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Watchdog concurs with LAPD on Dorner findings

June 21, 2013|By Joel Rubin
  • LAPD personnel display pictures of Christopher Dorner during a news conference at LAPD headquarters in Los Angeles.
LAPD personnel display pictures of Christopher Dorner during a news conference… (Luis Sinco / Los Angeles…)

The city's independent watchdog over the Los Angeles Police Department said Friday that he found no major problems with the department's report on Christopher Dorner and concurred with the report's conclusion that police officials were right to fire Dorner.

Dorner was fired from the LAPD in 2009 for fabricating a story in which he accused his partner of kicking a handcuffed, mentally-ill man. In February of this year, police say, Dorner went on a killing rampage to avenge what he saw as his wrongful firing. Dorner killed four people, including two police officers, and wounded three others as he evaded capture for more than a week during an intense manhunt.

Dorner was found in the mountains near Big Bear and chased by police into a cabin in the woods, where he died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

While on the run, Dorner posted an online manifesto in which he sought to explain his rampage. In it, he described the LAPD as an agency rife with racism and corruption, and claimed the killings were "a necessary evil that I do not enjoy but must partake and complete for substantial change to occur within the LAPD and reclaim my name.”

As the manhunt for Dorner dragged on, police Chief Charlie Beck ordered an internal review of Dorner's firing. Beck made the move as 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.

On Friday, the department released the findings of that review. Dorner, the review concluded, had made up the story about his partner kicking the man to further his own "personal agenda" and was rightfully fired.

In turn, Alex Bustamante, the L.A. Police Commission's inspector general, examined the department's review of the Dorner case. In a report also released Friday, Bustamante said he "ultimately concurs with the Department's conclusions" and found no evidence to bolster Dorner's claims. 

Bustamante's report did point out some inconsistencies in the voluminous case file on the firing but said none of them would have affected the decision to kick Dorner off the force.

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Twitter: @joelrubin

joel.rubin@latimes.com

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