LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com/AP) — A Los Angeles Police Department disciplinary panel has recommended the firing of a veteran detective for allegedly making racially charged comments during a training lecture.
An attorney representing Frank Lyga told the Los Angeles Times on Thursday that the 28-year department veteran had apologized to the LAPD Board of Rights for most of his controversial remarks and was deeply disappointed with the decision.
Chief Charlie Beck must now decide whether to impose the punishment or reduce it.
One of the comments involved Lyga's 1997 fatal shooting of Kevin Gaines, an off-duty police officer, according to The Times. The shooting sparked racial tensions within the department because Gaines was black and Lyga is white.
KNX 1070's Jon Baird reports retired LAPD Sgt. Cheryl Dorsey, who says Lyga could just retire and he'd be off the hook.
"If he's allowed to do that, then in essence, he does skate," said Dorsey.
The LAPD announced in June that the Department was investigating Lyga over a recording that purported to be him saying he had "no regrets" about shooting and killing Gaines, adding he would have liked "to have killed a whole truckload of them."
"Frank said, 'What I meant to say is, people trying to kill me. If there was a truckload full of people trying to kill me, I'm going to defend myself and that's what I'm going to do,'" Lyga's attorney, Ira Salzman, told KCAL9's Jeff Nguyen.
"What? A truckload of who? Black men? Black police officers? Because at the end of the day, Officer Gaines was supposed to be on the same team as Detective Lyga was on," said Jasmyne Cannick, the political blogger, who released the recordings.
Salzman said his client is sorry for what he had said, and provided CBS2 with Lyga's written apology to the LAPD Board of Rights, which read in part, "I fully admit and recognize that the things I said were very wrong and I deeply regret that I used such poor judgment when I spoke that day. I have no excuse for what I did."
A department spokesman declined to comment, saying officer discipline is confidential under state law.
However, Chief Beck has up to 25 days to make his decision. In the meantime, Salzman says he plans to submit a written appeal to the Chief on Monday.
"This is an opportunity for the Chief to show that they take matters and issues like this very seriously," Cannick added.
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