We’re not against the police. We’re not against the police department, but we are against police who commit misconduct (and those who help cover it up).
Bad 🍏 Report
Alright folks, we have a quick update on the saga that is Los Angeles police detective Frank Lyga–no make that former detective Frank Lyga.
When last we spoke of Lygagate, the disgraced detective had decided to sue the City of Los Angeles for discrimination after his recorded Tourette’s of the mouth was published and got him fired. Remember, Lyga sued the City in Federal Court alleging racial discrimination and civil rights violations after a recording of his racially and sexist comments during a training seminar were made public and he was fired.
Lyga wanted $300,000 in compensatory and statutory damages, special damages, back pay, front pay and his job back. Well today the news broke via KFI 640 AM reporter Eric Leonard that he settled for $50k and will remain forever retired from the LAPD. In my best impression of Nelson from “The Simpsons,” ha ha. But no, not really. The joke is more likely to be on the citizens on Los Angeles with this one.
City of LA pays $50k to settle lawsuit filed by ex-detective Frank Lyga – fired after he was recorded making off-color remarks @KFIAM640
— Eric Leonard (@LeonardFiles) August 5, 2016
But still that’s $50k too much for a man who bragged about killing Officer Kevin Gaines before a room full of police officers of various ranks and from various agencies–who by the way, can be heard laughing along with him.
Back in the olden days of 1997, Lyga shot and killed Officer Kevin Gaines during a heated traffic dispute between the two. According to the investigation, neither Lyga nor Gaines knew the other was a police officer. During the altercation, Lyga put his gun on his lap for protection when Gaines allegedly pulled beside him, yelled, “I’ll cap you, motherfucker!” and pointed a gun at him. Lyga shot Gaines twice, he acknowledges in the complaint.
After Gaines’ death and seemingly in the tradition of the LAPD, Gaines’ character was severely assassinated.
The LAPD’s investigation claimed that Gaines was working for Death Row Records producer Suge Knight and was romantically involved with Knight’s estranged wife, Sharitha Knight.
Lyga says that investigation also revealed that two of Gaines’s associates were involved in criminal activities, and led to the Rampart Scandal, involving corrupt officers in the LAPD’s Rampart Anti-Gang CRASH unit.
Lyga was found to be acting in self-defense and was cleared of wrongdoing by the LAPD and District Attorney’s Office, but prominent African-American civil rights attorney Johnny Cochran filed a $25 million civil rights suit claiming Lyga intentionally killed Gaines because he was black, Lyga says.
The City settled that lawsuit for $250,000 though the judge determined that Lyga had acted within LAPD guidelines, Lyga says. He says he had “had to live with the charge that he was a racist cop-killer despite the truth of the matter.”
In 2013, during Lyga’s public and recorded tirade he recalls a conversation he had with famed civil rights and wrongful death attorney Carl Douglas.
Lyga says, “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.”
Lyga publicly disparaged then 77th Division Captain I Lillian L. Carranza by telling everyone within earshot that she 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.
He also referred to Johnnie Cochran as a “crooked-lipped motherfucker” and attorney Carl Douglas as [Johnnie Cochran’s] “little Ewok assistant.”
According to a November 18, 2013 memo to now retired Assistant Chief Earl Paysinger, Detective Frank Lyga threatened to go to the media after he shot and Kevin Gaines in 1997. Lyga said that then Chief Bernard Parks wanted to “send him to another unit” after the shooting to “hide him for awhile.” Lyga said that he was “pissed” and told his Captain at the time that “if Parks puts me there I’m going to the media and tell them that this was a sanctioned hit on Gaines by the LAPD.”
And for all of that the City of Los Angeles paid him $50,000. But what else were they going to do? The City wasn’t going to let Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck look like more of a fool than he already does by giving Lyga his job back.
And I quote:
“I can’t put the City in a position where it is going to be financially liable for what it does.”–Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck, June 26, 2014.
Besides being a strong candidate for the “Brady List”–a list that is kept by District Attorney’s Offices and police agencies of police officers who have been found to have acted in a dishonest manner—I haven’t even begun to touch on the fact (again) that Frank Lyga basically admitted that he knew who Kevin Gaines was before the shooting occurred and that his subsequent recorded comments seemingly have him ADMITTING to murder. A fact which Kevin Gaines’ family continues to point out in their calls for Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey to re-open the investigation into his death. There is currently no statue of limitations on murder.
Add to that, Lyga’s threats about exposing Kevin Gaines’ shooting as a hit sanctioned by the LAPD and it’s too close for comfort connection to the infamous Rampart Scandal, it’s safe to say the City and the Department wanted no parts of this and wished it away in the form of a payment of $50k. They can afford to take the hit. It’s not their money and they know that after about 24 hours (if that) no one will remember and will move on. They do it everyday. I’m pretty sure both Lyga and his attorney’s factored in all of this before filing the lawsuit and knew they’d never see the inside of a courtroom for trial.
That my friends is what you call a damn shame. The only thing I can come up with that might be considered a silver lining in all of this is that Lyga will not be working for the LAPD again as an officer.
You can read the entire settlement agreement here.
Questions, comments or concerns?
Deputy City Attorney