What Led Chris Dorner to Go Off the Edge: Workplace Abuse, Racism, and Unfair Firing
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One of the plaintiffs, a narcotics detective named Shelby Braverman, worked in the same Harbor Division that Dorner served in. Braverman reported on one of his supervisors stealing heroin from evidence — and found himself the subject of a reopened criminal case. The result was that Braverman was fired and jailed for 30 days, ending his 20-year career.
Another plaintiff, Lita Abella, was driven out of the force and psychologically damaged by her experience:
Lita Abella, a former lieutenant in the Central Division, said she resigned in February. She said she was retaliated against for what she characterized as her "activist" role as a union delegate and a vice president of the Los Angeles Women Police Officers Assn. who over the years had reported or investigated numerous incidents of alleged misconduct.
She said the department eventually launched a "major personnel complaint" against her that had been manufactured to get her fired. She quit, she said, rather than fight the charges because the situation was making her physically ill.
The LAPD’s culture of workplace abuse, retaliation, and wrongful termination is so pervasive and out of control that according to a recent Inspector General’s report,
Los Angeles police brought an average of three times more lawsuits a year per officer than officers in Chicago and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
For so many LAPD officers and employees, their problems only worsen when officers report police misconduct — which is how Dorner’s problems started. In 2011, two years after Dorner was fired for allegedly lying when he filed a police misconduct report against a fellow officer, the LA Times wrote about the LAPD’s Inspector General’s investigation into the very same problem:
The department also has come under fire for failing to thoroughly investigate complaints of workplace problems. In a 2010 audit of LAPD investigations into employee allegations of retaliation, [Inspector General Nicole] Bershon's office found that investigators routinely neglected to interview people accused of misconduct, or even name them in the investigations.
Dorner reported his training supervisor, Teresa Evans, for kicking a suspect three times in 2007. In 2009, the LAPD chose, as it has so many times, to side with the accused supervisor and against the whistleblower: Dorner's whistleblowing was turned against him, he was charged with making false statements against a fellow officer, fired, and as his appeals failed to reverse the charges against him, Dorner's life spun out of control.
Court documents filed by Dorner’s attorneys contested his firing and the ruling by the Board of Rights that Dorner had falsified his report of police misconduct by a fellow officer.
These court documents, including a recently-released appellate brief filed by Dorner’s attorney in early 2011, paint what appears to be a very familiar story of LAPD workplace abuse and retaliation.
Chris Dorner grew up in southern California, and graduated in 2001 from Southern Utah University— Harry Reid’s alma mater — with a BA in Political Science and a minor in Psychology.
In 2002, at the start of Bush’s Global War on Terror, Dorner joined the Navy.
One of the first times Chris Dorner’s name appears in the press is late in 2002, in an article in small-town Oklahoma’s Enid News & Eagle:
An Enid church is a little richer today thanks to the integrity of Lt. Andrew Baugher, a Marine student at Vance, and Ensign Chris Dorner, a Navy student pilot.
The two were driving into Enid Sunday afternoon when they spotted a bank bag in the middle of the road.
After turning around, they picked up the bag and found it contained nearly $8,000. They promptly took the bag to the Enid Police Department.