LAPD Detective Frank Lyga on paid leave following alleged racial comments

An audio recording has been released of LAPD Detective Frank Lyga allegedly making racially charged comments.
It's alleged that LAPD Detective Frank Lyga was recorded making insensitive and racially charged comments during a speech to students at the Los Angeles Police Academy in November. The comments were related to an event that led to a dark era in the department's history.

A source tells Eyewitness News Lyga did not know that he was being recorded.

"They talk about me, I'm not a racist killer, I'm not a crook, I'm not a liar, I don't lie, I tell the truth. Sometimes, I tell the truth to the point where it is detrimental to me," Lyga allegedly said.

Back in 1997, Lyga shot and killed undercover LAPD officer Kevin Gaines during a traffic confrontation on Ventura Boulevard. Gaines, a black officer, was off-duty at the time.

"I regret he was alone in the truck at the time... I could have killed a whole truck load of them, and would have been happily doing it," Lyga was allegedly recorded saying. The comments are believed by many to be racist.

The detective was cleared of any wrongdoing by the department, but the city paid Gaines' family $250,000 as part of a settlement.

"When you have people who get away with murder, for some reason, they always feel like they need to confess and talk about it," former LAPD officer Brian Bentley said.

Bentley first obtained the tape and posted it to his Facebook page. He says he was dismissed from the department after becoming a vocal critic of it.

Bentley says he served as Gaines' partner, and was once trained by Lyga.

"What he said on the tape was totally inappropriate," Bentley said.

In the tape, Lyga allegedly makes disparaging comments towards several other LAPD officers, including Lt. Paul Vernon.

"Lt. Vernon is a f***ing moron," he says.

During the speech, Lyga also attacks LAPD 77th Division Capt. Lillian L. Carranza, calling her "a very cute little Hispanic lady who couldn't find her ass with both her hands," Lyga allegedly says.

At the Los Angeles Police Commission hearing Tuesday, LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said Lyga has been removed from teaching and the field. Beck said Lyga was placed on paid administrative duty, pending the investigation.

"I'm the one who has to make the final determination about what happens to this detective, so for me to comment on it before I have all the facts, is wrong," Beck said.

Journalist and community activist Jasymne Cannick also obtained the recording, and believes Lyga needs to be asked to retire.

"One can infer (he) meant to shoot more black police officers, more black people, but at the end of the day as an LAPD officer, why would you take joy in shooting more of anyone?" Cannick said.

Lyga allegedly apologized at the end of the speech, saying "I'm sorry if I offended anybody."

Vernon told Eyewitness News he's never met Lyga, but that he is not losing any sleep over this.

Eyewitness News reached out to Lyga to hear his side of the story. He failed to return our messages.

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