Christopher Dorner. Who was he and what was learned from his manifesto? We know he was thirty-three years old, lived with his mother in La Palma, California and that he grew up in various places: Southern California, Utah, Florida, Oklahoma and Nevada. He said he had problems with other students in elementary school through junior high which resulted in fights from racial epithets directed at him.
Dorner was a Police Explorer. He joined the U.S. Navy in April 2002 and rose to the rank of Lieutenant. He was discharged on February 1, 2013. He attended the Los Angeles Police Academy beginning February 7, 2005. While in the academy he accidentally discharged a firearm and shot himself in the hand. In the aftermath of the accident Dorner left the academy, but returned later and successfully completed the Academy in February 2006.
In his manifesto Dorner claimed that during the academy he was involved in an incident with two other recruits of color who he alleged used racial epithets. He told them to stop, they refused and he grabbed one by the throat. One of the recruits was later disciplined.
We know he claimed the Los Angeles Police Department was worse now than it was during the Rampart and Rodney King incidents. I found this to be an interesting statement since he would have been eleven years old at the time of the Rodney King incident with little knowledge of the Los Angeles Police Department or how it operated. At the time of the Rampart incident he would have been eighteen. He would still possess little direct knowledge of LAPD. His statement, therefore, must be taken with an appropriate level of skepticism.
Dorner’s manifesto describes the culturally diverse work force that is touted by the city of Los Angeles and its Mayor. According to the mayor, the city is seventy-five percent of the way there. But Dorner’s words disparage the department, its officers, and the culturally diverse workforce. He claimed there was still much racial tension within the department.
This is an important point. To achieve cultural diversity it is necessary to compile the demographics, lower the bar, and then hire based on race, gender, and sexual orientation.
In the 1980’s the Miami Police Department tried to become more diverse and ended up with police officers who were arrested for everything from drug possession to murder. This was due primarily to the relaxed standards within that department.
So what made Dorner snap? There are plenty of theories. But here is a fact. He had a very short career in law enforcement. His only overseas stint in the Navy was from November 2006 to May 2007. It was in the Persian Gulf, but he did not see combat.
So when did Christopher Dorner go astray? Was it from things he claimed occurred during his childhood? Was it things that occurred during his time in the military or at the LAPD? If it stems from his childhood then this should have been uncovered during his application process with LAPD. Were the standards lowered to allow him into the department? This is a question for the LAPD. Was it from the environment in the department as he claimed?
Here is a brief review of pertinent background material. The incident which led to Dorner being fired, as he described it in his manifesto, occurred on July 28, 2007. It was a Disturbance of the Peace call. Dorner was in training at the time. His Training Officer was Theresa Evans. During the call Dorner became involved in a struggle with a man who he subsequently arrested for a misdemeanor warrant. While Dorner was struggling with the suspect Evans used a Taser in an attempt to allow Dorner to handcuff him. Dorner claimed Evans kicked the suspect three times while he was on the ground, twice on the chest and once on the face. The suspect was restrained and found to be suffering from mental illness. But Officer Dorner didn’t report what he claimed was an unauthorized use of force that day. And it wasn’t included in his police report.
Dorner chose to wait until August 10, 2007 to report this alleged use of unauthorized force. What took him so long? If this was a man who would fight over name-calling why wouldn’t he speak out on the inappropriate level of force occurred? As a result of Dorner’s claim a personnel investigation was conducted by LAPD and Dorner himself was found to have failed to report misconduct and falsely filing a police report.
According to Dorner he was relieved of duty on June 25, 2008, but in his manifesto he claimed he was fired on January 02, 2009. He said this was the day he died. Dorner had a Board of Review that found the allegations against him to be true. Dorner blamed everyone including his representative for his subsequent firing. He took no responsibility for his actions. The blame for all his troubles rested with others.
Dorner exhausted his legal options and was fired from the LAPD. He claimed he suffered from severe depression after that. He claimed he had to get his name back. He was going to accomplish this by murdering the Board of Review members and their families. He threatened LAPD’s officers with death if they tried to stop him and threatened the lives of officers from other agencies if they tried to capture him. He claimed it was all for revenge against LAPD.
He said the killing spree he was about to embark on would stop when his innocence was made public. This is quite a disturbing statement, for LAPD to proclaim his innocence for unlawfully firing him after he murders? In his manifesto Dorner encourages an assault weapons ban but has an arsenal of weapons at his disposal. He says goodbye to friends, then begins his list of favorite music, people, places and things.
Dorner is believed to have begun to carry out his manifesto on February 3, 2013 when he is alleged to have murdered the daughter of his representative at the Board of Review in the city of Irvine, California. Her fiancé was also murdered. On February 4, 2013 the belongings of Dorner were found in San Diego.
February 6, 2013 someone matching Dorner’s description attempts to steal a boat at a San Diego Marina. Think about this. He allegedly attempts to steal a boat. Why? To cross the border into Mexico? Does this sound like a man with a manifesto or a man on the run? With the botched boat theft things change. On February 7, 2013 Dorner is alleged to have ambushed two Riverside Police Department Officers. One is killed and the other is wounded. Later that same day in the San Bernardino Mountains Dorner’s burned out truck is found.
Big Bear Lake, California is in the mountains with very few roads up or down. Why would he run there? Why would he box himself in and limit his escape routes? Some would say to hide or to stage his final battle with police.
February 12, 2013 he steals a car. He’s found, abandons the vehicle and runs into the forest. He becomes involved in a gun battle with San Bernardino Sheriff’s Deputies. One is murdered and the other wounded. Dorner runs into a cabin and barricades himself inside. The sheriff’s department surrounds the cabin and is involved in a gun battle with him. While the Sheriff’s Department attempts to capture Dorner the cabin catches fire. Dorner doesn’t come out. A single shot is heard from inside which is believed to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. The cabin burns to the ground and a charred body is found which is later identified as Dorner through dental records.
The results of Dorner’s rampage ends in four dead and seven others injured. Many families now lie broken and devastated for the rest of their lives and all of this was done in a quest to regain his name? As for Christopher Dorner he leaves behind a mother and a sister who have to live with this for the rest of their lives. He has taken something from everyone he touched in this entire horrid incident.
In the end he chose suicide – a completely selfish act. He was a man who was afraid to accept responsibility for his actions and the consequences which would come.
Christopher Dorner is not a man to be remembered. He is a man to be forgotten. His victims should be remembered! News agencies have claimed he was a trained killer. This is a falsehood. He was a trained Peace Officer. He is the one who chose to throw everything away and become a murderer. Christopher Dorner left his chosen career as a result of his actions. He leaves behind nothing but a tarnished badge and a besmirched Los Angeles Police Department.
I believe Dorner was mentally ill. Were there signs that the military or LAPD should have seen? Or, were they simply overlooked? Dorner’s murder victims are:
Officer Michael Crain, Riverside Police Department
Detective Jeremiah Mackay, San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department