What Led Chris Dorner to Go Off the Edge: Workplace Abuse, Racism, and Unfair Firing
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In 2006, Dorner graduated from the LA Police Academy and joined the force. But as the American military machine geared up for Bush's coming Bush “Iraq Surge,” Dorner was called up for Naval duty and deployed to the Persian Gulf.
In early summer 2007, Dorner, now a lieutenant in the Naval Reserves, returned to the civilian world and to his job with the LAPD. Dorner asked his superiors to put him through a reintegration training to make up for the time lost, but his repeated requests were ignored.
Instead, Dorner was put out on the field with a supervising officer, a 42-year-old woman named Teresa Evans. According to Dorner, Evans was “angry” and sadistic. His legal filings repeatedly reference an incident in which Evans was arrested by Long Beach police for “domestic violence” in June 2007, resulting in an apparent demotion for Evans. Dorner also reported that Evans “slapped” his hands on at least two occasions, and that in one incident when they detained a woman in her mid-70s, Evans “tore the skin off” the old woman’s forearm, requiring medical treatment. In court documents, LAPD investigators never deny Evans’ arrest for domestic violence, but instead dismiss it as immaterial in their case against Dorner for false testimony.
For her part, Teresa Evans claimed that Dorner was overly emotional, citing an incident in which Dorner supposedly began “weeping” while out on patrol, begging to be put through LAPD reintegration training.
On July 28, 2007, Dorner and Sgt. Evans responded to a reported disturbance at a Doubletree Hotel. The suspect, a paranoid-schizophrenic named Christopher Gettler, refused to comply. Dorner, despite his great size and strength, was unable to subdue Gettler long enough to cuff him. They fell forward into some bushes as Teresa Evans shot him twice with a Taser, and then — according to Dorner — she kicked Gettler three times: first softly on the clavicle, then again more roughly, and a third swift kick to Gettler’s eye.
Gettler’s eye swelled and bled. Teresa Evans claimed that he’d cut himself in the bushes. Ultimately, there were no reliable witnesses to testify that Evans had or hadn’t kicked Gettler, and his father, who was deferential to the police due to numerous incidents involving his son over the years, didn’t bother pressing charges. Gettler gave video testimony backing up Dorner's version of events — that Evans kicked him three times, once in the face below the eye — but Gettler's testimony was ruled inadmissible.
Dorner initially refrained from reporting the kicking. He knew that turning on fellow cops led to getting ostracized or worse. Afterwards, as they drove away together, Dorner claimed that Sgt. Evans told him, “We’re not going to mention the kicks in the report.”
The following day, Dorner checked the report that Teresa Evans had written up, and saw that she left out the kicks. When he worked on writing the report with her, he began to describe the events leading up to her kicks, whereupon Evans put her finger on the “delete” key and deleted three sentences, then took over writing the rest of the report.
A month later, troubled by the kicking incident, Dorner mentioned it to his old Navy mentor and a superior officer, Sgt. Leonard Perez. Perez immediately stopped Dorner and told him that he must, by law, having told Perez about misconduct, report it to a superior officer and file a police misconduct report.
The case against Dorner, in public and in the police Board of Rights, rests largely on the theory that Dorner sought revenge after supposedly getting a bad review from Teresa Evans, and his revenge was falsely reporting her for police misconduct.