Born in New York on September 11, 1979, Dorner grew up in a predominantly white environment in southern California. He claimed to have been subjected to racist abuse in both junior and high school. As an adult, he went on to complete a degree in political science at Southern Utah University, before serving as a U.S. Navy Reserve officer. He had a disarming smile – and the imposing physique of a 6-foot-tall bodybuilder.
In 2005 Dorner fulfilled a childhood ambition and joined the police academy. He subsequently graduated in 2006. Ultimately, however, his dream was not to be. During his probationary training in 2007 he filed a complaint against his partner, Teresa Evans. Dorner claimed that he had seen her kicking a mentally ill man while the man was handcuffed on the ground. The LAPD launched an investigation. And it did not turn out well for Dorner.
Dorner was in fact fired for allegedly providing false reports about his partner. He appealed against the decision in two different courts, but the decision was upheld. As a result, Dorner fell into a deep depression. He believed that he was the victim of racism and slander. His name was tarnished. And when he was honorably discharged from the Navy in 2013, he held the LAPD responsible.