October 23, 2014

 

City News Service

 

A Los Angeles Police Depart­ment detective who once fatally shot a fellow officer during a traffic dispute and more recently made racially charged comments at a training class about shooting black men will be fired by the department, his attorney said this week. Attorney Ira Salzman told the Los Angeles Times he was notified by the department that Chief Charlie Beck has signed the paperwork authorizing the firing of Detective Frank Lyga.

 

“This is terribly unfair,” Salzman told The Times in a story posted on the paper’s website.

 

Lyga was assigned to home duty with pay in June. A Board of Rights later recommended to Beck that Lyga be fired. LAPD internal affairs investigators opened an inquiry into Lyga after a fellow officer filed a complaint over comments made while Lyga was teaching a class at the department’s training academy, Cmdr. Andy Smith said this summer.

 

The investigation centered on an audio recording capturing the comments, which Lyga later admitted making. A copy of the recording was released publicly by Jasmyne Cannick, a political consultant and writer. Cannick said the recording was made by a black officer who attended the class Lyga taught last November.

 

The expletive-laden talk re­volved mostly around Lyga’s 1997 fatal shooting of Kevin Gaines, an off-duty LAPD officer. According to police accounts of the shooting, Lyga was working an undercover narcotics operation when he became involved in a traffic dispute with Gaines. Apparently, neither man knew the other was a police officer.

 

The shooting sparked racial tensions within the department because Gaines was Black and Lyga is white. In the comments to the training class, Lyga recounts the LAPD’s investigation into the shooting and the lawsuit Gaines’ family filed, and he complains he was unfairly labeled as “a racist killer.” He also recalled a confrontation he had with attorney Carl Douglas, who helped represent Gaines’ family in their lawsuit.

 

Douglas asked him if he believed all “young black men” were gang members and if he regretted shooting Gaines, The Times reported.

 

“I said, ‘No. I regret he was alone in the truck at the time,’” Lyga said he replied. “I could have killed a whole truckload of them and I would have been happy doing it.”

Category: Community



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