Richard Gettler recalled his interaction with Christopher Dorner, a former LAPD officer who is wanted for multiple shootings. Gettler said Dorner unnecessarily pursued an alleged beating by another officer against Gettler's son Christopher. Patrick Healy reports from San Pedro for the NBC4 News at 5 and 6 p.m. on Feb. 7, 2013.
The father of a man allegedly beaten by an LAPD officer, prompting a string of events that led to a massive manhunt for another former officer, urged the suspect on Thursday to turn himself in.
Former Los Angeles Police Department officer Christopher Dorner is wanted in three killings and multiple shootings.
This week, he published an angry manifesto that detailed his 2008 firing from the LAPD after he reported a fellow officer for excessive use of force. Dorner said he wanted to get his "name back," and that the actions he was taking were his "last resort."
Police were searching the Big Bear area for him on Thursday evening.
The man who was the victim of the alleged brutality that Dorner described, Christopher Gettler, is a schizophrenic San Pedro resident who does not remember Dorner. But Gettler's father, Richard, does.
Richard Gettler urged Dorner to turn himself in, saying the manhunt and shootings of an Irvine couple and several police officers were "horrible."
Gettler said Dorner should "just remember his heart."
"Back then, when he became a police officer, he wanted to do good," Gettler said an exclusive interview with NBC4 on Thursday.
He urged Dorner to turn himself in.
Christopher Gettler was taken into custody in 2007 outside a San Pedro hotel after police were called to the scene with a report of an unruly man. According to court documents, Gettler resisted arrest and Dorner wrestled him to the ground, while a training officer used a stun gun to subdue the suspect.
In his manifesto, Dorner claimed that the other officer repeatedly kicked Gettler in the chest and face.
"Unfortunately after reporting it to supervisors and investigated by [an internal affairs investigator], nothing was done. I had broken their supposed 'Blue Line,'" Dorner wrote in his manifesto.
"Terminating me for telling the truth of a caucasian officer kicking a mentally ill man is disgusting," Dorner wrote.
The Police Board of Rights did not believe Dorner's version of events. Dorner in 2009 sued the LAPD over his firing, losing in trial court and failing to win an appeal.
LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said Thursday that the claims of police brutality had been "thoroughly adjudicated," and he stood by Dorner's firing.
Dorner said he is certain he was fired because of his report on a fellow officer.
"It is clear as day that the department retaliated toward me for reporting XXXXX for kicking Mr. Christopher Gettler," Dorner wrote.
Gettler recounted his and his son's involvement in hearings over the firing of Dorner, saying that at a 2008 hearing Dorner seemed "idealistic." But Gettler believed the officer had made too much of the incident.
"He stood up for what he thought was right … You could tell by the look on his face he was just a young, idealistic kid, who was proud of the badge," Gettler said. "I commended him first. Then I got close to him and said, 'What is wrong with you? Weren't you thinking? ... It's the three musketeers, all for one and one for all!'"
Gettler said his son, whom he described as mentally ill and schizophrenic, indeed came home in 2007 with cuts on his face, saying a cop had hit him.
The officer whom Dorner reported as using unnecessary force was later promoted to sergeant. She was not available to discuss the case, and police told media not to approach her home.
NOTE: An earlier version of this story included several paraphrased quotes that have been updated for accuracy.