In the wake of Christopher Dorner's claim that his firing from the Los Angeles Police Department was a result of corruption and bias, Chief Charlie Beck vowed to reexamine the cases of former officers who believed they had been wrongly expelled from the force.
Forty officers have come forward asking department officials to review their cases, but now LAPD officials are saying their power to review the cases is limited.
In letters to those wishing to have their cases reviewed, department officials explain that the city's charter, which spells out the authority granted to various public officials, prevents the police chief from opening new disciplinary proceedings for an officer fired more than three years ago.
"Therefore the Department does not have the power to reinstate officers whose terminations occurred more than three years ago," wrote Gerald Chaleff, the LAPD's special assistant for constitutional policing. "You are being informed of this to forestall any misconceptions about the power of the department."
The reviews remain one of the unsettled postscripts to the Dorner saga. In February, three years after he was fired for allegedly fabricating a story about his partner inappropriately kicking a handcuffed suspect, Dorner resurfaced in violent fashion, bent on seeking revenge for his ouster.
After killing the daughter of the attorney who defended him at his disciplinary hearing and her fiance, Dorner killed two law enforcement officers and wounded three other people as he evaded capture during a massive manhunt. After more than a week on the run, Dorner was chased into a cabin in the mountains near Big Bear, where he died from what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Officials said Dorner had posted online an angry manifesto of sorts in which he claimed that he had been a victim of a racist, corrupt police organization that protects its favored officers at the expense of those trying to report abuses. Those accusations tapped into deep wells of discontent and distrust that officers and minority communities have felt toward the department. Beck sought to reassure doubters that years of reforms had changed the department and buried the "ghosts" of the past. He then offered to review past discipline cases.