the firing of Christopher Dorner, with some commissioners apparently wondering how the former La Palma resident was even hired in the first place.
Commissioner Rafael Bernardino said he "shudders" to think of the possibility that Dorner might have stayed with the department, according to a City News Service report.
Commissioner John Mack reportedly said the LAPD underwent a "health self-examination" by reviewing the Dorner case and that he was satisfied with the findings. But he added he was not "naive" enough to think some people might be critical about how the review was conducted and its findings.
"We've come a long way," Mack said. "You can do all kinds of wonderful things. All you need is one setback, one incident--there were some very, very serious and wild allegations included in that manifesto."
Hours before commissioners were presented the report, the Orange County Sheriff's Department released results from the autopsies on Monica Quan and her fiancé, Keith Lawrence, Dorner's first presumed murder victims.
Quan, the daughter of the police captain who guided Dorner through his disciplinary process, died of three gunshot wounds to the back of the head as she sat in Lawrence's Kia Optima parked at their Irvine condo complex. She also received a "tangential gunshot wound" on her right forearm, according to the coroner's autopsy report.
Lawrence was shot multiple times, including five times in the head and face and twice in his back and neck, his report states. The Kia was also riddled with bullets.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss OC Weekly's biggest stories. Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts