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Christopher Dorner

Board of Rights hearing rules against Dorner

Dec 2008

At the Board of Rights hearing, Randal Quan, Dorner’s attorney, conceded that his client should have reported the kicks sooner but told the board that Dorner ultimately did the right thing. He called the case against Dorner “very, very ugly.” Quan said:

This officer wasn’t given a fair shake. In fact, what’s happening here is this officer is being made a scapegoat.

At the hearing, Dorner stuck to his story. Evans, he said, kicked Gettler once in the left side of his collarbone lightly with her right boot as they struggled to handcuff him. She kicked him once more forcefully in the same area, Dorner testified, and then much harder in the face, snapping Gettler’s head back. Dorner said he noticed fresh blood on Gettler’s face.

Dorner did not immediately report the kicks to a sergeant, he said, because he was asked only what force he had used, not what his partner had done, and as a rookie who had already filed complaints against fellow officers, he feared retaliation from within the department.

Gettler’s father, Richard, testified that police eventually brought his son home and that he noticed a slight puffiness on his son’s face. His son told him he had been kicked by a police officer — once in the face and twice in the chest. Richard Gettler said he was shocked but decided against calling police because the injury was minor and his son could not explain what prompted the officers to use force. Gettler said that his son’s mental illness prevented him from being a good witness and that he was easily scared and would often answer “yes” to everything.

Dorner’s attorney, Quan, presented a brief video he took of Christopher Gettler answering Quan’s questions at the attorney’s office. On the video, obtained by Fox 11 News, the younger Gettler agrees when asked whether he was kicked by a police officer and points to his left cheek, indicating that’s where he was struck.

Evans denied kicking Gettler. She had been placed on desk duty for about seven months during the department’s investigation and prevented from earning extra money outside the department. “It was very difficult on me personally,” she testified.

Dorner, she said, was having problems readjusting to police work after returning from a 13-month military deployment overseas. He told her that family members had noticed a change in him and that he would seek help for it, she testified. On one occasion, he started crying in their patrol car, she said.

Dorner reported the kicks a day after he received an evaluation in which Evans noted that he needed to show improvement in three categories, including the time it took to write reports, officer safety and use of common sense and good judgment.

She said Dorner had told her the department was a “racist organization,” which she said she reported to a supervisor. That supervisor, however, denied during the hearing that Evans told her that.

Three witnesses, including two hotel employees and a port police officer, testified that they did not see Evans kick Gettler.

The board’s three members — two LAPD captains and a criminal defense attorney — unanimously ruled against Dorner. They found that his claims lacked credibility and that he was motivated in part by his fear that his training officer would give him a poor evaluation that could end his career.