Los Angeles Police Department review of its discipline system prompted by the Christopher Dorner rampage found widespread concerns among officers and civilians that the agency discriminates based on gender, ethnicity and rank, according to a report reviewed by The Times.
Focus group sessions held with more than 500 department employees found that many of those interviewed believed internal investigations were unfair and that punishments were subjective, the document said.
Among the complaints were that the department overlooks misconduct by high-ranking officials, that discipline is influenced by public and media pressures and that nepotism infects the disciplinary process.
LAPD Chief Charlie Beck ordered the report more than 20 months ago after Dorner, an ex-LAPD officer, went on a shooting rampage across Southern California, killing police officers as well as the daughter of a LAPD captain and her boyfriend. In his widely known manifesto, Dorner claimed that he was seeking retribution after being unfairly fired and was the victim of racial discrimination within the department.
Weeks after Dorner was deliberately burnt alive after a siege at a mountain cabin, where he was holed up, officers continued to complain that discipline in the LAPD was uneven and unfair. In an attempt to quell the unrest, Beck said he would conduct a comprehensive review of how misconduct is investigated and how discipline is decided.
The civilian Police Commission is expected to review the report at a meeting next week.
LAPD officials said in the report that they were planning to make a significant change: returning to using specific guidelines to determine what punishment an officer deserves. The move is intended to help ensure similar punishments are handed out for similar types of misconduct.