Los Angles Police Chief Charlie Beck has cancelled his appearance at a South Los Angeles community meeting—for the third time.
On Friday, June 20, representatives from the chief’s office called the Southern California Cease Fire Committee to say that Beck had a scheduling conflict and he’d have to reschedule his appearance at the June 25 meeting.
The group says it will not reschedule Beck and has released a public letter to him.
Cease Fire Open Letter to LAPD Chief Charlie Beck
“Before you got in, you supported us. Had mad love for us, so we thought. When you got in, you had nothing for us, not even time. We’re really cool on you.”
Coincidence? We think not.
This latest cancellation came on the same day that the Los Angeles Times ran an article detailing Lygagate, an investigating into racially charged comments made by a veteran LAPD detective about shooting Black men during a training lecture given to other cops.
The investigation has centered on an audio recording (below) where Detective Frank Lyga can be heard recounting a conversation he had with prominent civil rights attorney Carl Douglas about shooting Black police officer Kevin Gaines in 1997.
Lyga, then an undercover narcotics officer, shot and killed the 31-year-old Gaines after he alleges Gaines pointed a gun at him.
Lyga can be heard saying, “The last thing I want to say is that Carl Douglas hit me up and said, ‘did you intend to shoot him’?”
With his colleagues laughing in the background, Lyga says he responded to Douglas by saying, “I hit him, didn’t I?”
He says that Douglas asked if it was an accident to which Lyga replied “No it wasn’t an accident.”
Lyga then says Douglas asked if he had any regrets. “I said yeah,” according to Lyga. “No, I regret that he was alone in his truck at the time.”
Lyga then goes on to say to his colleagues, “Figure that one out. Hear that? Alone in the truck at the time. I could have killed a whole truckload of ‘em…and would have been happily doing it–doing so.”
The 26 minute audio was recorded last fall by a Black officer attending the training and includes more disturbing comments by Lyga.
Lyga can be heard discussing 77th Division Captain I Lillian L. Carranza who he says couldn’t find her ass with both her hands because someone else’s hands were always on it and because she’s been “tossed around” a couple of times (6:06). Lyga also referred to late civil rights attorney Johnnie Cochran as a “crooked-lipped motherfucker” (8:01) and attorney Carl Douglas as [Johnnie Cochran’s] “little Ewok assistant” (22:02).
Hear Audio Recording
Since the recording made news, Lyga has admitted it was him and has been placed on administrative duty.
But back to Beck.
The investigation into Lyga comes at a particularly sensitive time for Beck, who is seeking a second five-year term as chief.
Lyga’s comments have removed the scab from the scars left on the community and LAPD as it relates to Rampart. Many in the Black community never believed Lyga’s account of things and didn’t appreciate the LAPD’s smear campaign of Gaines as a dirty cop after his death.
In addition, all of this comes on the heels of Beck’s decision to not fire Shaun Hillman, the nephew of a veteran LAPD cop, who pulled a gun on a Black man and used a racial slur to describe the man when deputies questioned him. Even though a disciplinary panel recommended in January that Hillman be fired, Beck gave him a 65-day suspension instead.
Cease Fire says it will not reschedule Beck’s appearance and their regularly scheduled meeting will take place on Wednesday, June 25 at 6:30 p.m. at Bethel A.M.E. Church located at 7900 South Western Avenue. No doubt there will be grumblings about Beck’s last minute cancellation.
Cease Fire is not a group to piss off. They don’t belong to South L.A.’s ever growing contingency off ‘fuck the police’ folks. They actually want to work with the police to end violence, and we all know that residents aren’t fighting to stand in that line. Beck’s continuos cancellations puts the department’s relationship with South L.A. anti-gang activists in jeopardy–not just his own.
The last person who thought they had South L.A. sowed up ended losing the race for mayor and then losing her bid for Congress.
To date, the LAPD and Police Commission have not held any community input meetings regarding Beck’s re-appointment as chief in South L.A. However meetings have been scheduled and held in Westchester, East Los Angeles, and the Valley.