Crime & Justice

LAPD chief fires detective over slur-filled training lecture

File: Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck poses for a picture at the Los Angeles Police Foundation's 10th annual fundraising gala held at the new LAPD Headquarters on Nov. 7, 2009 in Los Angeles.
File: Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck poses for a picture at the Los Angeles Police Foundation's 10th annual fundraising gala held at the new LAPD Headquarters on Nov. 7, 2009 in Los Angeles.
Toby Canham/Getty Images

A veteran police detective was fired for giving an obscenity- and insult-filled rant during a training session, his attorney said Wednesday.

Police Chief Charlie Beck signed a termination order for Frank Lyga on Tuesday that became official when the paperwork was sent to the Police Commission, said Ira Salzman, Lyga's attorney.

The detective "is no longer an LAPD employee," Cmdr. Andrew Smith said.

Lyga worked in the narcotics division.

While giving a November training lecture, the detective — who is white — used expletives, called a black civil rights attorney an "ewok," said a lieutenant was a "moron," and said that a woman captain had been "swapped around a bunch of times."

The remarks were recorded by another officer and Salzman said his client acknowledged making them during a disciplinary investigation.

Lyga also recalled shooting and killing a black fellow officer during an off-duty confrontation in 1997 and telling an attorney for the man's family: "I could have killed a whole truckload of them, and I would have been happy doing it."

Salzman said the remark didn't refer to the man's race, as some had suggested, and that Lygameant that he would have shot anyone trying to kill him.

Lyga claimed he acted in fear of his life and Salzman said he was exonerated after an investigation.

The attorney said his client was fired before Salzman had a chance to file a plea for the lesser penalty of suspension, based on Lyga's long service and the fact that the detective had expressed remorse for his remarks.

"No officer deserves to be treated that way," especially one with 28 years on the force, Salzman said, adding that he will now consider options such as a lawsuit.

AP

11:54 a.m. Los Angeles police detective Frank Lyga will be fired by police Chief Charlie Beck over a vulgar training lecture last November, according to the detective's attorney, the L.A. Times reports.

The attorney, Ira Salzman, says he was notified by the LAPD that Beck signed the paperwork to fire Lyga after a disciplinary panel recommended he be fired for an expletive-filled speech filled with racial and vulgar remarks, the Times reports.

LAPD officials told the L.A. Times that no decision is final until the police commission receives it. Salzman complained that he hasn't had a chance yet to file a letter in Lyga's defense.

Beck spoke with KPCC about Lyga's case in June, promising to investigate the case. Lyga was taken out of the field during the investigation. Beck has been criticized for being too lenient when it comes to departmental discipline.

Lyga is heard in a recording of the training session talking about the fatal shooting of a fellow LAPD officer Kevin Gaines in 1997. According to the police, Lyga was working an undercover drug sting at the time he was involved in a traffic dispute with Gaines. Lyga later claimed he fired in self-defense.

In his taped recounting of the incident to trainees, Lyga boasted that he told a lawyer for Gaines’ family, "I could have killed a whole truckload of them and would have been happily doing it."

He's also heard making lewd comments about a female LAPD captain, as well as other inappropriate comments.

Listen to an excerpt of Lyga's comments (warning: contains inappropriate language):

Lyga audio excerpt

You can also hear the full audio as it was initially posted to the website of a political consultant here (warning: contains inappropriate language):

Lyga full audio

Mike Roe/KPCC

This story has been updated.