LOS ANGELES (AP) — A prominent Los Angeles civil rights attorney said Friday she will conduct an independent review of former Los Angeles police officer Christopher Dorner’s firing.
Connie Rice said she’ll review everything in Dorner’s personnel file over the next couple weeks.
Rice has closely tracked racial issues inside the LAPD for decades and has faced off against the department in court.
“I told Chief (Charlie) Beck I needed to look into this, and he said, ‘Please do,’” Rice said. “I’m going to look at everything. And he’ll let me.”
The LAPD also is reviewing Dorner’s claims that he was unjustly fired for reporting that his training officer kicked a mentally disabled man in the face. That review will entail a look at the overall discipline system and is expected to take months.
Dorner killed four people, including two law enforcement officers, in a rampage to avenge people he blamed for ending his law enforcement career.
During the manhunt for Dorner, Rice encouraged the department to look into allegations of racism and bias he raised in an 11,000-word manifesto posted online. Beck said he would review Dorner’s case to ensure public confidence in the department.
“It was a tough decision, but the right decision made for the right reasons,” Rice said.
She said it’s important for the department to rebuild trust with the community, as it has worked to do after other high-profile incidents, including the Rodney King beating and the Rampart scandal.
Rice has been a longtime vocal critic of the department and has criticized its discipline process in the past, calling for a revamp of the Board of Rights. She believes the tribunal, with two senior LAPD officers and a civilian, is flawed and “inherently political.”
“The problem here was there may have been very good reasons to get rid of Dorner,” Rice said. But it’s “a separate matter deciding whether we have a good process for determining these issues. I don’t think we do.”
She added, “What I’m afraid of is, no matter how you look at this (case), this record is going to remain muddy.”
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