Los Angeles has closed its books on a racially explosive incident and the turmoil that followed.
The city agreed to settle a lawsuit for $50,000 brought by a former White LAPD detective terminated for making racially inflammatory comments during a police training session, The Los Angeles Times reports.
Last year, Frank Lyga filed a federal lawsuit that accused the city of discriminating against him because he was a “White police officer who was wrongfully perceived to be racist.”
At the core of this case is what authorities described as a road rage incident back in 1997. Lyga fatally shot fellow LAPD Officer Kevin Gaines, who was Black, during an argument at an intersection.
Neither of the two officers were in uniform, and they didn’t know each other. Gaines allegedly pulled out a gun, and Lyga, fearing for his life, killed Gaines.
The Times reported that a thousand mourners, including about 100 uniformed police officers, attended Gaines’ funeral.
An investigation revealed that Gaines was connected to hip-hop impresario Suge Knight, who often hired off-duty police officers as security, according to The Washington Post. The investigation also ignited a corruption probe of the department’s anti-gang unit, and led to dozens of lawsuits against the department and the city.
Lyga returned to the spotlight in 2014 when a secretly recorded audio surfaced of comments he made during a police training seminar.
According to The Times, Lyga said he didn’t regret the killing — only that Gaines was alone.
“I could have killed a whole truckload of them,” Lyga said, “and I would have been happy doing it.”
The Times said he also “delivered an expletive-laden rant” directed at Carl Douglas, the African-American attorney who represented Gaines’ family and who also was part of the legal team that defended O.J. Simpson.
Although Lyga apologized, department officials decided to terminate him because of the racial tone of his comments.
The controversial police detective said the department fired him because the Black community pressured them. He also alleged that police officials would have treated a Black officer differently.
Under the settlement, the department did not reinstate Lyga, and did not admit to wrongdoing.
SOURCE: L.A. Times, Washington Post | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty, Twitter
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