Derek Sykes and his wife sat at the dining room table in the small house they share with their two daughters. They're happy to be there, literally. When he was fired by the LAPD back in 2009, the future looked bleak. He went from making six figures with overtime to working two jobs and some 70 hours a week to get by while he looked for full time police work. His house payments were delinquent for a year.
He fought back, and so far has made it though with a different department. He feels his LAPD family turned on him and set him up for reasons he still doesn't understand. And it hurts even more because his is a law enforcement family with his father and brother both on the job, and if that isn't enough his wife's grandfather has 32 years with the LAPD, so they know the drill.
Derek says his end began when he was the victim of a sting by undercover officers who were testing how he'd handle a backpack a cabbie wanted to turn in as evidence. It gets a bit complicated, but the department says he didn't deal with it the right way, and that would eventually land him before a Board of Rights hearing. Normally that wouldn't have got him fired, but years before Derek had taken a 7-day suspension over a disagreement with his superiors over how he handled a teenager with a small amount of pot, he apparently just had the kid toss it and gave him a lecture--his discretion he thought--but the brass didn't agree and he took a hit for that.
So when he was in front of the B of R for the next deal, he already had one strike against him. He claims that one of the two command staff officers judging him ordered the other two members of the B of R to vote against him on the orders of someone higher up. It's tough to prove, but he said that was told to him by someone very close to that officer. He was gone and never knew what hit him. This was a few months after Chris Dorner was terminated. They didn't know each other, but the complaints Dorner made rang true to Sykes just as they have with so many others we've been reporting in, that the system is not fair, and that if someone high up wants you gone, it's a done deal.
He feels the B of R's should be changed so that its officers currently working in the field who are in touch with the realities of police work that are the judge and jury rather than two command officers who've been pushing paper for 20 years, and a civilian not familiar with the intricacies of police work. There might be something to that.
In the meantime Derek and Christy fight to clear his name. It's tough to say Dorner made some good points because you risk sticking up for a vicious killer who ruined so many lives. But the said ironic result of Dorner's rampage is that people are now paying attention to what he wrote about in that manifesto that was initially dismissed as the ramblings of a crazy man.