Chris Dorner, the ex-Los Angeles police officer, must not have known that injustice…is real.
The story about Dorner, who has gone on a shooting rampage targeting other police officers, is intriguing and troubling, yet it speaks to some truths that we all live with.
Dorner has apparently snapped because of a grudge he has been holding for a number of years. According to news reports, he feels that he was unjustly fired from the Los Angeles Police Department. He is angry, according to reports, that “his truth” was not accepted and despite his best efforts to seek justice for himself, he failed.
A court upheld the action taken by the police department. The court hearing his case was apparently his hope, but his last hope, and when the court supported the police department, it was too much for Dorner.
In 2007, Dorner was a probationary police officer involved in the arrest of a man in San Pedro. He, along with his training officer, Teresa Evans, responded to a complaint of a man causing a disturbance in a hotel lobby. According to news reports, they found the man sitting outside the hotel when they arrived. They tried to take him into custody but he arrested. Dorner apparently wrestled him to the ground and Evans allegedly tasered him, after which the suspect surrendered to police.
A couple of weeks later, however, Dorner went to a sergeant and said that Evans, his partner and training officer, had kicked the suspect after he was down, after he had surrendered. The complaint was investigated by the police and was found to be unwarranted. Apparently Dorner had waited too long to report the apparent and alleged misconduct of Evans…That fact, coupled with the fact that hotel employees questioned would not corroborate Dorner’s claim, resulted in the investigation being ruled in Evans’ favor and Dorner being fired from the police force. Dorner was found guilty of having made untrue statements against a superior officer.
Dorner rose up in protest, taking his case to court. But the court, the center of the justice system, was not doling out the justice that Dorner sought, either.It seemed that nobody would listen to him and his rage grew deeper and deeper.
Injustice really does exist.
Dorner, who had also served in the military, learned this sad fact. He dared report his training officer, waiting two weeks to do so …and it backfired on him. What would have happened had he reported the alleged kicking of the suspect immediately? We do not know, but it is safe to assume that he was probably afraid to do so. It is safe to assume that what he saw bothered him so much, though, that he decided to take the risk and report one of his own. It didn’t work. At the end of the day, he was odd man out.
Dorner, one guesses, believed in justice and in the power of truth. He forgot, however, that police have been known to protect each other from the most heinous wrongs and accusations. He was not “in” the department yet; he was in training. He apparently did not understand that police officers, from what we read, protect their own, no matter what. If he was going to go against “his own” while he was in training, if he was that brash and arrogant, he was too big a risk to let “into” the ranks completely. He had to go.
The witnesses at the hotel who would not support Dorner’s version of what happened might very well have been visited by police and encouraged to support the official police version of what happened. It has been done before. Police know how to protect each other.
A report issued after Dorner’s claims were investigated by police said, “”The delay in reporting the alleged misconduct coupled with the witness’ statements irreparably destroy Dorner’s credibility, and bring into question his suitability for continued employment as a police officer.” A story on CNN.com said, “The report found Dorner had made false statements to a superior while reporting the allegation that Evans had kicked the suspect and to internal affairs investigators looking into the claim.” (see http://www.cnn.com/2013/02/07/us/lapd-attacks-dorner/index.html?hpt=hp_t1)
Dorner couldn’t take it. He expected that someone would listen and support him, but it didn’t happen. People have a tendency that truth will always trump a lie or a series of lies, but that is not the case, not in life. Too often, lies trump and truth has to fight hard in order to bring the lies and liars down. In that process, many turn angry and bitter and disillusioned, which apparently is where Dorner found himself.
He had to live with the reality that injustice exists.
Unfortunately Dorner expected the justice system to hear him, hear his truth, and rule in his favor, but it didn’t happen. Equally unfortunate is the fact that the justice system has too often been guilty of not rendering justice, putting far too many people in prison for crimes they did not commit. According to a book written by Jim and Nancy Petro, False Justice, it is also true that even when there is compelling evidence that a guilty verdict was incorrect, the justice system is slow to consider that evidence and in many cases, ignores it. Jim and Nancy are not bleeding heart Liberals; they are steadfast Republicans who have seen the ravages of injustice within the justice system and are speaking out about it.
The reality that justice is elusive and that life isn’t fair renders people who know they are innocent to a state of despair. From what has been printed about Dorner, it seems that he is in despair, feeling like there is nowhere to go and nobody who will listen to him.
What he is doing is not going to clear his name. He will go down in history as a villain because he killed fellow police officers. What is sad is that he is feeling that his fellow police officers were not there for him, and many officers who break the code of silence practiced by police know that very feeling.
The prayer is that Dorner stops killing people soon, that he is captured before he harms any more innocent people. But from a distance, it is easy to believe that what Dorner said he saw really happened. He naively thought that this world and our justice system, beginning with police, is about justice. He sounds like he was an idealist, believing that the police are “the good guys.” Sometimes they are. Many times, they are not, and they are expert at covering up their wrongs.
He didn’t know that, apparently. He didn’t know that injustice happens, perpetrated and supported too many times by the ones in charge of protecting people.
A candid observation …