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20-02-13 Wrongful termination: Chris Dorner’s terrifyingly banal killing spree

20-02-13 Wrongful termination: Chris Dorner’s terrifyingly banal killing spree

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Published by William J Greenberg
As a general rule, American workers have very few legal rights and protections in the workplace when compared to workers in other countries. Although the LAPD union is stronger than many public sector unions, Dorner was still in his probationary period. By contrast, Teresa Evans, an LAPD veteran some 15 years older than Dorner, had many friends and allies on the force.
Chris Dorner’s bad luck, if that’s the right way of putting it, was that he went to bat defending the civil rights of a mentally ill suspect whose testimony was ruled inadmissible as evidence; it essentially came down to Evans’ word (and the word of her police colleagues) against Dorner’s (and the few friends he’d made on the force), along with the incomplete testimony of nearby hotel witnesses. What began as whistleblowing turned into a trial on the character of a new recruit, Christopher Dorner, who now had to prove to the heavily-stacked Board of Rights that he hadn’t lied when he reported Evans for misconduct.
As a general rule, American workers have very few legal rights and protections in the workplace when compared to workers in other countries. Although the LAPD union is stronger than many public sector unions, Dorner was still in his probationary period. By contrast, Teresa Evans, an LAPD veteran some 15 years older than Dorner, had many friends and allies on the force.
Chris Dorner’s bad luck, if that’s the right way of putting it, was that he went to bat defending the civil rights of a mentally ill suspect whose testimony was ruled inadmissible as evidence; it essentially came down to Evans’ word (and the word of her police colleagues) against Dorner’s (and the few friends he’d made on the force), along with the incomplete testimony of nearby hotel witnesses. What began as whistleblowing turned into a trial on the character of a new recruit, Christopher Dorner, who now had to prove to the heavily-stacked Board of Rights that he hadn’t lied when he reported Evans for misconduct.

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Published by: William J Greenberg on Feb 26, 2013
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FROM:MARK AMES TO: THESHOOTINGSDESK DATE: FEB 20TH, 2013
WRONGFUL TERMINATION: CHRIS DORNER’S TERRIFYINGLY BANAL KILLINGSPREE
LAS VEGAS, NV: In the days after his lethal rebellion and violent death, ChristopherDorner has become many things to many different people: a one-man Alamo herowho died fighting the police state; a crazy black man who started murdering copsbecause that’s what crazy black men do; or a symbol of government oppression andthe militarization of America’s police forces. For some conspiracy theorists, Dornereven became a Manchurian candidate in an elaborate Big Brother plot to sow chaosand fear, so that Government Marxists could fill America’s skies with armed drones,assassinating gun-owners and freedom-lovers at will.But all this focus on Dorner’s spectacular ending has obscured the real story aboutwhat sent Chris Dorner over the edge: workplace abuse, racial discrimination, and alegitimate claim of wrongful termination. In a nation where workers have fewer legalprotections than workers in many developing nations, low-level employees likeDorner have few rights, little power and almost nowhere to turn. Ever since theReagan Revolution of the 80s, popular culture has neglected labor problems in favorof violent epic fantasies, even though more and more Americans suffered worseninglabor conditions in their own lives, privately and alone. Wrongful termination andworkplace discrimination are devastating problems for each and every victim, yetcollectively we’re infinitely more worried about police state fascism and gettingassassinated by armed drones, thanks to media and pop culture conditioning. Laborand workplace problems are considered boring, even embarrassing.Ever since “going postal” massacres first appeared in the public sector, in US postoffices in the mid-1980s, they have tended to follow a familiar script. The murderer“snaps” for no apparent reason; official culture blames it all on Hollywood or guns,never explaining why these workplace massacres only appeared in the mid-late80s; and later, as it turns out, there were a lot of reasons for the gunman to snap. If you profile the workplace that created the murderer, rather profiling the murderer’spsychology, you will often find a pattern of shocking workplace abuse and of top-down mistreatment of employees, culminating in the “going postal” rampage. Theconsequent killing spree will target supervisors, fellow employees, and anyoneassociated with the institution that the abused employee blames for having crushedhim (or her). The LAPD is a textbook example of one of the most abusive public sector employersin America today — and this context, along with the details of Dorner’s firing and hisappeals, are the real missing pieces in the puzzle.
 
Noted civil rights attorney Dan Stormer, who has sued the LAPD on numerousoccasions over wrongful terminations, discrimination and civil rights abuses, tellsme, “Dorner’s case looks like a garden variety example of these types of cases.”Dorner’s problems began with race, and escalated to his firing over his allegationsagainst a fellow police officer of kicking a suspect in the face. “They don’t like itwhen you report abuse,” Stormer says. “If you complain, they punish you.” Just over a decade ago, 109 serving and former LAPD officers filed a class actionlawsuit accusing the police department of retaliating against whistleblowers andemployees who dared to report police abuse.An article in the
LA Times
headlined“More Than 60 Officers Join Lawsuit AgainstLAPD”, dated October 10, 2000, begins:More than 60 current and former officers are joining a class-action lawsuit againstthe Los Angeles Police Department that alleges retaliation against whistle-blowers,bringing the total number of plaintiffs to more than 100, an attorney said Monday. The original lawsuit, filed Aug. 24 in Los Angeles Superior Court on behalf of 41former and current employees, most of them officers, claims that the LAPD has aculture that enforces a "code of silence" that leads to a pattern of discrimination,harassment and retaliation against those who report misconduct by other officers.One of the plaintiffs, a narcotics detective named Shelby Braverman, worked in thesame Harbor Division that Dorner served in. Braverman reported on one of hissupervisors stealing heroin from evidence — and found himself the subject of areopened criminal case. The result was that Braverman was fired and jailed for 30days, ending his 20-year career.Another plaintiff, Lita Abella, was driven out of the force and psychologicallydamaged by her experience:Lita Abella, a former lieutenant in the Central Division, said she resigned inFebruary. 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 WomenPolice Officers Assn. who over the years had reported or investigated numerousincidents of alleged misconduct.She said the department eventually launched a "major personnel complaint" againsther that had been manufactured to get her fired. She quit, she said, rather thanfight the charges because the situation was making her physically ill. The LAPD’s culture of workplace abuse, retaliation, and wrongful termination is sopervasive and out of control that according to a recentInspector General’s report,
 
Los Angeles police brought an average of three times more lawsuits a year perofficer than officers in Chicago and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.For so many LAPD officers and employees, their problems only worsen when officersreport police misconduct — which is how Dorner’s problems started. In 2011, twoyears after Dorner was fired for allegedly lying when he filed a police misconductreport against a fellow officer, the
LA Times
wrote about the LAPD’s InspectorGeneral’s investigation into the very same problem: The department also has come under fire for failing to thoroughly investigatecomplaints of workplace problems. In a 2010 audit of LAPD investigations intoemployee allegations of retaliation, [Inspector General Nicole] Bershon's officefound 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 threetimes in 2007. In 2009, the LAPD chose, as it has so many times, to side with theaccused supervisor and against the whistleblower: Dorner's whistleblowing wasturned against him, he was charged with making false statements against a fellowofficer, fired, and as his appeals failed to reverse the charges against him, Dorner'slife spun out of control.Court documents filed by Dorner’s attorneys contested his firing and the ruling bythe Board of Rights that Dorner had falsified his report of police misconduct by afellow officer. These court documents, including a recently-released appellate brief filed byDorner’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 SouthernUtah University— Harry Reid’s alma mater — with a BA in Political Science and aminor 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 anarticle in small-town Oklahoma’sEnid 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 inthe 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. T

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