DORNER v. LOS ANGELES POLICE DEPARTMENT
Court of Appeals of California, Second District, Division Four.
Filed October 3, 2011.
Testimony of Ashlye Perez
Ashlye Perez was working at the DoubleTree as a bellhop on July 28, 2007. She was in the lobby of the hotel when she saw appellant and Sergeant Evans arrive at the hotel. The hotel doors were open, so she heard the officers ask Gettler to stand and ask if he was a guest at the hotel. After Perez went outside to try to usher hotel guests inside, she heard Gettler start yelling and saw the officers grab him to stop him from running away. She did not remember exactly what happened, but she saw Sergeant Evans use the taser, and she saw Gettler fall headfirst into the bushes. She noticed that some branches were broken when Gettler hit the bushes. Perez did not see Sergeant Evans go into the bushes or kick Gettler. Perez went back into the hotel, so she did not see the officers handcuff Gettler, but she saw Gettler struggling while the officers tried to get him out of the bushes. She noticed that Gettler had a cut on his face, which she thought was from hitting his face on the bushes.
Testimony of Sergeant Jackson
When Sergeant Jackson arrived, he saw appellant, Sergeant Evans, Sergeant Hernandez, a few other officers, and Gettler in custody inside the police car. After learning from Sergeant Evans that use of force was involved, Sergeant Jackson began to interview people regarding the use of force. He interviewed the officers and the other witnesses individually and did not recall any of the witnesses reporting that kicks were used. When he inspected Gettler's injury, he saw blood on Gettler's face that he thought was from the bushes, but he did not see any bruising or other indication that Gettler had been kicked. Sergeant Jackson read several revisions of the arrest report prepared by appellant and Sergeant Evans, and he noticed Sergeant Evans becoming frustrated with the amount of time it was taking to prepare the report.
Testimony of Appellant
Appellant testified that he graduated from the police academy in February 2006, but he left for a 13-month military deployment in November 2006. When he returned to the LAPD in July 2007, he was still on probation and was assigned to the San Pedro area with Sergeant Evans.
On July 28, 2007, appellant and Sergeant Evans received a call about a man refusing to leave the DoubleTree Hotel. When they arrived, they saw Gettler sitting on a bench, and appellant noticed a lot of people standing in front of the hotel. Appellant wanted to move Gettler away from the other people, so he asked Gettler to come speak with him, but he got no response. After asking Gettler several times, appellant placed his hand onto Gettler's wrist and pulled Gettler up from the bench.