Ethical Dilemma Essay

Ethical decisions and the way that the police department handle situations is an extreme issue. When an officer in the department is witness to brutality or unethical behavior it is their duty report the incident to the proper person within the department. In July of 2007, Christopher Dorner was a police officer for Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD). At the time he was on patrol with a fellow female officer, Theresa Evans who was a veteran of the department. They received a call about a disturbance in a local neighborhood by a mentally ill man, Christopher Ghettler.

During the arrest of Christopher Ghettler, Theresa Evans continued to kick the man twice in the chest and once in the face while he was being handcuffed. Christopher Dorner did not agree with the actions of his fellow officer and reported the actions that his fellow officer committed on this mentally unstable man. When it came time to write the report of the arrest on this mans arrest, Theresa Evans requested that Christopher Dorner not report the brutality that took place during the arrest. With that request she was asking Christopher Dorner to be unethical and that became a serious dilemma for Dorner.

He suppressed the information for two weeks, knowing that the LAPD had a “Blue Line” that he would cross if he went to authorities about the situation. The “Blue Line” is a legendary code of conduct that one does not tell on any fellow officer. When Dorner went to his supervisor’s regarding the situation, Although his supervisor stated that he made the right choice to bring it to authorities, the department alleged that he filed a false report against his fellow officer because she was going to give him an unsatisfactory score on his report (Fuchs, 2013).

After Christopher Dorner took these allegations to his supervisor’s he would then attend a board of rights hearing about the allegations that he made against his fellow officer. Christopher Ghettler and his father testified at the board of rights hearing about the brutality from the female officer in question. The outcome did not turn out well, authorities stated that Christopher Ghettler was not a credible witness, even being the victim because he was schizophrenic and his father’s testimony was only based off hear say (Fuchs, 2013).

The department did not handle this particular situation well. There could have been many other ways to deal with the situation but they decided to terminate Dorner because of the allegations he made against Theresa Evans. Dorner was eventually let go from the LAPD because of the situation. There could have been alternative actions with the way that things were dealt with but it is hard to say only because most law enforcement officers hold themselves to a certain loyalty to their fellow officers.

Christopher Dorner truly new between right and wrong, he was voicing his concerns with a situation that he witnessed and because the department would not listen to what he had to say about the brutality against Christopher Ghettler this situation ultimately ended in fatality. The outcome of the situation was not what the department or society thought it would be. Christopher Dorner was let go from the department in 2008. Five years after he was let go he went on a killing spree to punish the LAPD for their actions that resulted in his termination of employment at the Los Angeles Police Department (Cooper, 2013).

On February 3rd, 2013, 5 years after he was terminated Dorner murdered Monica Quan, the daughter of his former captain, along with her boyfriend Keith Lawrence, and in the days after his first killing he eventually killed 2 other officers when they tried to detain him at a cabin in Bear Valley where Christopher Dorner had a bullet to his head and burned in a cabin during a shoot out with local authorities (Stewart, 2013).

There is much to be said about the way the law enforcement agencies deal with unethical behavior. With this particular situation it is unfortunate that they did not deal with the allegations differently. Too many lives were taken and they were innocent bystanders and their lives were cut short because the department did not handle the situation in a manner that was ethical.

Anytime an officer reports any type of brutality that is witnessed it is imperative that the investigating supervisors get to the core of the situation to avoid situations such as this. We will never understand the mind set of this man that took lives over being eliminated from the police department and what he did was unethical all on its own. This proves that there has to be a better way to deal with these types of situations when they arise in our law enforcement offices.


Fuchs, E. (2013). Business Insider: Law & Order. Retrieved from http://

Cooper, A. (2013). Anderson 360. Retrieved from


Stewart, J. (2013). Christopher Dorner Killing Rampage. Retrieved from http://


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